US Coins

King Farouk's 1933 double eagle in sold 1954 catalog

An annotated copy of Sotheby’s 1954 King Farouk auction with notes from someone who attended the sale sold for $705.

Original images courtesy of Kolbe and Fanning Numismatic Booksellers.

Collectors continue to seek out the rarest examples of numismatic literature to help build their libraries and add depth to their collections. Kolbe and Fanning Numismatic Booksellers held its most recent auction of important numismatic literature on Oct. 21 to 22.

The top lot, an 1884 German auction catalog featuring the first known photograph of the Dexter 1804 Draped Bust dollar, sold for $4,700. Other auction catalogs featured heavily among the top lots, as collectors value owning physical records of rare sales. 

Here is the last of three notable lots we're focusing on in this week's Market Analysis:

The Lot:

Leather-bound and annotated 1954 Sotheby’s King Farouk auction catalog

The Price:


The Story:

In 1954 Sotheby’s held a London auction titled “The Palace Collections of Egypt” containing the numismatic holding of Egypt’s King Farouk. The Farouk auction was set to include a 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle that was subsequently withdrawn, and the sale is known for its rather modest, economical descriptions.

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Since the coins were not described in much detail, annotated copies are prized and this one bears the name and the Cairo address of Anwar Maher Farrag in both English and Arabic. Presumably it was inscribed by him, and his notes record the buyers of many lots as well as comments on the coins in the sale, like “not the best” or “good lot to buy.”

The description suggests that the catalog was used by someone to calculate possible bids ahead of the auction and to record information during the sale itself. The card cover has been trimmed and mounted in a handsome binding by a prior owner. The useful lot sold for $705.

Keep reading about Kolbe and Fanning's sale of rare catalogs:

Thomas Elder 1911 catalogFamed researcher and photographer behind rare auction catalog that topped $2,900: One of the most prolific American numismatic researchers and photographers of the early twentieth century put it together.

Bowers and Merena catalogHow much a lot full of hardcover Bowers and Merena catalogs brings at auction: The group was described as “arguably the most important series of American numismatic auction catalogues of the 1980s and 1990s.”

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