From nearly all appearances, it seems that the rare coin market is in
a good place.
Dealers were happy following the Whitman Coin & Collectibles
Baltimore Expo, March 14 to 17, and Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ floor
auction sessions held in conjunction with the show realized in excess
of $10 million.
Dealer reports and auction results show the same thing: quality,
marketable coins continue to bring increasingly big prices, while
middle and lower-end coins languish in inventories and at auctions.
Further, dealers and auction houses continue to report expanded
demand from international bidders for high-end, classic U.S. coins.
This increased demand and pool of bidders bodes well for the long-term
rare coin market.
The results from Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Baltimore auction show
that the market’s taste for classic early U.S. rarities shows few
signs of slowing down. A Mint State 64 1792 half disme realized $470,000.
Oddly, the catalog did not include a provenance for this piece, but
it appears to be the same piece that was offered at a July 2008
Stack’s auction where it sold for $373,750, according to the earlier
auction’s printed prices realized.
Sellers who try to predict the market with high reserves are often
coming up short, especially regarding unusual coins and other
numismatic items that are challenging to value due to a lack of
comparables in the marketplace.
A few highly interesting lots failed to meet their reserves
including a bas-relief bronze cast of an early obverse design for the
1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar. It was described as “Possibly
unique and intended for preparation of dies.”
It did not meet its reserve of $65,000, although it had realized
$120,750 when offered as part of Stack’s sale of the Minot Collection
on May 21, 2008. The 2008 lot description asked the question, “What
kind of Standing Liberty quarter is this?” before answering, “The
truth is this is what Hermon MacNeil had intended his new quarter to
Another oddity, a 1909 Indian Head cent struck on a Barber dime,
described as a “magnificent off-metal, double denomination error” and
one of only two known Indian Head cents struck on a struck Barber
dime, failed to meet its reserve of $60,000. ■