Heritage Signature Auction Rakes In $23.1 Million. NGC PF 62 1792 Disme Soars to $587,500. Whitman Baltimore Beckons Anchored by Powerful Stacks Bowers Sale
After wrapping up an exciting and successful ANA National Money Show in the hospitable confines of Dallas, the coin collector’s juggernaut has virtually no time to prep for the next adventure. Both collectors and dealers in attendance were singing the praises of this well organized event. While collector attendance was viewed as moderate, sales were brisk and the majority of dealers reported a very healthy wholesale trade.
This activity backed by Heritage’s ANA Signature Sale, realizing a formidable $23.1 million, confirmed the strength and resiliency of the rare coin market. Leading the Heritage Auction salvo was the iconic 1792 Disme. The rare Federal prototype struck in copper (J–10) graded NGC PF 62 BN catapulted to $587,500. Next on the NGC–certified roster was the captivating 1793 Vine and Bars Flowing Hair Wreath Cent. Graded NGC Specimen 66 BN, this virtually pristine example thundered to an impressive $329,000. Next up – the spectacular 1882 $20 Eagle. With only 59 Proof examples struck for collectors of the day and only 571 Philadelphia business strikes, collectors can be sure that whenever an example appears, they are hotly contested. Such was the case when the finest known proof example, an NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo was announced by the auctioneer. After a flurry of action the winning bidder took the coin away for $293,750. All told seven magnificent NGC–certified coins eclipsed the six–figure threshold. Nearly 400 coins were propelled to the mid – high-five figure category. One of these coins, the iconic 1795 Federal Lettered Edge Liberty Cap Large Cent, grading a solid NGC MS 65 RB rode tall in the saddle powering to $82,250. Tied for the finest known according to the NGC census, the last time this exact coin appeared at a public venue was as a part of the winter FUN Show in January 2010. Then the lovely copper cartwheel claimed what appears to have been a bargain at $40,250. A host of exciting coins including a marvelous Morgan Dollar grouping as well as a superb run of many of the finest known Proof Liberty Seated Dimes were heavily contested. Barber Quarter aficionados also had something to crow about as a quartet on the cusp of virtual perfection PF 69 Cameo/Ultra Cameos went to appreciative new homes.
Other standout NGC–certified coins finding new homes in the Heritage ANA Signature Auction include the following:
- 1776 Newman 1–C Pewter Continental Dollar NGC MS 63 $88,125
- 1793 Periods Chain Cent NGC AU 50 $76,375
- 1884 Three Cent Piece NGC MS 66 $19,975
- 1822 Capped Bust Dime NGC MS 66 $79,313
- 1838 No Drapery Liberty Seated Dime NGC SP 67 $164,500
- 1844 Liberty Seated Dime NGC PF 66 $64,625
- 1850 Liberty Seated Dime NGC PF 67 $55,813
- 1853 Arrows Liberty Seated Dime NGC PF 66 $70,500
- 1873–CC Arrows Liberty Seated Quarter NGC VF 35 $19,975
- 1896 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 Ultra Cameo $28,200
- 1904 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 $35,250
- 1910 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 Cameo $25,850
- 1913 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 $22,325
- 1917–D Type I Standing Liberty Quarter Full Head NGC MS 68 $35,250
- 1795 2 Leaves Flowing Hair Half Dollar O-115 NGC MS 62 $58,750
- 1866 Motto Liberty Seated Half Dollar NGC MS 67 $41,125
- 1798 Small Eagle, 13 Stars Draped Bust Dollar NGC AU 58 $64,625
- 1895–O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 63 $44,063
- 1864 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle NGC AU 58 $49,938
- 1858 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle NGC PF 65 Cameo $82,250
- 1877 Liberty Head Quarter Eagle NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo $94,000
- 1833 Large Date Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC PF 61 $146,875
- 1890 Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC MS 68 $64,625
- 1870–CC $20 Liberty NGC XF 40 $193,875
- 1891 $20 Liberty NGC MS 62 $76,375
- 1851 .887 Reeded Edge Humbert $50 NGC AU 55 $49,938
Summarizing the mood after the Texas sojourn, the always informative Ian Russell, President of Great Collections, was gracious enough to relay to me his take on the current market. “Usually around an election cycle, coin collectors may focus on other things, but we are not seeing it. Our auctions are continuing to grow. We had an okay Dallas ANA. There definitely could have been more public in attendance, but with less people, we were able to dedicate some quality time with clients. We picked up a 1907 High Relief in NGC PF 63 as well as a nice Mint State 1911–D Quarter Eagle, also graded by NGC.” Russell also advised me, “We like the Black Retro holders from NGC. Our first consignment of these was a 1995–W $1 Silver Eagle graded NGC PF 69 UC, which brought $3,575 including the buyer's fee.” Ian also relayed that there is some big news on the horizon for Great Collections; more on that soon.
Well known Lance Tchor, owner of Worldwide Numismatics in Tampa, FL, told me that his business remains extremely busy. As for The National Money Show in Dallas, Tchor advised, “The ANA show started off a bit slow but by the second day quality NGC–certified world gold was flying out of the showcases. I must say wholesale and retail ran neck and neck and coins that were a few thousand dollars each were the main sellers. I will stress that quality for the grade was the key to selling and most of my world gold sales were in NGC holders.”
John Feigenbaum, President of David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC), confirmed the market remains upbeat. “Let's see,” said an optimistic Feigenbaum, “Sales have been much better in October than September and I hear that across the board. Despite gold spot prices being a trifle soft, it seems physical demand is up this month, as well.” According to John’s assessment, the ANA show was sparsely attended by retail, but wholesale trading was quite active and DLRC had a very good show. John also relayed that DLRC just sold “two neat NGC Coins” to clients this month. One was the always popular 1892–S Morgan Dollar grading NGC AU 58. A very dignified example which was just a whisker away from full mint state is certainly perceived as a great value as a “slider” considering the very pricey and limited mint state NGC census for the coin. The other coin was an 1857–S Liberty Seated Half Dollar NGC MS 61 Ex: Osburn Collection. A true and still underrated rarity in any grade, with an estimate of fewer than 500 examples known to exist for collectors in all grades, this golden toned MS 61 coin is one of only three confirmed mint state examples according to the NGC census.
According to well–known New York dealer, Enzio Romano, “All is well with the coin market as we head into the final stretch for 2012.” Per the amicable Romano, “First off we had a table in a good location at the ANA fall show; this always helps with floor traffic. The staff also did a great job to make things easier for dealers to get in quickly and set up.” Per Enzio, there was limited activity on the buy and sell from the public. Most of their business conducted in Dallas was wholesale between dealers, which was fine according to the New York dealer. Once again there was very little in the hotly contested realm of quality coins to buy at or near current published levels. However, Romano was able to corral several exemplary NGC MS 65 BN Large Cents as well as a superbly toned NGC MS 65 1892 Columbian Half Dollar. Continuing as a common refrain, buying and selling was still transacted at well above published price levels, albeit for special coins with strong eye appeal and technical qualities. Per Enzio, “The market remains very strong for coins which have the ‘wow factor’. Oh yes, that eye appealing Columbian Half was sold immediately. I feel very bullish about the upper end of the market and the prospect of prices increasing,” stated Romano.
As I write this article, the Northeast corridor is bracing for what has been dubbed the perfect storm as Hurricane Sandy’s wrath can be felt from Florida to Maine as well as points west for some 500 miles. The wind is howling, the trees are swaying, the rain is falling and the lights are flickering. Certainly a good time to stay safe indoors and perhaps catch up on some numismatic reading or update a collection or two as long as the power remains on! Perhaps it’s the season or deja-vu, but last year at almost the exact same time the Northeast corridor was the scene of a massive early–season snowstorm.
Certainly a busy and quite telling November lies ahead and not only within the numismatic community. A mere week after the closely contested Presidential election results are in, the east coast calls as the Baltimore Whitman show is the center of national attention for numismatists. The Expo, running November 15 to 18 will be anchored by a scintillating auction presented by Stack’s Bowers that will most certainly be the focus of many in the numismatic nation. I had a chance to speak to Chris Napolitano, President of Stack’s Bowers regarding the powerful lineup. An excited Napolitano advised me, “We have our largest sale ever by number of lots (including the ANA) slated for Baltimore. Highlights for our Baltimore Sale in November, along with the Cardinal Collection and Ted Craige highlights, were on display in Dallas and caused quite a stir amongst collectors as well as dealers all anxious to get a preview. The mix of material is an incredible variety of coins, currency, tokens and medals, but is highlighted by our first partnership foray with C4 where we will have a Colonial Session on Friday night consisting of 1,000 lots. We will also have a great session on Thursday with our Rarities Night.”
A look at the auction catalog confirms this! There is certainly no shortage of phenomenally preserved rarities and majestically toned wonders. A few of the many stunning high grade NGC–certified coins scheduled for the Stack’s Bowers Baltimore auction include the following amazing NGC coins:
- 1862 Indian Cent NGC PF 67 Cameo
- 1903 Indian Cent NGC PF 68 RD
- 1872 Two Cent Piece NGC MS 64 RD
- 1861 Three Cent Silver NGC MS 68
- 1864 Three Cent Silver NGC MS 68
- 1865 Three Cent Silver NGC MS 67
- 1871 Three Cent Silver NGC MS 68
- 1910 Liberty Nickel NGC PF 68
- 1916/16 Buffalo Nickel NGC AU 55
- 1864 Liberty Seated Dime NGC MS 66
- 1916–D Mercury Dime NGC MS 66 FB
- 1804 Draped Bust Quarter NGC F 15
- 1870–CC Liberty Seated Half Dollar NGC AU 50
- 1946–D Booker T. Washington Half Dollar NGC MS 68
- 1870–CC Liberty Seated Dollar NGC MS 60
- 1873–CC Liberty Seated Dollar NGC AU Details
- 1880–S Morgan Dollar NGC MS 69
- 1809/8 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 65
- 1887 $20 Liberty NGC PF 66 Cameo
- 1921 $20 Saint–Gaudens NGC MS 61
- 1870 Pattern Double Eagle (Copper) J–1038 NGC PF 62 BN
- 1860 Clark Gruber $10 (Pike’s Peak) Die Trial NGC PF 63 BN
Chris offered some insightful market analysis heading into the Baltimore gala, “The market is extremely strong in selected rarer material. Gold has firmed up considerably and is much stronger since the rise in spot gold. Classic Commems are firm at current levels. The only weakness I see, from my standpoint, is the more common or generic sort of coins, although they are liquid at slightly discounted levels.” Jumping ahead to early 2013 Napolitano advised, “We have an incredible January scheduled, which includes our NY International Sale early in the month and our Americana Sale in NYC at the end of the month, highlighted by the incredible Cardinal Collection. One of the major highlights in this collection is the 1792 Half Disme in NGC 68, the finest known of this classic early American rarity. We also have a seven figure type deal, and an old time Colonial Collection (The Ted Craige Collection) scheduled for this same sale,” advised an excited Chris.
The world coin market is also a surging venue. Per Todd McKenna, Numismatist and Consignment Director at Stack’s Bowers, “Our November sale is one of the most diverse offerings from around the world we have had in recent years. In particular we have a very impressive selection of rarities from the Mexican Revolution including a 1915 Suriana 2 Peso graded by NGC at AU 58 and a Six Star Variety 1914 “Muera Huerta” Peso graded NGC MS 62.” Per Todd, South American nations are strongly represented as well with many high grade NGC–certified issues from Spanish Colonial and independent eras. Representing European issues will be more rarities from the Demarete Collection. Aside from the usual fare they will also be presenting a vast selection of primitive and curious monies featuring rare trade objects from around the world including the jewel for any collector of this type, Yap Island stone money. McKenna extolled, “November promises to be an excellent sale for collectors of all levels and interests.”
Until next time, happy collecting!
Jim Bisognani has written extensively on US coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently resides in Southern California and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.