After years at the Bay State Coin Show in downtown Boston, the
Colonial Coin Collectors Club moved its annual convention to Baltimore
this year at the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo.
C4 (www.colonialcoins.org) is
almost 20 years old and has never been healthier, with good
leadership, an active membership and an excellent periodical, the C4
Newsletter. Its convention, held from Nov. 15 to 18 this year, saw
strong attendance, with a room-capacity crowd at the educational
forum, several specialty dealers in a dedicated C4 section of the
enormous Baltimore bourse floor, and perhaps the most important C4
auction in the club’s history.
Whereas past C4 auctions have been private, members-only events,
the club, led by President Jim Rosen, made the decision this year to
join with Stack’s Bowers Galleries for the auction, hoping to reach
out to Colonial collectors who aren’t yet members of the organization.
The auction ended up being the most newsworthy event in the club’s
history, with the name of the club even splashed in articles in the
major Long Island newspaper, Newsday, and distributed nationwide by
the Associated Press.
The big star of the auction was a New England sixpence, struck in
1652 and dug up by a metal detectorist in a potato field on Long
Island in 1990. Its discovery, authentication and subsequent sale in
1991 for $35,200 made headlines in Coin World, other numismatic
periodicals and the mainstream press, even meriting a drawing and
exclamatory caption in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! feature. In the
C4 auction, it netted $431,250, making it the most valuable American
coin ever found with a metal detector.
As just the second lot in the auction, it set the pace for the
presentation of the long-off-the-market rarities from the Jack Royse
Collection and the Ted Craige Collection.
Royse, 86, a private collector from the Midwest, assembled a high
quality Colonial type set between the mid-1960s and today, with
special attention to certain series like state coppers and Machin’s
Craige was an advanced collector and part-time dealer who died in
1971. His collection, hidden from view ever since, has become the
stuff of legend among Colonial specialists, and palpable excitement
was felt in the room as his Saint Patrick’s and Voce Populi coppers,
1721 to 1722 French Colonies 9-denier coins and selected other pieces
were sold in highly competitive bidding.
The best part of the C4 convention is the chance to talk to other
dedicated collectors and researchers of the coins and medals of early America.
John Kraljevich Jr. is an independent professional numismatist and
researcher specializing in early American coinage.