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Stack’s Shatters Records at Philadelphia Americana Coin Sale! Nearly $9 Million Sold

Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Sale was held last week in conjunction with the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo and was a resounding success. The auction realized nearly $9 million and set a new record for the most expensive silver U.S. medal ever sold at auction at a whopping $345,000! This sale featured not only the familiar U.S. coin and paper money issues, but also showcased landmark collections of medals, tokens, and other numismatic interests.

stacks_gold_indian_cent_092309Part One of the Americana Sale featured American Paper Currency and was led off by the Chester L. Krause Collection of Wisconsin Obsolete Banknotes. Nearly 350 lots of Chet’s were offered and were extremely well-received. Highlights included a Oneida Bank Proof Sheet, a gorgeous color sheet that brought $23,000, and a fantastic Farmers Bank at Hudson color proof sheet that realized $17,250, more than doubling the pre-auction estimate. An excessively rare Waupun Bank “Santa Claus” Proof was also a significant highlight and sold for $16,100.

The second half of Part One was comprised of Canadian paper money, U.S. large and small size currency, fractional currency and fractional currency shields, Colonial and Continental currency, and a few pieces of Tromp l’Oeil numismatic artwork. Large size currency boasted an outstanding Gem 1896 $5 Educational note graded Superb Gem Uncirculated-67 PPQ (PCGS) that brought $23,000. National Bank Notes featured a prized D. O. Mills & Company, Sacramento, California 1872 $5 in Very Fine condition that fetched $43,125. There were three trompe l’oeil paintings offered in the Americana sale, the most notable of which was the 1949 “We’re All Gold Bugs” by Otis Kaye that sold for $43,125.

Following the numismatic art was a large section of Colonial and Continental Currency, which included a fabulous run of 1709 Colony of New York notes. First up was a rare May 31 Ten Shillings graded New-62 (PCGS) that garnered $13,225. Next was the amazing strip of three May 31 notes from the Ford-Boyd collection that went for $34,500, followed by an extremely rare November 1 Twenty Five Shillings in Extremely Fine-40 (PCGS) that sold for $12,650. Capping off this impressive run was the incredibly rare uncut pair of 25 Shillings-50 Shillings that sold for a respectable $27,600.

Part Two of the Philadelphia Americana sale spanned three sessions and covered everything from coins and medals to tokens, coin scales, and manuscripts. Truly amazing prices were reached in every category, and headlining collections like the Studio Collection of Chester Beach and the Alan Bleviss Collection of Civil War Tokens performed brilliantly. Leading off were Colonial and Early American coins, headed up by a superb Noe-3 Pine Tree Shilling in EF-45 that brought $23,000, followed three lots later by a popular 1694 Carolina Elephant token in VF-30 (PCGS) that reached $28,750. This sale featured one 1776 Continental dollar, a Newman 2-C example in pewter that was graded MS-62 by PCGS and sold for $60,375. Colonial issues were capped off by a magnificent Ex-Norweb Washington Born Virginia copper graded an impressive MS-63 BN (PCGS) that climbed to $69,000 before the hammer fell.

Federal coinage was wonderfully represented in all denominations, and was interspersed with treasures from the Studio Collection of Chester Beach, in the form of manuscript archives that included correspondence, sketches, photographs related to coin designs, and plaster models of unsuccessful coin designs. Large cents featured a rare 1793 Chain AMERICA cent graded VF-30 (PCGS) which sold for $32,775. Small cents were epitomized by the incredible 1906 Indian Head Cent struck in gold. This fantastic and likely unique off-metal striking, probably struck on a quarter eagle planchet, was graded AU-58 by NGC and shocked everyone when it sold for a princely sum of $276,000

U.S. minor coinage continued through twenty cents and then took a turn into commemorative coins, where we proudly offered two Proof 1903 Louisiana Purchase gold dollars, one Jefferson and one McKinley that were both mounted in the original wax-sealed affidavit of striking. Both were part of the Stack Family Collection and these historical pieces of Americana realized $19,550 and $17,825 respectively. In addition, two 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 “slugs,” one round and one octagonal, took center stage. Both were graded MS-63 by NGC; the round example brought $63,250 and the octagonal $54,625. Session Three opened with quarter dollars and offered an EF-45 (PCGS) example of the key date 1901-S issue; the desire for this collector grade was demonstrated in the realized price of $27,600. Silver dollars offered a fine 1852 Restrike example in Proof-63 (PCGS) (CAC) that weighed in at $31,050.

stacks_positive_plastersPeace dollar specialists were in for an exciting treat when Chester Beach’s heretofore unknown positive plasters crossed the auction block. The lot was composed of one obverse and two reverse designs for the 1921 Peace dollar competition. The bidding on the auction floor was fierce, and this lot was eventually awarded to its new owner after a final bid of $18,400. The silver dollars paved the way for Pattern coins, ably represented by a unique 1869 pattern 50¢ (Judd-745a) in Proof-63 (PCGS) with a gold CAC sticker that brought in $25,300, more than tripling its estimate.

U.S. gold coins offered fabulous rarities at every turn, and in particular featured spectacular Sandblast Proof coins. The first was a 1908 $2.50 graded Proof-67 by NGC that made its way to $40,250. Next was a1913 $5 in Proof-66 (PCGS) that sold for $46,000. A 1911 $10 was graded Proof-66 (PCGS) and soared to $63,250, and to cap off the run a 1908 Motto $20 example in Proof-66 by NGC realized $69,000.

U.S. medals featured a fantastic array of wonderfully rare, exceptionally beautiful, and tremendously fascinating items. Nearly 100 Betts medals crossed the auction block, with phenomenal issues like the original 1756 Silver Kittaning Destroyed Medal. This gorgeous specimen, the Wilson-Garrett-Ford specimen, in Uncirculated condition, was heavily bid upon and finally won for $86,250. Six lots later appeared the magnificent gold 1758 Louisbourg Taken medal, one of the most significant French and Indian War medals struck in England. This medal was in an extraordinary state of preservation and was acquired for $74,750.

Indian Peace Medals comprised another very important segment of the Philadelphia Americana sale. The section opened with an extraordinary Cecil Calvert Maryland Indian Peace Medal; the history of this medal was lost for nearly a century but it is now considered the first Indian Peace Medal made exclusively for distribution in America. This amazing item got the ball rolling with a realized price of $126,500. A famed 1757 Quaker Treaty of Easton Medal, the first American-made Indian Peace Medal, sold for an impressive $103,500. Following this was the extraordinary 1761 Montreal Medal by D.C. Fueter, the only specimen in private hands, which took in $115,000 when the bidding finally ceased.

American Indian Peace Medals offered over 20 examples of rare and exciting pieces and was also home to the auction’s highest realization, a record-breaking price! This historic large size Thomas Jefferson medal was struck as thin silver shells and is the most avidly sought after size of the three. This lot was fiercely competed for and eventually sold for an incredible $345,000—nearly doubling its original estimate and setting the new record for the most expensive silver U.S. medal ever sold at auction. The Americana sale also offered one example each of both the medium and small size Jefferson medals. Both performed mightily and realized $161,000 and $138,000 respectively.

U.S. Naval Medals provided a nice selection for bidders to consider. A magnificent silver Stephen Decatur U.S.S. United States Medal, a gorgeously toned rarity that is one of maybe five known, topped out at $37,375. Washington-related items also saw their share of action on the floor, highlighted by a fabulous trio of “History of the Revolution” silver medals commissioned by Joseph Sansom; the medals were actually descended from the Sansom-Perot family until their sale in a 2006 Freeman’s auction. These medals, bolstered by their impressive history, sold for a strong $92,000. Stack’s was also proud to offer a selection of badges and commemorative medals of the Society of the Cincinnati. The first lot offered was an exceptionally rare 1784 badge, known as the “Smaller L’Enfant Eagle,” that was produced by Duval and Francastel in Paris. This badge is one of just three known examples—it’s no wonder it took $69,000 to acquire this lot!

The last session of this remarkable event began with the Richard Gross Collection of Hard Times Tokens, an offering so diverse and replete with rarities that it was likely one of the finest offerings of our time. Political and satirical issues showcased a famous Andrew Jackson HT-1, Low-1 token in the remarkably high grade of AU-58 (NGC) that sold for $10,350 as well as an extraordinary Illustrious Predecessor HT-33A, Low-19A token in silver, one of just four known, that went for $21,850. The legendary Low-27A Not One Cent struck in brass (unique in this metal) was in AU-55 condition and took in $4,600. The ever-popular Feuchtwanger series offered the HT-265 Three Cents in prooflike Gem condition—that token climbed to an impressive $14,375. Other merchant issues included a fabulous Richmond, Virginia Beck’s Public Baths token. This plate token for The 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens, number 86 on that list, has caused some speculation as to whether this issue is a Proof or special striking. Whatever the case may be, bidders were eager to secure the token, and bid the lot up to $11,500 before it sold.

The next exciting collection was the Alan Bleviss Collection of Civil War Tokens, one of the most extensive holdings in existence and certainly one of the largest ever offered at public auction. Michigan rarities were popular, like the famed Detroit “Dancing Bear” token, Fuld 225I-1a, which brought $2,300 and the 1864 W. Darling token from Saranac, a seldom-seen piece that was sold for $9,775. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chestnut & Walnut Passenger Rail Road brass token was another high grade rarity; that lot required $6,325 to procure. Rhode Island tokens featured a beautiful H. Dobson “Hunting Hounds” token in MS-63 (NGC) that sold for $4,312.

So-called dollars followed the tokens and presented the legendary 1920 Wilson Dollar, Manila Mint Opening in gold. The roster of known examples includes just four pieces, including the one offered here that sold for $56,350. The following section of U.S. medals and exonumia offered many interesting pieces, including the ca. 1865 Abraham Lincoln portrait cameo. This item, superbly executed and in exceptional condition, ran up to $19,550. Other remarkable pieces included the glorious Tammany Society-Columbian Order of New York City badge, a wonderfully historic piece that brought in $12,650.

The balance of the sale covered medals from the Studio Collection of Chester Beach, which included Beach’s own A.N.S. J. Sanford Saltus Award Medal that realized a hefty $5,462.50, collections of numismatic-related framed artwork, macerated money, an outstanding selection of coin scales, weights, and counterfeit detectors, and manuscripts and autographs.

For further information on participating in or consigning to an upcoming Stack’s auction, contact Stack’s at 123 W 57th Street, NY, NY 10019 or at Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH, 03894. By phone please use 800-566-1580 or 866-811-1804. Full sales results from Philadelphia Americana Sale, as well as full photos and text from previous sales, are available online at our website.

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