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All Posts Tagged With: "Heritage"

Heritage CSNS Coin and Currency Auctions Tops $25 Million

Gold remains dominant in surging rare coin market; 1921 Saint-Gaudens, Ex: Norweb, leads all lots with $218,500

With the final tallies for Heritage’s April 28 to May 3 Milwaukee Central States Numismatic and Currency auctions in at more than $20 million jointly – $16.9 million in rare U.S. Coins and $3.1 million in rare currency – the totals of the two auctions, in combination with the previous week’s Chicago International Coin Fair World Coin auction – a $5.2 million event – made for a 10 day stretch that totaled more than $25 million in total for the company. All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

“We continue to see great prices across all categories, with gold simply dominating,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “The economy is definitely improved, so we saw less volume as collectors don’t absolutely need to sell. That said, however, the market continues to climb past the previous record 2007-2008 levels on many coins.”

The rare U.S. coins portion of CSNS saw a superb 89% of lots sold by value and 92% by total number of lots, contested by just more than 7,250 bidders, while the rare currency sessions saw a highly respectable 86% of lots sell by value and 94% by total lots, with 1,915 bidders vying for the offerings.

The top lot in CSNS was the Select 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle MS63 PCGS, Ex: Norweb, an historic absolute and condition rarity with few peers in the world of numismatics, which brought $218,500

“We continue to see great prices across all categories, with gold simply dominating,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage.

“Gold currently rules, and the king is Saint-Gaudens,” said Rohan, “and the 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a premier rarity in the series, ranking as the third rarest regular issue, behind only the famous and ultra-rare 1933 and 1927-D examples. The price that this very smart collector paid for this amazing and famous coin is money very well spent.” (more…)

World Record $138,000 Brazilian 100 Reis leads $5.2 million+ Heritage CICF World Coin auction in Chicago

Revamped CICF auction brings more the 3300 bidders; World Coin market continues to excel, see broad demand

DALLAS, TX – There can be no doubt as to the continuing strength and ever-growing interest in the World Coin market after Heritage Auction Galleries April 21-22 Signature® World Coin Auction at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) brought almost 3350 bidders to the table and realized a stunning total of more than $5.2 million.

“Heritage couldn’t be happier with the move of our spring auction to the CICF,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Director of International Sales at Heritage. “Anytime we can reach so many high-end world buyers in one place, and subsequently realize more than 94% by value and 97% by lot on an auction, we know we’re in the right spot.”

The auction also marked the beginning of a new CICF partnership between Heritage and Krause Publications, the producers of World Coin News, Numismatic News and Bank Note Reporter, among its many publications. By all accounts, the new union was an unqualified success.

“The addition of Heritage as official CICF auctioneer gave the show a big lift,” said convention chairman and Krause Group Publisher Scott Tappa. “The depth and breadth of the four-session sale attracted a great array of attendees and added to our growing bourse floor. We look forward to Heritage’s continued partnership with CICF and Krause Publications for years to come.”

“Scott Tappa and his crew put together a world class event and we matched it with more than 4700 lots for the Heritage collecting community worldwide,” said Bierrenbach. “When I think the world coin market can’t surprise us anymore, we have an auction like this with results much stronger than we could’ve predicted. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Of all the international numismatic treasure up for grabs at the Heritage CICF event, a Brazilian rarity was to be the most coveted, with a Pedro II 100 Reis 1844, KM452, Russo 525, VF35 NGC breaking its own World Price Record of $84,000, set in May of 2008, when it finished at $138,000, more than doubling its base estimate of $60,000. The coin came to auction via the Paulistana Collection.

“This is the finest specimen of only three known,” said Bierrenbach. “In 1834, Brazil, now an independent empire, attempted a new monetary system nicknamed the Cruzado. While it ultimately failed by 1848, the 1844 100 Reis is without a doubt the jewel of the series.” (more…)

Heritage 2,700+ Lot Currency Signature Auction at Central States, April 28-May 3

The Official Currency Auction of the 2010 Central States Numismatic Society Convention in Milwaukee will be conducted by Heritage Auctions April 28 to May 3. The auction will include three floor sessions and an online session. Lot viewing will be conducted at the Midwest Airlines Center, Rooms 201 A thru D, 400 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203 and the floor sessions will be held in Rooms 203 A and B.

Session One starts Wednesday evening, April 28, at 6 p.m. CT, and includes Colonials, Fractional Currency, Obsoletes, Confederate Notes, and Canadian Currency. Featured lots include: Fr. 1330 50¢ Third Issue Spinner PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ; a rare Kirtland, OH- The Kirtland Safety Society Bank $50 Mar. 9, 1837 G16 Wolka 1424-16 Rust SV6; New Orleans, LA- Citizens’ Bank of Louisiana $10 Uncut Sheet of “Dixie” Notes PMG Choice Uncirculated 63; T2 $500 1861 PF-1 PMG Choice Very Fine 35; and a unique Windsor, NS- Commercial Bank of Windsor $20-$20-$20-$20 Ch. 195-10-02S Uncut Specimen Sheet PMG About Uncirculated 50.

National Bank Notes will be sold during Session Two
, on Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m. CT. The auction includes Part II of selections from the Lone Star Collection, an assemblage of National Bank Notes formed over three decades consisting of the very finest notes that could be obtained from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The consignor’s Arkansas collection is almost certainly the finest ever formed, with his Oklahoma holdings ranking as one of the two greatest collections ever formed on that state, and the Texas collection rivals any ever assembled save for that of William Philpott.

Among the notes from the collection being offered are a unique Serial Number One $50 Date Back from Oklahoma Madill, OK – $50 1882 Date Back Fr. 564 The First NB Ch. # (W)5404 PMG Very Fine 20 and Marietta, IT – $10 1882 Brown Back Fr. 490 The Marietta NB Ch. # (W)5958 PMG About Uncirculated 55.

Additional National Bank Note highlights from Session Two include: Oakland, CA – $10 1875 Fr. 419 The Union National Gold Bank Ch. # 2266 PCGS Very Fine 35PPQ; Serial Number One Lead, SD – $5 1882 Brown Back Fr. 472 The First NB Ch. # 4631 PMG Very Fine 30; and Serial Number One Lake Ronkonkoma, NY – $20 1929 Ty. 1 The NB of Lake Ronkonkoma Ch. # 13130 PMG About Uncirculated 55 EPQ.

The floor sessions of the auction will conclude with the Friday evening Session Three
offering of Small Size Currency, Error Notes, and Large Size Type Notes. The session will begin at 6:00 p.m. CT. Small Size selections include: Fr. 2221-H $5000 1934 Federal Reserve Note PMG Choice Extremely Fine 45 Net; Fr. 2231-J $10000 1934 Federal Reserve Note PMG Extremely Fine 40 Net; and Fr. 2407 $500 1928 Gold Certificate PMG Choice Very Fine 35. (more…)

Highlights from Heritage’s Upcoming Ft. Worth US Coin Auction

World class collections are the name of the game at Heritage Auction Galleries March 25-28 Signature® ANA U.S. Coin Auction, part of the week-long happenings at the ANA National Money Show in Fort Worth, just down the highway a spell from Heritage headquarters in Dallas. Highlights include commemorative gold, cents large and small, and quarter eagles.

The most impressive grouping of the auction is the commemorative gold, which features no less than seven 1915-S Panama-Pacific fifty dollar gold coins, three round and four octagonal. In most auctions, one of these California commemorative coins would be a star highlight. With seven of them in this auction it’s more like an ensemble cast.

Two featured collections account for six of the seven coins. The Cliff Street Collection has two sets of the coins, with a pair of round $50s in lots 1842 and 1848 and their octagonal counterparts as lots 1843 and 1849.

The Larry V. Cunningham Collection features a round example graded MS65 NGC, CAC as lot 1854, and lot 1855 is its octagonal twin, graded MS63 NGC, CAC. Last but not least is lot 1856, a final octagonal example graded MS63 by PCGS.

Lot 1854 Detail: 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. CAC. Like modern commemoratives celebrating the Olympic Games, many issues in the classic commemorative series mark events happening close to the year of issue, rather than anniversaries. Several early series, including the World’s Columbian Exposition coins, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollars, and the Lewis and Clark Exposition gold dollars, blur the edges of the category, since their respective expositions themselves honored anniversaries of 100 or 400 years.

By contrast, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 celebrated strictly recent events. The rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake figured into the choice of San Francisco to host the World’s Fair, as did the construction of the Panama Canal, begun in 1904 and completed in 1914. Still, both developments were fresh in the minds of San Francisco’s residents by the time the Exposition opened its doors, particularly the rebuilding; that theme is echoed the name of the “Nine Years After” parade, held at the Exposition in mid-April, a reminder of both all that was lost and how far the city had come.

The Norweb-Bass MS66 1911-D Quarter Eagle

The Norweb Collection was a legend while still owned by its namesake family, and while two decades have passed since the three auctions that dispersed most of it, time has only added to its importance to collectors.

Quality and rarity are the chief watchwords; no discussion of early copper, colonials, proof silver, or early and Southern-Western gold would be complete without acknowledging the Norweb influence and legacy. Rarities such as a Gem Proof 1829 Small Planchet half eagle and an 1885 Trade dollar stand out in the auction, as does the famed 1861 Paquet double eagle.

Similarly, Harry W. Bass, Jr. built his knowledge and his collection into formidable forces whose effects on current and future numismatists continue to unfold. While his study of early gold coinage is first to come to mind (especially to those who peruse the early gold listings in this catalog, which are attributed by Bass-Dannreuther numbers), though as with the Norwebs, he also had extensive holdings in Charlotte and Dahlonega gold, as well as classic proof gold.

With all of the emphasis on the two collections’ 18th and 19th century rarities, a number of important later pieces in both collections have gone under the radar of many enthusiasts. Doubtless the Norwebs’ 20th century holdings would be better-remembered if their 1913 Liberty nickel had been sold at auction and not turned over to the Smithsonian, for example. Similarly, the detailed note-taking of Bass did not extend to 20th century issues, which were less interesting to a student of die varieties than their forebears.

Yet both collections contained a number of important 20th century coins, both recognized at the time of auction and unheralded but now appreciated. The 1911-D quarter eagle Heritage is offering in their 2010 March Fort Worth, TX Signature ANA US Coin Auction was one of the former, a coin that attained considerable individual fame with its modern-era debut at the Norweb auction; it had been sold to the Norwebs by B. Max Mehl, likely in the late 1930s. It was graded MS64 by the auctioneers, who then went on to say, “We have never seen a finer specimen.” (more…)

Paulistana Collection Highlights Brazilian Coins at Chicago World Coin Auction

It’s with tremendous pleasure that Heritage presents the Paulistana Collection of Brazilian coins, the most important and complete collection of Brazilian coins to appear in the world numismatic market for many years, to be offered on April 22, 2010 in Chicago, in conjunction with the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF). In total there are more than 900 pieces from the first counterstruck coinage up to pieces of the Republic, with no duplication!

“When I had the pleasure of inspecting the collection,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Heritage Director of International Sales, “I was impressed by the accomplishment of our consignor, who in a short time was able to assemble a complete cabinet with very few missing pieces. Many of the coins not included in the collection are found only in museums!”

One of the highlights of the collection is the group of counterstruck coins, with more than 30 pieces, many of which are very difficult to find. The collection also includes a complete set of 960 Reis, including very rare varieties, as well as three pieces from Minas Gerais, the three patacoes of the second empire (1832, 1833, and 1834), various Minas counterstamps on rare Hispanic 8 Reales, and a complete collection of Cruzados (!), including the extremely rare 1200 Reis of 1839 and 100 Reis of 1844.

Our Brazilian offerings in this auction do not end with the silver rarities from the Paulistana Collection; we will be offering dozens of gold rarities as well, including two 3200 Reis coins, a 1000 Reis dated 1727-M, an extremely rare 2000 Reis dated 1703-R, and more than 30 pieces of 6400 Reis from Rio and Bahia.

To sum it up, if you are interested in the fascinating coinage of Brazil, this auction has something for you. Just a few of the highlights of this auction will include:

1943-S Lincoln Cent Struck in Bronze sold by Heritage for $207K

The Amazing Branch Mint Error Rarity Graded VF35 by PCGS

Coming on the heels of Heritage’s offering of a 1943 bronze cent struck at Philadelphia in their January 2010 FUN Auction, Heritage has just sold this 1943-S bronze cent in the February 2010 Long Beach Auction.

Few coins are so misunderstood, so mysterious, so legendary as the 1943 cents struck in bronze, known informally as the 1943 “copper” cents.

In 1943, the U.S. Mint switched from bronze to zinc-plated steel for cent coinage in an effort to conserve copper for use in World War II. Over a billion “Steel Cents” were struck by the three Mints combined in 1943, though a majority of the known 1943 “copper” cents were struck in Philadelphia, not Denver or San Francisco. Fewer than 20 are known.

Most experts believe the error occurred when left-over bronze planchets were mixed with a batch of the new Steel planchets that went through the usual striking methods, then escaped into circulation.

An article by Gary Eggleston stated “In the June issue of the “Numismatist,” 1947, it was reported that a Dr. Conrad Ottelin had discovered a 1943 bronze Lincoln Head cent. A few weeks before Dr. Ottelin’s discovery, Don Lutes, Jr., a 16 year old from Pittsfield, MA, found one in his change from the high school cafeteria. Then in 1958, a boy named Marvin Beyer also found the 1943 bronze cent. With the publicity from all three finds, and estimates that these coins could sell for at least 5 figures (at that time) at auction, a national frenzy was created. Every man, woman and child sifted through their pocket change looking for their fortune.” (more…)

Platinum Night was Golden; Bellwether Sale Sparks Markets for U.S. Coin Rarities

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction & Overview

In 2010, the annual FUN Platinum Night event was held on Thursday, Jan. 7. It is just one session in Heritage’s annual auction extravaganza, which is conducted in association with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention in Orlando. During this one night, however, an incredible selection of U.S. gold coins was offered. The total prices realized for Platinum Night alone was more than $25 million. The most famous coin in the sale is the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel, which realized about $3.74 million.

olsen_1913_liberty_nickelAlthough Heritage conducts two to four Platinum Night events per year, the January FUN Platinum Night event is usually the most newsworthy. On, Jan. 7, three different items sold for more than one million dollars each, and there was an excellent offering of Brilliant Proof gold coins.

One of the most interesting coins in the sale is a Proof 1839 Half Eagle ($5 gold coin). It is NGC certified as Proof-61. This coin is, indisputably, a Proof. Many pre-1840 coins that are regarded as, or even certified as, Proofs, are questionable. Matt Kleinsteuber agrees, “it is definitely 100% Proof, other coins of the era are ambiguous” in regard to Proof status. Moreover, it is one of only two known Proof Half Eagles of this date. It was formerly in the collection of King Farouk. It brought $181,000.

Several past Platinum Night events have featured dazzling collections of U.S. silver coins and/or individual silver coins of tremendous importance. The Jan. 2010 event will be remembered primarily for business strike Saint Gaudens Double Eagles ($20 gold coins), Brilliant Proof gold coins, a Bickford $10 gold pattern, a few exceptional gold type coins, a neat run of 19th century quarters, some popular Mint Errors, and a 1913 Liberty Nickel. Please click here to read the article that I devoted to this 1913 Liberty Nickel. Therein, I cover the coin, its importance, and the auction action, in detail.

Since then, David Hall has told me that he “thought the 1913 Liberty nickel brought a good price. [$3,737,500] wasn’t a moon price, but it’s a $3 million dollar coin so an extra 25% is a lot of money.” Hall is the primary founder of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and remains a force behind the PCGS and its parent company.

Adam Crum of Monaco Rare Coins agrees that the $3.74 million result is “a really strong price” for this nickel. Moreover, Crum remarks that, “for weeks, buyers of expensive gold coins were sitting on their hands waiting for the Platinum sale. The success of Platinum Night ignited a fire. On Friday, there was a mad rush nationwide for rare gold coins.” (more…)

Heritage Auctions Tops $11 million at NYINC World Coin Auction

Legendary 1936 Canadian Dot Cent brings $402,500

ha_nyinc_2010Heritage Auctions’ World Coins division kicked off 2010 with a bang over the New Year’s weekend at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, setting an in-house record total with its $11 million+ Signature® World Coin Auction, Jan. 3-4, with the most famous Canadian coin in existence, the best of three known George V 1936 Dot Cents, leading all coins with a final price realized of $402,500. All prices include a 15% Buyer’s Premium.

“We don’t see any weakness in the World Coin market right now,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Director of International Sales at Heritage Auctions. “It almost seems strange to say it, but it’s true. Usually one area or another will show some kind of slowdown, but there were a record amount of bidders vying for almost every coin in this auction, especially The Canadiana Collection, as the more than 90% sell-through rate indicates.”

The Canadiana Collection did indeed top all entries into auction and set coin collectors across Canada, and the world, abuzz with its stunning array of offerings. In the process of realizing $3.85 million total, it made international news with the sale of the legendary 1936 Dot Cent, KM28, Specimen 66 Red PCGS, Ex: Belzberg, the finest of three known, as mentioned above.

Long considered essentially uncollectible since noted numismatist John Jay Pittman had held all three known examples from 1961 until his death, these coins were struck in 1937 prior to the creation of coinage dies for George VI but never released for circulation. Since first re-appearing on the market more than a decade ago, and now well-scattered, the three 1936 Dot Cents create great excitement whenever one appears on the auction block.

While it didn’t garner the same level of media attention as the Dot Cent, a simply beautiful 1934 Australian Proof Set, also featuring George V, KM-PS11, comprising KM22-27, certified and graded by PCGS, generated high interest and spirited bidding from collectors of Australian coins, ultimately bringing more than four times its low estimate of $60,000 to settle at $276,000. (more…)

Ralph P. Muller $20 Saint Coin Collection Highlights F.U.N. Offerings

As happens every year, Heritage’s official auction of the F.U.N. convention attracts the finest consignments of great coins. Nothing exemplifies this more than The Ralph P. Muller Collection of Twenty Dollar Saints, an incredible 59 pieces from the Saint-Gaudens series of double eagles, valued in the many millions of dollars.
Every circulation strike example in the series is included, except for the uncollectable 1933. And what coins they are! His 1927-D (MS66 PCGS) is the most exciting rarity, a coin that has been called the “King of 20th Century Regular Issues.”

Other exceptional coins include: 1920-S (MS64 PCGS); 1921 (MS64 PCGS); 1927-S (MS66 PCGS); 1930-S (MS65 PCGS. CAC); 1931-D (MS66 PCGS); and 1932 (MS66 PCGS). Behind these exceptional coins are dozens of others that are merely spectacular. (At one time, Mr. Muller had named this The Ferrari Collection, and some of the inserts still bear that appellation).

Ralph P. Muller’s fascination with rare coins has lasted more than half a century, reaching back to his early youth. Working on a newspaper route, he set aside any coins that he encountered that piqued his interest. Even as a youngster, he also collected other interesting things.

As he entered adulthood and began his restaurant businesses, he would still look through the cash receipts for interesting coins. He attended coin shows and auctions and began to buy coins, always becoming better educated and more experienced.

In business for himself throughout, his numismatic purchases had to wait for the most profitable times. Having achieved financial success, he became serious about coins over the last two decades.

The double eagles of Augustus Saint-Gaudens became his greatest desire for many reasons, summarized as their being “the premier collectible series” for Mr. Muller. They are, “without question, the most beautiful American coin,” and the challenge of assembling a complete set was a constant source of motivation. (more…)

Heritage’s Official Currency Auction at FUN to Include 4800 Lots

Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, will conduct a 4800+ lot Currency Signature Auction, Jan. 7-11, 2010 at the Orange County Convention Center, 9400 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL. The Convention Center is also the site of the FUN show, as well as the location for lot viewing for the CAA auction and the other Heritage auctions at the event.

Fr1132-KOf the 4800+ lots, 1300 will be part of the non-floor session to close online on Monday January 11, 2010 starting at 12pm CST.

The four day auction will commence on Thursday evening, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m., with an array of Colonial Currency, Obsolete Bank Notes, Confederate Currency, and Canadian and World Currency.

The Colonial Currency offering is again significant with major rarities including, a Vermont February 1781 2s6d PCGS Apparent Very Fine 30.

fractional_curr_stripIn Obsolete Currency, collectors will have an opportunity to bid on collections from Alabama, Arkansas, and Maryland, each the finest offerings for their respective states in many years, including a Little Rock, AR- State of Arkansas $5 Oct. 27, 1877 Cr. UNL Rothert UNL, a likely unique Cahawba, AL- State of Alabama $50 April 19, 1821 Cr. UNL Rosene UNL, and from Maryland, Cumberland, MD- Cumberland City Bank $5 G2 Shank 30.4.3P Proof.

Finally, Canadian and World currency will be highlighted by, the French text BC-4 $2 1935 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, a BC-11 $25 1935 PCGS Very Choice New 64PPQ, and a chartered bank note rarity, Halifax, NS- The Bank of Nova Scotia $100 1929 Ch # 550-28-40.

The Cocoa Beach Collection anchors the second session and is the largest and finest offering of Fractional Currency since the Thomas O’Mara Collection was offered by Heritage in 2005. Many of the notes have pedigrees tracing them to the O’Mara and Milt Friedberg Collections.

Of the Fractional rarities in Session Three collectors have the opportunity to bid on, a Fr. 1241 10¢ First Issue Vertical Strip of Four PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ, another uncut strip, Fr. 1280 25¢ First Issue Vertical Strip of Four PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, Negative Essay Denomination Set in Blue Milton 2E5R.2c, 2E10R.5c, 2E25R.1b, 2E50R.1e PMG 64, 62, 64 and 65 EPQ, and a stunning Fr. 1296 25¢ Third Issue PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ stand out.

The Cocoa Beach Collection also features three beautiful shields, including a very rare and very high grade pink shield, Fractional Currency Shield, With Pink Background. This session also includes a nice sampling of Encased Postage and Military Payment Certificates. (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…)

Gold dominates in Heritage Auctions’ $9.4 million+ Houston U.S. Coin sale

1915-S Pan-Pac $50 Octagonal leads the pack with $92,000; popular 1915-S $50 Round follows close at $86,250

ha_houston_120909_50One thing was clearly on the minds of collectors at the $9.4 million+ Heritage Auctions Houston U.S. Coin Auction on Dec. 6, and that was gold. More than 3,600 bidders participated in the event, which sold through fully 93% of the lots offered, or 87% by dollar value.

“We expected gold to perform well at this auction,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, “especially with the spot price of gold at $1200. While gold did dominate the top lots of the Houston sale, it’s also encouraging to look at the overall results and see that the coin market is remaining steady.”

The year 1915 seemed to be foremost in the minds of collectors in Houston, as two sculptural, splendid Panama-Pacific $50 gold pieces came in as the event’s top two lots.

While the round Pan-Pac $50 commemoratives are the rarer examples in the absolute sense, the octagonal variety has always proved the more popular, as evidenced by the auction’s top price-getter, a gorgeous Near-Gem 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 Octagonal MS64 PCGS, which led the way with a final price of $92,000. All prices include a 15% Buyer’s Premium.

If the Octagonal variety of the Pan-Pac $50 was the top prize in Houston, a superb round 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific $50 MS64 NGC was close behind in terms of price with a highly respectable $86,250 finish. The $50 round has the distinctive status of having the lowest net distribution, at 483 coins, of any commemorative issue made in the United States. (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

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…)

Proof 1884-CC Morgan Dollar Headlines Heritage’s Houston Auction

Classics of American coinage ready for Heritage’s final Signature® Numismatic Auction of the year, Dec. 3

1884-CC_dollar_ha_111309A rare and highly desirable branch mint proof 1884-CC Morgan dollar, graded PR66 Cameo by NGC, leads the list of highlights for Heritage Auctions’ December 2009 Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, to be held in Houston, TX. It is estimated at $140,000+.

Though the Carson City Mint had neither the personnel nor the resources to strike proof coins on a par with those produced at the main Philadelphia Mint, it did turn out a small number of special pieces, or branch mint proofs.

“In the second half of the 19th century Philadelphia struck virtually all proof coins,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Only a handful of proofs were struck at branch mints such as Carson City – some with official authorization and some without. While this branch mint proof dollar does not appear in any official records, it is clearly unlike any Morgan dollar struck for circulation.”

Saint-Gaudens double eagles can be found near the top of the list for almost any U.S. Coin auction, and the Heritage Auctions Houston event is no exception. Of the double eagles to be offered in Houston is a 1925-D double eagle graded MS65 by PCGS, a gorgeous specimen that shows why artistry is as greatly desired as rarity. It is estimated at $70,000+.

“Like other D-mint and S-mint issues of the time, the 1925-D was almost completely wiped out in the 1930s,” said Rohan. “Any 1925-D double eagle is a desirable coin, and a Gem survivor such as this is of particular importance.”

Heritage Auctions realizes $8.7 million in Dallas U.S. Coin Auction

1879 Flowing Hair stella leads the way with $161,000; strong prices signal optimism in the market

stella_79_flow_ha_oct09With a sell-through rate of 90% by lot and 88% by dollar value, and almost 3300 bidders, Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 23-24 Dallas Signature® U.S. Coin Auction soared to $8.7 million total. All prices include a 15% Buyer’s Premium.

The impressive tally is a good sign for the coin market and provides strong momentum as the numismatic world prepares for the January FUN auctions, long a solid indicator of the overall strength of the business and a benchmark by which to judge the coming year.

“We saw some very strong prices in some unexpected areas,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “The rare coin market seems to be almost fully recovered in many areas, and perhaps even headed for record price levels next year.”

A stunning 1879 Flowing Hair stella struck in gold, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, PR65 NGC was the top lot of the Heritage Auctions event, with a price realized of $161,000 for this international trade coinage pattern, which bears a Flowing Hair portrait of Liberty by Charles Barber. Demand for the issue is far greater than the supply; only a few hundred of the gold 1879 Flowing Hair stellas were minted and distributed, mainly to interested members of Congress.

A 1925-S $20 MS66 NGC Saint-Gaudens double eagle, one of the prime condition rarities in the series, illustrated the continued demand for prime examples of these numismatic masterpieces, and that collectors are willing to pay significant sums to obtain the best specimens as it realized $149,500. The 1925-S is more available to collectors in circulated condition than Mint State, unusual for mintmarked double eagles of the time period, and high-grade survivors are prized rarities. The 1925-S in the Dallas auction is tied for the fourth best known of its kind.

Collectors were also closely following a 1927-S $20 MS66 NGC in the Dallas auction, and the result was spirited bidding that resulted in a $109,250 total. In today’s market, the 1927-S double eagle is somewhat overshadowed by its close cousin, the 1927-D, though 50 years ago the 1927-S was thought to be the greater rarity. Probably only 160-170 specimens of the 1927-S double eagle survive today. (more…)

NGC Certifies Classic South American Gold Coin Rarity

The unique Ecuador 1862 50 Francos will be auctioned in January as part of Heritage’s Signature World Coin Auction in New York.

ngc_equador_unique_101509NGC recently certified the unique Ecuador 1862 50 Francos struck in gold. This classic rarity of 19th-century South American coinage is an experimental denomination that conforms to the European coinage standards of the era. It is graded NGC AU 55.

The coin first appeared in published texts in 1956, offered by Robert Friedberg in the November issue of The Numismatist from that year. Scholars believe that he acquired the coin from the Virgil Brand estate. After four more auction appearances between 1957 and 1976, it was sold into a private collection where it has remained since.

Although originally listed in Standard Catalog of World Coins as “unique” alongside the regular issue coinage of Ecuador, it was re-catalogued as a pattern coin in 1986, and this reference number is provided on the NGC certification holder. Although its exact origin and occasion for issue are uncertain, a related 5 Francos silver coin was struck for circulation in Ecuador in 1858. That coin contained 25 grams of 900 fine silver — identical weight and fineness to the 5 Francs and other crown-sized European silver coinage.

Some speculate that the coin was produced at the Paris Mint because an “A” mintmark appears beneath the bust of Bolivar. The quality of die engraving, however, seems incompatible with the superior work of Albert Desire Barre, who engraved for the Paris mint at the time, and best evidence suggests that dies were executed in Ecuador. The coin’s obverse shows a profile bust of South American liberator Simón Bolívar, and the reverse displays the coat of arms of Ecuador, above QUITO, the capital city and location of Ecuador’s mint.

After being off the market for three and a half decades, this coin will be auctioned on January 3–4, 2010, as part of Heritage’s Signature World Coin Auction in New York.

Unusual Items: Lowest Graded Half Eagle Gold Coin to be Sold by Heritage

1857-S_5_pcgs_poor1_100509The mantra in almost all areas of collecting is Quality, Quality, Quality! High end coins are always in demand, regardless of the series. Dealers and well heeled collectors often go toe to toe at auctions chasing up prices for the finest graded, finest Known and condition census examples of both great rarities and classic coins.

However there is also another group of collectors out there. They search dealer boxes and online auction sites just as diligently, but usually little attention is paid to their acquisitions. However they are a growing group of “less is more” collectors, all looking for the lowest graded examples of coins they can find; The Low-ball registry set collector. The collectors who try to assemble the Lowest average grade sets, where PO-01 equals MS68-70.

In some respects, their search is harder than one might think. How many PCGS Fine graded Saints have you seen lately?

This month, at Heritage’s Dallas Sale on October 24th, these Low-ball collectors will get a chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to bid on the 1887-S Half Eagle in PCGS P-1.

It’s not only the single lowest-graded example of the date either major grading service has seen (PCGS Population (1/1535). NGC Census: (0/2464)), but it’s also the single lowest graded example of any coin in the entire Half Eagle series.

Interested in bidding on this item?, Click Here

Heritage Long Beach Coin and Currency Auctions Top $18.4 Million

More than 9,000 bidders in four-day auction!

ha_1891_20_091409_lbThe last numismatic blast of the summer of 2009 went off with an $18.4 million flourish in Heritage Auctions’ combined Long Beach U.S. Coin, Currency and World Coin events, Sept. 10-13. The successful trio of auctions further heartened erudite collectors as the world reflects on a year ago as financial markets buckled. U.S. Coins saw solid results with a total of more than $9.4 million, while U.S. Currency’s strong showing amounted to more than $5.7 total, and World Coins continued its robust climb with more than $3.2 million in prices realized.

“We’re very satisfied with the results across the board,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “As always, quality sells, and the top lots in each category certainly bore that out. Bidding was spirited, more than 9,200 bidders participated and the overall results show us that the state of the numismatic market is quite sound; perhaps on its way to a full recovery, and beyond.”

The first among equals at Long Beach was a stunning 1891 $20 PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC from the Long Beach Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, which realized $158,125. Struck just before George Heath, William Jerrems, David Harlowe, J.A. Heckelman, and John Brydon convened with 61 charter members at the Commercial Hotel at the corner of Lake and Dearborn streets in Chicago for the inaugural convention of the American Numismatic Association, it is an exceedingly rare early proof coin – one of only a couple of dozen known – procured from the U.S. Mint by one of the original members of what is easily the most important numismatic association.

Another rare double eagle followed close, this one a gorgeous St. Gaudens 1920-S $20 MS64 PCGS from The Vegas Collection, which realized $132,250. While the mints in both Philadelphia and San Francisco struck double eagles in 1920 – the first since the production of the 1916-S coins -1920-S is rare in all grades. This is a classic rarity in a series that abounds with them.

A World of Money: Thoughts on Assorted Japanese Imports

By John Dale Beety This article originally appeared in the Heritage Blog.

japan_gold_holderRecently, I was shopping in a bookstore when I came across a most unusual display. Then again, considering this was a national chain, perhaps it’s not so unusual. Close to the shelves of manga (Japanese comics, generally sold in the U.S. as translations bound in trade-paperback format) were a variety of other products possibly of interest to the manga purchaser. I came face to face with temptation, in the form of light breadsticks dipped in chocolate.

I was not stronger than the Pocky. I bought a box to take home with me. It didn’t last the night.

Like many others in my generation, I have a taste for imported Japanese popular culture. Video games and manga are two of my particular vices. I’ve previously referenced my fondness for the video game series Final Fantasy in the blog, but I also pick up the odd manga title, such as Detective Conan, a mystery series featuring a teenaged investigator trapped in a first-grader’s body. (It’s marketed in the United States as Case Closed to avoid entanglements with a certain loincloth-wearing barbarian, but Detective Conan sounds cooler.)

Between my interest in things Japanese and my obsession with coins, perhaps it was inevitable that at some point, I would become intrigued by Japanese coinage. Unfortunately, my level of sophistication is not high; I know just enough to realize how little I actually know! That doesn’t stop me from appreciating Japanese coins in my own peculiar way, though.

I was paging through the upcoming Monthly Internet World Coin Auction and came across the auction’s small but intriguing Japanese section. There are several coins from the Ministry of Finance gold auctions; the best American comparison would be the GSA sales of silver dollars, in that a long-term government holding of its coins was offered to the public, though numerous details (method of sale, etc.) were necessarily different.

One of the visual hallmarks of the Ministry of Finance gold coins was a large-format plastic holder, with a deep red insert framing the coin and a tag with serial number and other information also enclosed. Certain dates and denominations were much more heavily represented than others; the Meiji 4 (1871 in the Western calendar) one yen gold was one of the more common dates, and there are three of them in the auction. Among 10 yen gold pieces, Meiji 42 (1909) was also a year with a large stock sold; there’s one in the auction.

A number of Ministry of Finance pieces can also be found in the Japan section of Heritage’s September 2009 Long Beach World Coin Auction. Why not take a look and see if there’s a Japanese import that interests you?

Heritage to offer the Single Finest PCGS 1925-D Lincoln Cent at Long Beach Auction

1925-D 1C MS66 Red PCGS. Collectors of Registry Set Lincolns are mostly keen, sharp-eyed, and deep-pocketed, making “men’s (and women’s) toys” from a series that most of us tried–and failed–to complete inexpensively from circulation coins, popping them into blue Whitman folders when we were young.

ha_25d_lincoln_090209In the highest Registry Set or Mint State levels, some of the various Lincoln cent issues turn the normal relationships between them on their heads.

For example, that ever-elusive 1909-S VDB: It was an immense prize, the rarest and among the most expensive coins in a circulated set. But in MS65 or MS66 Red, while still costly, it is far less expensive (per the PCGS online Price Guide, to which we refer throughout) than the 1914-D, the 1914-S, the 1915-S, or the 1917-S. (We do not mention the 1916-S, because PCGS has never certified an MS66 Red and therefore provides no price.) The 1918-S in MS65 Red costs four times the price of a Gem Red 1909-S VDB.

In the 1920s, some of the mintmarked issues provide even more stark differences. A Gem Red 1921-S costs twice what a Gem Red S VDB goes for. A Gem Red 1922-D (if you can find one) is about half of an S VDB in 65 Red–a bargain, in our opinion–but a 1923-S in MS65 Red will cost three times as much. And of course, the storied 1926-S in MS65 Red, the only one so certified at PCGS, has become a legendary rarity, a coin that we have handled twice.

The 1924-D and 1924-S are a similar story, and so are the 1925-D and 1925-S. Only with the 1927-D (but not the 1927-S) and later mintmarked issues do the comparisons and prices start to become more favorable.

The present Premium Gem Red 1925-D cent is one of just two so certified at PCGS, and needless to say, there are none finer, either technically or aesthetically. This fully brilliant Premium Gem has gorgeous orange mint luster, with bold design details for an issue that is a notorious strike rarity. In fact, the design definition is sharper on this example than on any other we have handled. The surfaces are frosty and pristine, entirely void of marks or spots. The coloration is a brilliant sunset-orange.

Registry Set collectors note: Of the top five PCGS sets, this coin would upgrade all three of the Current Finest Lincoln Cent Basic Sets, Circulation Strikes that display their inventory (PCGS has an option where you can display your set and ranking, but not its components). Two of those sets contain a 1925-D in MS64 Red; the third has an MS65 Red. Population: 2 in 66 Red, 0 finer (9/09).