Eleven Sessions of U.S. Coins and Paper Money Bring a Total of More Than $37.5 Million
The Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 2020 Auction marked a successful kick-off to the firm’s 2020 season of flagship U.S. coin sales. Originally scheduled to take place in Baltimore alongside the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Spring Expo, the auction was relocated to the Stack’s Bowers headquarters in Orange County, California following the cancellation of all public events in the state of Maryland in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Despite these uncertain circumstances, the sale realized astounding success, with most sessions earning considerably above their pre-sale estimates that had been determined when the catalogs were produced.
In total, over $26.59 million worth of U.S. coins were sold, demonstrating the resilience of the coin market and Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ ability to connect bidders with rare and desirable numismatic treasures. In all, the firm’s March 2020 Auction saw over $37.5 million in coins and paper money cross the auction block.
All prices include the buyer’s fee.
Numismatic Americana and Colonials
Session One of the sale, held on Wednesday, March 18, showcased Numismatic Americana and Colonial coinage, including an impressive selection of United States Assay Commission medals from the Richard Jewell Collection. A 1916 silver medal by George T. Morgan with the edge incuse WOODROW WILSON realized $9,600 in lot 219 while the 1932/31 bronze medal by John R. Sinnock and Adam Pietz in MS-69 (NGC) sold for $4,560 (lot 236).
A circa 1811-1815 Planter’s Bank counterstamp on a cut down Spanish American 8 Reales was offered in lot 344. This AU-55 example, pedigreed to the collections of Colonel James W. Ellsworth and John Work Garrett, sold for $15,600.
As the sale moved into colonial coins, state coppers came to the fore as a 1786 Connecticut copper, Miller 2.2-D.2, graded Fine-15 (PCGS) and pedigreed to the Robert M. Martin Collection brought $9,000 in lot 404.
In lot 436, a Rarity-7+ 1786 New Jersey copper, Maris 24-M, Wide Shield, was bid all the way to $45,600.
Company President Brian Kendrella remarked at the close of the session that “our staff has been fully booked with processing presale bids and setting up phone bidders for each of the upcoming auction sessions. And, our superb online bidding software has been carrying the load, as is the norm in today’s auction world. It’s hard to keep enthusiastic collectors on the sideline when there are so many bidding options for them to utilize and such high-quality numismatic material crossing the block.”
Classic U.S. Coin Rarities
The ESM Collection of Half Cents was a magnet of interest when exhibited at major conventions over the previous several months, and that interest was on full display as the ESM Collection opened the Rarities Night Session on Thursday, March 19.
The session opened with lot 3001, a 1793 Liberty Cap Cohen-3 in MS-63 BN (PCGS) that sold for $84,000. The Liberty Cap half cents continued to perform as a 1794 Cohen-1a graded MS-62 BN (PCGS) realized $43,200 (lot 3002) and a 1794 Cohen-9 in MS-63 BN (PCGS) was bid to $72,000 (lot 3003).
The Classic Head section also saw multiple coins sell well into five figures, including lot 3035, an 1809/‘6’ in an old green PCGS holder at MS-65 BN and with CAC approval that fetched $36,000.
The most anticipated offerings of the session included a pair of incredibly rare Proof-only Trade dollars from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection. Offered in lot 3215 was an 1884 Trade dollar that ranks as the fourth finest of the 10 known examples at a grade of Proof-64+ Cameo (PCGS). It was last offered at auction in Stack’s January 1984 sale of the Carter Family Collection where it brought $45,100. It went on to sell for $552,000 in the Stack’s Bowers March 2020 Auction. An 1885 Trade dollar, the second finest of five known, was presented in lot 3216. Graded Proof-64 (PCGS), it sold for $1,320,000.
These two Trade dollars were accompanied by numerous world-class rarities in the session including four additional lots that broke into six-figures.
A pair of 1915-S Panama Pacific Expo $50 commemorative gold coins were offered with nicely matched grades of Proof-64+ (PCGS) CAC in lot 3280 (Round) and lot 3282 (Octagonal); they went on to realize $108,000 and $102,000, respectively.
The D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part VII
Nearly three years after Part V of the D. Brent Pogue Collection hit the market, the most valuable coin collection ever sold cemented its grip on the record books with more than $15 million in additional sales, increasing the total prices realized to $131,298,560. With most bidders participating online, the 420 United States coin lots of Part VII realized 104% of their presale high estimates, which were determined well before recent economic difficulties.
Included were two coins that are counted among the most famous rarities in the entire realm of United States coinage. Leading all sales was the finest known example of the legendary 1854-S half eagle, the first $5 gold coin struck in the San Francisco Mint. Pedigreed to the Eliasberg Collection, the PCGS AU-58+ Pogue coin is the best example of the three confirmed to still exist. It realized $1.92 million after 38 years off the market. A Proof-55 (PCGS) example of the “King of American Coins”, the Berg-Garrett Class III 1804 dollar, brought $1.44 million.
At $408,000, the famous “Little Princess” 1841 Proof quarter eagle from the Pogue Collection set a new world record for the type. Pedigreed to the Eliasberg and Bass collections, the Pogue specimen is graded Proof-64 CAM (PCGS) and is considered the finest in private hands.
Another world record was set by the finest known 1854-S quarter eagle, formerly in the F.C.C. Boyd and Harry W. Bass, Jr. collections. Graded AU-50 (PCGS), the low-mintage rarity brought $384,000, surpassing a 15-year-old record for the date.
The MS-65 (PCGS) 1918/7-D overdate Standing Liberty quarter blew by estimates, selling for $90,000.
The 1919-D quarter is a major condition rarity in superb gem grades, pushing the Pogue MS-66+ FH (PCGS) to a final price of $114,000.
The PCGS-graded Pogue Washington quarter set won accolades for both superb grades and spectacular toning. Despite most coins being estimated in the few hundreds to few thousands of dollars, collectors bid the coins well beyond those levels. The beautiful 1932-S quarter in PCGS MS-66 brought $43,200 against its $20,000-25,000 estimate.
The opposite of high grade coins — Pogue’s “low-ball” set — also saw frenzied bidding, led by a Poor-1 (PCGS) 1938 New Rochelle commemorative half dollar, a condition rarity that brought $4,080.
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With over $25.59 million in U.S. coins sold in their March 2020 Auction, Stack’s Bowers Galleries demonstrated superior ability to host a successful major sale in the face of unanticipated global uncertainty. The firm is now looking toward their summer 2020 auction season, including their official auctions of the Whitman Summer Expo in Baltimore and the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Pittsburgh. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is inviting consignments to both sales and expects the success realized in their March sale to extend to these flagship events. Contact them today at Consign@stacksbowers.com or 800-566-2580 to speak with a numismatic expert.