More than $50 million in U.S. coins sold during Heritage, Stack's Bowers auctions at ANA convention

Market Analysis column from Sept. 1, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 08/19/14
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More than $50 million in rare U.S. coins changed hands at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August, sold by the two official auctioneers: Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Heritage Auctions

At the Professional Coin Grading Service luncheon on Aug. 8, hobby legend Q. David Bowers commented that coins in our hobby are being traded more frequently than in previous generations. 

This new market velocity is clearly seen when coins from major collections return to the auction block after a holding period of perhaps a year or two, or even just several months! Since the spring of 2013, Heritage has had multiple auctions of treasures from the collection of St. Louis numismatist Eric P. Newman and already these coins are re-entering the marketplace via public auctions. 

An ex-Newman 1818/5 Draped Bust quarter dollar with vibrant toning, certified Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Mint State 67 ★, brought $182,125 on Aug. 7, just a bit more than it sold for on Nov. 16, 2013, when it brought $176,250, rendering little profit once fees are taken into account.

Some coins sold for substantially more in their return appearance, such as one magnificently toned 1806/5 Draped Bust quarter dollar. It brought $152,750 on Nov. 15, 2013. At that time it was in an NGC MS-66 holder with an NGC ★. 

At Heritage’s Aug. 7 sale it was offered in a PCGS MS-65+ holder with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade. Despite the grade being lowered, it brought more than when offered as part of the Newman Collection, and sold for $176,250. It seems that the market was more willing to accept the piece as a high-end MS-65 than as MS-66.

Other coins that moved from NGC to PCGS certification did not perform at their previous levels. A 1900-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS MS-66 with a green CAC sticker sold for $3,526.18 on Aug. 7. At the Nov. 16, 2013, Newman auction, the same coin was in an NGC MS-66 holder with a green CAC sticker and sold for $6,462.50.

Another Newman Morgan dollar, this one graded About Uncirculated 55 by NGC and bearing a green CAC sticker, sold for $470 at Heritage’s Aug. 9 sale, much less than the $705 it brought when offered at the same firm’s Nov. 16, 2013, Newman sale. 

Among the unusual pieces that returned was an undated Kentucky token, struck in England around 1792 to 1794, that is considered a Conder token but is avidly collected by U.S. numismatists since examples circulated in the United States. Graded PCGS MS-65 red and brown it sold for $4,700 on Aug. 5. At Heritage’s May 16 Newman auction, in a comparable NGC holder, it sold for $5,287.50.

The Newman sales brought generally strong prices, and subsequent offerings of the same coins often fail to bring more. For example, at Stack’s Bowers’ ANA auctions, several ex-Newman coins failed to meet their consignor’s reserve prices.

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