US Coins

Why did old leather coin holder sell for $10,800?

2017 is closing down and dealers are busy preparing for the holiday season, stocking their coin shops (or online presence) with items that may interest gift givers, enjoying time with their families and preparing for the upcoming Florida United Numismatists show in January.

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The coin show calendar is winding down for the year with the successful Whitman Baltimore Expo, held Nov. 9 to 12, accompanied by a full slate of auctions by Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Heritage Auctions will host its final 2017 Signature U.S. Coin auction in Dallas, Dec. 7 to 10, and Legend Rare Coin Auctions will hold the last major U.S. coin auction of 2017 with its Regency Sale XXIV in Las Vegas on Dec. 14.

The new year starts with a bang as Heritage holds the multi-session official sales of the FUN convention, with this year’s installment set for Tampa, Jan. 4 to 8. In between these large sales, online auctions will keep coins flowing in the marketplace.

The U.S. Mint celebrated its 225th anniversary in 2017 with a 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set that is limping toward its maximum production of 225,000 sets. There has been modest interest in the 2017 Lions Club commemorative silver dollar and even weaker interest in the gold $5 half eagle, silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar produced to honor the centennial of Boys Town in 2017. While late orders might lift the sales totals of both programs, the Proof and Uncirculated 2017 Boys Town gold $5 half eagles appear headed for extremely low mintages, and it seems that demand for traditional annual products like Proof and Uncirculated Mint sets continues to shrink with each passing year. The U.S. Mint is surely hoping that the 2018 World War I Centennial silver dollar and associated medals, currently set to go on sale Jan. 17, 2018, will be a hit with collectors.

Collectors and dealers alike share the hope that some fresh material will come to market soon. Heritage’s Nov. 1 and 3 sessions featuring Part IX of the Eric P. Newman collection had some wonderful coins that had been off the market for at least a generation and totaled $4.5 million.

One lot showed the robust interest in a more esoteric corner of the marketplace. An eight-slot leather coin holder, made around 1920, that once held all five of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coins, brought $10,800 at Newman IX. The set was purchased intact from the “Col.” E.H.R. Green estate — with the famed “nickels” in place — by a partnership of Eric P. Newman and B.G. Johnson. The five 1913 Liberty 5-cent coins have long since dispersed, including the most famous example: the George O. Walton example graded Proof 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service, which was long thought to be lost after allegedly disappearing in a 1962 car crash. That example emerged four decades later and would sell at Heritage’s 2013 Central States Numismatic Society auction for $3,172,500.

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