By Ron Guth …..
Disclaimer: The author is an independent reporter. He has no affiliation with Stack’s Bowers and he has received no compensation from them (or anyone else) for this analysis.
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On August 15, 2019, Stack’s Bowers conducted their Rarities Night session of 497 U.S. coins, plus an additional session of 41 United States $10 eagles from the collection of Anthony J. Taraszka. The following commentary focuses on the five United States coins that realized the highest prices in those sales. Also included is supplemental information and analysis. The prices listed below are from the Stack’s Bowers website as of August 18, 2019, and they include a buyer’s premium of 20%. Twenty-six coins sold for over $100,000 USD. Of those, seven sold for over $200,000 and one sold for over $1 million. All images are from the Stack’s Bowers website.
Lot 5178 – sold for $1,320,000
The 1894-S Dime is a “trophy” coin that has benefitted from much publicity over the years. This example was once owned by Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Buss (famous for his majority ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Forum). This one has been off the market for many years and was actually left off some of the subsequent rosters of known examples. The purchaser this time around was mega-collector D.L. Hansen, who has been actively pursuing a complete collection of U.S. coins with the goal of exceeding Louis Eliasberg, Sr.’s singular accomplishment.
Lot 4004 – sold for $630,000
This was one of the finest coins and certainly the most valuable coin in Anthony J. Taraszka’s collection. It is tied with one other PCGS MS63 as the second finest certified example known of the die variety and it is exceeded only by the former D. Brent Pogue example that sold for $1,057,500 in 2015 (it should be pointed out that the uncertified coin in the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Core Collection might give any of these three a run for their money). The last auction appearance of this coin was in a May 1995 Superior sale, where it did not sell, so it probably went into Mr. Taraszka’s sometime after that. Without a purchase price, it is difficult to determine how Mr. Taraszka’s investment turned out, but he probably did just fine.
Lot 5182 – sold for $456,000
Kudos to the team at Stack’s Bowers for pulling some really great coins out of the woodwork. Like the previous two coins, this one has been off the market for decades. It last sold for $63,250 in the Stack’s January 1988 sale celebrating their 400 auction sales of previous years. Though $456,000 is not a record price for the date, it is consistent with the grade and other comparables. This one has already been added to the PCGS Set Registry by the new owner, Tom Bender, who has been building an exceptionally important collection of U.S. coins.
Lot 4015 – sold for $384,000
This was another of the highlights from Anthony Taraszka’s collection. This is now the second-most-valuable example of this variety to appear at auction (the record of $705,000 was set in 2015 by D. Brent Pogue’s PCGS MS61). Taraszka paid $73,700 for this coin in 1995, so the new sale price of $384,000 represents a nice return. I judge this example to be the sixth or seventh finest of this rare variety, depending on how the Smithsonian and Bass Core Collection examples would grade.
Lot 5389 – sold for $372,000
This is the finest 1930-S $20 per the PCGS Population Report and it now holds the distinction of being the most valuable example of the date ever to appear at auction (the previous record of $253,000 was set back in 2005 when this same coin sold as part of the Philip Morse collection as an MS66). On average, this date appears at auction only one or two times per year, so healthy price appreciation is not unexpected.
For more information about the rest of the coins in this auction, visit archive.stacksbowers.com.
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Ron Guth is an award-winning writer and researcher and an expert on United States numismatics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.