Long-held Coin Collections Can Teach Lessons in Originality

By Steve Roach – http://www.steveroachonline.com

Collectors and dealers alike enjoy buying coins that have been in long-held family collections as they are “fresh” to the market and have generally been allowed to age gracefully.

Naturally toned Proof 1866 Seated Liberty silver dollar is typical of the “fresh” coins in the Teich Family Collection, to be offered at auction by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in Baltimore in mid-November. The coins were stored in older holders, likely with some sulfur which caused a reaction, resulting in toning.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries will offer more than 300 coins from the Teich Family collection in several auction sessions from Nov. 14 to 19 at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore.

The Teich Family put its collections together in the 1950s and 1960s, acquiring coins from various sources including the coin department at Gimbel’s and Stack’s in New York City.

The coins have been essentially inaccessible to this generation’s collectors and their offering represents an increasingly rare opportunity in the coin market. Many of the coins were stored in old envelopes where they acquired toning. The Teich Family Collection’s classic 19th century U.S. Proof silver coins provide a view of the many different ways that coins can tone over time.

The collection also includes Mint State popular 20th century coin types like Indian Head 5-cent pieces and some gold coins.

Previewing collections like this is useful as it can train one’s eye to understand and recognize what “natural” toning formed over decades looks like, as opposed to artificial toning.

According to the family, the coins had not been touched for nearly 50 years.

Howard Teich, a New York attorney, recalled his parent’s coin collecting activities in the 1960s and his father’s motto to “buy the best.” He said that in the late 1980s during a surge in the rare coin market, he looked at Coin World for some guidance on what the family’s collection might be worth. While a selection of coins including classic U.S. commemorative half dollars was sold in the 1990s, he was glad that the family waited until now to sell the bulk of the collection.

He said that in studying the family’s collection, he was able to start to see the coins through his father’s eyes, adding that his father’s emphasis on quality and his appreciation of beautifully toned coins was ahead of his time.

For collectors of this generation, it is hard to imagine a time when coins were not certified by third-party grading services (or when department stores had coin departments), but old-time collections offer a window back to another era in collecting.

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