Please name, and give a brief history, of great coin hoards...

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As a result of this successful dispersal strategy, the entire silver dollar market grew for the next five years. From 1982 to 1985, for example, Morgan Silver Dollars in MS 65 increased in average value by 450%! Collectors and investors alike were happy, and the hobby enjoyed a wonderful resurgence.

I find this fascinating. I can almost grasp this possibility, but then...


I have avoided any further purchases in Morgans for fear that new hoard finds like this would drop the bottom out of the coins' values. For instance, I have an 1885-CC NGC MS65 that I simply list as my poorest investment to date.


At the very least, I have suspended any further collecting of Morgans until I know a lot more about them. I'm learning...slowly!


I always assumed that rarity was the driving factor in a coins value. I suppose that demand is another. I would be interested if any of you know how the two offset each other. For instance, how can the release of a Morgan hoard increase interest to such an extent that the increased supply (higher census count) is offset by increased demand?


Are there other examples of this happening? Are common-date St. Gaudens coins experiencing appreciation due to increased demand pressure (I wish I could find a good hoard of them right now! ;) )?


Unknowingly at first, the release of the GSA hoard created this phenomenon of increasing the overall value of CC Morgan Dollars. One concept was a lottery situation where a novice collector of average means could bid on and obtain a rather rare coin in superb condition, fueling a stronger and even more popular series of the Morgan dollar.


History notes:


A 1964 United States Treasury audit revealed the existance of millions of Silver Dollar coins languishing in obscurity inside U.S. Treasury vaults for decades. They were finally dispersed by the GSA - General Services Administration in a series of eight sales beginning in 1972 and two additional sales in 1980 known as the "GSA HOARD SALES". Sales were limited to citizens of the United States.


The first task for government employees was to sort the coins. The vast majority, 2,825,219 coins were Morgan type, minted with unique CC mint mark from the U.S. Mint branch at Carson City, Nevada.


An additional 112,145 coins were discovered during the sorting process. There were 84,165 circulated and 27,980 uncirculated coins minted between 1859 and 1935. Various mint marks from U.S Mint branches included: Philadelphia Mint, New Orleans Mint, San Francisco Mint, Carson City Mint and Denver Mint. Various design types included: Seated Liberty, Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. GSA HOARD SALE 3 -The Coins Jesse James Never Got- offered these coins exclusively. Today, GSA collectors refer to this category type as GSA NON-CARSON CITY or GSA NON-CC's.



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Thanks for the memories Woody, I participated in those GSA sales but, to no avail.

Sure wish i could have scored a purchase. :sorry:

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Well I don't know if I was bull shi**&^ or not when I got these but the show on the Unique Shopping Network said the roll of 10 Morgan Dollars was from the "Reno" hoard. The coins are very nice and I plan on sending them in for grading as they are all very very clean and blazing white. If memory serves they guaranteed MS64 or higher. I always thought that my Morgans should be MS65 or better as from my reading that seemed the most desired to have. The reading was from one of those red books that deal with Morgans specifically.

So there's my story of the Reno hoard.

lol Not much of a story.

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Byron Reed~~~Who was he and what did he do for Numismatics?




Byron Reed was born in upper New York State in 1829. In 1856 he moved to (edit: what would become the state of Nebraska, March 1, 1867) Omaha, Nebraska and by the early 1860’s, had become an important figure in this new western settlement. By 1865 near the end of the Civil War, Omaha became an important gateway to the West and its economy swelled. Reed, who was one of the major landowners in this new settlement, quickly amassed great wealth and assumed a prominent position in the business and political affairs of both the city of Omaha and the state of Nebraska.



He founded the first real estate office in the Nebraska Territory and became the foremost agent after Nebraska achieved statehood.



In the mid 1870’s, Byron Reed started to collect coins (as well as art and manuscripts) and continued to do so until his death in 1891. After his demise, his entire collection was willed to the City of Omaha and the Omaha Public Library. In the mid 1980’s the collection was later placed in the Durham Western Heritage Museum, where parts of it are now currently on display.




Recognized for his numismatic collecting, Reed was invited by President Benjamin Harrison to sit on the annual Assay Commission. At the time of his death, the collection was considered one of the five or six best in the world. What makes this collection even more special is that it has been locked away for 105 years.


How did a collector from the parries of Omaha, Nebraska amass such a huge inventory of collectables? Over a 16-year period, Reed made regular trips back East by train where he gathered 16,000 items including coins, manuscripts, books and presidential signatures.


The value of the Reed collection would have been even greater had the city not sold portions of it in 1996 to raise funds for various municipal projects (the sale raised about $5.6 million). A portion of the collection was sold by Spink’s/Christie’s in October 1996 The decision to sell portions of the collection was a controversial one, pitting city officials who saw the collection as a revenue source against others who wanted to maintain the collection intact. However, a decision was made to replace the coins that were sold with similarly dated but lower value examples.


There were 562 lots offered, and all sold. I also have reference to it being only 407 lots, here are some quotes from the sale:


“The average price paid for a coin lot in Tuesday nights session was more than $25,000,”


“Prices sold beyond our expectation.”


The top lot, an 1829 half-eagle engraved by William Kneass, brought $374,000. According to Breen’s Encyclopedia, Reed purchased this coin from 19th century coin dealer W. Eliot Woodward’s sale of the Emery, Taylor and Loomis Collections on March 9, 1880. The coin was a great rarity even then.


An 1832 12 stars half-eagle also designed by William Kneass sold for $297,000. This coin ranks among the greatest rarities in United States numismatics.


Uncirculated 1796 With Stars quarter eagle that brought $232,000

Gem Uncirculated 1864 quarter eagle at $132,000

Gem 1828/7 half eagle that realized $159,500

Gem 1829 small planchet half eagle at $374,000

Gem 1832 twelve stars half eagle at $297,000

a three coin partial proof set of 1875 gold issues that sold for $352,000.


Quote from Doug Winter: The coins from the Reed collection are noteworthy for their originality. The silver coins from this collection were poorly stored and, unfortunately, they are so deeply toned that they have no eye appeal. The gold coins luckily avoided this fate and were characterized by nice color and good eye appeal.


The estimated value of the entire coin collection is a conservative $25 million.




The Parmelee specimen above was bought for face value by an unknown lady, sometime around 1845, get this, during the administration of President James K. Polk, 1845-1849. . She then sold it to E. Harrison Sanford, and it was purchased out of his set by Lorin G. Parmelee, one of the foremost collectors of his time. At the sale of his collection, it was purchased by Byron Reed for the sum of $570, who in 1891 willed it to the Omaha City Library. After a series of attempted robberies, it was placed first in a bank vault and was then moved to the Western Heritage Museum in the mid 1980’s where it remains today.


There are 15 known 1804 Dollars. The Reed specimen is one of eight known Class I specimens which are known as originals, but were actually struck in 1834. There is also one known Class II specimen, which is now at the Smithsonian. Additionally there are 6 known Class III specimens. These are known as Restrikes.




THIS PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN Republic of Texas 75-cent note signed by republic President Sam Houston was found in the Byron Reed Collection while the Reed holdings were being assessed. The note was known to have been printed but not known in any collection until this discovery was made.


A truly unique note that no one knew the Reed collection contained until a 2001 assessment. The piece is an 1835 75-cent note issued by the Republic of Texas and signed by Samuel Houston, then president of the republic. This note had been attached to a $15 engraving of Samuel Houston in the collection, explaining why it had not been recorded previously. The unique note has been valued at $10,000.




Images courtesy of the Durham Western Heritage Museum


First described in an 1861 Boston Numismatic Society meeting - Woodward's 1867 sale of the Joseph J. Mickley collection, Lot 2537 @ $75.00 - Chapman Brothers 1882 sale of the "Bushnell" collection, Lot 885 @ $45.00 - Proskey's 1890 sale of the Parmelee collection, Lot 579 @ $16.50 - Byron Reed




Now in the Byron Reed Collection of Coins and Documents at the Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, the small piece was last publicly seen in 1890. It has been variously described as a coin, a token, a medal, a pattern and a fantasy. Lawrence J. Lee, curator of the Byron Reed Collection, will reintroduce the piece in a slide-show presentation entitled "A Remarkable Piece Lately Found in Philadelphia."


Because of its iconography and inscription, early numismatists generally considered the piece to be from the Confederation period of American history (1783-1789). Originally brought to light at a meeting of the Boston Numismatic Society in 1861, the piece was purchased by Reed at the Parmelee sale in 1890. It faded into obscurity after the Reed Collection was given to the City of Omaha in 1895, where it was mis-cataloged as a Civil War-era token and basically ignored until its pedigree and importance were rediscovered in 1998.




Byron Reed's burial place.


Prospect Hill Cemetery


Madison County

Nebraska, USA


Omaha's pioneer period began in 1854 when the city was founded by speculators from neighboring Kanesville, Iowa. The city was founded along the Missouri River, and a crossing called Lone Tree Ferry earned the city its nickname, the "Gateway to the West."



With the Missouri River in fore ground, artists rendition of Omaha in 1860. Remember Lewis & Clark? They sailed past this very spot between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window onto the west for the young United States.


News article in 1890 of some of the Parmalee sale, best I can do with PDF format.





There you have it, another well noted collector who bequeathed his holdings for others to enjoy and behold.




Edited by WoodenJefferson

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However, a decision was made to replace the coins that were sold with similarly dated but lower value examples.

As far as I know the coins were never replaced as they were suppose to be.

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Thanks, Woody, for this wonderful account of a 19th century numismatist.


What really irritates me is how greedy politicians will forget all about the historical importance of such a collection when all they can see is dollar signs.



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What really irritates me is how greedy politicians will forget all about the historical importance of such a collection when all they can see is dollar signs.

What surprises me is that those politicians never came back for return trips to that financial well for more funds. I firmly believed that the first Byron Reed sale was going to be followed by Byron Reed II, III, IV and so on until the collection was gone.

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Very good post, Woody. Very interesting. I like reading about these old time collectors that had amazing collections.

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The story of the Redfield Hoard was very interesting. After reading it, i did a google search and found several for sale on E-bay. One is a Buy it now for $225.00

An 1880 S Morgan Silver Gem Bu. I noticed in one of the post for this thread, someone purchased a Morgan from the Redfield Hoard for twenty dollars in the 90's.

Does anyone know were i could find the value of these coins? I did see were one of the coins were graded by NGC.

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Condor, Someone should label politicians who do this as: Pillagers for Pork".


I am also surprised as well that they did not take more of the Reed Collection and sell it. I guess that if it had been California instead of Nebraska, it would have been totally stolen from the public museum collection. California would have given the museum one of their famous IOU's.

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This incredible hoard was dispersed over a number of years in a quiet, orderly fashion. Some of the coins went to dealers who sold them to marketers or specialists. Other coins were sold at auction. The first group of these coins to sell at auction was at the aforementioned Bowers and Merena sale and I can remember being extremely excited to have the chance to purchase some very important and very fresh coins.




Edited by jhone

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