Heritage’s 2017 Florida United Numismatists convention auctions
realized more than $42 million across more than 8,000 lots in its U.S.
coin sessions held Jan. 4 to 9 in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale
show. While previously I discussed some of the top prices — as well as
a few pricey lots that didn’t sell — in Coin World, the FUN
auctions are noteworthy for their depth and the sheer volume of coins offered.
Within these thousands of lots are many coins with great stories,
including a few very unusual pieces.
The single piece in Heritage’s 2017 FUN auctions that commanded the
most attention was a pattern 1942 experimental glass cent graded Proof
64 by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $70,500.
Heritage expected the pattern to bring $30,000.
Connect with Coin World:
Sign up for
our free eNewsletter
Follow us on Twitter
The glass cent represented an experimental composition used during
World War II as the Mint searched for copper substitutes. The pattern
was manufactured by the Blue Ridge Glass Company of Kingsport, Tenn.,
from tempered, yellow-amber transparent glass blanks produced by
Corning Glass Co. The disc was made using compression molding and all
pieces were manually smoothed on the edge.
Heritage wrote, “Blue Ridge had considerable difficulty making glass
1942 sample coins. For impressing a design into glass, both glass and
the dies had to be very hot — just below glass melting temperature —
then the glass had to cool quickly to preserve design detail. But Blue
Ridge was not able to heat the die, and the resulting experimental
cents were softly detailed and had many minute surface imperfections.”
Glass proved impractical for circulating coinage, and the other
known example also listed as Judd 2069 — in the most recent edition of
United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd, edited by Q.
David Bowers — is broken in half.
After the auction Mark Borckardt, senior numismatist at Heritage
said, “Collectors love to own unusual specimens, and although glass
failed as a substitute for U.S. coinage, this piece represents a
unique artifact of the ingenuity and determination of U.S. Mint
officials and private industry.”
Though not one of the most expensive offerings, a Judd 1293 1873
silver pattern for the Trade dollar that sold for $9,400 was one of
the most beautiful; it was graded Proof 64 by Numismatic Guaranty
Corp. and bears a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. It was
formerly owned by The Harry Bass Jr. Research Foundation and was
exhibited as part of a long-term loan to the American Numismatic
Association Money Museum. When offered at Heritage’s 2014 sale of
selections from the Bass Foundation’s collection, it sold for $17,640.28.
The design is similar to the adopted design used on the Trade dollar
but with small variations, including Liberty’s hand resting on a globe
and a different eagle in use on the reverse. Golden color at the rims,
pale blue centers, and some magenta on the reverse make this pattern a
An oddity among the patterns was not a coin at all, but rather a
modern brass embossing die featuring William Barber’s Amazonian design
used on various patterns in 1872. The brass die was likely used to
foil emboss the June 1977 Superior Stamp and Coin Co. Inc. auction
catalog cover for The Dr. Walter Lee Couch Collection. The unusual
display piece sold for $881.25.
More 2017 FUN Auction Coverage:
FUN 2017: The two classic-date
coins that brought the same exact price:
The breadth of Heritage’s FUN auctions meant that collectors had a
wide-range of choices if they were looking for a key date to add to
FUN 2017: Wow-level errors sold
include Morgan dollar struck off center:
Other major errors included a double-take-worthy 1958 Washington
quarter and a value-heightened 2014 American Eagle gold bullion coin.