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Category: Bowers and Merena

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Fun Has Begun

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #34

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

While the Summer ANA Convention includes a wide variety of items of interest to collectors of U.S. coins, paper money, tokens and medals, plus some coins of the world, the Winter FUN Convention is the leading event of the year in the field of rare U.S. coins. Today’s discussion will be a little shorter than usual as I am busy in Tampa viewing coins, witnessing events and gathering information during FUN week. Yes, the winter FUN Convention formally begins on Thursday, at the Tampa Convention center. Coin related events, however, have already occurred.

I. B&M Pre-FUN Auction

I attended the Bowers & Merena pre-FUN auction on Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is near the Tampa Airport. In last week’s column, I discussed the fact that Bowers & Merena and Stack’s are in the process of merging. The new Stack’s-Bowers president, Chris Napolitano, was in attendance. It was made clear that QDB and Chris Karstedt would continue to play roles in Stack’s-Bowers. Brad Karoleff, the longtime auctioneer for B&M, and Melissa Karstedt, an auctioneer at Stack’s, served as auctioneers during Tuesday night. Unfortunately, as this auction did not finish until well into Tuesday night, there was not time for me to thoroughly analyze this event.

On Tuesday, the lot viewing room for the B&M auction was packed. There were, at times, people waiting for seats in a fairly large room on the main floor of a very large hotel. My sources tell me that lot viewing attendance was excellent on Sunday and Monday as well, and that there were many collectors and dealers viewing at Heritage’s lot viewing room at the Tampa Convention center on Monday and Tuesday. So far, there seems to be even more interest in the FUN auctions than there was last year. It is too early, however, to draw a conclusion on the topic of collector interest in FUN week auctions.

In my column of Dec. 8, I raised the topic of FUN auctions, and I then provided explanations as to the general importance of January FUN auctions. My column of Dec. 8 is primarily about Jim O’Neal’s landmark set of Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 gold coins) and I remind readers that I wrote a two part series on O’Neal’s Eagles ($10 gold coins) in 2009. Please also read my article about the Jan. 7, 2010 Platinum Night event. (As usual, clickable links are in blue.)

In my column of Dec. 22, I focused upon the Henry Miller collection, the core of which Heritage will auction on Thursday, during Platinum Night. On Dec. 15, I wrote about the Malibu set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. The collector known as ‘Malibu’ also consigned Proof Liberty Seated halves and silver dollars to Tuesday night’s event, plus a few other coins. As I earlier suggested, his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters is far more spectacular than his respective sets of halves and dollars. I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to view all of his Liberty Seated Quarters, Half Dollars and Dollars. (more…)

Bowers and Merena Auctions and Stacks Announce Merger

BOWERS AND MERENA AUCTIONS TO JOIN FORCES WITH STACK’S TO CREATE STACK’S-BOWERS NUMISMATICS

Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK) announced today that its subsidiary Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s pre-eminent auctioneers of rare coins and currency, has entered into an agreement with Stack’s, the oldest rare coin retail and auction company in the U.S., to combine their operations.

The new company, which will be known as Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics, with a world coin division to be known as Stack’s-Bowers and Ponterio, will be owned 51% by Bowers and Merena Auctions and 49% by Stack’s. The closing, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions, is expected to take place in early 2011.

Greg Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Spectrum Group (SGI), commented, “We believe that this combination, once consummated, will create a major player in the coin industry. Stack’s had over $65 million in aggregate sales in 2010 and between them, the two companies have handled many of the significant coin collections that have sold at public auction, including the Eliasberg Sales, the Norweb Sales and the Ford Collections.”

Bowers and Merena Auctions president Chris Napolitano, who will serve as president of the combined company, said, “I am honored and excited to lead this new venture, which combines two of the leading names in our industry. We consider Stack’s to be the crown jewel of coin auction houses and with this partnership, we have assembled a numismatic team that we believe to be unequaled in the industry. We look forward to continuing and expanding Stack’s auction and retail locations in mid-town Manhattan, which serve not only the greater New York metropolitan area but also the entire east coast.”

Added Mr. Roberts, “A significant factor for SGI in pursuing this merger was the opportunity to partner with Charles, Joel and Harold Anderson and the rest of the Anderson family, who own a controlling interest in Stacks. For years I have enjoyed a strong personal and professional relationship with the Andersons and now look forward to a long-lasting association with the family through Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics. We intend to continue the long tradition that the Stack family developed over many decades in New York. For years it has been a goal of ours to have a presence in NYC. With this partnership, we will achieve that goal at one of the most famous and prestigious addresses in the numismatics industry: 123 West 57th Street, New York, New York.”

Joel Anderson commented, “We are looking forward with great enthusiasm to the successful combination of these two fine companies. Both have rich histories of service with integrity to the numismatic community and together their combined resources and talents will bring new levels of service and value to the numismatic market. In addition, Charles, Harold and I have assembled some nice collections and we are pleased that Stack’s-Bowers Numismatics will be there for us when the time comes to sell.” (more…)

Malibu Collection Part II Anchors Bowers and Merena’s January 2011 Rarities Sale

Nearly 1,700 lots to cross the auction block in Tampa, FL immediately prior to  FUN

Bowers and Merena, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency, will conduct the January Rarities Sale as its first event of 2011. The single-session sale on Jan. 4 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay will offer nearly 1,700 lots of rare and desirable United State and Colonial-era coinage.

“It is and honor and thrill to start my career with Bowers and Merena with such an important sale,” said Chris Napolitano, President of Bowers and Merena. “Our January 2011 Rarities Sale will be presenting a wide selection of United States, Colonial and Territorial coins which range from affordable collector coins to world-renowned absolute and condition pieces.”

Headlining the sale is Part II of the Malibu Collection. “The first part of this impressive Malibu Collection helped propel our Official Auction of the November Whitman Coin & Collectible Baltimore Expo to the forefront among numismatic events of 2010. Part II promises the same rarity, quality and eye appeal that we have come to expect from the collection,” said Napolitano.

Highlights from the Malibu Collection include lot 855, one of the finest-known 1866 Motto Seated Dollars in PCGS Secure Proof-66 Deep Cameo, as well as lot 594, an important strike and condition rarity 1918-S Standing Liberty Quarter certified MS-67 Full Head by NGC with a combined pop of just 2/0 by PCGS and NGC.

“From U.S. minors to patterns, bidders will also enjoy Part II of the G. Edward Reahl, Jr. M.D. Collection and the Abingdon Collection,” said Napolitano.

Additional highlights in the sale include:

* Lot 48, 1883 Hawaii Eighth Dollar, Proof-62 Cameo (PCGS), Secure Holder
* Lot 59, Undated (Circa 1616) Sommer Islands Twopence, BMA Type I, Small Star Below Hog, AG-3 (PCGS)
* Lot 73, 1776 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Pewter, MS-63 (NGC)
* Lot 302, 1924-S Buffalo Nickel, MS-66 (NGC)
* Lot 304, 1925-D Buffalo Nickel, MS-66 (PCGS), Secure Holder (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Malibu Collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, with information for beginning and intermediate collectors

News and Analysis of scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #31

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The Malibu Collection

In Tampa, on Tuesday, Jan. 4, B&M will auction the second part of the Malibu Collection, among other consignments. The focus here is on Malibu’s collection of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters dating from 1863 to 1891.

This sale will occur almost exactly two months after B&M auctioned the first part of the Malibu Collection, in Baltimore. In my column of Nov. 17, I reviewed the sale of the Malibu set of Standing Liberty Quarters. On Nov. 4, B&M also auctioned Malibu’s business strike Liberty Seated Half Dollars and silver dollars. On Jan. 4, B&M will auction Malibu’s sets of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters, Proof Liberty Seated Half Dollars and Proof Liberty Seated Dollars, plus a few other coins from the Malibu collection, as well as a wide variety of items from other consignors.

This Jan. 4 auction will be conducted just prior to the FUN Convention. Please see last week’s column for a discussion of FUN Convention auctions and a review of the O’Neal Collection of Indian Head Half Eagles that Heritage will offer. (As always, clickable links are in blue.)

Since the collector who formed the Malibu collection has not granted permission for his name to be mentioned, the code name Malibu is employed for his overall collection, sets of specific series, and the collector himself. Other coins from the Malibu Collection may be auctioned in Baltimore in March. Most of the coins in the Malibu collection are, or were, included in set listings in the PCGS and NGC Registries.

Besides Malibu’s set of Standing Liberty Quarters, which was complete and excellent, each of his sets seems to be a ‘work in progress’ with some missing dates that are not difficult to find. It is sad that his sets of Proof Liberty Seated coins were not completed as he seems to have had both the budget and the dedication to ‘complete’ sets of ‘later date’ Liberty Seated Proof Quarters, half dollars and silver dollars, those dating from 1858 onwards.

Starting in 1858, Proof Sets were publicly offered by the U.S. Mint each year. Before then, Proof coins were released quietly to collectors and dealers who had contacts at the Philadelphia Mint or elsewhere in the U.S. Treasury Dept. While Proof sets were not available to collectors every year prior to 1858, my impression is that these were often available to collectors who took the initiative to seek Proof coins.

Generally, it is customary to define a set of each series of Proof Liberty Seated silver coins, or of Proof Liberty Head gold coins, as a collection of one of each issue from 1858 onwards. Pre-1858 Proofs tend to be much rarer, and a set of all Proof Liberty Seated coins would not be feasible.

Clearly, the Malibu collector was in the process of assembling sets of Proof quarters and halves dating from 1858 to 1891, and of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars dating from 1858 to 1873, which was the last year of Liberty Seated Dollars. The Malibu 1858 to 1891 set of Proof Liberty Seated Halves contains twenty seven Proofs of different dates, and a second Proof 1887 Half Dollar. This half set is missing eight dates.

A set of Proof Liberty Seated Dollars consists of sixteen dates and the Malibu set has eleven plus a duplicate Proof 1873 dollar. The PCGS and the NGC Registries ignore the 1866 ‘No Motto’ Proofs of quarters, halves and silver dollars, as these are mysterious strikings about which little is known, and were not available to the public. While the Malibu sets of halves and silver dollars are important, and will receive much attention when auctioned on Jan. 4th, the topic here is his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. (more…)

Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Other Asian Coins Tops $10.7 Million at Hong Kong Auction

Exclusive NGC-graded sale marks most important array of Chinese coinage offered at auction in 20 years

Over 300 anxious bidders filled the live auction floor for the highly anticipated sale of the Wa She Wong Collection and other Asian Coins on Dec. 3-4. The Hong Kong auction, presented by Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, featured 1,107 lots with total sales reaching $10.7 million.

“A collection of Chinese coinage of this magnitude has not come to market in over 20 years and it surely did not disappoint,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We saw such spirited bidding, the sale of the first 487 lots took an astounding 11 hours with many of the lots selling for multiple times their estimated value.”

Drawing worldwide attention, the collection is a compilation of Wa She Wong’s lifelong passion for collecting which contained multiple rarities missing from major exhibits including many scarce pattern coins that were never released into general circulation. Headlining the collection, the 1890 Kwantung Mint Specimen Set, lot 220, began with an estimated value of $300,000 and realized a staggering $718,750. The set represents a landmark in Chinese minting as the first silver coinage produced with modern machinery.

Another important coin was the extremely rare “Flying Dragon” Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, lot 311. Opening at $12,500, lively bidding quickly brought the coin to a final selling price of $460,000. “The buyer had been searching for this rarity, one of only two known in private hands, for more than 30 years. The two other examples known to exist are housed in public museum collections,” said Ponterio.

All major rarities in the collection were certified by the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC), a market leader in grading Chinese coins, and pedigreed as “Wa She Wong Collection” on individual holders. Additional highlights of the Wa She Wong Collection include:

  • Lot 3, 1920 “Yuan Shi Kai” Dollar Struck in Gold, MS-64 (NGC), realized $138,000
  • Lot 27, 1911 “Long-Whisker” Dragon Pattern Dollar Struck in Silver, MS-65 (NGC), realized $431,250 (Ex: Kann Collection)
  • Lot 130, 1844 Changchow Military Rotation Dollar, AU-50 (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 139, 1909 Honan Pattern 20 Cash Struck in Copper, AU-55 BN (NGC), realized $126,500
  • Lot 147, 1930 Hunan Pattern 500 Cash Struck in Copper, MS-63 BN (NGC), realized $103,500
  • Lot 162, 1897 Kiangnan Dollar, Plain Edge, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), realized $373,750 (more…)

Chris Napolitano Named President of Bowers and Merena Auctions

Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency and a subsidiary of Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK), announced today that noted numismatic professional Chris Napolitano has joined the 27-year-old auction house as president. At the same time, Spectrum Group International (SGI) reported that its Collectibles Division achieved a record $45 million in worldwide aggregate auction sales for the three months ended December 31, 2010, its second fiscal 2011 quarter.

Mr. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum Group International: “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.”

A collector since childhood, Mr. Napolitano decided to make numismatics his life’s career in 1989 with the founding of Summit Rare Coins, Inc., serving as president and CEO since its inception. Under Mr. Napolitano’s leadership spanning more than two decades, the company has handled in excess of $250 million in rare coins, including many classic American rarities, and has attended every major show and auction during that period. In 2001, Mr. Napolitano co-founded American Rare Coins and Collectibles with locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which he helped to grow into a $20 million business. Mr. Napolitano belongs to many important numismatic organizations and is a Lifetime Member of the American Numismatic Association.

Mr. Napolitano has personally handled approximately 80 of the coins featured in the popular numismatic reference book by Jeff Garrett, “100 Greatest U.S. Coins,” along with many notable pedigrees. He counts the L. Rogers 1794 FH $1 in PCGS 66 among his favorites, and other career highlights that include:

* 1794 50c PCGS 64
* 1793 Chain 1c PCGS Specimen 67 BN
* 1793 Wreath 1c PCGS Specimen 68 RED
* 1870-S Seated $1 PCGS AU 58 EX-NORWEB
* 1893-S $1 PCGS 67 EX-NORWEB/JACK LEE
* 1870-CC 25c NGC 64 EX-ELIASBERG
* 1856-O $20 PCGS 58 EX-AMON CARTER

“My mission in business has always been to provide great service and the right product — at the right price — to both the wholesale and retail community,” Mr. Napolitano said. “I have known Bowers and Merena throughout my career in this industry, and I am excited to join such a highly regarded business that shares my goals.”

“We are very happy to welcome Chris to our team,” said Greg Roberts, president and CEO of SGI. “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.” (more…)

The Record-Setting Sale of an 1875 Half Eagle: What Does it Portend?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In the Bowers and Merena November 2010 Baltimore auction, a business strike 1875 half eagle sold without a lot of fanfare for a lot of money. I think this was one of the most significant individual sales in the rare gold coin market in 2010 and I’d like to spend a bit of time analyzing both the coin that was sold and the significance it portends for both the Liberty Head half eagle series and the rare gold market as a whole.

The 1875 is the rarest collectible Liberty Head half eagle. (The 1854-S is rarer but with no pieces likely available to collectors in the near future, I regard this issue as “non-collectible.”) Only 200 business strikes were produced and the number of pieces known has generally been estimated to be in the area of ten. I think this estimate is reasonably accurate although I think the actual number known could be as low as seven or eight.

The 1875 is unknown in Uncirculated and most of the examples that exist are in the EF40 to AU50 range. PCGS has graded five coins including an EF40 and two each in AU50 and AU53 while NGC has graded four: one in EF45 and three in AU55. I believe that these figures are inflated by resubmissions and the total number of distinct 1875 half eagles in slabs is four or five. There have been 10 auction appearances since 1991. Six have occurred since 2000 but this includes a number of reappearances of the same coin(s).

The coin in the Bowers and Merena auction was graded AU55 by NGC and it appeared to have been the same coin that was offered as DLRC’s Richmond I: 1444 back in July 2004 where it brought a record-setting $86,250. There had been no other 1875 business strikes that had been available since the Goldberg 2/07: 2335 coin that brought $74,750.

The Bowers coin was part of an interesting set of 1875 gold coinage called the “Kupersmith Once in a Lifetime” collection. Terrible name but an interesting and impressive set with examples of the rare Philadelphia gold dollar, quarter eagle and three dollar gold piece from this year but, curiously without the very rare 1875 business strike (or Proof) eagle. (more…)

Bowers and Merena November 2010 Baltimore Auction Tops $13 Million in Sales

Malibu, Kupersmith and Zürich collections excite bidders

Bowers and Merena, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency, saw spirited bidding as the Official Auctioneer of the November 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Nearly 3,900 lots of rare U.S. coins and currency crossed the auction block in the Nov. 4-6 sale and realized $11.6 million. Ponterio & Associates, Bowers and Merena’s world and ancient coin division, brought over 2,900 lots and added an additional $1.6 million to the sale.

“With the selection of U.S. and foreign collections presented, this year’s November Baltimore Auction ranks as one of our most important auctions yet,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “Even our optimistic appraisals were far surpassed, especially those in the fabulous Malibu Collection, which was comprised of the #2 collection of Standing Liberty Quarters with full-head designation on the PCGS Set Registry and an awe-inspiring array of Seated Liberty coinage.”

The Malibu Collection of Standing Liberty Quarters, featured lot 1750, the key-date 1916 in PCGS/CAC MS-67 FH that sold for $115,000, lot 1760, the finest-known 1919-D in PCGS MS-66+ FH, that brought $109,250 and lot 1776, the pop 1/2 example of low mintage 1927-S in PCGS/CAC MS-65+ FH sold for an impressive $149,500.

The 1882 Half Dollar, one of only three Motto Seated Half Dollars certified MS-68 by PCGS and verified by CAC, lot 2074, traded hands at $74,750. Finally, the amazing Stack-Pryor-Malibu Specimen of 1855 Arrows Seated Half Dollar in PCGS/CAC MS-66, lot 2018, realized $54,625.

Leading the way among gold coin highlights, the Kupersmith Once-in-a-Lifetime Collection of 1875-dated gold coinage featured many of the rarest and most significant pieces of the sale. The proof-only 1875 Three-Dollar gold piece, certified Proof-66 Ultra Cameo by NGC with a pop 1/0 sold for $253,000. The business strike 1875 Liberty Half Eagle offered as lot 5043, an even rarer issue, went for an impressive $149,500. Certified AU-55 by NGC, the coin represents the finest grade available among the 10 coins believed to exist from a 200-piece issue.

Another anchor in the Baltimore Auction was the Zürich Collection which almost exclusively contains rare, high-grade proof Liberty Double Eagles. A beautiful gem, the 1892 Double Eagle in NGC Proof-66 Ultra Cameo from the collection netted $103,500 as lot 5392. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The B&M Auction of the Malibu Collection of Standing Liberty Quarters

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #27

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The Malibu Collection

In Baltimore, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, B&M auctioned the ‘Malibu’ collections of Standing Liberty Quarters (SLQs), Liberty Seated Halves and Liberty Seated Dollars. Though I have a strong affinity for Liberty Seated coins, I will focus here on this collector’s Standing Liberty Quarters (SLQs), as his set of SLQs is phenomenal.

Since the collector who formed the Malibu collection wishes to remain anonymous, Malibu will be employed here as the code name of this collector and of his collections of specific series. All the Malibu collections auctioned in Novembers were of business strikes. In January, B&M will auction the Malibu collections of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters and Liberty Seated Halves, in Tampa, just prior to the winter FUN Convention.

II. Malibu SLQ Registry Set

Among the collections that Malibu has formed so far, the Malibu set of Standing Liberty Quarters (SLQs) is the most famous. In the category of “Basic” sets of Standing Liberty Quarters with Full Heads on Miss Liberty, the Malibu collection is the second “All-Time Finest” in the PCGS registry.

All of the quarters in Malibu’s set have a ‘Full Head’ designation from the PCGS, and the FH indicator is best referred to as part of the grade, though it is technically a designation that is considered separately from the numerical grade. An MS65FH SLQ is generally considered to be ‘of a higher grade’, so to speak, then an MS-65 grade SLQ of the same date with a weakly struck head, which is typical for most dates of SLQs. For some SLQ issues, only a very small percentage of those struck have a full head (FH).

In the PCGS registry, the Malibu Collection of Standing Liberty Quarters (SLQs) has a weighted grade point average of “67.92.” Relatively scarce SLQs are weighed more than relatively less scarce dates. The rules of the PCGS registry provide for “bonus points” that are awarded to SLQs with FH designations.

The sixth “All-Time Finest” Basic SLQ set in the PCGS registry was formed by Pat McInally, who was the lead punter for the Cincinnati Bengals during the football seasons from 1976 to 1985. In 1977, 1978 and 1980, he caught a significant number of passes. In the NFL, it is very unusual for a punter to also be a regular receiver. McInally’s SLQ set had a “Weighted GPA” of “67.59.” While “67.59” not nearly as high as the “Weighted GPA” of the Malibu SLQ set, “67.92,” it is impressive. Also, Malibu’s set is the #2 SLQ set in the NGC registry as well, though Malibu did not fully update his listing in the NGC registry and some SLQs that were just auctioned are not listed.

Both the PCGS and the NGC registries provide the most weight to the scarcest dates. Generally, the 1916, the 1918/7-S and the 1927-S are the queens of the SLQ series, closely followed by the 1923-S and then the 1921. The 1919-D and the 1919-S are very rare with a FH, but not rare without. The 1920-S SLQ issue is also relatively rare with a FH.

In the PCGS registry, the “Basic” SLQ sets do not include the 1918/7-S overdate, though the ‘variety’ SLQ sets do. It seems that, according to the PCGS, the 1918/7-S is the only ‘major variety’ in the SLQ series. In my view, the 1918/7-S is an overdate that has the status of a distinct date; it should not be referred to as a ‘major variety.’

In any event, Malibu’s set is ‘100% FH’ in accordance with the rules for ‘Basic’ sets of SLQs in the PCGS registry. The #1 SLQ set is ‘91.89% Full Head’ because three SLQs in the set, including a 1927-S, lack a FH. The Malibu SLQ set is thus the “All-Time Finest” in the PCGS registry that is ‘100% FH.’ Indeed, on the PCGS ‘all-time’ list of Basic sets of SLQs, the Malibu set is one of only five sets that are both ‘100% Complete’ and ‘100% FH’! (more…)

Unusual Items: Republic of Eutopia “So-Called-Dollar” BiMetallic

Bowers and Merena today auctioned an unusual item, a 1886 Eutopia Dollar. HK-1005. Rarity-8. Bimetallic (Silver and Gold). MS-62 (NGC).

Designed and struck by Nicholas Veeder of Pittsburgh, PA in 1886 as a model for co-metallic coins and medals in an effort to demonstrate the practicality of using both Gold and Silver in the production of coinage.

Veeder published a booklet in 1885 titled “Co-metallism: A Plan for Combining Gold and Silver in Coinage, for Uniting and Blending their values in Paper Money and for Establishing a Composite Single Standard Dollar of Account” Quite a title !

According to reference books, the reaction at the time, to both the idea and the pattern itself were not positive, and many likened the coin to the “Goldoid” patterns previously produced in 1878.

For an interesting history of “The Patterns for International Coinage” , go to the USPatterns.com website for a summary excerpted from Stacks October 2000, 65th Anniversary Sale pages 160-161.

This is an R-8 coin, and it has been reported that the dies used to make this broke on the third impression. That has not be confirmed, but adds a bit to the mystery and unusual character of the coin.

The obverse shows a Sun and Rays on the Gold center insert with two beaded circles housing the words “Model for Cometallic Coins and Medals” On the outside border of the Silver portion of the coin reads “Republic of Eutopia” and the date 1886.

The reverse shows the Gold insert with the words “Gold 12.9/10 Grains with a beaded circle around, and then the lettering (separated)” A R G E N T O R U M Silver 206 1/4 Grs” On the outer edges of the coins are displayed the 12 signs of the Zodiac

Bowers and Merena Selected for 2011-2013 ANA Pre-Show Auctions

Bowers and Merena Auctions has been selected by the American Numismatic Association as the official auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show, which will immediately precede the World’s Fair of Money conventions. This three-year agreement includes the ANA Pre-Shows to be held in Chicago in 2011, Philadelphia in 2012 and Chicago in 2013.

“The ANA is very pleased with the selection of Bowers and Merena as the Official Auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show Auctions,” said Larry Shepherd, ANA Executive Director. “We are working to ensure that our official ANA Pre-Shows are great events for everyone, and we are excited that Bowers and Merena’s top-tier auctions will be a significant part of these events.”

Bowers and Merena will hold live auctions of coins and paper money including:

• U.S. Coins, U.S. Colonial Coins, U.S. Tokens, U.S. Exonumia
• U.S. Paper Money, World Paper Money
• Ancient and World Coins

The Bowers and Merena Auctions will increase the availability of numismatic material at the World’s Fair of Money convention which starts immediately after the ANA Pre-Show ends.

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the ANA and honored to have been entrusted with the rights to host the Official ANA Pre-Show Auction for the next three years,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “The ANA World’s Fair of Money is one of the most important coin shows in the world and the ANA Pre-Show presents an amazing auction venue. We look forward to working with such a well-respected organization as the ANA.”

The ANA Pre-Show is scheduled the three days prior to each ANA World’s Fair of Money convention. The 2011 Chicago ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. In 2012 the ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 4-6 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The ANA Pre-Show returns to Chicago Aug. 10-12 in 2013.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Bowers and Merena Auctions is a world leader in numismatic auctions. For more information, visit www.bowersandmerena.com or call 800-458-4646.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org.

Coin Profile: Norweb Specimen of the 1796 15 Stars Small Eagle Half Dollar Highlights B&M Sale in Baltimore

A Prooflike NGC MS-63; Tied for Condition Census #3

The Half Dollars that the United States Mint delivered in 1797 differed from the previous issues for this denomination from 1794 and 1795. For in late 1796 Mint personnel adopted Robert Scot’s Draped Bust, Small Eagle design that had already been used in the production of 1795-dated Silver Dollars for use on the Half Dollar. The delivery of 1797 amounted to a mere 3,918 pieces, the first 934 or so examples having been struck from one of two 1796-dated obverse dies.

Surprisingly for a denomination that otherwise proved extremely popular with contemporary bullion depositors, no more Half Dollars were ordered until 1801, at which time the Large Eagle variant of the Draped Bust type became current. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dollar, therefore, became an instant numismatic rarity–a two-year type with a combined mintage of just 3,918 pieces. Survivors of both dates are very scarce-to-rare in all grades, and they never fail to cause a stir among advanced collectors whenever the coins make an appearance at auction.

The 1796-dated Half Dollar delivery was achieved through the use of two obverse dies and a single reverse die in two marriages. O-101 is easy to distinguish from O-102 as the former variety exhibits only 15 stars at the obverse border. There are fewer than 100 different examples of the O-101 die marriage believed extant, an estimate that allows us to further estimate the mintage for this variety at just 569 pieces. The phenomenal Choice Unc that we offer here traces its pedigree to the fabulous Norweb Collection–as well as other important numismatic cabinets–and it is tied for Condition Census #3 for the die marriage with only two other MS-63s of which we are aware:

1. Ex: Benjamin H. Collins (1/1896); J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1997), lot 1673; Denver, CO Signature & Platinum Night Auction (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5222. PCGS MS-63.

2. Ex: Four Landmark Collections Sale (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 1990; The Allison Park Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 8/2004), lot 418; Long Beach Signature Auction (Heritage, 6/2005), lot 6209; The Southwest Collection (Heritage, 2/2008), lot 528. NGC MS-63.

3 – Ex: Waldo C. Newcomer; Colonel E.H.R. Green; The T. James Clarke Collection (New Netherlands’ 47th Sale, 4/1956), lot 1195; The Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3024; The Dennis Irving Long Collection (Bowers and Merena, 1/1990), lot 256; 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack’s, 10/2000), lot 876; The Frog Run Farm Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 11-12/2004), lot 1236. NGC MS-63, the present example.

This coin is fully prooflike in finish and, in fact, the coin was cataloged as a “Proof” in New Netherlands’ 1956 sale of the T. James Clarke Collection. Numismatic scholarship having advanced considerably since the 1950s, we now know that this coin does not qualify as a proof in the strictest sense of the term. On the other hand, the fields are so well mirrored, the strike is so superior for a product of the early United States Mint and the surfaces have been so carefully preserved that we find it likely that this coin was specially prepared for presentation or other important purposes. (more…)

Bowers and Merena Nov Baltimore Coin Auction Features over 3500 Lots

Bowers and Merena will conduct the official auction of the November 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Scheduled for November 4-5 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the sale will present more than 3,500 lots of important United States coins and currency.

“We are thrilled to continue our long-standing and successful partnership with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena. “This year’s official auction of the November Expo ranks as one of Bowers and Merena’s most important Baltimore auctions of all time. With more than 3,500 lots, our catalog for U.S. coins and currency offers something for everyone, from collectors and dealers on a strict budget to advanced numismatists seeking the finest-known examples of some of the rarest and most famous coins ever struck in the United States Mint.”

Three consignments in particular stand out as defining the importance of the upcoming Baltimore auction. The Kupersmith Once-in-a-Lifetime Collection is a truly amazing offering, the likes of which is rarely seen in even the most prestigious sales, that has at its core six of the rarest gold coins struck in the Philadelphia in 1875. Nearly impossible to assemble such a collection in any grade, the consignor remained committed to quality and selected only the highest-graded examples that he could find, many of which are actually top-of-the-pop.

“Needless to say, it is difficult for us to single out one coin in this collection for each piece qualifies as a highlight, although special recognition must go to the 1875 Three-Dollar Gold Piece in NGC Proof-66 Ultra Cameo,” said Roberts. A pop 1/0 coin at both PCGS and NGC, this coin also ranks as the finest of perhaps just 10 original strikings of the proof-only 1875 Three-Dollar. Not to be overlooked and in addition to the 1875-dated gold set, the Kupersmith Collection will also be presenting a selection of rare proof and business strike Three-Dollar gold pieces, the proofs of which comprise the highest-ranked set on the NGC Registry.

The Malibu Collection offers the #2 collection of Standing Liberty Quarters with full-head designation on the PCGS Set Registry. “Nearly all of the Standing Liberty Quarters in the Malibu Collection are either top-of-the-pop or tied for finest certified, and plus-designated coins are figured prominently throughout the set. Of particular note are the low-mintage 1916 in PCGS MS-67 FH (Pop: 2/1), the conditionally challenging 1919-D in PCGS MS-66+ FH (Pop: 1/0) and the key-date 1927-S in PCGS MS-65+ FH (Pop: 1/2),” said Roberts. Other selections from the Malibu Collection include impressive runs of Seated Liberty Half Dollars and Silver Dollars that feature many key-date and/or conditionally rare pieces. (more…)

Cardinal Large Cent Collection To De Displayed Next Month At Whitman Coin Expo

The acclaimed Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation‘s large cents collection, the number one-ranked set of its kind in both the PGCS and NGC Set Registry listings, will be publicly displayed for the first time in the Baltimore-Washington area during the first two days of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, November 4 and 5, 2010.

The exhibit, co-sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions (www.BowersAndMerena.com) and Collateral Finance Corporation (www.cfccoinloans.com), will be displayed at the Bowers and Merena booth, #1205, during the show.

“It is truly an amazing collection that includes some of the finest known examples of United States large cents struck from 1793 to 1857, said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena. “There are 77 large cents in the set, and many are the finest known for their respective date and type.”

This 1793 Chain Cent (S-2), graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation large cents collection that will be displayed August 10 – 13, 2010 by Bowers and Merena Auctions and Collateral Finance Corporation at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.  (Photo by PCGS)

While supplies last, visitors to the exhibit can receive a free, 40-page illustrated booklet published by the foundation, “Portraits of Liberty,” that describes the history of U.S. large cents.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • 1793 Chain Cent (S-2) graded PCGS MS65BN that set a world’s record in 2005 as the most valuable U.S. cent at the time
  • 1793 Wreath Cent, PCGS MS69BN, the single highest-graded 18th century U.S. coin of any date of denomination
  • 1794 Liberty Cap “Head of 1793” Cent, PCGS MS64BN, described by Logies as “the single finest representative work of early Mint engraver, Joseph Wright”
  • 1803 Draped Bust Cent, PCGS MS66RB, acclaimed by the Early American Coppers society as tied for the finest known Draped Bust cent of any date or variety
  • the record-setting 1842 Braided Hair Cent from the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS65RD, widely acknowledged as the finest existing “Petite Head” type
  • and another record-setting coin from the Naftzger Collection, an 1852 Braided Hair Cent, graded PCGS MS65RD, and acknowledged as the finest existing cent from its era.

“The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that focuses on the study and publication of information about early coinage of the United States of America. With the valued assistance of Bowers and Merena and Collateral Finance Corporation, this will be the first opportunity for collectors to see these superb-quality, early American cents in person in the Washington-Baltimore area,” said Martin Logies, a director of the Sunnyvale, California-based foundation.

One of America’s leading rare coin auction houses, Bowers and Merena of Irvine, California holds three of the top seven world-record auction prices for U.S. coins. For additional information call (949) 253-0916 or visit online at www.BowersandMerena.com.

Collateral Finance Corporation of Santa Monica, California offers precious metals financing to dealers and collectors on a wide array of bullion and numismatics. For additional information, call (310) 587-1410 or visit www.CFCcoinloans.com.

The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo will be held in the Baltimore Convention Center, One Pratt Street, Baltimore. It will be open to the public on Thursday, November 4, from Noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, November 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

THE ZÜRICH COLLECTION TO ANCHOR BOWERS AND MERENA’S BALTIMORE AUCTION

Bowers and Merena will feature the important and extremely rare proof gold coins from the Zürich Collection in the Official auction of the November 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo.

“We are extremely honored to include the Zürich Collection among the anchor consignments in our upcoming November Baltimore Auction,” stated Bowers and Merena CEO Greg Roberts. “Assembled by a collector who is a connoisseur of rare classic proof gold coinage, the Zürich Collection was assembled over a period of many years. Our consignor spent a lot of time and effort acquiring these coins, passing on many other pieces that did not meet his strict standards for technical quality and eye appeal. The result is a collection replete with stunning examples of both proof Liberty gold coinage and 20th century proof gold rarities, many coins of which are among the finest certified for their respective issues.”

Continued Roberts: “The core of the Zürich Collection is a selection of proof Liberty Double Eagles dated 1878 through the series’ end in 1907. The stand-out highlight in this group is the 1878 Double Eagle certified Proof-64 Cameo by NGC. With a surviving population of only nine specimens from a tiny mintage of just 20 coins, the 1878 is one of the rarest and most underrated issues in the entire proof Liberty Double Eagle series. The issue is particularly underrated relative to the proof Type I and Type II Double Eagles of the late 1860s and 1870s, many issues of which are equally as rare as the 1878 yet priced much higher in today’s market. The proof 1878 in the Zürich Collection, therefore, represents a particularly important bidding opportunity for the astute collector.”

Roberts concluded: “Additional Proof Liberty Double Eagle rarities in the Zürich Collection include two Gem-quality examples of the 1892—a date that is also an important rarity in business strike format—one of the two finest-certified 1897 Twenties in NGC Proof-66 Ultra Cameo and several Cameo-finish specimens from the early 20th century including a 1902 and 1906, both of which are the finest certified for their respective issues. The Zürich Collection is also well represented in other classic proof gold series, and we note the presence of an elusive 1876 Gold Dollar in PCGS Proof-64 Deep Cameo, the finest-certified proof 1884 Liberty Half Eagle in NGC Proof-66 Ultra Cameo, a sandblast proof 1913 Indian Half Eagle in NGC Proof-67 and a 1908 Motto Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle in NGC Proof-66 that was struck with the characteristic dark matte finish of the issue. Finally, the Zürich Collection also features a complete set of business strike Indian Quarter Eagles in MS-64, centered around the key-date 1911-D certified by NGC.”

Highlights of the Zürich Collection include:

• 1911-D Indian Quarter Eagle, MS-64 (NGC)
• 1876 Gold Dollar, Proof-64 Deep Cameo (PCGS), PCGS Population: 2/1
• 1884 Liberty Half Eagle, Proof-66 Ultra Cameo (NGC), Combined PCGS and NGC Population: 1/0
• 1913 Indian Half Eagle, Proof-67 (NGC)
• 1878 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-64 Cameo (NGC), One of Just Nine Examples Confirmed Extant from a Mintage of 20 Coins
• 1892 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-66 Ultra Cameo (NGC), Combined PCGS and NGC Population: 6/0
• 1892 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-65 Cameo (NGC)
• 1897 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-66 Ultra Cameo (NGC), Combined PCGS and NGC Population: 2/0
• 1902 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), Combined PCGS and NGC Population: 1/0
• 1906 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-66 Cameo (NGC), Combined PCGS and NGC Population: 2/0
• 1907 Liberty Double Eagle, Proof-64 Cameo (NGC)
• MCMVII (1907) Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, High Relief, Wire Rim, Proof-64 (NGC)
• 1908 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, Motto, Proof-66 (NGC) (more…)

Ponterio & Associates to Auction the Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and other Asian Coins

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, is pleased to present the Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Asian coins as well as other fine properties in its December Hong Kong Auction held Dec. 3-4, 2010 at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers. The Wa She Wong collection represents one of the most important offerings of Chinese and Asian coins to ever be held.

“The Wa She Wong Collection contains rarities that are an honor to view, let alone bid upon,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Bowers and Merena. “We are extremely proud to have been entrusted with its sale as it is one of the most memorable collections I have had the pleasure of preparing for auction. Bidders from around the world have begun to make reservations to attend the highly anticipated Hong Kong Auction in December for a chance to bid on the lots firsthand.”

The Wa She Wong collection is a masterfully gathered assortment of rare coins of China, including many rarities which are coveted by the most important collectors of Chinese numismatics as well as many scarce pattern coins, which are coins of proposed designs and strikes of that were never released into the general circulation. An extremely unique coin in the collection is the Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, 1904, HSU-289, CCC-Unlisted. Considered one of the 100 greatest Chinese coins, there was believed to have been only three known in existence until the fourth was unearthed in the Wa She Wong Collection after being hidden away for 30 years.

“It is not frequent that a rarity, like the ‘Flying Dragon’ Szechuan 30 Cash Struck in Copper, is unearthed such as the case with the Wa She Wong Collection,” Sun Hao, Chinese coinage expert and author. “This specific example features a profile or ‘Flying Dragon’, while the others depict a frontal view or ‘Facing Dragon’. The opportunity to bid on this coin is a chance of a lifetime.”

The fine Wa She Wong collection features coinage that has rarely appeared on public markets and others that are missing from most major collections. Some other highlights of the auction include:

· Kwangtung Specimen set, 1890 (5 coins). K-21/25. ($1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Shensi Specimen Set, 1898 (4 coins). K-53,54,56,&57 (50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Kiangnan. Pattern dollar, 1897. Plain edge Proof. K-66.
· Kwangtung Specimen set, 1890 (5 coins). K-16/20. ($1, 50¢, 20¢, 10¢, 5¢)
· Pattern dollar, 1911. L&M-29. (Ex: Kann Collection)

The auction is further bolstered by Asian coins and bank notes from other consignors and is highlighted by an 1868 Hong Kong Five Piece Silver Proof Set. (more…)

Bowers and Merena’s Boston Coin Rarities Auction Exceeds $9.3 Million in Sales

Bowers and Merena Auctions realized an impressive $9.3 million at its Boston Rarities Sale on Aug. 7. The sale, conducted in two sessions with 1,750 lots, featured the rare condition census #4 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, certified MS-64 by NGC, that sold for $1.2 million.

The prominent attraction at the Boston Rarities Sale was lot 1005, the historic and extremely rare Virgil Brand-F.C.C. Boyd-Cardinal Specimen of the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. Bidding opened at $750,000 and escalated due to intense competition between floor bidders then ended with the winning bid placed by a telephone bidder. The piece sold for a remarkable $1,207,500 – the highest price ever paid at auction for a 1794 Silver Dollar.

“We are extremely pleased about the results of the Boston Rarities Sale which saw spirited bidding in all areas of U.S. coinage,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “We had tremendous bidder interest with an outpour of praise about our catalog and offering, long lines that formed outside the lot viewing room, and most importantly, active participation in the auction room. The market as a whole is very ‘quality conscious’ these day, and Bowers and Merena was proud to offer an impressive array of coins that enticed fierce competition between bidders.”

Along with the 1794 Silver Dollar, the Boston Rarities Sale included several prominent collections including the Ostheimer Specimen of the 1870-S Seated Liberty Silver Dollar, Platinum Star PCGS Registry Set of Two-Cent Pieces and Fontaine Collection. The Ostheimer Specimen of the 1870-S Seated Liberty Silver Dollar, the fourth-finest of only nine coins in existence, realized $632,500. With record prices for many of the pieces, The Platinum Star PCGS Registry Set of Two-Cent Pieces featured coin was an 1873 Two-Cent Piece, closed 3, proof-67 red in a PCGS secure holder that realized $52,900.

Rare 19th century U.S. gold coinage also performed well at the Boston Rarities Sale. Many of these offerings were pedigreed to the Horseshoe Collection. Highlights of this collection include lot 1543 and lot 1828. Lot 1543, an elusive proof-only 1863 Quarter Eagle in NGC/CAC Proof-63 Cameo, changed hands for $54,625. Lot 1828, a very rare 1858-O Liberty Double Eagle with a unique MS-61 PL grade from NGC went to the winning bidder for $57,500.

The Fontaine Collection, which had opening bids totaling $82,000, brought more than three times that amount with final prices realized of more than $265,000. All 25 coins in this collection were PCGS certified in first-generation holders and CAC approved. The star of the collection was lot 1430, the Eliasberg Specimen of the 1850 Gold Dollar, sold for $54,625 in PCGS/CAC MS-67. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1794 Silver Dollar sells for $1,207,500, and More Auction News

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #13

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Herein, I comment upon the prices realized for three rarities in the August 2010 B&M auction that I discussed in recent columns. Also, I mention that, in September, the Goldbergs will be offering a 1795 Reeded Edge cent in a PCGS “Genuine” holder, and it is not yet clear whether this is a new discovery a re-appearance of one of the six and a half that I have discussed in three writings over the past year, mostly recently in my column of June 23rd.

Yes, the Heritage Platinum Event is being held tonight and I have already covered, in many recent columns, coins that will be offered. Moreover, I recently wrote a two-part series on Dr. Steven Duckor’s Barber Halves. (Please click to read part 1 and part 2. As usual, clickable links are in blue.) Duckor’s set is the greatest set of business strike Barber Halves that has ever been assembled. It is the main attraction of tonight’s auction, though many other terrific coins are included. The collection of Dr. and Mrs. Claude Davis is particularly noteworthy, and was covered in my column of July 21st. Also, one-year type coins in the Heritage auction that belong to Davis and other consignors are analyzed in my column of July 7th.

I. Boyd-Cardinal 1794 Silver Dollar

It has already been widely reported that the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 sold, on Saturday, Aug. 7, for $1,207,500, at a hotel in Boston. Please click to see my discussion of this coin in my column of June 23rd. Since I wrote about the consignor, the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation, and its curator, Martin Logies, in my June 23rd column, and will do so again, my remarks today will be limited to the price, especially since I have not learned anything about the buyer.

Although the B&M auction went really well, and other coins brought very strong prices, I was not impressed by the result for this 1794 silver dollar. Firstly, in May, the finest known 1794 dollar sold for a reported price of “$7.85 million” and this point was very widely published in a large number of news forums throughout the nation and even in various parts of the world. Secondly, this very same 1794 dollar was auctioned by ANR for $1,150,000 on June 30, 2005. Although rare coin price levels are not near the peaks reached in the first seven or eight months of 2008, current rare coin prices, in most areas, are substantially higher than those that prevailed in the middle of 2005.

Third, in his cataloguing of this coin for Bowers & Merena, Jeff Ambio studiously reveals that the 1794 dollars that are of higher quality than this one are unlikely to be available in the near future. I am not sure that Ambio should have employed the term “impounded” to refer to each of these. The Stellar-Rogers 1794 is probably the second finest known 1794 dollar, and other coins from the Stellar Type Set have been sold recently. Please see my inaugural column. Even so, I agree with Jeff’s point that it is unlikely that the Stellar-Rogers 1794 dollar will be sold soon. Furthermore, Ambio is being fair in asserting that the Jimmy Hayes 1794, which is likely to be the third finest known, will probably not be sold for a very long time. Ambio’s remarks regarding the Oswald-Norweb 1794 were revealing to me. While I guessed that it is the 1794 dollar that is PCGS graded MS-64, I was not certain. I had no idea that the owner of the Oswald-Norweb 1794 almost sold it recently and then decided to keep it in his family for the foreseeable future.

Although it has been years since I saw the Oswald-Norweb 1794, I suggest that there is a good chance that it is of higher quality than the Boyd-Cardinal 1794. A leading collector, who refers to himself as “TradeDollarNut”, has publicly asserted that the Oswald-Norweb 1794 is a full grade-increment above the Boyd-Cardinal 1794. My hunch is that the difference is more on the level of a third or a half a grade. It is true that the Oswald-Norweb piece has mint caused imperfections on the obverse (front) that are quite noticeable and a little bothersome. I remember being very impressed with the originality of the Oswald-Norweb 1794. I hope that it remains as original as it was when I examined it. A high degree of originality is not a priority, however, for many silver dollar collectors, and I am certain that a large number of silver dollar collectors would prefer the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 to the Oswald-Norweb 1794, which might not be available for a long time, anyway. The Boyd-Cardinal 1794 reflects light in livelier manner, as I remember. (more…)

Bowers and Merena Auctions to Host Boston Rarities Auction

Auction to Feature Condition Census #4 1794 Silver Dollar

Bowers and Merena Auctions will host its Boston Rarities Auction on Saturday, Aug. 7 at The Castle at Park Plaza Hotel and Towers in Boston, Mass. The sale, comprised of nearly 1,800 lots, will feature world-class rarities and highly desirable collectors’ coins.

“Three consignments stand out in my mind as defining elements of the importance of this sale: the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation Mint State Set of 1794 United States Coinage, the Horseshoe Collection of New Orleans Mint gold and silver coins, and the Ostheimer Specimen of the 1870-S Seated Liberty Silver Dollar,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena. “With selections as diverse, important and desirable as these, we are confident that our Boston Rarities Sale will see spirited bidding from a wide variety of collectors.”

The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation (CCEF) Mint Set of 1794 United States Coinage is a fully Mint State complete set of 1794-dated coins struck from the Half Cent through the Silver Dollar with most coins choice to gem in quality. The coins are among the finest known for their respective issues and die varieties, but the obvious highlight of the set is the Virgil Brand-F.C.C. Boyd-Cardinal specimen of the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. Certified MS-64 by NGC, the coin is Condition Census #4 for the issue and one of only six Mint State examples known to exist. The five coins in the 1794 Mint State Set will be auctioned individually at the beginning of the beginning of the Silver Dollar section.

“This important offering is made possible by the CCEF’s recent acquisition of the Carter-Contursi 1794 Silver Dollar, graded PCGS Specimen-66, which recently sold for $7,850,000 in a transaction that set a world record price for the most valuable coin,” said Roberts.

At the heart of the Horseshoe Collection is one of the most comprehensive sets of New Orleans Mint gold and silver coins that Bowers and Merena has offered in quite some time. The stand-out highlight of the collection is an 1854-O Liberty Double Eagle, a pop 2/0 coin certified AU-55 by PCGS. With an estimated 25-35 surviving coin population from a mintage of 3,250 pieces, it is the second-rarest New Orleans Mint Double Eagle. Other rarities featured in this collection include Morgan Dollar condition rarities, key-date 19th century gold coins from other Mints and a J.W. Scott Restrike of the fabled 1861 Confederate States of America Half Dollar. (more…)

Steve Deeds Leaving as President of Bowers and Merena and Michael Haynes to become CEO of APMEX

Bowers and Merena announced  today that its president, Steve Deeds, is stepping down from his full-time position to pursue other coin-related interests, and will continue to have an ongoing role with the company.

California-based Bowers and Merena is one of the prominent US auctioneers for rare coins, currency and exonumia, with its affiliate Ponterio & Associates conducting auctions of ancient and foreign coins and paper money. Bowers and Merena also offers direct sales for rare coins and currency and publishes a number of important numismatic books.

Bowers and Merena is an affiliate of  The Spectrum Group International–a consolidated global collectibles network and the third largest in the world behind Christies and Sotheby’s.

Ten major brands comprise Spectrum Group International, including:
A-Mark Precious Metals, Inc., Bowers and Merena Auctions, LLC, Corinphila Auktionen: Headquartered in Zurich, Greg Martin Auctions: The world’s premier auction house for arms, armor and militaria., H.R. Harmer, Inc.: one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare and collectible stamps, John Bull Stamp Auctions, Ltd., Spectrum Wine Auctions, Spectrum Numismatics International, Inc.: a leading buyer and seller of rare coins, currency and fine wines, Teletrade: conducts Internet and telephone auctions for rare coins, currency and exonumia.

Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena, stated:  “We wish Steve well in his new endeavors and we are pleased that he has agreed to continue to obtain consignments on behalf of Bowers and Merena.  His new role will allow us to continue to take advantage of Steve’s demonstrated skills in promoting the numerous benefits of consigning with Bowers and Merena.”

Mr. Roberts continued, “I will remain as CEO of Bowers and Merena, working closely with our talented group of executives and consignment directors, including Rick Ponterio, Scott Reiter, Brett Renaud, Debbie McDonald, Ron Gillio, Matt Quinn, Kent Ponterio and Kyle Ponterio.  With our distinguished team and Mr. Deeds’ support, we will continue our tradition of putting together outstanding rare coin and currency auctions.”

In other news The American Precious Metals Exchange (www.APMEX.com) announced  that Michael Haynes, former CEO and Board Member of Collectors Universe has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of APMEX.

APMEX is one of the largest precious metals retailers in the US, with annual sales over $600 Million.

APMEX Chairman of the Board and Founder Scott Thomas said ” Haynes brings both public company and private company experience in high growth companies. We look forward to sharing and benefiting from his vast experience.”

“It is a great privilege to join the team at APMEX, where Scott Thomas has directed the growth of the company, combining the excellent service with a simple, yet user-friendly Internet-based trading platform,” explained Haynes. “In today’s marketplace, gold and other precious metals are key elements in the diversification of assets that assist in stabilizing the individual portfolio and the hedging of portfolio asset values against what is rapidly becoming a more volatile currency dependent financial world. Our objective is to bring gold and precious metals ownership through the Internet to every person who seeks protection for their portfolio while providing easy and direct access to gold and other precious metals products with superior service and support.”

Bowers and Merena’s Baltimore Coin Auction Exceeds $8 Million

Expo featured Windermere Collection of Rare Date Liberty Double Eagles

[CoinLink News] – Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency, realized more than $8 million as the Official Auctioneer of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. The eight-session sale, occurring June 17-19, included more than 6,000 lots of U.S. coins and currency, ancient and foreign coins, and foreign paper money. Prices realized for U.S. coins and currencies amounted to $6,438,778. Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, added an additional $1,608,082 in prices realized with ancient and foreign coins and paper money.

“Our highly successful June 2010 Baltimore Auction saw spirited bidding for many different areas of U.S. numismatics,” said Steve Deeds, president of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “Specialists in classic gold coinage were particularly enthused about our offering of the Windermere Collection of rare date Liberty Double Eagles. The highlight of that collection is clearly lot 3847, the 1861-S A.C. Paquet Reverse in NGC AU-50 that traded hands for $69,000. “

An important and rare one-year type, the 1861-S Paquet features an experimental reverse that proved unsuitable for regular issue production and widespread circulation. The San Francisco Mint struck only 19,250 examples of this issue before returning to the traditional Liberty Double Eagle reverse design by Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre.

“For Ponterio & Associates, the most notable sale was lot 8278, an extremely rare Kublai Khan, the fifth Great Khan and grandson of Genghis Khan, 50 Tael Sycee Ingot. Issued in Year 14 (A.D. 1273) of China’s Yuan Dynasty, the piece realized $64,900,” said Rick Ponterio, executive vice president of Ponterio & Associates. “Iranian bank notes and Chinese coinage also proved to be particularly popular.”

Additional U.S., ancient and foreign coin and currency highlights in the Bowers and Merena and Ponterio & Associates June 2010 Baltimore Auction include:

* Lot 178, 1881 Hawaii Pattern Five Cents, Medcalf-Russsell 2CN-1, MS-64 (PCGS), Secure Holder, realized $28,750
* Lot 1658, 1937-D Buffalo Nickel, FS-901 (FS-020.2), 3-Legged, MS-65 (PCGS), CAC, realized $37,375
* Lot 2030, 1864 Seated Liberty Quarter, MS-67 (PCGS), realized $26,450
* Lot 3411, 1872 Pattern Commercial Dollar, Judd-1217, Proof-64 RB (PCGS), realized $25,875 (one of only three specimens known to exist) (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1794 Silver Dollar, 1795 Reeded Edge Large Cent, and selected coins in the Summer FUN Auction

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #6

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Herein, I discuss an assortment of rarities ‘in the news,’ the NGC graded “MS-64” 1794 dollar, a newly re-emergent 1795 Reeded Edge Cent, an 1882 $20 gold coin, 1865 $2½ coins, and 1865 quarters. The 1795 Reeded Edge Cent is certainly much rarer than most collectors realize and many have forgotten that the finest known Holmes-Naftzger 1795 Reeded Edge set an auction record for a copper coin or pattern, and is the only copper to sell for more than $1 million at auction. Another representative of this issue was just encapsulated by the NGC.

Today’s primary item is the ‘news’ that the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 dollar has been consigned to the B&M pre-ANA Boston auction. Additionally, I will discuss a few coins that will be sold as part of an upcoming Heritage auction, which will be held in conjunction with the Summer FUN Convention in Orlando, July 8th to 10th. Though it would make far more sense to hold it in Fort Lauderdale or in West Palm Beach, where it has been since its inception in 2007, I expect the Summer FUN Convention to be a success.

My comments about a handful of coins are not meant to constitute an analysis of this sizeable Heritage auction, which includes desirable U.S. coins of almost all types. The offerings are particularly strong in so-called small denomination coins, Indian Cents, Lincoln Cents, Two Cent pieces, Three Cent Silvers, Three Cent Nickels, and Five Cent Nickels. Further, this auction contains a large number of early 20th century gold commemoratives. Additionally, there are numerous better-date gold coins of several denominations. Also, the Kallenberg collection of Proof Washington Quarters is the first “All-time Finest” in the PCGS registry in the category of a “Basic Set” that covers Proofs from 1936 to the present.

II. Boyd-Cardinal 1794 Silver Dollar

I have been informed by Martin Logies that the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation has consigned the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 dollar to the B&M August auction. This coin is graded “MS-64” by the NGC. When it was last auctioned, on June 30, 2005, it was so graded. This coin is widely regarded as the fourth or fifth finest 1794 silver dollar.

Logies is the director of the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation. Recently, in May, he was prominent ‘in the news’ when this foundation acquired the finest known 1794 dollar from Steve Contursi for a reported price of “$7,850,000”! The Carter-Contursi-Cardinal 1794 is certified as Specimen-66 by the PCGS. It was specially prepared. (more…)

Coin Profile: 1871 Standard Silver Pattern Proof Set to be sold in Baltimore

Bowers and Merena will be offering Lot 3410 in their Baltimore Coin and Currency Auction next week. One item, possibly unique, is a 5 coin 1871 Standard Silver Pattern Proof Set.

Five-piece pattern proof sets of this type were distributed by the Mint to contemporary collectors. The number of such sets produced is unknown, but survivors are very rare with probably no more than six examples of each denomination known to exist. The specimens we offer here could represent an original set, inasmuch as the coins all trace their pedigree to the Harold P. Newlin and Garrett collections.

What is interesting, however, is that the coins were offered individually when Bowers and Ruddy conducted its first two installments of the Garrett Collection Sales in 1979 and 1980. Whether the coins comprise an original set or have been united to form an assembled set makes little difference–this lot represents what is almost certainly the only intact set of these pattern types in numismatic hands.

The obverse design of all examples is the same and features Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre’s Indian Princess motif with no stars around the borders. Liberty is seated left wearing a Native American headdress, her left hand resting atop a globe inscribed LIBERTY and her right hand supporting a liberty pole. Two flags are behind the portrait, and the date 1871 is below.

The reverse designs are identical with the exception of the denomination, which is centered within a wreath of corn and cotton. The word STANDARD is inscribed along the upper border. Struck in silver with either a reeded or plain edge. (more…)

Bowers and Merena to Offer Diverse Selection of US Banknotes in Baltimore

Bowers and Merena Auctions will again present the Official Auction of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. More than 200 impressive currency lots will join a magnificent array of nearly 3,500 coin lots in the auction that will be held June 16-20, 2010.

Ponterio & Associates, a division of Bowers and Merena, will present the world and ancients auction of coins and paper money, more than 2,300 lots, including over 1,500 lots of Ancient and foreign coins and 828 lots of world paper money.


Prior to the auction, lot viewing opportunities for U.S. currency lots will include a special viewing at the Memphis International Paper Money Show on Thursday, June 17, from noon to 5 p.m. CT, when the notes will then travel to Baltimore for the live auction and viewing at the Expo.

Matt Quinn, director of currency auctions, is enthusiastic about the impressive highlights that will cross the auction block. “We have two magnificent sheets of currency to offer, with the first being a tremendous uncut sheet of Rhode Island Colonials. The Catalog numbers range from RI-282 to 289, with two of each denomination seen, seldom seen in such a large format. The other significant uncut grouping of notes is one of the finest sheets of Silver Certificates we have come across. The sheet is an Uncut Sheet of 12 Fr. 1654 1934D Five Dollar notes encapsulated in a Superb Gem 68PPQ holder by PCGS Currency. This stunning sheet of notes is flawless to the naked eye.”

Some important National Banknotes in the catalog start with a highly scarce large size 1902 Five Dollar Plain Back with the second bank name for charter 9745. This County National Bank of Santa Cruz note retains nice appeal and is likely missing from even comprehensive California collections. The second notable National comes from Muscogee, Indian Territory with the Charter number of 4385. “Territorial notes are ever popular pieces which always command a premium,” Quinn said, “as mostly all in the National Banknote section of the hobby aspire to own one.”

The type collectors will also be fortunate to participate in the sale with a few notable high grade large size pieces available. Quinn added, “One of the most pleasing examples we have seen in some time for Friedberg number 21 will be presented to the collecting community bearing the challenging series ‘A,’ in a robust PCGS Extremely Fine 45PPQ holder. Next a wonderful Fr. 116 1901 $10 Bison note will cross the block encapsulated in a PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 66EPQ grade which really wrings out all the detail the design could offer. A tasteful selection of high grade Gold Certificates will be the staple in the end of the large size type selection with many outstanding Gem notes seen.” (more…)

Bowers and Merena Baltimore Coin Auction to Include Over 3500 Lots

Bowers and Merena will conduct the Official auction of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo. Scheduled for June 16-20, 2010 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the sale will present nearly 3,500 lots of United States coins, exonumia and related items.

According to Bowers and Merena president Steve Deeds: “We have a wonderful sale planned for the June 2010 Baltimore Expo anchored by several important collections and Registry Sets.

In the category of Registry Sets we are featuring the Close to Perfect Collection, #1 All-Time Finest Lincoln Memorial Cents Basic Set on the PCGS Registry and the Weston Collection, PCGS Registry Set #8 in the category Capped Bust Half Dollars Major Variety Set without Reeded Edges.

The Close to Perfect Collection includes many low-pop condition rarities, including some stellar-quality MS-69s and MS-70s from the 21st century, while the Weston Collection features many original collector coins in VF, EF and AU.”

“Among U.S. gold coin offerings,” continued Deeds, “bidders will find the Windermere Collection and its fantastic array of rare-date Liberty Double Eagles and Territorial gold. Leading the way are 1855-O $20 NGC AU-55, 1859-O $20 NGC AU-55, 1860-O $20 NGC AU-58, 1861-O $20 NGC AU-55, 1861-S Paquet $20 NGC AU-50 and an 1852 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold, Reeded Edge, 880 THOUS, PCGS AU-55.

The Fab Five Collection of Early Half Eagles will also entice gold enthusiasts with a selection of five early Half Eagles, a fresh consignment recently certified by our company for the first time and making its first appearance in a major numismatic auction. A historic 1795 Small Eagle Five in NGC MS-61 leads off the Fab Five Collection, and it is an example of the scarcer BD-8 die marriage.”

Concluded Deeds: “Numerous other important rarities can also be found scattered throughout our June 2010 Baltimore Auction. We have a beautiful and rare 1930-S Double Eagle in PCGS Secure MS-65+, a top-of-the-pop 1917 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Cent, FS-101, PCGS Secure MS-67 RD from The Holdings of Ron Groszmann, a well-known 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar rarity in a PCGS Genuine holder and countless other highlights from Colonial coinage through Territorials. Plus, a complete set of Proof Barber dimes, as well as nearly complete sets of Indian cents, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters, and a type set with key coinage, all collected in the 1950s and 1960s. No matter what your area of specialization, I am confident that the Bowers and Merena June 2010 Baltimore Auction holds many important bidding opportunities. Enjoy the sale, and good luck with your bids.”

Additional highlights in the Bowers and Merena June 2010 Baltimore Auction include:

  • 1926-S Buffalo Nickel, NGC MS-65
  • 1937-D Buffalo Nickel, 3-Legged, PCGS MS-65, CAC
  • 1797 Draped Bust Half Dime, 16 Stars, NGC MS-64, CAC
  • 1800 Draped Bust Half Dime, PCGS MS-64
  • 1807 Draped Bust Dime, NGC MS-65, OH
  • 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, Three Leaves, PCGS MS-62
  • 1795 Capped Bust Right Eagle, 13 Leaves, NGC AU-55
  • 1872 Liberty Eagle, PCGS Proof-64 DCAM, Ex: J.F. Bell Collection
  • MCMVII (1907) High Relief Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, Wire Rim, NGC MS-66
  • A Complete 1871 Standard Silver Pattern Proof Set, Half Dime through Dollar, Ex: Garrett
  • 1872 Pattern Commercial Dollar, Judd-1217, PCGS Proof-64 RB
  • 1849 Mormon $2.50 Gold, K-1, PCGS VF-35, CAC—Gold Label, OGH—First Generation
  • 1849 Oregon Exchange Company $5 Gold, K-1, NGC AU Details—Tooled
  • 1883 Hawaii Eighth Dollar, PCGS Secure Proof-63 Cameo (more…)

Ponterio Baltimore Auction to Offer Diverse Selection of Ancient and World Coins, Plus Currency

Ponterio & Associates, Inc., the world and ancients auction division of Bowers and Merena Auctions, will conduct its Baltimore Auction of World and Ancient Coins and Paper Money as part of Bowers and Merena’s Official Auction of the June 2010 Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo.

The two-session sale will be conducted June 18 and 19 at the Baltimore Convention Center. More than 2,300 lots will be offered, including approximately 1,500 lots of Ancient and foreign coins and 825 lots of world paper money.

Executive vice president, Rick Ponterio states, “Our June 2010 Baltimore Auction is sure to see strong bidder participation—and competition—among specialists in many areas of foreign coins and paper money. Featured among the coin offerings in this sale are important rarities from many periods of history, ranging from Ancient Greece to the modern era.”

Continued Ponterio: “An example of the diversity in this sale can be found in two of the more important highlights. The first is a very rare Zeugitana, Carthage AV Trihemistater, or 1 ½ Shekel, that dates to the early period of the First Punic War (ca. 264-260 BC). The coin is attributed alternatively as Jenkins & Lewis Group IX Pl.18#392 (same dies) and Muller-Pg.86#66, and has been certified by NGC as AU, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 3/5.”

“We will also present a Yuan Dynasty Zhi Yuan 50 Tael Sycee Ingot that is extremely rare and historically significant,” Ponterio added. “It is dated the 14th year of the Zhìyuán era (1273 A.D.), inscribed with the denomination at upper left and the ruler’s name and date at lower center, Khubilai Khan, the fifth Great Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan (1260-94). It is among the earliest known Chinese 50 Tael Sycee ingot.”

MORE THAN 825 LOTS OF WORLD PAPER MONEY TO BE OFFERED

“We have received a wide array of important world paper money consignments for this sale,” stated Bowers and Merena’s director of currency auctions, Matthew Quinn. “A splendid selection of Iranian notes from the 1920s and 1930s figure prominently among the highlights in this auction, and they include a stunning Choice Uncirculated 1 Toman note dated 1.6.1920 and attributed as P-1b. Also of note is a China, Republic, 5 Yuan dated 4.10.1914 and attributed as P-34. The note grades Very Fine and is significant because examples of this type are usually seen only in remainder form without signatures and perforated ‘canceled,’ which is a fate this note escaped. We anticipate strong bidder competition for these and other important world paper money lots in this sale.” (more…)

Highest Certified 1901-S Barber Quarter Breaks Coin Auction Records and Becomes the Star of a Coin Convention

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On March 4, in Baltimore, B&M auctioned a 1901 San Francisco Mint quarter dollar, which was then PCGS certified “MS-68,” for $327,750, an auction record for a Barber quarter and for any business strike Barber coin. John Brush, acting on behalf of DLRC, was the successful bidder. While bidding, he was talking to John Feigenbaum, the President of DLRC, on the phone.

On March 25, this quarter was featured at the PCGS announcement of the SecurePlusTM program in Fort Worth, and had been regraded “MS-68+.” On March 26, Bill Shamhart negotiated with Feigenbaum to buy this quarter. During the following week, it was CAC approved, and Shamhart placed it in a private collection. Other than the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel that sold during the FUN Platinum Night event, this is the most ‘talked about’ coin in 2010, so far.

I. This 1901-S sells at Auction and then Privately

Early in 2010, this 1901-S quarter remained in an NGC holder, with an MS-68 grade, and was submitted by B&M to PCGS for consideration as a ‘crossover.’ It did, in fact, ‘cross,’ meaning here that the PCGS also graded it as MS-68.

John Feigenbaum explains that, soon after this 1901-S was auctioned on March 4, the “PCGS was looking for a trophy coin to display during their announcement; so they contacted me to inquire if I would be willing to put this coin in their new holder. I was happy to oblige.” Technically, there is a new SecureShield insert in the same type of holder. This quarter became the first coin to be PCGS graded “MS-68+,” under the new system that allows for ‘+’ grades. On March 25, David Hall included this coin in his presentation, in Fort Worth, at the formal announcement of the SecurePlusTM program.

When PCGS officials contacted Feigenbaum about arranging for this coin to be a showpiece, “there was no discussion of the ‘+’ designation,” Feigenbaum reports, “that was a complete surprise. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was an option.”

On Friday, March 26, at the ANA Convention in Fort Worth, Bill Shamhart, [www.numismaticamericana.com] a New Jersey dealer and CAC consultant, arranged for one of his clients to purchase this 1901-S quarter from Feigenbaum, subject to verification of its grade by the CAC. During the following week, the CAC placed a sticker on the holder, and this quarter thus traded again. The CAC approved the MS-68 grade; the CAC will not accept or reject ‘plus’ grades. Shamhart’s client is a “lifelong collector” who desires American coins of “amazing quality.”

At auction on March 4, the firm of David Lawrence (DLRC) acquired this 1901-S quarter for inventory largely because the firm has specialized in Barber Coinage for more than a quarter century. Barber coins were minted from 1892 to 1916. John Feigenbaum’s deceased father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, founded DLRC in 1979. David authored three books on Barber coinage, one book on each denomination, dimes, quarters and half dollars. In the late 1990s, father and son co-authored a fourth book that focused on Mint State and Proof Barber coins that were certified by the PCGS and the NGC. DLRC sells Proof, Mint State, AU and circulated Barber coins. (more…)

Numismatic History: The Stetson Collection Gold Coin Hoard

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

One of the more interesting (and lesser known) gold coin auctions that I’ve attended was the sale of the Stetson Collection which was conducted by the old Bowers and Merena in May, 1993. This was an instance where the back story (or stories in this case) was nearly as interesting as the coins themselves.
Stetson Hoard
Beginning in 1992, an amazing hoard of gold coins started to quietly enter the market. This hoard consisted of tens of thousands of coins dated from the late 1830’s through, I believe, the 1920’s. It included large quantities of semi-key St. Gaudens double eagles, extensive runs of Carson City eagles and double eagles, large quantities of New Orleans eagles from the 1880’s through the early 1900’s, sizable quantities of San Francisco rarities and much, much more. It has never been revealed where these coins came from (although it is widely rumored that they came from an Eastern European central bank; given the time they were sold it would suggest that they were dispersed by a former Soviet bloc country in an attempt to infuse some Western capital).

This incredible hoard was dispersed over a number of years in a quiet, orderly fashion. Some of the coins went to dealers who sold them to marketers or specialists. Other coins were sold at auction. The first group of these coins to sell at auction was at the aforementioned Bowers and Merena sale and I can remember being extremely excited to have the chance to purchase some very important and very fresh coins.

Before I discuss the sale (and some events leading up to it) I’d like to discuss the appearance of the coins themselves. Because of the massive size of this hoard (and the intelligence of the individual who was masterminding its dispersal) these coins were, for the most part, kept original and dirty. Many of them had the prototypical “euro-Grime” appearance which I describe as follows: extremely deep almost brassy orange-gold toning with a noticeable two-ton e appearance from blackish grime or dirt on the high spots. This appearance was almost certainly the result of the environmental conditions in which these coins were kept. On some coins, the look was very attractive. On others, it was pretty ugly and the coins needed to be dipped (or washed with soap and water at the very least).

When I learned about the sale I thought it was important enough to fly up to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to view them in person. I made the flight arrangements, booked a room at the Wolfeboro Inn and set off to the Granite State. My flight from Dallas wound up getting into Boston late and I missed my connection to Manchester, New Hampshire so I wound up renting a car and driving. As I made my way up I-93 to New Hampshire it started to get extremely foggy and by the time I was within an hour of Wolfeboro, it was dark and almost impossible to see more than ten feet ahead of me. (more…)