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Strong bourse + auctions at Baltimore coin show; Rarities keep soaring

By Steve Roach
First published in the November 29, 2010, issue of Coin World

The Nov. 4 to 7 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo was characterized by both a strong bourse floor and well-performing auctions with interesting and fresh material.

The Baltimore show, held three times a year, has become one of the most robust on the circuit, with dealers and collectors alike praising Whitman for being responsive and Baltimore for being a good convention city, characterized by inexpensive flights, reasonably priced hotels and good local restaurants.

A walk around the bourse floor on Friday revealed healthy dealer-to-collector business being done.

Prior to the show’s start, Stack’s presented its 75th anniversary auction, which realized nearly $4.6 million across 2,500 lots.

It was anchored by the W.L. Carson Collection of U.S. Proof sets, a remarkable and large fresh-to-market collection put together decades ago consisting of more than 500 lots of Proof coins from 1837 to 1964.

The quality was characteristic of many old collections put together prior to third-party grading: some coins were amazing high-grade beauties while others were harshly cleaned or displayed artificial toning and were in Professional Coin Grading Service “Genuine” holders. The market absorbed the collection at strong prices.

Bowers and Merena Auctions hosted the official expo auction with more than 3,500 lots, anchored by the No. 2 collection of Standing Liberty quarter dollars with full head designation.

A toned 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar graded Mint State 67+ full head sold for $195,500 (pictured left, image courtesy of bowersandmerena.com), while a more brilliant example in the same grade without the “+” brought $115,000. A 1927-S quarter dollar graded MS-65+ full head brought $149,500. All three were graded by PCGS and carried Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers.

In total the auction saw 12 separate Standing Liberty quarter dollars realize more than $25,000 each.

The sum of the auction results shows continued health for a wide range of issues including gold, especially at the $20,000 to $200,000 level, as collectors continue to seek objects of lasting and proven value during times of economic uncertainty.

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