US Coins

Market Analysis: Quality sells well at Heritage’s FUN auctions

The Florida United Numismatists auctions held in the first weeks of January both replenish dealer inventories and serve as a gauge of the rare coin market. Heritage’s Jan. 8 to 12 U.S. coin FUN auctions saw nearly $42 million in sales, and with paper currency added to the total, Heritage’s FUN auctions brought more than $50 million. 

The top lot, and many others on the leader board, came from the Rollo Fox Collection of Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagles, including a 1927-D double eagle graded Mint State 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp. that brought $2.16 million. The price was a small improvement on the $1,997,500 it sold for six years ago at Heritage’s FUN auction, when it was graded MS-66 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Many coins from the Fox consignment saw similar modest upward adjustments from their last trip to the auction block. 

Other coins weren’t as fortunate, and this was most-often seen in coins that lacked green CAC stickers, which identify coins that are pleasing for the grade. A 1921 double eagle graded PCGS MS-64 brought $322,000 at Heritage’s 2010 FUN auctions, and sold for $210,000 at the Jan. 9 Platinum Night session. The certified population has expanded slightly in the past decade, but a visual distraction may have also limited bidding, as Heritage observed, “This piece is easily identifiable by a star-shaped mark or possible die flaw in the center of Liberty’s forehead.” 

Another possible disappointment was an MS-65 1800 Draped Bust, AMERICAI dollar, a “Red Book” variety, with a special NGC insert that identified it as part of the Eric P. Newman Collection. A distinctive die line on the reverse looks like an extra letter I ending the word AMERICA. 

Offered in November 2013 at Heritage’s Newman Collection Part II auction, it sold for $223,250. It retained the original paper envelope, which noted that Newman, in partnership with B.G. Johnson under the name St. Louis Stamp & Coin Co., once purchased it for $50 and stated “Uncirculated, full brilliancy.” It had beautiful obverse toning, but a distinctive dark mark near Liberty’s throat may have limited the top end of bidding. It brought $156,000. 

The collection of D. Brent Pogue, offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s starting in 2015, brought strong prices and many continue to rise. At Pogue IV in May 2016, a PCGS MS-64 1832 Capped Bust, Square Base 2, 13 Stars Reverse gold $5 half eagle sold for $105,750. In Orlando, the coin, now with a green CAC sticker, realized $132,000. With no problems for the grade and no finer example of the variety graded at PCGS, it is exactly the type of coin that the market currently covets. 

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