Bill Walker identifies two instances of how stolen coins found their way back on the market
Quick thinking on the part of a Heritage Auctions staff member led to the discovery of two high-value coins re-entering the marketplace.
Earlier this year Bill Walker, a rare coin specialist in Heritage Auctions’ Dallas office, was approached by a Florida coin dealer seeking to auction five rare coins. Walker began researching the coins and noticed that they all had been offered and sold in the firms’ Florida United Numismatics (FUN) Auction in 2016. The winner purchased seven coins and the Florida dealer was offering five from the purchase.
Right: Rare coin specialist Bill Walker. Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions
Realizing that the coins likely did not belong to the same person who successfully won the coins in the auction, Walker delved even further into the matter. Curiously, the dealer was being offered the coins for less than the recent auction records. Walker called contacts in the hobby and then the winning bidder to learn if the coins had been sold following the auction. As expected, the winning bidder denied selling the coins at a loss and was only then made aware that they had been stolen.
Walker traced the coins’ history and discovered they likely were stolen while on the way to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) by a mail carrier shipment shortly after the auction. They likely were sold then to a Florida dealer, who subsequently offered them to another dealer, who eventually contacted Heritage Auctions.
“I knew these coins could not have belonged to the winning bidder,” Walker said. “I thought it was extremely odd that the seller was offering the coins for less than the recent auction price. Come to find out some coins had been broken out of their certified holder.”
Thanks to Walker’s work and quick thinking, the grateful owner has so far recovered five of seven stolen coins.
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About Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong. The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has over one million registered bidder-members, and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos.