A wide variety of coins and currency, in the form of U.S., World and Ancient rarities, realized more than $50 million for Heritage Coin Auctions across the first two weeks of 2016 in the company’s U.S. Coins ($34+ million) and Currency auctions at the annual FUN Convention ($7.6+ million) in Tampa, FL and the NYINC World & Ancient Coins auctions ($11.6+ million) taking place in New York.
“Prices were strong, bidding was strong and sell-through was strong,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “The results, overall, exceeded our expectations, topped by the fact that the media interest in the $1.99 million 1894-S Barber Dime showed that the coin captured the attention of the general public like no other coin, or coin story, has in the last year.”
Indeed the top lot in any of the coin auctions was the stunning 1894-S Barber Dime, Branch Mint PR66 PCGS CAC, the finest known, which realized $1,997,500 as the centerpiece of the FUN Tampa Platinum Night offerings on Jan. 7, 2016. It was sold to an experienced collector, who was one of 16 different collectors vying for the piece.
“This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to own one of the most famous, mysterious and elusive coins in American numismatics,” said Rohan. “It’s a classic American coin often grouped with the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel as ‘The Big Three’ of U.S. coin rarities.”
Further U.S. Coin auction highlights at FUN included an 1849-C G$1 Open Wreath MS62 PCGS Secure, Ex: Richmond Collection, the finest-known specimen of this rare gold series, which realized $528,750 when it crossed the block, an 1804 Quarter Eagle, 13 Stars Reverse, AU55 PCGS Secure CAC, the second finest known example of the exceedingly rare BD-1 Variety, which brought a final price realized of $505,250. An 1851 Humbert $50 Reeded Edge MS63 PCGS Secure CAC was an important highlight, drawing $381,875 on the day, while a 1792 One Cent VF35 PCGS Secure. AC, Ex: Simpson provided considerable fireworks when it reached $352,500.
In the $11.6+ million NYINC World & Ancient Coins auction, Jan. 3-13, 2016, it was British Commonwealth coins that proved the most popular with collectors, particularly an 1852-dated Type 1 Adelaide Pound from South Australia, which realized $99,875. This British Colony issue was struck without the approval of the English government, so few were minted, making any example truly rare. At AU58, this example is the finest of two certified by PCGS.
British India was represented in the auction by a superb four coin proof set of 1862 silver type coins struck in gold from The Formosa Collection, which brought $88,125. Of the four coins, the 1/4 Rupee, 1/2 Rupee and one Rupee are the only examples struck in gold to ever have been offered at auction. A 1951 Czech Republic gold 10 Dukatu MS66 PCGS, one of a minuscule mintage of 100 pieces presented one of the classic rarities in the 20th century gold type series to a collector who bid $76,375 to take it home, while an exceptional 1831 Louis Philippe I gold & silver “Rouen Mint Visit” Specimen Pattern 5 Francs Presentation Set, a spectacular presentation of the highest rarity, combining the exceedingly rare gold striking of the “Rouen Mint Visit” pattern with the scarce silver issue, was the subject of intense collector interest on its way to realizing $76,375.
The top ancient coin in this auction was a superb Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Eucratides I the Great Stater (ca. 171-145 BC) NGC Choice MS 5/5-5/5, Fine Style, which realized $82,250, while a superb Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) AV aureus, with an exceptional high-relief portrait and crisp striking detail realized $56,400.
Currency continued performing well at FUN in Tampa, with a unique signed and issued 1847 Washington, DC $500 Treasury Note Hessler X110C, a newly discovered note of the utmost rarity and desirability, which realized $199,750 as the top note in the event. The most glamorous note of the auction came in the form of a Choice Uncirculated Binion Pedigreed $10000 Green Seal Fr. 2231-B Federal Reserve Note PMG Choice Uncirculated 64, from the famous Binion hoard, long on display at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. The note did not disappoint, realizing an impressive $188,000 final price realized.
Rounding out the top currency highlights is a marvelous PMG Graded Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ $100 Gold Certificate Fr. 2405 PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ. This note, one of the most desirable 20th century types, proved quite popular with collectors as it soared to a final price realized of $105,750.
The Long Beach US Coins auction is now open for bidding at HA.com, with auctions of world coins and currency coming soon!