CSNS A Barn Burner For Numismatics

Posted on 5/2/2013

Heritage Triple Crown In Illinois Captures $68 Million! Finest Known NGC 1796 Dollar and 1852 Humbert $10 Each Gain Entry to Million Dollar Club!

As a dynamic and exciting month of April winds down, numismatic icons are at the center of media outlets’ attention; gold and silver have been on a roller coaster type ride and collectors can’t wait to get on board.

The Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF) host auction by Heritage on April 18-23, witnessed a highly competitive venue as the sale realized nearly $10.5 million! All told 115 NGC-certified world class coins captured low to high five figures. As is the case with the US coin market, the preponderance of those coins gracing that roster were all gold issues. Not a surprise, many of the pieces are extremely rare and are seldom seen in the market. However with that said, top NGC bragging rights went to a regal Platinum coin! An impressive and extremely rare Russian 1835 Platinum 12 Roubles of Nicholas I, graded NGC AU 55 captured $94,000. All of the platinum 12 Roubles are true rarities as all those minted from 1830-1845 were recalled by the government and melted in 1845. Amazingly, and a boon for collectors, a small quantity of the historic issue escaped the melting pot. This lightly mirrored surfaced, steely grey specimen had a miniscule original mintage of only 127 pieces and was one of only four business strikes of this date that populate the NGC World Coin Census.

Other top tier NGC world coins meeting the hammer at CICF include the following:

  • Brazil 1733/23-M Joao V 6400 Reis NGC AU 58 $58,750
  • Brazil 1729-B Joao V 12800 Reis NGC AU Details $64,625
  • China Kiangnan (1898) Dollar NGC MS 63 $38,188
  • China Republic 1916 Commemorative Gold Dollar NGC MS 64 $58,750
  • Germany Weimar Republic 1924-G 50 Reichspfennig NGC MS 65 $19,975
  • Great Britain 1893 2 pounds NGC PF 67 Cameo $12,925
  • Great Britain 1893 5 Pounds NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo $25,850
  • India 1841-C Mohur NGC MS 63 $11,163
  • India 1870-C 10 Rupees NGC MS 62 $10,575
  • Russia 1741 CNB Ivan III Rouble NGC AU 55 $38,188

At the conclusion of the Chicago International Coin Fair the transition and attention of the numismatists was quickly focused on the 74th Annual Central States Numismatic Society Convention (CSNS), April 24 - 27 in Schaumberg, IL. CSNS attendance was quite heavy for the duration of the show and dealers reported that overall sales were excellent. According to bourse dealers, once the collectors located the material they were interested in they were quite decisive and quick on the draw to make a purchase for their collections. A well known dealer concurred stating, “It's been a steady flow of business... and prices are strong.”

Armed with the knowledge that both gold and silver spot prices were at levels not visited for over two years, many attendees who were busily canvassing the bourse on opening day were also anxious to purchase Gold and Silver Eagles, generic Morgan and Peace Dollars as well as $20 Saints and Libs. More than one knowledgeable collector/ investor confided in me that they were anticipating a sharp rebound for both gold and silver. “I think metals as well as rare coins are great values at this juncture,” advised a seasoned collector from Ohio. After the metals took a sharp downturn less than two weeks ago, I advised my wife that this is the time to pull the trigger. I feel that this is a great opportunity.”

During opening day a true “gold bug” from Chicago was able to scope out some really choice $20 Saint Gaudens type coins and was successful in acquiring a handful of NGC MS 64 dazzlers for only $1,800 a coin. “I am really stoked,” said the Illinois collector. “These are fabulous coins. I was also able to pick up several mint marked coins at the same price level.”

National Coin Broker’s president Ross Baldwin concurred that the metal arena is a hot property. “My company just sold over $2 million worth of Silver Eagles in the last two weeks. I think silver is a great value at this level and I feel market dynamics indicate the white metal pushing back over $30 an ounce in the near term,” asserted Mr. Baldwin. Another attendee, a self-confessed US coin nut told me that he loves the CSNS venue although an impromptu fire drill during the show on Thursday disrupted his strategy session. “I lost my bearings there for a few minutes and when I re-entered the bourse after the all clear was announced, it took me a few minutes to locate and settle back in with the dealer that I was talking to. I was able to pick up some nice NGC-certified Barber Halves for my set though. Hey you could really call it a fire sale,” quipped the collector.

A prominent dealer from California advised that he’s in the market for Three Cent Silver Proofs. “I just can’t locate enough PF 65 and better coins for my customers and I’m willing to pay well above the ask price for decent NGC coins,” relayed the dealer. I concur with this numismatic professional that the diminutive Three Cent Silver Proofs have been, perhaps, underrated as a series for some time. Yet recent public sales readily attest to the accelerated demand by collectors and the resulting and warranted escalating prices realized.

I also caught up with a very busy Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage and asked if he felt any US series may still be undervalued. “I think the most underrated US series at present are high grade $5 Indians. I think they are crazy cheap right now. I also think that there are several series that have not had their die varieties analyzed yet, so there is potential there,” asserted Halperin. One such series which warrants further investigation in his estimation is the $10 Indian series and Jim advised me that he is working on a book of die varieties for that popular series now.

I also inquired if there were any low population, high quality coins from any series which this industry expert felt weren’t bringing record prices right now. “Well I don’t know, probably not many… Interestingly we saw the demand (for rare coins) spike after gold went down. Things have really increased; almost everything went better than we expected in our sale. All I can really say is that we were pleasantly surprised by how uniformly strong the market was at the top end. This was really a spectacular result.”

That was probably an understatement. Certainly an enormous display of strength was witnessed as the illustrious 1913 “Walton” Liberty Nickel and six other lots each eclipsed the million dollar plateau at the fabulous Heritage Signature Coin and Currency auctions. In fact including the CICF sale a record $68 Million has been generated in rare US and world coins and currency in the last ten days in Illinois!

The Heritage host CSNS Signature coin auction certainly validated the ongoing strength of the rare coin market. It was a powerful venue as excited, live participation on the bidding floor and via the Internet propelled the coin sale proceeds to nearly $42 million. Boasting an impressive 97% sell through rate, 16 spectacular NGC examples eclipsed six figures. Two of the phenomenal offerings broke into the elite million dollar club! Leading the charge was an extraordinary 1796 Small Date, Small Letters Draped Bust Dollar variety BB-63-B-2, believed to be the single finest known example in existence. The spectacularly original toned specimen graded NGC MS 65 roared to $1,175,000!! Next on the momentous report is the jaw-dropping entry from the Eric P. Newman Collection. The incredible 1852 Humbert $10 Gold graded NGC MS 68, the finest known US assay office gold coin, thundered to $1,057,500! Next, the historic and iconic NGC MS 61 BN 1792 Birch Cent, silver center example, with esteemed numismatic lineage to Bushnell, Paramelee, Brand, Green and Norweb powered to $822,500.

Truly rare and finest known examples continue to stir passion and elicit powerful bidding at public auction as evidenced by those listed here. Although gold coins maintain a fervent following, silver and copper entries were certainly in the limelight at Heritage’s CSNS sale:

  • 1804 14 Stars Rev Draped Bust Dime NGC MS 63 $367,188
  • 1839 No Drapery Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 65 $411,250
  • 1841 Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 60 $635,000
  • 1852 Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 65 $105,750
  • 1892-O Barber Half Dollar NGC SP 66 $108,688
  • 1849 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 67 $129,250
  • 1863 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 69 $129,250
  • 1893-S Morgan Dollar NGC MS 65 $258,500
  • 1895 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 68 Cameo $117,500
  • 1915 J-1791/1961 No S Panama Pacific Half Dollar NGC PF 65 $176,250 (Eric P. Newman)
  • 1915 J-1792/1962 No S Panama Pacific Half Dollar NGC PF 66 RB $199,750 (Eric P. Newman)

Other inspiring NGC offerings included this high caliber contingent:

  • 1863 J-301 Indian Cent NGC PF 66 RD $70,500 (Eric P. Newman)
  • 1865 Two Cent Piece NGC PF 66 RD $15,075 (Eric P. Newman)
  • 1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime NGC MS 67 PL $94,000
  • 1837 No Stars, Large Date Liberty Seated Dime NGC MS 65 (original NGC black slab) $17,625
  • 1919 Standing Liberty Quarter NGC MS 69 $36,719
  • 1796 15 Stars Draped Bust Half Dollar NGC XF 45 $91,063
  • 1877 J-1516 Morgan Half Dollar NGC PF 67 $70,500 (Eric P. Newman)
  • 1896-O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 65 $94,000
  • 1854-D Type I Gold Dollar NGC MS 64 $64,625
  • 1875 Type III Gold Dollar NGC MS 64 $22,325
  • 1898 $10 Liberty NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo $85,188
  • 1907 No Periods, Wire Rim $10 Indian NGC MS 65 $61,688

Wow, such little time to digest the excitement in the Midwest, we find that the ANA Spring National Money show is just around the corner! New Orleans is the stage May 8-11. I hope to see you on the bourse!

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.

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