Once every decade or so, the opportunity arises to attend an
auction that not only offers interesting coins but is an event to be
recalled for the rest of a collector’s life. Such was the case Nov. 15
and 16 for the Eric P. Newman auction in New York City by Heritage Auctions.
This selection of U.S. coins had more than one auction’s share of
As everyone should know, many of the coins were once the property
of renowned collector Col. E.H.R. Green and have been in the Newman
Collection since the early 1940s. This offered the opportunity to view
coins that have not seen the light of market exposure for more than a
collecting generation. Foremost in the interest of Bust coinage
collectors were the amazing quarter dollars, many of which traced
their pedigree to Ard Browning, author of Early Quarter Dollars of the
United States 1796-1838, published in 1925.
Collectors had been in the dark regarding the location of many of
the coins illustrated in Browning’s work, until Rory Rea photographed
Eric’s coins for the 2010 work Early Quarter Dollars 1796-1838 by Rea,
Glenn Peterson, myself, and John Kovach Jr. Rory’s quality photos
reintroduced these wonderful coins to collectors.
The auction was the first opportunity to own one of these beauties
in the better part of a century.
There is little doubt that they were dipped in a type of cleaning
solution decades ago and many exhibited some hairlines from being
wiped, as was the custom in “ancient” times. Their storage in Wayte
Raymond type albums for decades produced some incredible rainbow
bull’s-eye toning. The competition on these coins was fierce, with
record-setting prices being the norm. The 1796 Draped Bust, Small
Eagle quarter dollar, the cover coin from our book, sold for $1,527,500.
The Bust dollars were also in amazing states of preservation, many
being the finest known for their marriage. They also sold for
record-setting prices. How often can one buy the finest Uncirculated
Bust dollar, which no one had seen in more than 75 years?
I would highly suggest taking advantage of the next opportunity
you have to view a major “event” auction collection before it is
dispersed into hiding for another generation.
The chance to learn about the best coins will help you in your
collection pursuit, even if you are only able to purchase much less
valuable coins. You can get a feel for the collecting philosophy of an
advanced collector and what it took to assemble his collection.
It will inspire and influence your collecting decisions for the
rest of your career.
Brad Karoleff is president of the John Reich Collectors Society
and editor of the club’s journal. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.