US Coins

Market Analysis: Companies work to fill August ANA auctions

The top of the market will be tested again at the August ANA auctions, as Heritage offers an MS-66 1794 Flowing Hair dollar with a green CAC sticker, and Stack’s Bowers presents the finest-known Class I. Original 1804 Draped Bust dollar.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Heritage Auctions are both busy finalizing consignments for their official American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auctions, set for Aug. 10 to 14 in Rosemont, Illinois. These will be the first major auctions attached to a coin show in over a year, as Heritage moved its Summer 2021 Florida United Numismatists auctions to its Dallas headquarters.

I received “Dear Fellow Collector” letters signed by ANA executive director Kim Kiick on the same day; both noting the virtues and successes of both auction houses and the June deadlines for consignments. For Heritage, Kiick cited its January sale of the Donald Partrick 1787 New York-style Brasher doubloon for $9.36 million, calling it “the most valuable gold coin ever to sell at auction.” Of course, this letter was sent before Sotheby’s sold a 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle for nearly $18.9 million on June 8.

Kiick cited more auction comparables and statistics in her Stack’s Bowers letter: in 2020 Stack’s Bowers auctioned eight of the top 10 U.S. coins and 15 of the top 20 U.S. bank notes.

How is a potential consignor expected to choose!

And then there are the consignments already in-house at both official auctioneers. Heritage continues its offering of selections from Texas businessman Bob R. Simpson, with the Lord St. Oswald – Brent Pogue 1794 Flowing Hair dollar graded Mint State 66+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. It brought nearly $5 million when offered at Stack’s Bowers and Sotheby’s 2015 D. Brent Pogue sale, Part II.

Not to be outdone, Stack’s Bowers has the Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue 1804 Class I Original Draped Bust dollar — “The finest known example of the King of American Coins” — graded Proof 68 by PCGS that was acquired by the Pogue family in 1999 for $4.14 million.

Another top-graded 1794 Flowing Hair dollar went unsold at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Oct. 8, 2020, sale of rarities from the collection of Las Vegas executive Bruce Morelan, with an estimate of $8 million to $10 million, while the top Pogue 1804 dollar didn’t find a buyer at its last offering, at the Pogue IV auction, with an opening bid of $7.6 million in May 2016.

Another key “buy-in” from that auction, the only collectible 1822 Capped Head $5 half eagle, stalled at a bid of $6.4 million in 2016. When offered again by the Pogue family at a Stack’s Bowers March 25 auction, it sold for $8.4 million.

Success of the reoffering of the 1822 half eagle and the massive price for the 1933 double eagle should give consignors some confidence for placing big-money coins in the upcoming ANA auctions, but clearly, there also need to be eager bidders.

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