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Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Coin and Currency Auction To be Highlight of New Whitman Coin Show

Stacks Philadelphia Americana Sale, Part I, will be featuring American currency (Part II, with coins, medals, and tokens is in a separate catalogue). On September 23 and 24 all eyes in the world of paper money will be focused on one of the greatest sales ever held by Stack’s.

stacks_americana_mass_schilThis is the inaugural show held by Whitman in Philadelphia. As of today, the September gathering is already a success! Or at least there is every indication of such. A “sold out” notice has been posted by one recommended hotel near the Convention Center, and rooms are going fast at the others. Word has spread, and it seems that this paper money sale will be a gathering of eagles-with just about everyone in this specialty in attendance, or represented by an agent, or bidding in real time on the Internet.

Beyond Part I and Part II of the Americana Sale, Stack’s expect that the exposition itself will be a great drawing card. Hundreds of dealers will be on hand, and some great programs will be presented. Among these will be Dave Bowers’ telling of “Famous Numismatists I Have Met-from B. Max Mehl to Date.” You are cordially invited to attend. Similar to the spectacularly successful Whitman shows in Baltimore, the Philadelphia event is very conveniently located. Draw a 500-mile circle around the city and you will probably encompass 70% or more of the numismatists in America.

PART 1 – CURRENCY

Great Collectors, Great Collections

Beginning the sale is the Chester L. Krause Collection of Wisconsin Obsolete Currency, Part I. Chet, as he is known, founded Numismatic News in 1952. In time, his business acumen, energy, and enthusiasm combined to grow what became Krause Publications, with dozens of different magazines, reference books, and price guides, all based in Iola, Wisconsin. Several important texts bear his name on the cover, including the Standard Catalog of World Coins, used all over the globe, and, relevant to our present offering, Wisconsin Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip.

In parallel to this, Chet, working with Clifford Mishler as the company grew, shared his success with the hobby. The Ambassador Award program was set up, and over a long period of time has honored coin club and association officers and personalities, writers, and other hobby leaders. He has worked with the United States Congress, the American Numismatic Association, and other organizations in the furthering of the hobby. In January 2008 the American Numismatic Society, New York City, honored him with a special Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria.

stacks_americana_092109When paper money issued by National Banks from 1863 to 1935 is discussed, the name of Don C. Kelly inevitably is brought to the fore. The sixth edition of his essential National Bank Notes book is the standard reference, with an accompanying CD and a digitized guide for instant location of any note issued by any bank. Don has favored us with a marvelous consignment that includes many “must have” notes, among which are rarities. Don was research consultant, with title page recognition, for the forthcoming Whitman Encyclopedia of United States Paper Money. Created by Q. David Bowers, with assistance from many others, this work, about 900 pages in length, large format and completely color illustrated, will break new ground in the field when it is released later this year.

The James L.D. Monroe Collection of Civil War Sutler Currency brings to the auction block a category in numismatics that can be called the rarest of the rare: paper notes and related items issued by sutlers, or suppliers of camp novelties, provisions, and necessities, licensed by the government. Sutlers, usually set up in a tent, traveled with various regiments and often brought cheer to the troops. Nearly all such notes are scarce, and many are extremely rare.

For many years Lawrence Stack and other members of the Stack family collected choice, interesting, and rare items, ranging from numismatically-related antiques to coins, tokens, medals, and paper money, to books. Our sale last January featured many interesting items from the family, and our present sale does likewise. High quality is the key phrase, accompanied by interest and, often, rarity. Fractional Currency Shields that have been displayed for years in our New York gallery will cross the block, including the exceedingly elusive varieties with pink and green backgrounds.

The Newark Banking Company Proof Sheet Archive is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a holding that will be impossible to duplicate once it is dispersed. From the estate of Henry Schlesinger comes additional paper money, including notes that have been off the market for many years. Federal notes, obsolete currency from many different states and banks, Confederate States of America paper money, and world paper money contribute to what will be a sale long to be remembered.

PART II – Coins Tokens and Americana

Early American and Federal Highlights

We open with a very nice selection of early American and federal coins from the colonial era to modern times. Colonial coins include a magnificent Mint State Oak Tree shilling, classics such as a Mint State Continental dollar and 1796 Myddelton token in silver, and a unique circa 1723 silver tube capped by silver Wood’s Hibernia halfpence, pedigreed to William Wood himself! Many interesting coins from the various state issues fill out the offering and rare Washington pieces add to the diversity.

Federal coins begin with a lovely 1792 Half Disme, a rare and prized artifact of the beginning efforts to create the federal Mint in Philadelphia. A fascinating uniface “1796” Edwards Copy half cent in Choice Mint State is a highlight of our half cent offering, while large cents and small cents include many interesting properties from a rare 1795 Jefferson Head cent to the famous 1906 Indian cent struck in gold, a plate coin in the Guide Book of United States Coins. The federal series includes many other highlights throughout such as a Mint State 1796 half dime, a Mint State 1796 dime, a Gem Mint State 1895-O dime from the Chester L. Krause Collection, rare quarters of 1804, 1823/2, a rare Gem Proof 1856 quarter and a Choice EF 1901-S quarter (highlighting an extensive offering of this denomination, through the Liberty Standing series). Half dollars include several Mint State examples from the early years, and a Choice Mint State 1919-D to mention one of the better pieces of the later years. Dollars include several 18th-century issues, a Mint State example of 1802 and a rare Proof Restrike of 1852, while Morgan dollars are well represented by everything from original rolls to an outstanding Gem 1898, graded Proof-68 (NGC).

Gold coins include a nice selection of types and dates from Type I dollars through classic Saint-Gaudens double eagles. A selection of noteworthy highlights includes a Choice Proof 1878 gold dollar, rare quarter eagles of 1797 and 1804, and a lovely Cameo Proof 1875 three dollar piece-the prize of the series in Proof format. A wonderful Gem Proof type set of the Indian/Saint-Gaudens series nicely highlights these issues with lovely Proofs, showcasing the designs to their finest advantage. Other rarities include a Choice Mint State 1929 double eagle which nicely completes the offering.

Pattern coins are also nicely represented in the sale by popular and famous Gobrecht dollars of 1836 and 1838, accompanied by a far less frequently seen 1838 pattern half dollar of Gobrecht’s distinctive design, combining the Liberty Seated obverse and the dramatic Flying Eagle reverse. A unique example of the 1869 Standard Silver half dollar struck in brass is certainly a highlight of the patterns of the era, while an extremely rare 1916 Liberty Walking half dollar pattern is seldom seen, but is included here.

Memorable Tokens, Medals, and Other Treasures

The key to any of our Americana Sales is the vast array of rare tokens, medals, and other numismatic delicacies that are featured alongside the perhaps more familiar regular coin and paper money issues. They range from the popular to the obscure, from the frequently available to the never-before seen. This sale includes one of the finest such offerings we have presented in some time.

Hard Times tokens of the period from 1832 to 1844 are beautifully represented by the Richard Gross Collection, among properties from other consignors. These include satirical pieces of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren and a wide offering of store cards, ranging from plentiful (but here in high grades) to very rare. An idea of the depth of this collection can be gained from the presence of not one but two Beck’s Baths tokens, certainly one of the most famous early American issues, both Mint State.

The Civil War store card collection gathered by Alan Bleviss makes its debut in this sale, with further parts to come later. These tokens, issued by merchants during the 1861-1865 Civil War, are one of the most active areas of American numismatics. Our consignor, a past president of the Civil War Token Society, has gathered one of the finest holdings ever. A special tribute by noted scholar Fred L. Reed begins the Bleviss offering. Among many rare and choice pieces, two tokens from Saranac, Michigan, known to advanced Civil War Token collectors as the highlight issue on the entire state of Michigan, are quite impressive and illustrative of the depth of the collection overall.

Betts medals illustrating American history in colonial times, a specialty which has come to the fore in recent years through the activities of John W. Adams, the Medal Collectors of America (MCA), our Ford Collection offering, and other activities, are here in remarkable diversity and quality. They begin with an extremely rare 1559 Phillip II, Peace of Cambrai medal struck in silver, Betts-3, and go on to include many rare and important issues throughout the series. Among the more important highlights are the unique 1746 Annapolis Tuesday Club medal in copper, the fabulous Wilson-Garrett-Ford example of the 1756 Kittanning Destroyed medal in silver, a gold 1758 Louisbourg Taken medal, a gold 1759 Quebec Taken medal, a silver 1777 Battle of Germantown medal, and a silver 1781 Libertas Americana medal, likely the most recognized and highly revered in the entire series (landing in the number 1 spot in the book, The One Hundred Greatest American Medals and Tokens).

Indian Peace medals are always desirable, many are very rare, and some are seldom ever offered. Our offering begins with a circa 1644-1676 Cecil Calvert Maryland Indian Peace medal, cast in silver, a great rarity of the series. Other magnificent examples follow, including a high-grade 1757 Treaty of Easton medal in silver, the 1761 Montreal medal which is unique in private hands, among others.

Additional rarities among the incredible offering of medals and Americana include a fabulous circa 1865 Abraham Lincoln shell cameo in a gold frame, a circa 1792 silver Tammany Society-Columbian Order badge, an extremely rare 1920 Wilson dollar in gold, medallic works by Victor D. Brenner, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Laura Gardin Fraser, Adolph Weinman, and an exciting archive of works by designer Chester Beach, including previously unknown plasters of 1921 Peace Dollar designs. There are remarkable Washington medals, and badges of the Society of the Cincinnati, rare manuscripts, a collection of Indian trader tokens, and many more numismatic delicacies too numerous to mention here. As is true of so many items in Part II, each medal has its own history to contemplate. Take the time to do so, and you will be rewarded by the splendors of history. The Part II catalogue is really amazing! Really!

This is one of the most interesting, most important auctions Stack’s has ever conducted. Many things are rare or in some instances, absolutely unique. Click here to browse the on-line catalog

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