The last major auction of 2013 — Legend-Morphy’s Dec. 19 Regency Auction V in association with the Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show in Las Vegas — realized $2,928,774.
The Legend-Morphy coin auctions are typically well-edited productions with a limited number of lots: this one featured just 375.
Collectors are willing to pay substantial premiums for richly colorful coins, and many of the silver coins offered in the auction had spectacular toning.
One of the most attractive was a 1908 Barber quarter dollar graded PCGS Proof 65+ with a green Certified Acceptance sticker that sold for $7,475. The rich color was described as follows: “Both sides are circled by thick rings of navy/blue/forest green/violet that open into lighter silvery white centers.”
That price represented multiples of what a “normal” example in this grade would sell for. For reference, on Nov. 1, 2013, Heritage sold a PCGS Proof 66 example of the date with less vivid toning for $1,880. In fact, the price realized on Dec. 19 was closer to a nearly brilliant 1908 quarter dollar in Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Proof 68 ★ that brought $7,343.75 at a Sept. 27, 2013, Heritage auction.
A 1911 Barber dime graded NGC Proof 69 ★, described as “The Holy Grail of Barber Dime Proofs” and “possibly one of the finest Proofs in existence,” sold for $25,300. That price was an improvement on the $19,975 that the same piece brought when offered at an April 25, 2013, Heritage auction and the $23,000 that it sold for in an Oct. 23, 2008, Heritage sale. The lot description notes that years ago it traded privately, uncertified, for $30,000.
The auction also featured Phil Flannagan’s collection of pioneer gold coins, led by an 1851 Humbert $50 gold piece in PCGS MS-61 that brought $299,000 against a conservative estimate of $125,000 and up. An 1861 Clark Gruber $20 pioneer gold piece in PCGS About Uncirculated 53, enthusiastically described as “awesome,” sold for $92,000.
Three classic Proof Coronet gold coins that were removed from the cornerstone of a private building in Philadelphia before demolition were offered. An 1893 Coronet $5 half eagle in NGC Proof 65+ ★ Ultra Cameo brought $43,125 while an 1893 Coronet $10 eagle in NGC Proof 65 ★ Ultra Cameo and an 1893 Coronet $20 double eagle in NGC Proof 63+ Ultra Cameo both went unsold. ■