Trailblazing NGC-certified Casascius Bitcoins Realize Over $7 Million in First-of-its-kind Heritage Auction

Posted on 11/9/2023

An early November sale showcased numismatic rarities tied to the digital currency.

A Heritage Auctions sale with 250 Casascius Bitcoins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Company® (NGC®) realized a total of $7,198,200. The Otoh Collection of Physical Cryptocurrency, Part I Platinum Session Signature Auction was presented on November 3, 2023.

Bitcoin, the most popular option for cryptocurrency, was created in 2009. Many investors were interested in the digital currency but felt more comfortable owning it in a physical form. Innovator Mike Caldwell saw an opportunity and began striking his Casascius Bitcoins. Each one includes a key: a string of numbers and letters on the back hidden behind a tamper-evident hologram.

Click images to enlarge.

The Heritage Auctions sale included 150 brass coins that are denominated 1 Bitcoin and 100 brass coins that are denominated as 0.5 Bitcoins. Using its 70-point grading scale, NGC certified 54 of them as NGC MS 68, 122 as NGC MS 67, 53 as NGC MS 66, and 21 in other grades.

The 38 lots that realized prices of at least $39,600 were all graded NGC MS 68, demonstrating that collectors placed a premium on the coins that received the highest NGC grades in the auction. This includes the top two coins in the sale, which each realized $43,200.

This was Heritage's first auction dedicated specifically to physical cryptocurrency. These unredeemed Casascius Bitcoins were acquired directly from Caldwell, according to Heritage Auctions. Because of their connection to the infancy of Bitcoin, they hold special appeal to collectors. To highlight their important provenance, NGC encapsulated them with an attractive special label, which includes their Otoh Collection pedigree alongside their grade and other details.

Prices realized include buyer's premium.

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