While the two seven-figure coins offered at Heritage Auctions’ 2012
Florida United Numismatists auctions — a 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain,
With Periods cent graded Mint State 65 brown and an 1829 Capped Head
half eagle graded Proof 64 — both brought $1.38 million, multiples
more than their last times at the auction block, not all lots
established record prices.
While some coins from the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Collection
of Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagles set records, others performed at or
below expectations. For example, a 1931 example graded Mint State 66
that was formerly in the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. sold
within expectations for $126,500. That price was an improvement on the
$17,600 that it realized in 1982 when it was offered as part of the
Eliasberg estate, and comparable to three 2007 auction offerings where
similarly graded examples realized $126,500 to $143,750.
In contrast, the Duckor Collection’s top lot, a 1921 double eagle
graded MS-66, realized $747,500 — big money, but less than the
$1,092,500 that a peer example brought as part of the Philip Morse
Collection in 2005. Duckor’s coin had last appeared at auction in 1984
where it brought $57,500.
Sometimes auction descriptions provide the price that a coin last
sold for at auction, seemingly to support a coin’s value. This tactic
was used for some lots in the Teton Ranch Collection of often
finest-known Numismatic Guaranty Corp. certified Indian Head 5-cent
coins. Most of the high-value lots sold for less than the prices
achieved at their last public offering as noted in the catalog.
The collection’s top lot, an MS-64 1916 Doubled Die Obverse 5-cent
coin, a legendary rarity, realized $172,500. The same coin brought
$276,000 when offered at an April 2008 Bowers and Merena auction.
A 1919-S 5-cent piece graded MS-66 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp
realized $25,300, a far cry from its last trip to auction in 2008
where it brought $92,000, while an NGC MS-66★ 1918-S 5-cent coin
realized $23,000 in contrast to the $51,750 that it brought at a 2009 auction.
Perhaps most the most cautionary result was a 1926-S Indian Head
5-cent coin that sold for $92,000, a seemingly strong price until one
considers that at its last offering in April 2008 it brought $322,000,
establishing a record price for a 1926-S 5-cent coin. ■