US Coins

Auction calendar shifts as COVID-19 cancels ANA show

The finest-known 1883-S Morgan dollar, graded MS-67+ Prooflike by PCGS with a green CAC sticker is a standout at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Aug. 6 Rarities Night auction in Las Vegas.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The postponement, perhaps indefinitely, of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, originally set for Aug. 4 to 8 in Pittsburgh, has forced the official ANA co-auctioneers to adjust their schedules and venues.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries announced on July 1 that it will be holding a live auction on Aug. 5 to 7 in Las Vegas, alongside the recently announced Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show. The ESM Collection of U.S. Large Cents are headliners of the firm’s Rarities Night offering on Aug. 6.

Heritage has moved its sale to Aug. 2 to 4 in Dallas at its new world headquarters near DFW airport with its Platinum Night sale on Aug. 4.

The big August auctions always bring out some great Morgan silver dollars, and this year’s quasi-ANA auctions include a stunning 1883-S dollar graded Mint State 67+ Prooflike by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. A centerpiece at Stack’s Bowers’ sale, it is renowned as the finest example of the San Francisco Mint issue, which is a condition rarity in top grades. It was a prize of the John H. Clapp and Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. collections and sold for $161,000 at auction more than a decade ago, then-graded PCGS MS-67 Prooflike, before the advent of Plus grading. Back in 1904 it was offered at Chapman Brothers’ sale of the John G. Mills Collection, where it brought $2.25 and was described simply as “Uncirculated, with Proof surfaces.”

Auctioneers and hobby organizations are quick to remind people that the rare coin market remains strong despite the cancellation of coin shows and the temporary closure of many retail coin shops. A July 6 press release from the Professional Numismatists Guild reported $167 million in numismatic auctions during the first six months of 2020, adding, “In addition to the reported auction results, PNG conservatively estimates that least another $150 million of U.S. coins were sold by these auction firms in private transactions in the first half of the year.” Heritage quickly followed up with its own press release, noting that it has sold $97,248,747 in coins at auction, or 58 percent of the total market. This includes what’s so far been the most expensive coin to sell at auction this year: a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle graded Mint State 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, which brought $2,160,000 at the January Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.

These August auctions will test the validity of auctions independent of major rare coin shows. Strong results may cause leading auctioneers to rethink their strategies, as they work to manage costs and deliver value to buyers and sellers.

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