Whitman Baltimore-A Powerful Numismatic Market Sampler

Posted on 4/7/2011

The spring Whitman Baltimore show is in the books. This event, a popular one on the calendar, exceeded expectations on many fronts...

The spring Whitman Baltimore show is in the books. This event, a popular one on the calendar, exceeded expectations on many fronts. Always a well-produced experience, the Whitman staff deserves to take a bow for this one. Although weather was not particularly spring like, it did not deter the throngs of collectors from up and down the eastern seaboard that appeared in mass. Several ardent hobbyists had driven all night from as far as Cleveland, Chicago and points in North Carolina. The strategic location of the show definitely paid off significant dividends in traffic. Not surprisingly, opening-day attendance on Thursday broke a record for this Whitman event. Energetic “early birds” who shelled out an additional $75 for the privilege of making their way on the bourse floor began their omni-directional migration at 10 a.m. Dealers that I talked to were quite impressed with the volume of business transactions on both sides of the aisle on Thursday.

Friday seemed to offer an even stronger, vivacious crowd. As I was making my way onto the bourse before the show opened, non-dealer patrons, collectors, investors and curious attendees were lined up on the lower level of the Baltimore Convention center nearly out to the street! When the doors opened, the hall had more of an appearance and atmosphere of the day after Thanksgiving sale as the throng anxiously waited to have their shot at perceived bargains and conduct business. Many dealers described the action on the floor as electric and intoxicating; a needed surge after a rather anemic Sacramento show. The buzz on the floor was highly audible and the aisles were clogged throughout the enormous bourse.

The Stack’s-Bowers auction was the inaugural event for the new firm. Featuring nearly 7,700 lots and realizing over $14 million, there was something for every collector’s taste and budget. Competition was energetic for scores of fresh coins that in many instances had not been seen in the marketplace for decades. Continuing a familiar theme, key dates and blast white Cameo and Ultra Cameo proofs, particularly within the silver dollar series, were in strong demand as reflected by the prices realized. Registry-quality coins were also in the limelight: a 1952-S Dime, one of only two Silver Roosevelt dimes (1946-1964) graded MS 69 by NGC, realized an impressive $5,750. An NGC VF 25 example of the 1901-S Barber Quarter, the key to the series found a new home at $25,875. The finest known 1837 Classic Head Half Eagle, graded NGC MS 66, realized an impressive $106,950. The consignor must have been happy with the results. The same coin sold on January 5 in Tampa as a part of the Heritage Platinum Night sale where it fetched $80,500! An NGC AU 53 specimen of the classic and somewhat unheralded 1883-O Liberty Eagle captured a powerful $67,333.

Here are some of the many NGC highlights from the Stack's-Bowers marathon six session sale:

  • 1804 Plain 4 No Stems Half Cent NGC MS 64 RB $6,038
  • 1856 Flying Eagle Cent NGC PF 66 $32,775
  • 1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent NGC PF 64 $17,480
  • 1861 Indian Cent NGC PF 66 $7,475
  • 1901 Liberty Nickel NGC PF 68 $7,073
  • 1914-S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 67 $12,650
  • 1837 Small Date Seated Liberty Dime NGC MS 67 $50,600
  • 1874-CC Arrows Seated Liberty Dime NGC AU 55 $43,125
  • 1878 Twenty Cent NGC PF 65 $24,725
  • 1828 Capped Bust Quarter NGC PF 65 $69,000
  • 1846 Seated Liberty Quarter NGC PF 65 $26,335
  • 1806/5 Draped Bust Half Dollar NGC MS 64 $29,900
  • 1839 Judd-104 Gobrecht Dollar (Name Omitted) NGC PF 65 $92,000
  • 1852 Restrike Seated Liberty Dollar NGC PF 65 $69,000
  • 1857 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 65 $22,540
  • 1882 Trade Dollar NGC PF 67 Cameo $25,300
  • 1885-CC Morgan Dollar NGC MS 67 GSA holder $34,500
  • 1892-CC Morgan Dollar NGC MS 66 $37,088
  • 1896 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 67 $34,500
  • 1859 Liberty Head Quarter NGC MS 67 $46,000
  • 1864 Three Dollar Princess NGC PF 64 Cameo $54,625
  • 1885 Three Dollar Princess NGC PF 67 Cameo $74,750
  • 1811 Tall 5 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 64 $37,950
  • 1866 Liberty Eagle NGC MS 60 $39,100
  • 1907 No Periods Indian $10 NGC MS 67 $28,750
  • 1909-D Saint-Gaudens $20 NGC MS 65 $20,700
  • 1908 Saint-Gaudens $20 NGC PF 66 $63,250
  • 1912 Saint-Gaudens $20 NGC PF 67 $73,600
  • 1926-S Saint-Gaudens $20 NGC MS 65 $31,050

Floor action was significant for dealers throughout the duration of the show in the “Old Line State.” In many instances dealers’ re-booked flights to stay the extra day on Sunday; business was just that brisk. Bullion, key dates, mid-five figure coins, as well as a surprise or two in the higher price echelon, made their appearances on the floor. One well-known Delaware dealer had the best show he’s witnessed in many years, “People were buying and selling coins hand over fist. Precious metals, especially silver, were in enormous demand. We even purchased an NGC MS 65 1795 Two Leaves Flowing Hair Dollar variety, pedigreed to Eliasberg.”

Five figure coins with pizzazz and rarity were extremely popular. An 1882 Trade Dollar graded NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo, was sold to a knowledgeable collector on the floor. This proof-only issue, which has a population of 10 coins in PF 66 CA with only six finer at NGC, had fantastic deep mirrors and blast white devices. The new owner could not have been happier. A well-known Boston firm always seemed to have collectors lined up two and three deep at their tables, “We have had a great show: it’s been nonstop, it has really been fantastic.”

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.

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free NGC eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the NGC eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List

Add Coin

Join NGC for free to add coins, track your collection and participate in the NGC Registry. Learn more >

Join NGC

Already a member? Sign In
Add to NGC Coin Registry Example
The NGC Registry is not endorsed by or associated with PCGS or CAC. PCGS is a registered trademark of Collectors Universe, Inc. CAC is a trademark of Certified Acceptance Corporation.