Stack’s Bowers Sale of Stephen Winthrop Collection Raises over $1.3 Million for Harvard ALS Program


On Friday, February 6, 2015, Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold The Stephen Winthrop Collection at its New York Americana Sale, raising over $1.3 million to support ALS research at Harvard University. Crossing the auction block were many choice, rare and interesting coins, several of which had been off the market for 30 years or more.

Highlights included:

  • a 1799 Capped Bust Right Gold Eagle ($10) graded PCGS MS-64, which sold for $188,000
  • a 1915-S Panama-Pacific Exposition Gold $50 Round graded PCGS MS-64, which realized $129,602
  • a 1915-S Panama-Pacific Exposition Gold $50 Octagonal graded PCGS MS-64 that went to a well-known collector for $111,625
  • a 1799 Draped Bust silver dollar graded PCGS MS-64 that realized $111,625, and an 1806 Draped Bust half dollar PCGS MS-64 that went to a private collector for $82,250

[Editor’s Note: CoinWeek discussed these top results in our Weekly Market Report Video, dated February 13, 2015. Click here to view.]

Action was very strong across the board, reflecting the appeal of coins long off the market.

A New England native, Mr. Winthrop’s interest in coins began as a child and was funded by his modest allowance and an eagerly anticipated annual Christmas check from a generous uncle. As a teen, he became particularly interested in commemorative half dollars, and focused on this series for nearly 20 years before completing the full set of high quality silver and gold commemoratives offered in this auction. After graduating from Harvard in 1980, Stephen received an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA from the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He spent three years working for a large management-consulting firm before starting his own practice specializing in financial management, fundraising, grant writing and information management services for nonprofit organizations. Meanwhile, his numismatic interests expanded to include mid-19th century Liberty Seated silver coinage–as well as selected gold coins–with a focus on rarity and high quality.

stacks_winthropDiagnosed with ALS in 2013, Mr. Winthrop decided to sell his rare coins so he could watch others experience the pleasure he had enjoyed while building his collection. Stack’s Bowers Galleries presented his collection to a worldwide clientele and it was met with spirited bidding realizing nearly $1.26 million in hammer price. Stack’s Bowers Galleries donated in excess of $75,000 from its fee together with the proceeds from additional auction items, bringing the total to over $1.3 million. The entire proceeds will be given to the Stephen VanR. Winthrop ALS Fund at Harvard University. Mr. Winthrop enjoyed numismatics for much of his lifetime, not knowing that his coin collection would make such a significant and ongoing contribution to the cure for ALS.

If you wish to make a gift directly to the Stephen VanR. Winthrop fund, please make checks payable to “The President and Fellows of Harvard College,” with a notation directing the gift to the Stephen VanR. Winthrop ALS Fund at Harvard University, and send payments to:

Grant H. Whitney
Harvard University Office of Gift Planning
124 Mt. Auburn St., 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138

Questions can be directed to Mr. Whitney at [email protected], or by telephone at 617.496.6248.

For more information regarding the sale of The Stephen Winthrop Collection, or for information on consigning to an upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction, please contact the company at 800.458.4646 (West Coast), 800.566.2580 (East Coast), or email [email protected].

About Stack’s Bowers Galleries

stacks5Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.

Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Irvine, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Professional Numismatists Guild New York Invitational, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.


Be sure to check out Greg Reynolds’ recent article on the Winthrop collection here.

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