Brasher Doubloon Establishes Record Price For NGC-certified Coin

Posted on 1/23/2014

Heritage Florida Sales Capture Over $91 Million! Trio of NGC Icons Top Million Dollars. World Coins Flexing Muscle.

The recently concluded FUN convention was certainly one for the ages! It was all that collectors and dealers could have hoped for. The excited and ever-expanding collector base certainly had a chance to partake in what is one of the best and most exciting coin shows to start off any year in my memory. Virtually every dealer that I have conversed with had an excellent show. There was solid nonstop action on both sides of the aisle in the sunshine state. For every dealer that had a fabulous sales campaign, others advised me that they had the opportunity to buy some of the best material they had seen in many years. One dealer from Texas told me that he has never seen so much fresh material at a FUN show. “Maybe I was lucky, but it seemed like I had a fresh deal come through the door and over to my table every couple of hours on Friday. A nice mix of early type coins, some Colonials, and some great Morgan Dollars.”

Dave, a collector who made the trip from Redondo Beach, California, informed me that he has been on the sidelines with coins for many years and is now pursuing a few of his favorites. “I had the opportunity to do some graphic design work for one of the industry pricing guides. I wasn’t exactly familiar with coin collecting, but I became more so after working on those guides.” Dave went on to comment that he has a fondness for the Buffalo nickel series. “I really appreciate the craftsmanship and design of the Buffalo Nickel. The Indian and the Buffalo are just great works of art. I really sincerely appreciate all the work that went into these earlier coins. It is just not there today with the modern US issues in my opinion.” The articulate California collector went on to say that as his budget allows, he is salting away a few early Mint State mint marked examples. “To me, well struck early Buffaloes, especially the Denver and San Francisco coins, are truly rare, and I think that they are still undervalued. There hasn’t been that much movement in the market as of late, so, in my opinion, this is a good time to pick up some of these coins.”

Of course, there was considerable commotion and excitement as the prestigious Heritage Auctions Platinum Night got underway on January 9th. Leading off the fabulous sale was the 1787 Brasher Doubloon graded NGC MS 63. The historic and finest known example of this gold coin was originally purchased by Chicago numismatist Walter Perschke for a then-record $430,000 at the famed Rarcoa sale in 1979. Walter took extreme pride in his coin and shared his treasure with the numismatic public, displaying the Brasher at numerous events and shows over the last several decades and the Doubloon was a major exhibit at the NGC booth at the ANA’s World’s Fair Of Money in 2012. Now, in 2014, after nearly 35 years of ownership, it was decided that it was time to allow the coin to have a new home. There was an anxious buzz in the packed auction room on Platinum Night when lot #5100 was announced. After an intense flurry of advances above pre-auction bidding, the premier gold coin of American numismatics sold for $4,852,500 to an enthusiastic floor bidder! The famed coin not only captured over 10 times the price paid when the coin last sold at auction, it also established a record price paid for any NGC-certified coin!

Yet the fireworks in the Sunshine State were far from over as the famed Olsen/Hawaii Five-0 1913 Liberty Nickel graded NGC PF 64 powered to an impressive $3,290,000. Topping off the million dollar club was the ultimate “collectible key” to the Saint-Gaudens series. The revered 1927-D $20 Saint-Gaudens graded NGC MS 66 Ex Dr. Steven Duckor, raced to an impressive and record for the date, $1,997,500!

At the conclusion of the host Heritage Signature Sales, it is evident that the prestigious powerhouse coins are still commanding numerous suitors and those with big pocketbooks are still taking them home and perhaps, more telling, taking them off the market. However, coins with exacting strike and phenomenal appearance at virtually all price points are also being targeted and are receiving very strong bids, in many cases in record territory. All told nearly 8,000 lots were made available to collectors and dealers and over 97% of those offered sold. Very impressive indeed! All told in Florida, coins and currency meeting the hammer by Heritage at FUN, realized over $91 million! Tremendous prices realized and phenomenal strength remains highly evident in this still raging coin market. A breakdown of the monumental sale reveals 75 coins sold for over $100,000, and an astounding 816 coins sold for over five figures!

The roster of NGC notables crossing the auction block included the following exemplary examples, many of which were record prices realized within their grade designations:

  • 1812 Large Date Classic Head Large Cent NGC MS 65 RB $49,938 (Record Price)
  • 1864 Small Motto Two Cent Piece NGC PF 64 RD $58,750 (Record Price)
  • 1838 No Drapery Liberty Seated Half Dime NGC PF 66 $182,125 (Record Price)
  • 1941-S Washington Quarter NGC MS 68 $10,282 (Record Price)
  • 1838-O Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC PF 64 Ex. Eliasberg $763,750 (Record Price)
  • 1857 Seated Liberty Dollar NGC MS 66 $99,875 (Record Price)
  • 1863 Seated Liberty Dollar NGC PF 69 $129,250
  • 1895 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 65 $102,813 (Record Price)
  • 1921 Peace Dollar NGC Satin PF 66 $99,875(Record Price)
  • 1922 Peace Dollar Low Relief NGC PF 65 Matte $199,750 (Record Price)
  • 1922 High Relief Peace Dollar NGC PF 67 Matte $329,000 (Record Price)
  • 1911-D Indian Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65 $70,500
  • 1821 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC AU 55 $141,000 (Record Price)
  • 1894-S Liberty Half Eagle NGC MS 69 $176,250
  • 1875 Liberty $10 NGC PF 50 $164,500 (Record Price)
  • 1856-O Liberty $20 NGC XF 45 $381,875 (Record Price)
  • 1861-O Liberty $20 NGC MS 60 $146,875 (Record Price)
  • 1884 Liberty $20 NGC PF 64 Cameo $164,500 (Record Price)
  • 1887 Liberty $20 NGC PF 66 $258,500 (Record Price)

The extraordinary prices realized in the sale not only confirmed the strength and vitality of the rare coin market, it also makes quite the statement about the intense desirability for NGC-certified coins.

Amazingly, only three weeks into 2014, and powerhouse numismatic auctions have already eclipsed $120 million! Certainly major public sales within the industry are not only generating superb business and revenue but are also attracting untold numbers of new collectors, all anxious to take part in the numismatic marketplace.

World coins continue to cater to strong and ever appreciative demand, as well. Stack's Bowers and Ponterio’s NYINC sale, January 10-13, powered to over $5.1 Million. According to Stack's Bowers President, Brian Kendrella, “The sale was incredible!” A review reveals solid action throughout, with heightened demand targeting Great Britain, as well as Latin America, gold issues. Not surprisingly, leading the NGC parade was a trio of gold coins from the famed Thomas H. Law collection. “Obviously, the standouts were the selections from the Thomas H. Law coins from Great Britain," assessed Kendrella. The Great Britain 1773 George III Pattern 5 Guineas, 1773 Graded NGC PF 64, witnessed the gorgeous and superb rarity power to an amazing $440,625, eclipsing by nearly threefold the high pre-auction estimate! Next, was the Great Britain 1768 George III Pattern 2 Guineas graded NGC PF 63 which soared to over four times auction estimates, capturing $199,750. Another pattern, an 1820 George III 5 Pound graded NGC PF 61 Cameo, reported in at $188,000.

Other NGC highlights at the Stack's Bowers Ponterio NYINC sale:

  • Brazil 1726M 20,000 Reis NGC MS 63 $11,750
  • Brazil 1727M 20,000 Reis NGC MS 62 $12,925
  • Chile 1787So DA 8 Reales NGC MS 62 $13,513
  • Germany 1686RB Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel NGC MS 64 $11,750
  • Germany (1675-92) Hamburg 10 Ducat NGC VF 25 $24,675
  • Germany 1657 Saxony 2 Taler NGC MS 63 $11,750
  • India, East India Company 1841 Victoria Mohur NGC MS 61 $7,050
  • Mexico 1769Mo GO Charles III ½ Grano NGC MS 65 RB $17,625
  • Mexico 1769Mo GO Charles III Grano NGC MS 65 RB $17,625
  • Peru 1770JM 4 Escudos NGC AU 58 $18,213
  • Poland 1934 10 Zlotych NGC MS 65 $11,750
  • Russia 1751 Elizabeth Rouble NGC MS 63 $12,925

Still in New York, on January 14-16 selections from the Eric P Newman Part III - world coins were presented by Heritage. The sale realized nearly $6.1 million, with 4 coins capturing well over six figures. Once again, Newman coins were seen flexing considerable muscle, this time taking on the world issues. All graded by NGC, the impressive and varied Newman cabinet provided us with these exciting highlights. Personally, my favorite issue in the sale was the Alfred The Great Monogram Penny graded NGC MS 63, an amazing historic artifact!

  • Austria 1612 Salzburg 14 Ducats NGC AU 58 $211,500
  • Russia 1729 Peter II Ducat NGC AU 50 $205,625
  • German States 1674 Emden Leopold I 2 Taler NGC MS 66 $111,625
  • Germany 1672 Saxe-Altenburg 10 Ducats NGC AU 58 $105,750
  • Canada 1884 Victoria Cent NGC SP 65 RB $55,813 (Newman originally purchased this coin for $3!)
  • Denmark 1691 Christian V Gold 2 Ducats NGC MS 63 $23,500
  • Great Britain (871-899) Alfred the Great Monogram Penny NGC MS 63 $52,875
  • Great Britain (1594-96) Elizabeth I 1 Pound NGC MS 62 $41,125
  • Great Britain 1847 Raised Edge Lettering Victoria Gothic Crown NGC PF 66 $21,150
  • Hong Kong, China 1866 Victoria Dollar NGC PF 64 $64,625
  • Sweden 1599 Carl (IX) Daler NGC MS 63 $35,250

All of this action, and January is not yet over! Still to come this month is the Goldberg’s pre-Long Beach sales, January 26-28, which I will review and several other exciting sales in my next report.

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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