Heritage Signature Auction Delivers $56 Million at 57th Annual FUN

Posted on 1/12/2012

The first major event of the 2012 numismatic calendar has concluded in the Sunshine State...

The first major event of the 2012 numismatic calendar has concluded in the Sunshine State. Unlike previous years, central Florida was virtually perfect with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s for the most of the show’s run. I am sure that all those in attendance at the 57th annual Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention enjoyed competitive camaraderie, great weather and came away with a positive feeling for what is already portending to be an exciting 2012.

Anchored by Heritage’s phenomenal $56 million realized during the Signature & Platinum night sales, a total of 894 lots–or nearly 22% of the “live” auction lots—captured in excess of $10K during the well attended and highly competitive sale. An impressive roster of NGC–graded coins included the finest known Continental dollar, tremendous early copper coins, a bevy of superb high–grade Buffalo Nickels and rare Mint State and Proof gold coins. Among the many NGC highlights from FUN are:

  • 1776 EG FECIT Pewter Continental Dollar NGC MS 67 $546,250
  • 1792 Judd–2, Pollock–2 Birch Cent NGC Fine 12 $299,000
  • 1793 Vine & Bars Wreath Cent NGC MS 62 BN $51,750
  • 1944–D Lincoln Cent, Struck on a Steel Planchet NGC MS 61 $58,200
  • 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 64 $172,500
  • 1918/7–D Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 65 $138,000
  • 1926–S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 66 $92,000
  • 1927 Buffalo Nickel NGC SP 65 $43,125
  • 1924–S Standing Liberty Quarter NGC MS 68 $35,650
  • 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar NGC VF 20 $120,750
  • 1797 Draped Bust Half Dollar NGC XF 45 $86,250
  • 1885 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 69 Cameo $100,625
  • 1893–S Morgan Dollar NGC MS 64 $207,000
  • 1895–O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 66 $228,850
  • 1855 Type Two Gold Dollar NGC PF 62 Cameo $132,250
  • 1831 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle NGC PF 63 Cameo $89,125
  • 1848 “CAL.” Liberty Quarter Eagle NGC MS 61 $74,750
  • 1849–C Liberty Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65 $69,000
  • 1855–C Liberty Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65 $97,750
  • 1876 Three Dollar Princess NGC PF 66 Cameo $161,000
  • 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella NGC PF 67 Cameo $264,500
  • 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo $253,000
  • 1795 Small Eagle Draped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 63 $138,000
  • 1809/8 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 65 $69,000
  • 1810 Small Date, Small 5 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 62 $132,250
  • 1828/7 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 64 $632,500
  • 1842-C Small Date Liberty Head Half Eagle NGC MS 63 $166,750
  • 1860 Half Eagle NGC PF 66 Cameo $103,500
  • 1799 Small Stars Obverse Eagle NGC MS 64 $106,375
  • 1801 Draped Bust Eagle NGC MS 64 $106,375
  • 1861–S Liberty Eagle NGC MS 61 $54,625
  • 1899 Liberty Eagle NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo $138,000
  • 1907 J–1902, Wire Rim Indian Head Eagle NGC PF 62 $345,000
  • 1930–S Indian Head Eagle NGC MS 65 $63,250
  • 1854–S Liberty $20 NGC MS 65 $83,375
  • 1861–S Paquet Liberty $20 NGC AU 58 $184,000
  • 1864–S Liberty $20 NGC MS 65 $115,000
  • 1866–S No Motto Liberty $20 NGC MS 62 $218,500
  • 1874 Liberty $20 NGC PF 64
  • 1896 Liberty $20 NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo $126,500
  • 1899 Liberty $20 NGC PF 67 Ultra Cameo $166,750
  • 1907 High Relief, Wire Rim Saint–Gaudens $20 NGC MS 67
  • 1924–S Saint–Gaudens $20 NGC MS 65 $46,000
  • 1925–S Saint–Gaudens $20 NGC MS 64 $40,250
  • 1915–S $50 Panama Pacific round NGC MS 65 $115,000
  • 1851 880 Thous, Reeded Edge Humbert $50 NGC MS 61 $100,625

The FUN show greeted both dealers and hobbyists from throughout the country at the spacious Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida January 5–8. From all accounts, dealers arrived early in the greater Orlando area to ferret out any fresh deals, hoping that the early trading would bolster their respective inventories in pre–FUN action as well as jettison some stock leftover from last year.

Set up day was a continuation of the brisk pre–show trading and substantial business was conducted by both dealers and collectors. Thursday, the first official day for the public attendees, was the scene of moderate to heavy floor traffic. Friday's floor action was a bit lighter, but Saturday was perhaps the busiest day. By nearly unanimous affirmation dealers that I spoke to had an exceptional show. One well known dealer from New York State confided to me that he had his best show ever! “I sold over $500,000 just walking the floor. Two NGC slabs accounted for my top sales, one a 1907 Wire Rim Indian $10 graded NGC MS 65 and the other was a nearly six figure NGC slab. You can quote me on the fact that this was my best sales ever at any show and certainly the most profitable.” Another relatively new dealer from the greater Miami, Florida area who specializes in US, foreign coins and bullion related material told me that he had a very exciting show. He believes that the strength of the metals markets in the first week of the new year contributed to his busy, as well as profitable show. “I had customers calling in Thursday through Saturday wanting to make appointments to visit with me at the convention center. It was really great.” The dealer also advised that the strong showing of world and ancient coins in Heritage’s New York auction on Jan 2–3, which realized a significant $9 million added a bold spark to an already active foreign market. “I expect big things and significant advances in the world arena this year.” Another well known dealer from Delaware advised me that they found no resistance selling high five–figure and some low six–figure coins. “If this is an indication of what 2012 is going to be like, this could be a banner year.”

I can certainly confirm that heavy floor traffic produced a hypnotic buzz that was rapidly converted to many sales. At one point as I was strolling down one of the aisles on the bourse floor it appeared that much business was being conducted with coins and cash exchanging hands in rapid fashion as if it were a January white sale. There was no shortage of well known dealers circulating the bourse, as I observed many going from table to table inquiring as to the whereabouts of some six–figure coins needed to fill clients’ needs. Everything from early coppers in high grade, Territorial slugs, Pan–Pac slugs, and Flowing Hair and Bust Dollars in Gem condition was in demand. Another wave seemed to be searching each table hunting for spectacularly toned Seated Liberty and Barber coins in NGC slabs. A dealer from Aventura, FL was so busy at his booth that he employed a pair of the FUN pages to canvass the floor in search of NGC PF 68 Buffalo Nickels to fill a client’s want list. They located an NGC PF 68 Satin 1936 Buffalo as well as the brilliant version. “They gave me the table number and I snapped them up immediately for my customer. I also contributed to the Pages' college fund in appreciation for their efforts!”

The 25th anniversary Silver Eagle sets seemed to be enjoying a resurgence in the marketplace with many dealers reassessing their inventories. Open but “fresh sets” were bringing $625 to $640 from active buyers on the floor. One couple who just completed the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday morning arrived at the show sporting the official Marathon t–shirt. I congratulated them on their accomplishment. That certainly brought back some memories as I completed the same course on the exact same date back in 1995! This athletic couple from Tampa, FL told me that they came over to the convention center as fast as they could, anxious to do some selling and trading before all the dealers packed up and left. A half hour later they were pleased to show me their acquisitions, several semikey Morgan dollars in NGC slabs grading MS 64 through MS 66. “We lucked out. A dealer had just taken in a sizable fresh deal including early NGC graded Morgan and Peace Dollars and we had first opportunity before he started packing up.” Although politics as well as playoff football may have been capturing the headlines, it was nice to have some numismatic FUN to break in 2012!

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.

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