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All Posts Tagged With: "FUN"

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…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: O’Neal Collection of Indian Head $5 Gold Coins

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #30

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. FUN Auctions

During the Jan. 2011 FUN Platinum Night auction in Tampa, Heritage will offer Jim O’Neal’s set of Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 gold coins). This set is the “All-Time Finest” in the PCGS Registry and contains many individual coins that are at or near the top of the condition rankings for their respective dates. Many other rare U.S. coins, including some Great Rarities, will be auctioned during the Platinum Night event and I will cover those soon.

Since 2005, the Heritage FUN Convention auction has been the leading auction of the year for U.S. coins. Indeed, four of the last six January FUN auctions have been phenomenal.

A few days before the start of the FUN Convention at the Tampa Convention Center, B&M will conduct a pre-FUN auction at a nearby hotel. The Malibu collection will be included. Traditionally, pre-FUN auctions have featured especially choice and rare coins as well.

While the winter Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention is typically in Orlando, it was in Fort Lauderdale in 2005 and will be in Tampa in January 2011. The Fort Lauderdale area is a more sensible location, as Southern Florida is densely populated. Fort Lauderdale is close to especially affluent areas in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Plus, there are many snowbirds in Southern Florida, people who otherwise live in the Northeastern States.

To attain a better understanding of FUN auctions, or at least to get a flavor for them, please see my articles relating to 2009 and 2010 events: The Jan. 2010 Platinum Night, $3,737,500 for a nickel, the O’Neal Collection of Indian Head Eagles, Queller Collection of Patterns, and Jay Brahin’s $20 gold coins.

When the Jim O’Neal collection of Indian Head (or Saint Gaudens) Eagles ($10 coins) was the opening feature of the Jan. 8, 2009 Platinum Night event, the room was packed. Afterwards, a few experts in attendance indicated to me that prices were higher than expected. Prices were much higher than I expected, as I was not overwhelmed by O’Neal’s Eagles. My preliminary impression is that I will be much more enthusiastic about O’Neal’s Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 pieces), which will be sold during the Jan. 6, 2011 Platinum Night event.

II. O’Neal’s Half Eagles

It now seems that Jim O’Neal’s set of business strike Indian Head Half Eagles is the most famous collection that will be auctioned at the Jan. 2011 FUN Convention. For years, this has been the “finest” such set in both the PCGS and NGC registries. Although the PCGS ranks it ahead of the Dr. Thaine Price and Dr. Duckor sets of Indian Head Half Eagles, my belief is that the Duckor collection was finer. I have yet, however, to see most of the coins in the O’Neal set. The Duckor set of Indian Half Eagles was auctioned by the firm of David Akers as part of the Auction ’90 event, in the Chicago area.

Dr. Thaine Price’s collection was also auctioned by Akers’ firm. All of the Price collection was sold on the evening of May 19, 1998, and it was overshadowed by the epic Pittman II event that was held the same week at the same location. In most other situations, the offering of the Thaine Price collection would have been considered an amazing event of epic proportions. Dr. Duckor admits that he takes his Thaine Price catalogue with him on vacations to Hawaii, “probably fifteen times” so far. “Akers did a great job.”

The sets of Thaine Price and Steven Duckor were assembled during an era when grading standards were tougher than standards were in the late 1990s and in the early part of the 2000s. Even so, there is no doubt that this O’Neal set contains some of the greatest and most important Indian Head Half Eagles. (more…)

Legendary 1913 Liberty nickel, 1927-D double eagle anchor $30+ million Heritage FUN US Coin Auction

Spectacular examples abound as Orlando, FL plays host to the Heritage Auctions’ biggest Rare U.S. Coin Auction of the year, Jan. 6-10

ha_fun2009_13and27None other than the most famous American coin in existence, the “Olsen” Specimen of the 1913 Liberty nickel, is the anchor lot in Heritage Auctions Jan. 6-10, 2010 Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Auction, at the Orange County Convention Center.

“The past 10 years have brought tremendous growth for Heritage,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auction Galleries. “Now, we’re thrilled to present the first great numismatic event of the new decade. As the official auctioneers for the two yearly FUN conventions, Heritage is committed to offering the best coins and related items. We’ve brought together the finest selections from more than 370 consignors to make this U.S. Coins auction a truly special event.”

Without a doubt, the first among equals in the FUN auction is the 1913 Liberty nickel, PR64 NGC, CAC.

“The 1913-dated Liberty nickels are among the greatest mysteries of American coinage,” said Rohan. “James Earle Fraser’s famous ‘Buffalo nickel’ design should have appeared on every coin dated 1913. Yet there are five 1913 nickels that have the old Liberty design instead.”

Of the five Liberty nickels, two are in museum collections, leaving just three available to collectors. In the past decade auction appearances of 1913 Liberty nickels have been rarer than the coins themselves. Like the other 1913 Liberty nickels, the example offered by Heritage has become individually famous. It is known as the “Olsen specimen” after an early owner, but his is hardly the only notable name in its provenance. (more…)

Brahin Collection of Key Date Saint Gaudens $20 Gold Coins to be sold on Platinum Night at Fun

The Jay Brahin Collection, a selection of seven key date Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles assembled by a collector with a keen eye for quality will be offered as a part of Heitage’s Platinum Night festivities at 2010 January Orlando, FL FUN US Coin Auction, taking place January 6-10 in Orlando and over the Internet at www.HA.com/Coins.

1920-s_saint_Brahin_funJay Brahin’s name is well known to both the numismatic and investment communities. Although he can trace his first interest in rare coins back to the 1960s, he became a serious numismatist after the Millennium. His rise to the upper echelon of gold collectors was rapid, but it was based on three decades of investment acumen as a personal portfolio manager.

He quickly developed personal relationships with the key players and dealers in American gold, and his list of friends is a Who’s Who of American numismatics. The search for quality was the natural result of old business lessons and this new expert advice, and following old traditions.

Mr. Brahin also gives back to the coin community, currently serving as President of the 20th Century Gold Club. He has also become a sought after resource for books and articles on twentieth century gold coins, and his opinions can be found in the Wall Street Journal as well as CoinLink.

All seven coins in the collection are graded by PCGS, and all seven coins have received CAC stickers signifying that they are among the very best examples of their grade. (more…)