Three firms held auctions immediately before and during the June 2 to
4 Long Beach (Calif.) Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, which in
total realized more than $22 million.
The pre-Long Beach auction by Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers
realized more than $8 million, while a May 29 Bonhams and Butterfields
auction saw nearly $1 million. The Long Beach Heritage Signature U.S.
Coin auction generated almost $13 million with a sell-through rate of
The coin market seems starved for major rarities, and the top lot of
the Long Beach auctions was a rare 1794 Flowing Hair dollar offered in
the Goldberg sale. The coin is graded About Uncirculated 58 premium
quality by Professional Coin Grading Service and is adorned with a
Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. It sold for $575,000, within the
pre-auction estimate of $500,000 to $600,000.
The coin was formerly in the collection of the Connecticut
Historical Society and the catalogue description included a note that
Martin Logies believed the coin could “easily qualify as an MS-61.”
Logies is numismatic curator of the Cardinal Collection Educational
Foundation, which purchased a PCGS Specimen 66 example of a 1794
Flowing Hair dollar for a reported $7,850,000 in a 2010 private
transaction. Later that year on Aug. 7, a Mint State 64 1794 dollar
sold at a Bowers and Merena auction for $1,207,500.
But not all high-end coins are bringing their owners substantial
returns. An MS-65 1795 Flowing Hair dollar was the top lot in the
Heritage Long Beach auction, selling for $253,000. While a quarter of
a million dollars for a coin is undoubtedly impressive, the same coin
sold at auction for $230,000 as part of the Cardinal Collection in
June 2005 by American Numismatic Rarities. Although the 2011 price was
higher than the 2005 price, after transaction fees are considered, the
owner realized a loss.
It is one of two known gem examples of the die variety among eight
to 10 Mint State pieces known, according to Heritage.
Upcoming major shows include the Whitman Coin and Collectibles
Baltimore Expo, set for June 16 to 19, and the summer Florida United
Numismatists Show in Orlando, scheduled for July 7 to 9.
The market then functionally takes a summer break until the American
Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago area Aug.
16 to 20, with an affiliated pre-show scheduled for Aug. 13 to 15. ■
An earlier version of this article identified the wrong lot from
the 2005 American Numismatic Rarities auction. The coin identified
earlier as selling for $322,000 was a 1795 Draped Bust silver dollar
graded MS-65 by PCGS.