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Category: Hoards

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…)

Numismatic History: The Stetson Collection Gold Coin Hoard

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). (more…)

The Bishop’s Wood Hoard of Roman Coins To Be Sold By Baldwins

Baldwin’s are delighted to announce that they will be offering for sale by auction a portion of Roman coins from the Bishop’s Wood Hoard of 1895 as part of their 4-5 May 2010 London event.

The extensive hoard was unearthed at Bishop’s Wood, near Ross-on-Wye, just across the Herefordshire border and within the surroundings of the Forest of Dean. Several other, smaller finds, of similar coins had also been found along this route but none as vast or as interesting as this. It was discovered in a rough walling built against the hillside by workmen who were in the process of repairing a road and who struck an earthenware vessel containing the coins. The accidental strike from a pick broke the jar and scattered its contents in various directions.

Details of the hoard were first published in the 1896 edition of the Numismatic Chronicle, and also in the editorial of the Numismatic Circular in November of that year. In both publications a total of 17,550 coins were listed, although a number had already been lifted and dispersed around the region by the time the coins were rescued. Many of these coins were subsequently given to local museums and the portion now being sold by Baldwin’s (containing 1,661 coins and the restored jar that contained them) has remained in the family of the original landowner since they were found in 1895.

Included with the hoard is a reprint of the article from the Numsimatic Chronicle of 1896 and a reprint of ‘Notes on a Great Hoard of Roman Coins found at Bishop’s Wood in 1895’ from the “Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society”, vol. XIX, pp. 399-420, both written by Mary Bagnall-Oakeley. The latter also includes the author’s handwritten annotations and a list, dated March 1898, of the museums and institutions that she was aware had received portions of the hoard. (more…)

The Brackley Hoard Of Silver Groats Coins to be Sold

London auctioneers Morton & Eden expect bids of £30,000 for coins found in field

brackley_hoard_102209In the summer of 1465, as the Wars of the Roses raged, an unknown person hid his worldly wealth in a secret location in a Northamptonshire field and went into hiding. He never returned to claim his money.

In 2005 – 540 years later – a metal detectorist stumbled across the hoard of 324 silver coins and alerted the authorities. The British Museum, where the coins were researched and identified as silver groats, purchased 14 of them to be put on show to the public, while the remainder were returned to the metal detectorist who unearthed them and the land-owner on whose land they were found.

The two men have decided to keep 12 coins apiece as mementos, while the remainder will be sold by specialist London auctioneers Morton & Eden on Wednesday, December 2. The 186 coins, which were found in the Brackley area of Northamptonshire, are expected to raise a total of around £30,000, the money to be split equally between them.

After asking permission from the landowner to search the field, the detectorist was thrilled to find five coins on his very first attempt. “I was amazed,” the man said. “They were lying there about a foot below the surface. I couldn’t believe my eyes but I was convinced there were more, so I went back the next day and discovered the rest. There was no sign of a container, so I assume the coins were hidden originally in a cloth bag which obviously had rotted away over the centuries.”

The coins date mostly from the reigns of Henry V (1413-22) and Henry VI (1422-60). They are all silver groats (fourpenny pieces) and are relatively free from corrosion, although clearly, they had been in circulation for some time before they were hidden and had thus received some wear.

Said auctioneer Jeremy Cheek: “When they were in circulation, a silver groat would have been enough to buy a sheep. Thus, the hoard represents the value of a flock of a sheep, perhaps a man’s main asset. As there are no gold coins in the hoard, it does not appear to have been the property of a particularly wealthy person. The gold coin of the time, known as a noble, was worth 6s 8d (1/3 of a pound) which would have represented a lot of wealth for a poor person to hold in one coin. A new type of gold coin, the ‘ryal’ or ‘rose noble’ valued at 10s (1/2 of a pound), was introduced the same year the hoard was deposited. The hoard included two contemporary Scottish groats.”
(more…)

NGC Certifies Coins of the Famed Chipping Norton Hoard

Discovered by chance, these coins are an important find, being of great historic significance. NGC was pleased to evaluate and provide protection for these great treasures.

norton_hoard_ngcNGC recently graded a number of gold Unites of the British monarch James I (1603–1625) from the Chipping Norton Hoard, discovered in the 1980s in an undisclosed location near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England.

The cache contained 59 gold Unites, 54 of which were struck in England and the remaining five from Scotland. It was discovered by chance in an old cellar as workmen excavated a foundation for a new building. Unaware of the significance or value of the find, the coins were given to a builder’s 10-year-old grandson, who kept them in a shoebox for years.

In 2005 the grandson took the coins to an appraisal event where the coins were examined by auctioneers Morton and Eden and the hoard was reported to the British Museum. Since the coins were found before the Treasure Act of 1996, two of the 59 coins were kept by the British Museum and the remaining 57 coins were returned to the owner, who subsequently sold them at a Morton and Eden auction held in London on June 9, 2009.

The hoard is significant because of the large sum of money it comprised at the time the coins were struck. Each of the 59 gold coins had the value of 20 shillings until 1612, and later that value was adjusted to 22 shillings. Records of salaries from the period are scant, but a church clerk might earn the equivalent of two gold Unites during an entire year. In other words, the hoard represented nearly 30 years of earnings. Even the gold bullion value of the hoard — which weighed about 15.5 ounces — is approximately $15,000 in today’s market.
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