Around $130 million in rare coins sold during auctions immediately
before and during the 2014 Florida United Numismatists show and New
York International Numismatic Convention.
Heritage’s various FUN auctions brought more than $90 million and
multiple records were set. Heritage noted that the nearly $2 million
that a bidder paid for a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle
graded Mint State 66 is “the highest price ever paid for any U.S. coin
struck and released to general circulation.”
In contrast, 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent pieces, of which five were
struck and one sold at Heritage’s auction for $3.29 million, weren’t
intended for circulation
One record was less qualified: the most valuable piece of paper
money ever sold. An Extremely Fine 45 1890 $1,000 Treasury note —
perhaps better known as a “Grand Watermelon note,” as the large zeroes
on the back of the bill resemble watermelons — brought $3.29 million
on Jan. 10. The big price represented a substantial return over time,
as it was offered at a 1970 auction where it brought “just” $11,000.
Heritage also led the NYINC auctions, with its Jan. 5 to 6 world and
ancient coin sale realizing nearly $15 million.
Other NYINC auctions by Classical Numismatic Group, Stack’s Bowers
Ponterio, Gemini, Kolbe & Fanning, and The New York Sale
consortium, together brought more than $23 million.
At FUN a noteworthy individual collection was the Adam Mervis Large
Cent Collection, which brought $8.55 million and saw a 100 percent
An unusual element of this auction (though not surprising, given the
dedication of aficionados of early American copper coinage) was that
more than half of the lots, representing around 75 percent of the
value in the auction, were purchased by floor bidders.
This vibrant floor participation is unusual in today’s auctions,
where bidders often use the Internet to manage their bidding.
Of the more than 7,000 lots that were offered as part of Heritage’s
various FUN U.S. coin auctions, floor bidders won just over 10
percent. However, these lots represented more than 35 percent of the
value. Another striking statistic: More than 7,500 bidders competed
for the FUN lots, and the $66.6 million U.S. coin portion of the sale
(excluding the Mervis Collection) saw more than 97 percent of the
offered lots sold. ■