By Laura SperberLegend Numismatics Market Report


Legend and its principals have attended and bid in EVERY major auction since 1980. NEVER before had we seen a display of wealth and aggressive bidding like what we just experienced in the Missouri Cabinet of Half Cents. Only the famed Garrett Collection comes close in our minds to this highly specialized sale. The HAMMER was somewhere around $15,800,000.00. The estimate was about $7,500,000 (which was broken before 100 lots were sold)! Legend spent a total of $2,200,000.00. It took us 4 days to unwind from that great sale. Newman took 3 days! The Goldbergs did a great job.

Our guess is 90-95% of the sale went direct to collectors. While Legend spent about $200,000.00 for its inventory, we predict you will see VERY few coins appear on the secondary market from this sale from dealers.

The reasons for this craziness was simple; these were incredible coins (the best of the best) that had been off the market for decades. Very few even remotely close pieces ever appear on the market. This set is the epitomy of how a collector should build a great set and enjoy its fruits DECADES later, not the day they win a top registry spot and think they will earn huge financial rewards. One of the aggressive bidders we represented and was on the phone with us kept asking: will we ever see another example? Then he would instruct us to keep bidding an thus pushed a coin into a stratospheric value. Thats how rare and quality oriented these coins are.

The auction room was packed. We saw several major collectors we had not seen in years attend. A few “newer” power players were there too. We know of THREE BILLIONAIRES who where bidding (two were major league baseball team owners). It was sad how many collectors already knew they were out gunned, but put on brave faces and vowed to get something. We had knots in our stomachs as we had hoped to spend $4-$5,000,000.00 on behalf of our customers. We too (being the not so secret copper weenies we are) had been waiting for this sale ever since we knew of it.

1793_hc_66bnIt was pure pins and needles when the auction started. We had a customer who has been waiting for the 1793 PCGS MS66BN ever since he heard it was for sale. For weeks we debated what it would sell for. When the lot opened we stood ready to bid $1,500,000.00 hammer. The coin sold for a $920,000.00-we got a steal! We were all thrilled and did a big exhale! The coin is now in world class collection-in the Far East (to this day, that amazes us)! Clearly this was the BEST 1793 in the sale. 

The MS65BN CAC which we bid on too for another collector, was not as nice however it did have some light red. We strongly resented when a totally bias poorly written article appeared on a web site quoting the new owner of the MS65BN saying his coin was more “original” – that was stupid talk and the articles writer should be censored for unfactual trash.

Our coin would have sold for what we expected but a major player was out for this sale. We also bought the 1793 PCGS MS64+ BN CAC for another collector building a first year Type set. Pretty cool coins!

After the 1793’s, the sale immediately heated up and got really interesting. We’d try and buy a coin-like the 1803 PCGS MS66RB. We had told our customer you never see this and pay what it takes. Our estimate was $150,000.00 – $175,000.00 and we thought that was slightly nuts. We were bidding early and then it hit $125,000.00. Then the bidding would slow to the point we think we’re going to win. At that point, a really weathly long time Early Bust buyer would jump in and run us up to $200,000.00 where we’d quit. Then the fireworks would happen- the 1000 pound gorilla bidder in the room who loves copper would then START his bidding! The 1803 PCGS MS66RB CAC sold for $287,500.00 total! This agony went on all day. Towards the end, a new player jumped in and ruled most of the Proofs in a similar fashion. We just began jumping the bids to not only make things go quicker but to test if he had any limits-which we never hit.

The super rich collectors were not the only ones playing hard. Coins like a 1854 PCGS MS66BN sold for $12,075.00 all in! There was a 1857 PCGS MS65BN CAC that sold for $2,300.00. The new owner has a great coin from what will be one of the most famous collections ever!

We know many collectors who just wanted to own a coin from this incredible collection. Most got shut out.

Highlights from the sale were:

1794 PCGS MS67RB CAC $1,150,000.00 This coin is regarded at the possibly the FINEST Half Cent that exists

1806 PCGS MS66RB CAC 138,000.00

1809 PCGS MS66BN CAC $63,250.00

1811 PCGS MS66RB CAC $1,121,250.00 All we can say is WOW!

1826 PCGS MS66BN CAC $16,100.00

1832 PCGS MS66RB CAC $25,300.00

1845 ORIGINAL PCGS PR64BN CAC $35,650.00

1852 ORIGINAL PR65RB CAC $603,750.00 An amazing price-an even more amazing coin.

NOTE: going into the sale we valued EVERY ORIGINAL PR65 at a MINIMUM of $50,000.00. Even though most pieces did not realized six figures, they very easily could have. We actually quit bidding on several because we saw one player was set to just buy the coins. We picked our spots and went after the dates with two examples. You have to realize, #1 so few ORIGINAL Proofs in REAL GEM ever come to market and the mintages are as rare as any PR Gold and RARER then some classic rarities. You can’t think cheap when buying coins like this. A new player emerged who clearly was set on building a complete collection of these. Apparently he and his rep stratagized to pay beyond perception so they could buy some. Our guess is they bought 70% of the Proofs. Smart move. That set too will one day sell for signifcant returns.

If you really want to be technical, virtually EVERY coin in the sale brought record prices. Besides the 2 1793 pieces, Legends lonely other highlights included the lot 41 1797 PCGS MS66 BN $299,000.00 and lot 100 1810 PCGMS 66+ BN $109,250.00 (we badly wanted these two for sets we are building). It was the toughest sale we had ever bid in!

If a collection of Half Cents can attract this much mainstream attention and power bidders, with out a doubt we will tell you the overall market is ALIVE and is a VERY healthy. When it comesd to the very best, the collectors at the top have proven time and time again, they will do what they must to secure the coin. At this sale, they did-on every lot!

Also, understand, that these record prices realized also have now set the new “market prices” for these coins. Prior, NONE had traded in decades. We’ve heard people ask questions like is an auction like this gonzo retail moneyl? No, it is not. Bet the next time that 1803 we missed at $287,500.00 sells, it will create another bidding frenzy and new price record. The buyer bought for tomorrow, NOT today.

The few coins Legend did purchase are all proofs and will be offered for sale soon. In fact,we will have an outrageous ULTRA HIGH END group of Pre 1860 copper to offer in the coming weeks.