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Category: Goldberg Auctions

William Pannier Collection of Historic, Rare California Bank Notes Offered By Goldbergs

More than 100 Orange County California bank notes from the collection of the late William (“Willie”) Pannier will be among the highlights of the pre-Long Beach Expo auction to be conducted by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in Beverly Hills, California, January 31 – February 2, 2011.

“These historic, Southern California large and small-size notes have been off the market for decades in his collection. There are several unique and serial number one examples,” said Larry Goldberg, partner with his cousin, Ira, in the auction firm.


Photo Caption: The First National Bank of Santa Ana, 1902 $10 Red Seal, PCGS Currency VG10, unique, the only known Red Seal from Orange County California, is one of the highlights of the William Pannier Collection to be offered in an auction by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, January 31 – February 2, 2011. Photo credit: Lyle Engelson for Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Pannier, who died in August at the age of 66, was the long-time owner of Fullerton Coin & Stamp Company, the oldest coin and stamp store in Orange County California. Well-known collector and real estate developer Dwight Manley worked at the shop on weekends as a teenager, and considers Pannier a beloved numismatic mentor.

Pannier began collecting silver certificate notes in the late 1960s and then became interested in Orange County currency, according to his brother David.
“We were second generation Orange County residents. Orange County was in our roots. Some of the notes were displayed at the store, but he kept the more pricey things at home. He always tried to upgrade the notes or get a lower serial number for his collection,” David Pannier recalled.

Highlights of the Orange County California bank notes in the Goldberg’s auction include:

  • The First National Bank of Fullerton, 1882 $10 Value Back, graded PCGS Currency VF30, the finest of only three known Value Backs from the entire county;
  • The Farmers & Merchants National Bank of Santa Ana, 1902 $20 Date Back, PCGS Currency VF20PPQ, one of only four known from the bank; (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Sept. Goldbergs Coin Auction in Southern California

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin community #18

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

For decades, the Long Beach (CA) Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo has been a major event for coin collectors. The third Long Beach Expo of 2010 will start on Sept. 23 and end on Sep. 25. As usual, Heritage will conduct the official auction. Earlier, in Los Angles County, the firms of Bonhams and of the Goldbergs will also conduct auctions. The Goldbergs will offer a very wide variety of coins on Sept. 19th, 20th and 21st at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza.

I. Eliasberg 1893-S $5 Gold Coin

At the ANA Convention in Boston, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to closely examine some of the coins in the upcoming Goldbergs auction. One of my favorites is an 1893-S Half Eagle ($5 gold coin) that was formerly in the Louis Eliasberg collection, which is the greatest collection of U.S. coins that was ever formed.

Many gold coins with an Eliasberg pedigree are of tremendous quality, and this 1893-S is one of them. It is PCGS graded MS-66, and was certified at some point in the mid 1990s. I grade it as 66+. Furthermore, it has a sticker of approval from the CAC, which indicates that experts at the CAC determined that its grade is at least in the middle of the 66 range.

This 1893-S Half Eagle has great luster and an excellent strike. It is wonderfully brilliant. This coin has almost no contact marks or hairlines. The inner fields exhibit some pleasant, natural light green toning.

The 1893-S Half Eagle is somewhat common in grades up to MS-62, in which range it is valued only slightly higher than the most common Liberty Head ‘With Motto’ Half Eagles. In MS-63 and MS-64 grades, an 1893-S Half Eagle commands a substantial premium. In MS-65 and higher grades, it is an extreme condition rarity. At most, one half dozen true gems exist, and probably not even that many. This Eliasberg 1893-S is the only 1893-S that is graded MS-66 by the PCGS or the NGC, and none have been certified as grading higher than MS-66. There is certainly a good chance that it is the finest known.

In MS-66 grade, the PCGS price guide values this 1893-S at $22,500 and very common dates at $7500. A rival price guide at Numismedia.com values a MS-66 grade 1893-S, which must be this one, at $20,150. An old green PCGS label, an Eliasberg pedigree, and a CAC sticker all have the potential to bring about a price that is higher than would otherwise be realized. This coin, though, speaks for itself. It is exceptionally attractive and a delight to view.

II. Carter 1797 ‘small eagle’ $10 Gold Coin

In the upcoming Goldbergs auction, the re-appearance of the NGC graded MS-63 1797 ‘Small Eagle’ Eagle is newsworthy. Gold coins were first struck at the U.S. Mint in 1795. The major varieties of the first type of Eagles that are collected as if they were distinct dates are: the 1795 with thirteen leaves on the branch, the 1795 with nine leaves on the branch, the 1796, and the 1797 ‘small eagle’. This first type has a bust of Miss Liberty on the obverse (front) and a relatively small eagle on the reverse (back). The second type of Eagles, which date from 1797 to 1804, have the same general obverse (front) design along with a much different reverse (back) design. The new reverse features a large or heraldic eagle. It is not just the size of the eagle that is different; the style of the eagle and other reverse design devices are also different. (more…)

Ancient Gold Aureus Coin of Brutus brings $525,000 in GoldBergs Auction

[ CoinLink News]  After Julius Caesar, the second most recognizable name of the imperatorial era is Marcus Junius Brutus. Was he the last guardian of the Republican age or only an infamous and most vile assassin of Caesar?

Born about 85 BC, Brutus was thrust into the political realm and early became a follower of Cato, a staunch Republican. Later, Brutus built a fortune by lending money at usurious rates and eventually became a Roman senator. What did Brutus really want? Like Edward G. Robinson in Key Largo, “More”?

There grew a great friendship between Caesar and Brutus, but during the Civil War it was clear that Caesar would never return to the former Republican government. Instead, Caesar was swayed by his many victories and public adulation, ultimately accepting the title “dictator for life.”

Caesar’s portrait graced many coin issues, and his likeness was the first of a living person to be depicted upon the specie we now revere. It is ironic to also find the portrayal of Brutus on Coinage.

Marcus Junius Brutus, d. 42 BC. Gold Aureus (8.07 g), struck at a traveling mint in Macedonia or Western Asia Minor, summer/autumn 42 BC. With moneyer, P. Servilius Casca Longus. Bare head right of Brutus with short beard, BRVTVS IMP on either side, all within laurel wreath.

Reverse: Combined military and naval trophies, with prows and shields at base; a small L to left of trophy; CASCA LONGVS on either side. Fr-24 (this coin); Craw 507/1b; BMCRR 62; Syd. 1297; Vagi 94; Kent-Hirmer 99. Faint double striking at back of head, otherwise a splendid likeness, in high relief. Lustrous and sharp! One of the most historic of Roman issues, gold or silver!

Excessively rare. Probably the finest of only 8 recorded specimens. NGC graded Choice About Uncirculated.

The ensuing struggle, the loss of life and of ideals, and the change of government are witnessed and related on this wonderful coin. Shakespeare (perhaps one in the same with Francis Bacon) gave us the perfect glimpse into the stage as life; Joseph Mankiewiez and John Houseman created a magnificent vision in their 1953 film Julius Caesar. With Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr and other stellar actors, it is a movie to view and view again. The next time you see it, ponder this aureus .

Estimated Value $400,000 – 500,000. Realized $525,000
Ex John Whitney Walter Collection, Stack’s-Berk Auction (11-29-90), lot 7; ex NFA Auction XXII (06-01-89), lot 23; ex Leu Auction 22 (05-08-79), lot 184. Illustrated in Money of the World, coin 30. Ex Millennia, Lot 75.

World Coin Highlights from Goldbergs Upcoming Pre Long Beach sale

Ira and Larry Goldberg will be holding three exceptional sales prior Long Beach. They include the sale of THE DAN HOLMES COLLECTION Part II, Middle Date U.S. Large Cents on Sunday May 30th, 2010, United States Coins and Currency on Monday May 31st, 2010 and then Ancient and World Coins & Currency on Tuesday & Wednesday June 1& 2, 2010.

Here we would like to highlight 4 of the World Coin Highlights, coincidentally all from the previous Goldberg’s Millennia Sale. They are as follows:

Lot 3411 Russia. Peter I, 1682-1725. Novodel Ruble struck in Gold, 1705 (Moscow).

Fr-76 (62); Sev-12; Bitkin-532; Diakov-page 87, part 1. 44.22 grams. Laureate, cuirassed youthful bust right. Reverse: Crowned, double-headed eagle with scepter and orb. Plain edge. Sharply struck with all details bold, Peter’s hair curls in higher than normal relief. The surfaces are fully prooflike on both sides, with the devices softly lustrous to frosty matte and the fields reflective with an almost watery texture. Undoubtedly a high gift of state, the coin has been carefully preserved, with minimal marks or hairlines. The reverse die shows faint radiating cracks. This is one of the most important of all Russian coins!

Struck in gold to the weight of 13 Ducats, 44.22 grams, and created from the dies of the novodel ruble of 1705 (Sev-185), this is the plate coin shown in Bitkin and Diakov which appeared in both the 1977 Soderman and the 1991 Goodman auctions and is the only specimen appearing at public auction in over 25 years. Severin mentions this particular specimen (his number 12) as well as another weighing 40.4 grams, making this one of only two known examples. He also mentions a gold 1707 rouble (no. 18) and a 1723 in 12-ducat weight, each presumably unique. NGC graded MS-63.

Among Peter’s numerous reforms, he caused his country’s coinage system to change from being the most old-fashioned in Europe to being the most up to date. His was the first coinage to employ the decimal system (dividing the Ruble into one hundred smaller units, of copper Kopecks). Part of his reform involved devaluation, which made, for the first time, the Russian Ruble equivalent in its buying power to the Polish, Saxony and Silesian thalers which had seen such free circulation within the country before. It is said that, when the first Ruble coins bearing Western-style Arabic dates were struck in 1707, it was Peter himself operating the coin press!
Estimated Value $275,000 – 325,000.

Ex Dr. Robert D. Hesselgesser Collection (5/30 – 6/1/05), lot 1751; Goodman Collection (Superior, Feb. 1991), lot 4; and Soderman Collection (Swiss Bank, Feb. 1977); Illustrated in Money of The World, coin 115. Ex Millennia, Lot 802 where it Realized $340,000 (more…)

Controversial 1959-D Lincoln Cent with Wheat Ears Reverse to be Sold at Goldbergs Pre Long Beach Coin Auction

This coin has created quite a bit of controversy in the past, and it’s time the allegations and innuendo get laid to rest. For some reason, the few independent grading services who have examined this coin can’t seem to decide on its genuine status, although no one can define any reason to consider it counterfeit, they also won’t render an opinion to support the coin as a genuine mint product. Hence, the opinions of most remain that no decision can be made on the coin unless further tests are conducted.

The known history of this unique cent begins in 1986. A retired police officer named Leon Baller advertised in his local Walnut Creek, California newspaper that he would purchase rare and unusual coins. A local coin collector saw the ad and contacted Baller about an unusual 1959-D wheat reverse cent that he had found, and Baller soon arranged to meet with him and then purchased the coin for $1,500. Baller sent the coin to the United States Department of the Treasury for authentication in early 1987. Jim Brown, a forensic lab authenticator for the Department of the Treasury examined the coin and found no indication that it was counterfeit. The coin was returned to Baller on February 7, 1986 with a letter signed by Richard M. McDrew, Special Agent for the Department of the Treasury.

The letter states as follows:

“Enclosed is your United States 1¢ coin, dated 1959-D, with wheat reverse. This coin was microscopically examined by our Forensic Services Division in Washington, D.C. and it is their opinion the coin is genuine.”

Baller eventually sold the coin to Heritage Rare Coin Galleries in 1987. The cent was then sold to a private collector where it remained until recently.

The current owner of the coin is a business syndicate whose members’ names have not been disclosed, and their representative is Larry Choate, a Southern California collector. Choate took the bold move in 2002 to resubmit the coin to the Department of the Treasury and Secret Service for a more comprehensive review of the 1959-D wheat cents authenticity. Choate realized that if the coin was considered a counterfeit, it would be seized and destroyed. In addition, Choate took the risk that the coin was produced at the Denver Mint but illegally spirited out, and could be seized on those grounds as well.

Frankly, the Department of the Treasury has a checkered list of such seizures, and only a few coins have been seized over the years. It is important to note here that this coin will not be confiscated as the Treasury Department has returned the coin twice to the owner after reviewing the coin and returning it as genuine. It is also considered legal tender by the Treasury Department.

The most recent and very public seizure was the 1933 double eagle which the Government seized and wanted to destroy in a mindless bureaucratic fashion. Mercifully for collectors, the original owner of the 1933 double eagle was Egypt’s King Farouk, and he obtained an export license which allowed him to take the coin with him out of this country to Egypt. (more…)

Stunning 1796 Quarter to be Offered by Goldberg’s at Pre Long Beach Coin Auction

Ira and Larry Goldberg‘s Jan 31- Feb 2, 2010 Pre- Long Beach auction catalog had been posted online, and the first coin that caught our eye was a stunning 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Dollar. . B-2, high 6. NGC graded MS-63.

goldberg_2010Prelb_1796_25c

Only 6,146 pieces struck of which merely 650 are estimated to have survived. A beautifully toned Uncirculated example. This wonderful coin was housed for over 50 years in an old Raymond holder. Well struck with mirror surfaces.

As the sole issue in the Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter series, the 1796 is a must-have coin for every serious type collector. It is also a scarce date with a paltry original mintage of 6,146 pieces. This is a marvelous survivor whose surfaces are richly toned in dominant blue with silver-gray shades. Outlines of deeper patina are also seen around many of the obverse devices such as the stars.

The strike is expertly centered, all border denticles full with crisp definition. Liberty’s portrait on the obverse is overall sharply defined, this in spite of the often primitive conditions which were in play at the First U.S. Mint (hand-made planchets, hand-operated presses, hand-punched and engraved dies, etc.).

On the reverse, the eagle is nicely impressed for this a coin from this set of dies, marginally less so over the eagle’s head, but the detail on this side is evenly distributed. There are a few wispy hairlines here and there consistent with MS63 quality, but we stress that the surfaces are uncommonly smooth in appearance for an early U.S. silver coin over 200 years old! (more…)

Ira and Larry Goldberg World and Ancient Coin Auction

goldbergs_oct09_auction_catThe Goldberg’s will be holding a World and Ancient Coin Auction on October 29th and 30th in Beverley Hills CA, and as with all of their sales, interest is high. The online catelog has been posted and there are several notable highlights.

The sale will be held in two sessions; Thursday the 29th Session 1, Ancient Coins & Antiquities and Friday the 30th, Session 2, World Coins.

The Top 10 rarest items are as follows:

1) Lot 1501 Ireland. Penny, 1938. Struck in bronze, Harp, with “eire” to left, date 1938 to right. Reverse: Hen left with chicks, 1d above, value in Gaelic in exergue, small PM to upper right (initials of Percy Metcalfe) toothed border both sides. The rarest coin in the Irish Series. PCGS graded MS-65 Brown. .

The design differs from the previous issue which was for the “Free State of Ireland” and stated that to the left of the harp in Gaelic.
This piece was the only known specimen until one further piece was discovered in a safe at the Irish Treasury Department in Dublin. That specimen is now on prominent display at the National Museum of Dublin, in Colm Barracks, Dublin, Ireland. Therefore this is still the only specimen available to collectors of the series as the prototype piece for the design of the Irish Republic Coinage. The design was used unchanged for the Penny from 1940 until Decimalisation in 1971.
Estimated Value $70,000 – 80,000.

pharnakes_gold2) Lot 118 Octavian and Julius Caesar. Gold Aureus (6.84 g) minted in Italy, 43 BC. Bare head right of Octavian. Reverse: Laureate head right of Caesar. Cr. 490/2; CRI 132. Striking irregularity. Very Rare. Very Fine with an excellent portrait of Julius Caesar. .

In assembling a set of the “Twelve Caesars” in gold, the two most difficult to find with appealing portraits are Julius Caesar and Otho.
Estimated Value $30,000 – 40,000.

3) Lot 86 Judaea. The Bar Kokhba War, 132-135 CE. Large Bronze (32. 5 mm.; 21.19 g), dated Year Two, struck 133/134 CE. Filleted olive wreath, Palaeo-Hebrew inscription in two lines within (“Shim’on”). Reverse: Twin-handled, fluted amphora; Palaeo-Hebrew inscription around (“Year two of the freedom of Israel”). Mildenberg 19 (11 examples cited); Hendin 705; Mesh. AJC II, p. 270, 39. Very rare. NGC graded Extremely Fine. This coin is essentially as struck, and so we consider the piece a Superb Extremely Fine at the least. (more…)

The Perfect Auctions-The Holmes And Nafzger Large Cent Sales

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

“The perfect auctions” we are talking about are the Dan Holmes and Ted Nazfger Large Cent auctions that just took place in Beverly Hills. Ira and Larry Goldberg (and staffs) did a spectacular job of organizing and auctioning these once in a life time sales.

ln_market_090909The results from these two sales let no one down-they were phenomenal and totally mind blowing! Prices realized and collector participation more than proved the coin market is starved for quality and has very strong and deep legs.

Last time we wrote about the middle date Nafzger Sale, we named it “the perfect storm”. We knew the coin that auction had sold ridiculously cheap and time would prove it out. The reasons why that sale had weaker results: the sale was held the same day (during) the Super bowl, the Goldberg’s Internet site crashed, the economy was seriously more uncertain than it is today, and a few new collectors to the series had just started. Its totally amazing how all these factors did a total reversal to yield some of the most amazing results ever and produce two greatly historical auctions.

THE DAN HOLMES SALE

The crowd was standing room only and was comprised mostly of serious collectors. There wasn’t just a buzz before the sale began, you could feel and jolt of electricity when you walked in the room. From our point of view we did not see the typical “crack out and coin docs” we run into at every show. Thank goodness they do not know how to work on anything than other than a white dollar or a gold coin. In fact, very few “main line” dealers like us attended.

It was a battle every lot to buy anything. The room was littered with deep pocketed individuals who came to buy. In the end, we witnessed at least FOUR collectors who spent OVER $1,000,000.00 each and several under bidders who had tried to do the same. Legend spent a lowly $300,000.00 for ourselves, and teamed up with a another dealer to buy another $600,000.00 worth of treasures. There were many “unknown” faces who came out of hiding for this sale and they were as aggressive as someone you’d see who attends every show and auction. (more…)

All-Time Most Complete Collection of Early Large Cents to be Auctioned: Incredible Accomplishment of Dan Holmes

By Greg Reynolds

From the 1790s to the mid 1850s, pennies were about the size that quarters are now. ‘Early Date’ large cents are those that were minted from 1793 to 1814. On Sunday, Sept. 6, the Goldbergs will auction Dan Holmes’ Early Dates at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza hotel. Chris McCawley & Bob Grellman are co-producing the auction. Grellman catalogued Holmes’ large cents. In addition to Holmes’ Early Dates and Naftzger’s ‘Late Date’ large cents, the Goldbergs will also auction a variety of other coins during a few days prior to the Long Beach (CA) Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo, which will be held from Sept. 10th to 12th.

holmes_top_threeThe most famous coins in the Holmes collection are his 1795 Reeded Edge cent, his best 1793 Liberty Cap cent and his two Strawberry Leaf cents. The 1795 Reeded Edge cent and the 1793 Strawberry Leaf are readily apparent varieties that tend to be listed in guides as if they were separate dates. Most collectors consider these to be more important than a vast number of other die varieties, many of which are only subtly different from other large cents of the same respective type and date.

Strawberry Leaf Cents are Wreath Cents, as a head of Miss Liberty with flowing hair is on the obverse (front of the coin) and a distinct wreath is on the reverse (back of the coin: tail). In general, 1793 Wreath Cents are not particularly rare. More than two thousand exist, of all varieties. Strawberry Leaf 1793 Wreath Cents, however, are markedly different from typical 1793 Wreath Cents.

The main difference is the nature of the leaf between the year 1793 and the head of Miss Liberty. While this leaf may not truly be of the likeness of a leaf from a strawberry plant, this coin issue, by tradition, is referred to as the ‘Strawberry Leaf Cent,’ and this name is likely to be used for the foreseeable future.

There are four known Strawberry Leaf Cents and two of them are in the Holmes collection. Even more startling is the fact that the reverses (tails) of these two are different; note that ‘ONE CENT’ is higher on one than on the other. Holmes has a unique variety of a Strawberry Leaf cent.
(more…)

Goldberg Coins and Stack’s To Conduct Joint Auction in September 2009

On September 7th 2009, Stack’s Rare Coins of New York City will join Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in auctioning an incredible old-time collection of Hawaiian coins, medals, and currency, certainly to be the most outstanding offering in our generation. The two firms will present and publicize this remarkable offering, and staff from both companies will conduct the auction at the Crowne Plaza in Beverly Hills, California.

It is not the first time the Goldberg’s and Stack’s have conducted a joint auction. “We worked with Stack’s for the Apostrophe Sales from 1979 through 1990, as well as the Charles Kramer Collection Sale in 1988. All were highly successful sales,” says Larry Goldberg. Christine Karstedt, president of Stack’s, commented “This is one of the most significant specialty sales to be held in American numismatics. The depth and breadth of the offering will provide opportunities for the most advanced specialist as well as to those with a beginning interest.”

The consignor spent many years assembling 50 examples of each coin, where possible, including even the key 1928 commemorative Hawaiian half dollar. He also assembled over 350 Hawaiian notes, comprising large and small size, and obsolete.

There are numerous Hawaiian Proofs in silver, and several of each in copper, most of which are very rare and some of which are incredibly so. In total, there are close to 1000 Hawaiian items in this collection. Some of them have not appeared on the market for many years, creating multiple once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for bidders. Q. David Bowers will introduce as well as catalogue the collection, working with staff experts, which will be presented in a single catalogue, available through both auction firms. The collection will be listed on both companies’ websites for live bidding, and will be listed on I-Collector.com as well.

The Goldbergs and Stack’s look forward to once again working together to auction this fine Hawaii collection.

More information, including online catalogues, will be found on www.goldbergcoins.com and www.stacks.com. The collection will be on display at the ANA Convention in Los Angeles. The collection itself will be on exhibit in New York City and in Beverly Hills at times to be announced. A fine printed catalogue may also be ordered from either firm in the upcoming months.

The Gold coins in the Mark Gordon Type Set: Auction News and Basic Discussions

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On May 24th and 25th, Mark Gordon’s collection of U.S. type coins will be auctioned at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills hotel. It will be a highlight of the auction extravaganza conducted by the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg, a few days prior to the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo. Other highlights include the highest-graded certified 1797 ‘Small Eagle’ $10 gold coin, which I wrote about in 2007, one of the all-time best collections of Byzantine coins, and a stellar run of British gold dating from the 1300s to the 1800s.

Mark Gordon Gold Type SetLarry Goldberg reports that Mark Gordon telephoned him “about ten years ago and said he wanted to assemble a top quality US type set.” Since then, Larry has “advised Mark to buy certain coins [Larry] personally chose for him.” Larry relates that a majority of the coins in the Gordon type set were “purchased from Goldberg sales. Some of the others came from the other auction houses. We wanted especially nice, quality coins that were graded by PCGS or NGC.” Larry adds that it was never their objective to acquire the highest graded certified coins, but rather coins that were “accurately graded and nice looking.” Larry and Mark both “like attractive, naturally toned coins.”

After Mark Gordon made significant progress in assembling a high quality, type set of U.S. copper, nickel and silver coins, “we then started acquiring Colonials and Fractional California Gold pieces.” Later, Goldberg assisted Gordon in completing a type set of gold and silver U.S. commemoratives, which are also being sold in this auction. Gordon is selling his collection because he wishes to devote more funds to “helping people,” especially “children in Africa.”

I am limiting my discussion here to Mark Gordon’s gold type set as it is almost complete and features many rare and/or famous coin issues. A type set requires at least one representative of each design type, within designated boundaries.

Gordon’s gold type set is truly exceptional. While he has some excellent copper, nickel or silver type coins, his collections of these do not quite have the status of his gold type set. Also, as silver and copper type coins are usually not as scarce as corresponding or parallel gold type coins, their significance is more dependent on their respective grades, and I have not yet seen them. (more…)

Unique Items: The Largest Silver Coin Known of the Roman Empire

Ira & Larry Goldberg will be hosting their Pre-Long Beach Auction #53 on May 24-26th at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills CA 90212. The auction consists of a great selection of US coins along with World Coins and Ancients.

In browsing the on-line catalogue we came across this Unique item, The Largest Known Silver Coin of the Roman Emprire. Below is the full description from the Goldberg catalogue:

Valentinian I, AD 364-375. Silver Multiple of 24 Miliaresia (48 Siliquae)Valentinian I, AD 364-375. Silver Multiple of 24 Miliaresia (48 Siliquae) 104.3 g. 66 mm., minted at Antioch, AD 369. Diademed, cuirassed and draped bust right of Valentinian. Reverse: Legend in four lines within laurel wreath; below, “AN” (mintmark for Antioch). Unpublished, and apparently unique; cf. Kent, RIC X, p. 139 discussing the Priscus Attalus medallion of quarter-pound weight. Some light porosity and displaying stray marks. Minimal wear results in the net grade of Extremely Fine. .

This, the largest silver coin known of the Roman Empire, is a silver multiple weighing one-third of a Roman pound of silver. Remarkably thick in comparison to contemporary silver coins, it was struck at a time when silver, as a metal, was scarce. The normal silver unit of account was the siliqua; 24 siliquae equaled a gold solidus. The siliqua, the silver miliarense and the gold solidus were introduced during the monetary reforms of Constantine the Great. During Constantine’s reign, gold was valued at about 14 times the worth of an equal weight of silver. Modern numismatists use the terms “siliqua” and “miliarense”as denomination names; however, they have no basis in fact as having been used in ancient times to refer to a specific coin.

This gargantuan gift was no doubt presented to a high-ranking Roman officer or dignitary. One theory that has been advanced is the possibility that Count Theodosius himself, peacemaker of Britain at the time, was the recipient of the medallion. A likely occasion for this honor was Valentinian’s quinquennial celebration, held on 25 February AD 369.
Estimated Value $300,000 – 400,000. (more…)

Greatest All-Time Collection of Middle Date Large Cents (Part 4): Review of the Naftzger 2 Auction — Cents of the 1820s

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In Part 1 of my series on the auction of the Naftzger Middle Dates, please find an overview of this collection, general remarks regarding die varieties, my probably not original view on defining types of Middle Date cents, and and a discussion of Naftzger’s cents from the year 1839. In Part 2, I talk about scarce dates and I list some of the high quality type coins in the Naftzger Middle Date collection. In Part 3, there is a broad interpretation of the results of the auction, and a discussion of the 1817 cent, with fifteen stars. In Part 4, there is an analysis of the prices realized of scarce dates from the 1820s. In Part 5, prices realized for Naftzger’s cents from the 1830s are discussed.

Naftzger Middle DatesMost of the scarcest Middle Dates are in the 1820s. As large quantities of large cents dating from 1816 to 1820 were discovered long ago, these tend to be relatively common and are certainly not rare in 60 and higher grades. The only dates, as dates are defined by most collectors, in the Middle Date series that are probably truly rare, in all grades, are the 1823, the 1823/2 and the 1839/6. The 1823 is slightly rarer than her non-identical twin, the 1823/2 overdate. Naftzger had an excellent Proof 1823/2 cent that was sold privately, along with most of his Early Dates, during the Winter of 1992. Naftzger’s 1839/6 overdate cents are discussed in Part 2 and in Part 5.

Naftzger had the two finest known 1823s. One is PCGS certified 65BN and the other, 66BN. The grading services distinguish BN (Brown color) from RB (Mint Red & Brown) and RD (nearly full original Mint Red). M&G grade both these 1823s as 65. Greg Hannigan also “graded them both as 65,” and Hannigan maintains that the one that is PCGS certified 66BN is “just a tad better than the other one. There should not have been a big difference in price between the two.”

Chris McCawley reveals that “these are the only two truly uncirculated 1823s to have sold in [his] lifetime. The Gene Reale-Andy Hain 1823 is not quite Mint State, though it has nice luster.” (more…)

Greatest All-Time Collection of Middle Date Large Cents (Part 3): A General Interpretation of the Naftzger 2 Auction Results

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In Part 1 of my series on the auction of the Naftzger Middle Dates, please find an overview of this collection, general remarks regarding die varieties, my probably not original view on defining types of Middle Date cents, and and a discussion of Naftzger’s cents from the year 1839. In Part 2, I talk about scarce dates and I list some of the high quality type coins in the Naftzger Middle Date collection. In Part 3, there is a broad interpretation of the results of the auction, and a discussion of the 1817 cent, with fifteen stars. In Part 4, there is an analysis of the prices realized of scarce dates from the 1820s. In Part 5, prices realized for Naftzger’s cents from the 1830s are discussed.

1817 15 Star Large Cent - Finest KnownOn Sunday, Feb. 1, at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza Hotel, the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg auctioned the late Ted Naftzger’s collection of U.S. cents that date from 1816 to 1839, the so called Middle Dates. Most of Naftzger’s Early Date large cents, and many of his Proof Middle Dates, were sold privately in 1992. Several important Naftzger Early Dates, however, were auctioned by the Goldbergs in Sept. 2008, including a pristine gem 1796. Naftzger’s Late Dates (1839-57) will probably be auctioned in September 2009. Although I expected record prices on Feb. 1, and some crazy bidding, I am stunned by the prices realized. An 1823 realized an astonishing $299,000 and many other Naftzger Middle Dates sold for astronomical prices, especially considering that Middle Date business strike large cents are not very rare.

The 1823 and her non-identical twin, the 1823/2 overdate, are the rarest Matron Head large cents, a type which was minted from 1816 to 1835. The Coronet Head large cents that were minted from 1835 to 1839 are of a distinctly different type (or subtype), though are still Middle Dates. The relative rarity of the 1835-39 type is the 1839/6 overdate, which is almost always collected as a distinct date. The best of Naftzger’s three 1839/6 cents realized an incredible $264,500. As far as I know, the previous auction record for an 1839/6, which was set in early 2005, is $14,950.

(more…)

Greatest All-Time Collection of Middle Date Large Cents to be Auctioned (Part 2)

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink
In Part 1 of my series on the auction of the Naftzger Middle Dates, please find an overview of this collection, general remarks regarding die varieties, my probably not original view on defining types of Middle Date cents, and and a discussion of Naftzger’s cents from the year 1839. In Part 2, I talk about scarce dates and I list some of the high quality type coins in the Naftzger Middle Date collection. In Part 3, there is a broad interpretation of the results of the auction, and a discussion of the 1817 cent, with fifteen stars. In Part 4, there is an analysis of the prices realized of scarce dates from the 1820s. In Part 5, prices realized for Naftzger’s cents from the 1830s are discussed.

1823 N-2 R2 PCGS graded MS65BN. Of all dates, Naftzger assembled the all-time greatest collection of U.S. large cents, which were minted from 1793 to 1857. Most of his early dates, and most of his Proof Middle Dates, were sold privately in 1992. Several important Naftzger early date large cents, however, were auctioned by the Goldbergs in Sept. 2008. As I then reported, an auction record for a large cent, which has since been broken, was set when one of the Naftzger 1796 cents sold for $690,000. At least one Naftzger Chain Cent and probably at least two Wreath Cents, which Naftzger sold in 1992, would have realized more than $690,000 each if these had been auctioned in the middle of 2008.

Naftzger’s collection of business strike Middle Date cents remained intact, and it is comprised of more than 460 U.S. Cents plus some private restrikes and other items. There are numerous Middle Date cents in the Naftzger collection that will realize less than $1500 each at the auction. So, a vast fortune is not required to acquire coins from the all-time greatest collection of large cents. I will discuss especially choice representatives of scarce dates here in Part 2, as these are particularly newsworthy and distinguish the Naftzger collection from other collections of Middle Date large cents. At the end, there is a short discussion of type coins. It is not difficult to build a type set of large cents.

The 1823 may be the scarcest Matron Head large cent issue. The 1823/2 overdate is not always considered to have the status of a separate date. The 1823 ‘Normal Date’ is scarcer than the 1823/2, anyhow. A “Normal Date” is not an overdate and is not a recut date, and has numerals of the proper or expected size for the issue. The alternatives are not ‘abnormal’ but are rather special varieties. Generally, the term “Normal Date” is only used if there is at least one additional ‘date’ (or variety) of the same design type that is characterized by a marked difference in one or more numerals of the same year. (more…)

Greatest All-Time Collection of Middle Date (1816-39) Large Cents to Be Auctioned (Part 1)

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In Part 1 of my series on the auction of the Naftzger Middle Dates, please find an overview of this collection, general remarks regarding die varieties, my probably not original view on defining types of Middle Date cents, and and a discussion of Naftzger’s cents from the year 1839. In Part 2, I talk about scarce dates and I list some of the high quality type coins in the Naftzger Middle Date collection. In Part 3, there is a broad interpretation of the results of the auction, and a discussion of the 1817 cent, with fifteen stars. In Part 4, there is an analysis of the prices realized of scarce dates from the 1820s. In Part 5, prices realized for Naftzger’s cents from the 1830s are discussed.

1839 Middle DatesOn Feb. 1, at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza Hotel, the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg will auction the late Ted Naftzger‘s collection of U.S. cents that date from 1816 to 1839. The specialty firm of McCawley & Grellman handled the cataloguing. It is indisputable that Naftzger had the all-time best collection of large cents. While most of his early cents (dating from 1793 to 1814) were sold privately in 1992, his collection of business strike ‘Middle Date’ cents (dating from 1816 to ’39) remained intact. It will be offered in its entirety in one auction session.

Almost all of the uncirculated ‘Middle Date’ cents in the Naftzger collection are certified, graded and encapsulated by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Although the collection is nearly complete in terms of die varieties, it is the coins that are graded 65 or higher that will attract the most attention and will lead to the wildest bidding activity. There are, though, many Naftzger Middle Date cents that are the first or second finest known of their respective die varieites, and there will be intense bidding for some of these by ‘die variety’ specialists. Generally, though, date-collectors and type coin collectors are more concerned about quality than ‘die variety’ collectors.

The man reason why quality is paramount in relation to this offering is that, among ‘Middle Date’ large cents, there are no Great Rarities. No business strikes in this series are even extremely rare. (Proof Middle Date large cents are extremely rare. There are, though, just a few such Proofs in this offering and a very high percentage of large cent collectors buy business strikes only.) (more…)

PCGS Certifies ANS’ Unique 1793 Wreath Large Cent

 unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) - Photos courtesy of James NeiswinterThe unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) in the collection of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has been authenticated and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PCGS AU-58. The coin has a distinguished pedigree dating back to 1881, but this was the first time it has been formally certified by a third-party grading service.

“PCGS experts examined this amazing coin and encapsulated it at the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention in Orlando, Florida, on dealer set-up day, January 7, 2009. It was truly awe-inspiring to see it in person,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

After certification by PCGS, the coin was placed on display at the FUN convention booth of early American copper specialists, Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, alongside selected highlights from the large cent collection of Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., an ANS Trustee. It was the first time the coin has been publicly seen outside New York City since it was donated to ANS 63 years ago.

“The Trustees of the Society have loaned this coin to fellow Trustee Dan Holmes. We are very excited to have for the first time a display of a complete set of all large cent varieties. We hope many people see this exceptional display,” said Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, ANS Executive Director.

The Holmes Collection will be offered in a series of auctions by McCawley and Grellman through Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in Beverly Hills, California, beginning September 6, 2009.

“Many of the most important pieces in the Holmes collection have been certified and graded by PCGS, and are labeled with the Holmes pedigree on each holder,” said Larry Goldberg.

The 1793 Wreath cent with the vine and bars edge was delivered by armored car service from ANS in New York City to Orlando on Wednesday, January 7, where Grellman took possession and brought it to Willis for certification and grading by PCGS. (more…)

Fresh Material, Pedigrees and September Coin Auctions — Part 1

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In September, the Southern California rare coin auctions and the Long Beach Expo were lively and demand for rare coins was strong. There are three Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expos each year, and Heritage conducts the official auctions. Prior to each Expo, Superior Galleries, the Goldbergs, and sometimes B&M, separately conduct coin auctions in the Beverly Hills area.

1839 $10 Liberty Large Letters. PCGS MS60On the bourse floor, one leading wholesale firm had almost exactly the same total revenue for rare coins, along with almost the same profit margin, at the Sept. 2008 Long Beach Expo as at the Sept. 2007 event. The year 2007 was very good for the coin business, and the year 2008 is as well.

While the overall U.S. economy seems to be slowing, and is plagued by problems in financial sectors, coin markets were very healthy in September, and probably still are in October. External factors did not heavily influence the auction results. Prices realized and bidder enthusiasm was, for the most part, a function of the quality, importance and pedigrees of the coins being offered.

While I have, in so many reviews, focused on the details of coin auctions and the coins included, I am here putting forth a few broad analytical points regarding notions of collector-consignments, pedigrees and fresh material. Of course, there are other factors that that play roles in the prices realized in coin auctions. I discus the other factors in other articles.

For a coin to be ‘fresh,’ it needs to have been ‘off the market’ for at least five years. In some cases, ten years or more are required for material to be viewed as ‘fresh’ by potential, leading bidders.

A real exciting lot in the Superior auction was an 1839 ‘Type 1’ $10 gold coin, in large part because it was clearly part of a consignment of fresh material. I am not certain that a collector consigned it, though it is clear that it was not consigned by one of the leading dealers on the auction circuit. It could have been consigned by an estate, an investor, or someone who just bought this coin ‘on a whim’ a long time ago. (more…)

Rarest Half Cent Brings $345,000: The Rouse 1796 ‘No Pole’!

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

1796 No Pole Half Cent F-15On Sunday, Sept. 14, the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg auctioned a nearly-complete collection of U.S. half cents, dating from 1793 to 1857, which was assembled by Ray Rouse. The star of the collection was a 1796 ‘No Pole’ half cent. The price of $345,000 is the all-time, second highest auction price for a half cent.

The Rouse 1796 ‘No Pole’ half cent went to a dealer who was bidding by telephone. He was probably representing a collector. The underbidder was a New York dealer. I had expected the Rouse 1796 ‘No Pole’ to bring around $250,000. This coin is the fifth or sixth finest 1796 ‘No Pole’ half cent. Fewer than twenty are known to exist.

The sale of the Ray Rouse half cent collection was the opening event in the Goldbergs’ three-day auction extravaganza that included selections from the Ted Naftzger collection of large cents, a stellar run of ‘centuries-old’ British gold coins, and the second part of the extensive Ohringer collection of U.S. gold coins. All auction sessions were conducted at the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza hotel. Many participants stayed in Southern California to attend the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo, which was held from Sept. 18 to the 20th. Prominent half cent collectors traveled from various parts of the United States to bid in this auction.

While $345,000 was the highest price for a half cent in the Rouse collection, the lowest price was $46 for a counter-stamped “WWL” 1851 half cent. Such counterstamps usually served as advertising by private firms. Additionally, two 1804 half cents, each with technical problems, brought less than $200 each. In the Rouse collection, there were more than twenty-five half cents that realized less than $500 each.

The grand total for all of Rouse’s half cents and related items was more than $1.28 million. Rouse started collecting half cents in 1978. He decided to sell his half cent collection because he “took it as far as it could go.” As hard as he tried, Rouse was not able to obtain the very small number of half cent varieties that are missing. Rouse continues to collect colonial coins. He acquired his 1796 ‘No Pole’ half cent “privately in 2003 or 2003.” (more…)

1796 Large Cent Brings $690,000: New Auction Record for a Copper Coin

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

1796 S-84 Naftzger Large CentOn Sunday, Sept. 14, a 1796 Large Cent sold for $690,000 at an auction held at The Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills hotel. Before the mid 1850s, pennies were about the size of quarters.

This cent was consigned by the family of the late Ted Naftzger, who formed the all-time best collection of large cents. A selection from the Naftzger collection was a highlight of the auction extravaganza conducted by the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg, a few days prior to the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo. Naftzger’s ‘middle-date’ large cents will be auctioned at the same location in Feb. 2009.

The main reason why this auction result is astounding is that this coin is not rare. Moreover, the rarity of its variety, which is known as S-84, may not have played a substantial role in this Naftzger 1796 Liberty Cap realizing $690,000. All large cents of a particular die variety were struck from the same pair of dies, which are cylinders employed in a mechanical press to impart designs on prepared blank discs that are thus transformed into coins.

It is true that, if fewer than a dozen of a particular large cent die variety are known, then the rarity of the variety could be responsible for each being worth a large sum. There probably exist, though, between two hundred and four hundred 1796 Liberty Cap cents (S-84) that were struck from this same pair of dies.

One characteristic, of this (S-84) variety of 1796 Liberty Caps, is that numerals ‘1’ and ‘7’ are higher than numerals ‘9’ and ‘6’. Another characteristic relates to the proximity of a leaf to the ‘F’ in “OF” on the reverse (back of the coin). While specialists are very serious about such matters, most collectors have little interest in die varieties. Details of varieties are outside the scope of the present discussion. Most coin buyers collect ‘by date’ or ‘by type.’

There are at least fifteen hundred 1796 Liberty Cap cents, of all varieties, in existence. So, these are scarce, but not rare.

Many early large cents are corroded, damaged, or have other serious problems. The key factor regarding the value of this Naftzger 1796 Liberty Cap is its quality. (more…)

One of the Finest 1855-D Gold Dollars Being Offered on Sept 16th.

1855-D Gold Dollar - Tied Finest Known NGC-MS64Ira and Larry Goldberg will be offering one of the finest Known 1855-D Gold Dollars  in Session 3 of their Pre-Long Beach Auction to be held on Tuesday September 16th.

The true origins of the gold dollar as a denomination lie in John Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848. Although a coin of this face value had been proposed on several occasions in the past, and the Bechtlers actually struck examples in North Carolina beginning in the 1830s, Congress did not authorize the United States Mint to produce gold dollars until March 3, 1849.

The primary reason Congress finally relented in that year was because the immense quantities of gold being mined in California forced silver coins out of circulation. Since few people in the United States of the late 1840s/early 1850s placed much trust in paper currency, the gold dollar was seen a logical replacement for the now-absent silver coinage in commercial channels.

This denomination remained in production from 1849-1889, during which time it appeared in three distinct types. (Types 1, 2 and 3) The abolition of the gold dollar was included as part of the Mint Act of September 25, 1890, and it probably resulted from the (by then) long-established unpopularity of the denomination as a circulating medium of exchange.

Supposedly because it was smaller and thicker than should have been, Mint Director Colonel James Ross Snowden ordered the original gold dollar (Type 1) redesigned in 1854 to accommodate an increase in diameter to 15 millimeters. Although Chief Engraver Longacre dutifully carried out this request, his work caused striking problems on this occasion. His Type 2 designs were difficult to strike and wore down rapidly in circulation. These deficiencies affected all issues of this type, and they resulted in its replacement by the Type 3 pieces in 1856 (1857 for the San Francisco Mint). (more…)

The Greatest World Coin Auction of All Time (Part 6 of 6): The Event of the Millennia

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

This is Part 6 of my review and analysis of the auction of the Millennia collection of world coins.

The sale was conducted on May 26, Memorial Day, by the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg. The coins in the collection span more than two thousand years of history, and many coin-producing societies are represented.

The Millennia Collection review - Part One
Why is the sale of the Millennia Collection the all-time greatest auction of world coins?

1) It is the best collection of world coins to be auctioned in a single event. Though it was auctioned in just one day, it would be fair to refer to a single auction event as linked sessions occurring at the same location during the course of less than one week.

2) The Millennia collection ranks very highly, among all-time collections, in terms of the quality and breadth of the coins that fit into a thematic plan. The quality of many individual coins is covered in the first three parts of my review, and the themes of the collection are covered in Part 4 and Part 5.

3) Overall, the coins in the collection have tremendous historical significance, especially those coins that served as international monetary units or world currencies during their respective time periods.

4) The number of Great Rarities, many of which are among the finest known of their respective dates or whole types, is amazingly high and includes Great Rarities that are deemed to be especially important by experts in the respective fields. Several Great Rarities and many other rarities are discussed in the first three parts of this review.

The auction experience transcends the contents of the collection that is auctioned.

5) The combination of the rarity, quality and popularity of the coins in the Millennia collection contributed greatly to the excitement of the auction. In earlier parts of this review, I discuss many popular coins of Great Britain, Europe and the Spanish Empire.

6) Bidding went wild for high quality, historically important ancient coins.

7) There was tremendous collector participation ‘in person,’ via telephone, and through dealer-agents. The dedicated, zealous collectors in attendance spurred the bidding and emotionally propelled the proceedings. While there were more than a thousand Internet bidders, Internet bids were rarely successful. When I was in the auction room, almost all the rarer and more interesting coins went to floor bidders or telephone bidders. The enthusiasm of the collectors in the room created a special aura that is rarely experienced in the Internet age. (more…)

The Greatest World Coin Auction of All Time (Part 5): Gold Coins as World Currencies

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

This is Part 5 of my review and analysis of the auction of the Millennia collection of world coins.

The Millennia CollectionThe sizeable core of the post-1300 AD coins in the Millennia collection is comprised of coins of the types that were used for international trade and for trade within societies that were far from the Mints that actually issued these respective coins. A coin issue becomes an international monetary unit by being accepted as a medium of exchange in several nations. A coin issue that is an international monetary unit becomes a world currency by circulating easily as money in many societies that are far from where the coin was minted. Of course, such coins played central roles in economic history.

In Part 4, I interpreted Ira Goldberg’s plan for the Millennia collection, and I discussed how Ira emphasized the historical importance of coins, including his preferences for large coins, for coins that were intended for circulation and for coins that showcased cultural aspects of societies. Almost all serious collections of rare world coins, however, contain a large number of coins that are historically important. My theory is that it is the theme of certain types of coins having served as international monetary units, especially those that became world currencies, together with amazingly choice representatives of these types, that distinguishes the Millennia collection from almost all other very high quality collections of world coins.

In past centuries, many societies around the world used coins of the British Empire, of The Netherlands along with Dutch possessions, and/or of the Spanish Empire, not just for international trade but often also for transactions within societies (internal trade). Societies that were politically fractured or were dominated by outside forces often did not attempt to Mint their own coins, or did so to a very limited extent. In many cases, there was no need for a society to mint its own coins and the costs of doing so may have outweighed the benefits.

In the 1790s, a large number of Americans opposed the creation of a U.S. Mint because they felt that coins from abroad, especially those of the Spanish Empire, served well and a Mint would be a financial burden on the taxpayers. In 1791, legislation authorizing a U.S. Mint barely passed the House of Representatives by a vote of twenty-five to twenty-one. As late as 1802, Rep. John Randolph, an influential Congressman from Virginia, introduced legislation to abolish the U.S. Mint. (more…)

The Ted Naftzger Collection of United States Large Cents to be Sold

1793 large Cent  Sheldon 10 - Second Finest KnownIra and Larry Goldberg will auction The Ted Naftzger Collection of United States Large Cents in 2008 and 2009. The collection will be sold in two parts, the first of which will be of Early U.S. Large Cents, held on Sunday, September 14th, 2008 in Beverly Hills, CA and on Ebay Live.

Chris McCawley of McCawley-Grellman, who is cataloguing the coins, says, “This is the finest collection of large cents ever assembled or sold, and they’ve been off the market for 20-30 years. They are of exceptional quality, and many are the finest-known of their variety, in high grade mint and gem state. “

The Early date coins range from 1793 to 1814. Middle-dates will be auctioned in February, 2009.

The PCGS Registry named The Naftzger collection of 1793 to 1814 large cents (Complete Varieties Set) and the “With Varieties” collection of 1816 to 1839 large cents by far the finest ever assembled.

In addition PCGS included the follow description of the collection:

Finest Known 1796 S-84 Large CentThe Naftzger Collection

“R.E. “Ted” Naftzger was the undisputed King of United States large cents. His collection was the result of a five decade scholarly and relentless pursuit of the best. He kept meticulous notes on all the cents in his collection and any other high grade specimens that he encountered.

Naftzger’s acquisitions in the 1950’s and 1960’s formed a formidable collection of early, middle, and late date cents. During this period, he purchased several noted collections intact including Sloss, Clarke, Taylor and Gallo. He added the best cents to his set and auctioned lesser grade duplicates. The acquisition that put his collection on top, and probably never to be exceeded, was his 1973 purchase of Dr. Sheldon’s Early Date set.

Naftzger continued his aggressive acquisition posture in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In one instance, he rented a plane, flew it himself, through a storm, to acquire a finest known Classic head cent that had just come over from Europe. The Naftzger collection of large cents included the most famous large cents known to the numismatic community, such as the 1793 AMERI. Chain cent graded Specimen 65 by PCGS, the 1793 with periods Chain cent graded Specimen 67, and the amazing Atwater 1793 Wreath cent graded Specimen 68RD by PCGS. The Naftzger large cent collection was one of the greatest collecting accomplishments in numismatic history. “

CoinLink will have a series of Articles on both the collection and some of the interesting history surrounding the collection and it’s owner in future articles, as we beleive that this sale will indeed be one of the more important auctions of Large Cents, ever.

The Greatest World Coin Auction of All Time (Part 4): The structure of the Millennia collection

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink
This is Part 4 of my review and analysis of the auction of the Millennia collection of world coins.

Lion d'Or (Bruges, struck 1454-1460)The main purpose of Part IV is to cover the structure of, and the plan for, the Millennia collection. Several more coins from the collection will be discussed and related to the plan, with emphasis upon types that were not discussed in the first three parts.

The Millennia collection contained coins of many nations, and this collector never intended to complete a series of coins ‘by date.’ Also, there was not a plan to construct a type set of all denominations of any one nation.

Generally, for each nation or coin-producing society represented, there is a carefully selected group of high quality Crowns (large silver coins), plus a smaller number of gold coins, if any. Curiously, all the Belgian coins in the Millennia collection were gold coins.

A 4.22 gram (0.15 ounce) Belgian coin, a ‘lion of gold,’ which was minted in Bruges, is noteworthy. It is not extremely rare. It is important in an artistic and cultural sense. The growling lion and other symbols are carefully chosen and placed. It was probably minted in the 1450s, and it provides clues regarding the independent and defiant, as well as flamboyant, personality of the reigning Duke, ‘Philip the Good.’ It is also one of the few coins of the period that is not overcrowded with design elements. This coin has sizeable, carefully balanced fields. It is NGC graded MS-62, a high grade for a Belgian coin from the 1400s. It sold for $5750.

For Britain and for a few Latin American societies, there were more gold coins than Crowns in the Millennia collection. A substantial percentage of the gold coins that circulated worldwide from the 1730s to the 1850s were minted in Latin America within the Spanish Empire or by former Spanish colonies that became independent. It is thus logical that there were a large number of Latin American gold coins in the Millennia collection. To a meaningful extent, Ira Goldberg intended for the Millennia collection to reflect the large coins that were widely used, and characteristic of their respective societies, over the last two thousand five hundred years. Large coins usually weigh more than one-half an ounce. (more…)

The Greatest World Coin Auction of All Time (Part 3): Latin American Coins

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink
This is Part 3 of my review and analysis of the auction of the Millennia collection of world coins.
The Millennia Collection Part 3 - Latin American Coins

British coins, Dutch coins and particularly the coins of the Spanish Empire are tremendously well represented in the Millennia collection largely because these were widely used in international trade or relate to world events in other ways. Though many of the European coins are of high quality and/or are historically important, the Millennia collection will probably be best remembered for its Latin American coins.

I will not list the Latin American coins in the Millennia collection that brought the highest prices nor will I list the rarest. I do mention the three most famous Latin American coins in part 1.

The purpose here it to review a selection of the Latin American coins in ways that are clear to a large number of readers, especially to those who are not collecting Latin American coins. My emphasis here is upon coins that are historically important, pertinent to collecting pursuits, and/or interesting to people who know little, if anything, about Latin American coins.

The coins in the Millennia collection tend to be of very high quality for their respective issues. Collectors should keep in mind, however, that lesser quality coins of the same issues tend to be much less costly, often less than one-tenth as much. Besides, even the poorest of collectors can enjoy reading about and studying coins that are aesthetically pleasing, are of historical significance, and/or are interesting in curious ways. (more…)

The Greatest World Coin Auction (Part 2): European Coins

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink
This is Part 2 of my review and analysis of the auction of the Millennia collection of world coins.
Millennia Collection - European Coinage

At the auction, coins minted before 1300 AD, including but not limited to ancients, seemed to be of interest to a very specialized group of bidders. Coins minted afterwards captured the interest of a large number of floor bidders, even those who know little about them.

I observed that collectors and dealers of U.S. coins were attracted to many of the high quality European and Latin American coins. More so than at any other sale that I have attended, coin buyers seemed happy to venture out of their usual coin domains and bid on coins that grabbed their attention.

Andy Lustig bought a Brazilian 1810 silver coin, lot #972, for his personal collection, even though he does not collect Brazilian coins and has no intention of doing so. Brazil. 960 Reis, 1810-M (Minas Gerais) This coin is now “the only Brazilian coin” in his collection. Its “very unusual die break” initially got his attention, and he “found this coin to be very intriguing” overall. Lustig felt that he “just had to have it.” Andy paid $7188.

An especially choice 1854 large gold Bolivian coin captured the attention of Dr. Robert Hesselgesser as he was browsing auction lots. It is NGC graded MS-63 and is certainly at least a mid range 63. It is very sharply struck. Further, it has reflective surfaces and a cool look overall. Hesselgesser does not, and is not planning to, collect Latin American gold coins; he admits that he “just could not resist” buying it.

At the sale, I did not notice any Russians venturing far from their coin domains. Indeed, they seemed very focused on Russian coins. (more…)

Ohringer Gold Spurs $11 Million Outcome

Ohringer Collection 1899 Proof $20 Liberty HeadHigh-grade gold from the Ohringer Family Trust collection and other consignments boosted results of Ira and Larry Goldberg’s May 25-28 auction to an overall total of $11,013,585.

A 1930-S Saint-Gaudens $20 from the Ohringer Family Trust consignment, graded MS-64 PQ by Professional Coin Grading Service with Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, sold for $130,000.

Catalogers had assigned a presale estimate of $120,000-$130,000.

A 1799 Capped Bust $10 with small obverse stars, graded MS-64 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., went for $115,000. “The present specimen is among the top survivors,” Goldberg sale catalogers wrote, citing an NGC census of four graded MS-64 and none finer.

A 1932 Saint-Gaudens double eagle in NGC MS-66 realized $110,000. “The 1932 Saint-Gaudens is a modern day rarity whose numbers have not been increased over the years by hoards or European stockpiles as have other dates in the series,” catalogers wrote, adding, “Only a few score exist today in all grades.” They referenced a PCGS population of 10 seen in this grade and three finer. Estimate was $110,000-$120,000.

A proof 1899 $20, NGC Proof-65 Ultra Cameo PQ with CAC sticker, brought $95,000. It had a presale estimate of $70,000-$80,000.

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