NGC 1776 Continental Dollar & 1792 Silver Center Cent Each Claim $1.41 Million!
It seems like in the wink of an eye the memories of a harsh winter have been replaced with green grass and fresh blooms. Instead of being greeted with the grating sound of snowplow blades making repeated trips around the neighborhood, birds are singing lively tunes throughout the day. Time certainly seems to be accelerating and at a faster rate, especially to us older numismatists. Memorial Day has come and gone and with that great American holiday the unofficial beginning of the summer season has been ushered in. Of course we in the coin biz have a lot to be excited about as there is no longer the extended down time referred to as the summer doldrums. While there are no real holidays in numismatics (Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have a National Numismatics Day?) I can remember not that long ago the summer pilgrimage to the ANA show was the big event of the summer. Collectors such as me would save for several months with the hopes to accumulate enough capital to make some exciting acquisitions at the big shindig. Now, there is almost instant gratification for the budding “Coin Dexter.” With the plethora of online auctions commanding our attention, the opportunity to become a collector and fill gaps in our respective collections has been made available to us virtually 24 hours a day, from the home or with a few clicks of the mouse at the office.
What makes the coin collecting hobby so great? I am often asked this question. To me each coin is individual, unique, just like us. Although grades may be similar, each coin has distinctive characteristics—their own fingerprint. They are also historically significant, a tangible link to our past and present. Another very important consideration, unlike other collectibles, coins enjoy a great shelflife! Amazingly in most instances a coin plucked from circulation decades or even centuries ago is as vibrant, well preserved and exciting for their appreciative audience today. For me personally, I have always enjoyed researching and collecting Colonial coins.
Take the just-completed Eric P. Newman Part IV Collection, held by Heritage Auctions May 16-17 in New York City. Until very recently the pieces in Mr. Newman’s great numismatic legacy were all “raw” or uncertified and now all have been proudly graded by NGC.
Featuring many Colonial issues, the sale conducted by Heritage Auctions generated slightly over $11 million. All of the 687 coins graded by NGC and pedigreed to Eric P. Newman went to new homes as the sale featured a 100% sell through rate. Sixteen coins sold for over six figures and the two prizes of the sale, at least the ones that topped the results, captured an astounding $1,410,000 each!
Leading the superb Colonial contingent was a 1776 Silver EG FECIT Continental Dollar attributed as Newman 3-D and graded NGC MS 63. The finest silver Continental Currency Dollar and certainly the most coveted of its type, this coin presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the numismatist and the Colonial connoisseur. It was originally purchased by Newman in 1956 for $2,500 and realized $1,410,000 in the May 16th sale. Also claiming equal share of the bragging rights was an enigmatic 1792 Silver Center Cent. This Judd 1, one of the finest extant, graded NGC MS 63 BN also roared to $1,410,000. It was followed by the unique 1783 Plain Edge Nova Constellatio Silver 100 Units. Graded NGC AU 55, this true historic numismatic treasure of our first national coinage realized $705,000. Quite amazingly, Mr. Newman had originally purchased this trio, which just realized $3,525,000 for under $4,000!
One of the notable bidders in attendance at the sale was well-known dealer and Colonial expert Dave Wnuck. “It was a fascinating sale,” asserted Dave. “The bidders were serious collectors and specialist dealers—not the more ‘commercial’ dealers and collectors you see at most other coin auctions these days. The bidders came prepared. Talk about a fresh deal – some of those coins had not been sold at auction for over 100 years. Most all the coins sold for strong – but not crazy – money.”
While the 1776 Continental Dollar in silver and the 1792 Silver Center Cent were the stars of the auction, in Wnuck’s opinion both were a very good deal, considering their historic and numismatic importance.
As for Dave’s luck on the auction floor, “I split a few coins with another dealer, but was not successful on the three lots I wanted the most.”
Other top drawers at the Eric P. Newman Collection Part IV Heritage Signature auction:
- (1652) Noe 1-A New England Sixpence NGC AU 58 $646,250 (finest known)
- 1787 New York Excelsior/George Clinton Copper NGC MS 63 BN $499,275 (finest known)
- 1792 J-10 Reeded Edge Copper Disme NGC AU 55 $499,375
- 1737 Higley CONNECTICVT Copper NGC AU 50 $470,000
- (1652) Noe 1-A New England Shilling NGC AU 55 $352,500
- (1615-6) Small Sails Sommer Islands Shilling NGC AU 55 $258,500 (Finest Known)
(1615-6) Sommer Islands Threepence NGC VF 20 $205,625
- 1788 Running Fox New Jersey Copper NGC MS 65 BN $105,750
This Newman Collection Part IV sale, like its esteemed predecessors, was a historic event for the numismatic connoisseur. Numerous finest known coins and pieces not seen for a lifetime or more are now back in collectors hands to enjoy!
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.