The recent volatility in the stock market had little impact on the
Heritage sales held in Chicago, Aug. 11 to 12. That serves as a
positive sign for what will likely be an exciting American Numismatic
Association World’s Fair of Money.
While not the “official” ANA auction, it realized a healthy $31.345
million with 5,154 bidders competing for 7,370 lots. For comparison,
the U.S. coin section of last year’s Heritage ANA auction in Boston
realized just over $34 million with 7,133 lots.
Heritage’s top lot in Chicago was an 1855-S Indian Head gold $3 coin
graded Proof 64 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., described by
Heritage as “arguably the single most important coin in the sale.” It
realized a robust $1,322,500. At its last auction offering at Stack’s
69th Anniversary Sale in October 2004, it was graded by Professional
Coin Grading Service as Branch Mint Proof 63 and sold for $276,000 —
further confirming the current market’s taste for flashy, unique rarities.
The noteworthy 1893-S Morgan dollar graded Mint State 67 that was
the subject of the Aug. 22 Coin World market analysis found a
new home at $546,250, well above the reserve of $340,000 (or $391,000
with the 15 percent buyer’s fee).
Two other gold highlights included an 1863 Coronet $10 eagle graded
Proof 65 Deep Cameo that sold for $299,000 (far more than the $138,000
that a similarly graded example sold for at a January 2008 Heritage
auction), and a 1796 Capped Bust, No Stars $2.50 quarter eagle graded
MS-61 that sold for $276,000.
Perhaps the wildest coin in the
sale was a 1814 Capped Bust half dollar pattern struck in platinum
with a lettered edge that realized $138,000. The obverse features 33
backward letters “P” punched into the surfaces, and “Platina” is
engraved on the reverse. It is unique of the several known platinum
patterns for the date in having the punched letters and engraving.
With the post-striking impairments — likely contemporary to the coin’s
production — it did not receive a numerical grade from NGC. But, as
Heritage noted, “condition is all but irrelevant for this example,”
and the eye appeal is “decent considering what the coin is.”
Among the major lots that did not sell was a 1921 Saint-Gaudens $20
double eagle graded PCGS MS-64 and a rare 1792 cent pattern graded
Fine 15 (one of approximately 10 known) that did not meet its reserve
of $379,500 (with the buyer’s fee).
Especially considering the recent financial uncertainty, the fact
that the auction had a 95 percent by lot and 91 percent by value
sell-through rate is impressive, showing that collectors are still
willing to invest in their collections. ■