Eleven Sessions of U.S. Coins and Paper Money Bring a Total of More Than $37.5 Million
Santa Ana, CA – The Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 2020 Auction marked a successful kickoff to the firm’s 2020 season of flagship U.S. coin sales. Originally scheduled to take place in Baltimore alongside the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring Expo, the auction was relocated to the Stack’s Bowers headquarters in Orange County, California, following the cancellation of all public events in the state of Maryland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these uncertain circumstances, the sale realized astounding success, with most sessions earning considerably above their pre-sale estimates, which were determined when the catalogs were produced. In total, over $26.59 million worth of U.S. coins were sold, demonstrating the resilience of the coin market and Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ superior ability to connect bidders with rare and desirable numismatic treasures. In all, the firm’s March 2020 Auction saw over $37.5 million in coins and banknotes cross the auction block. (All prices include the buyer’s fee.)
Session One of the sale, held on Wednesday, March 18, showcased Numismatic Americana and Colonial coinage, including an impressive selection of United States Assay Commission medals from the Richard Jewell Collection. A 1916 silver medal by George T. Morgan with the edge incuse WOODROW WILSON realized $9,600 in lot 219 while the 1932/31 bronze medal by John R. Sinnock and Adam Pietz sold for $4,560 (lot 236). A circa 1811-1815 Planter’s Bank counterstamp on a cut-down Spanish American 8 Reales was offered in lot 344. This example, pedigreed to the collections of Colonel James W. Ellsworth and John Work Garrett, sold for $15,600. As the sale moved into colonial coins, state coppers came to the fore as a 1786 Connecticut copper, Miller 2.2-D.2, graded PCGS F15 and pedigreed to the Robert M. Martin Collection brought $9,000 in lot 404. In lot 436, a Rarity-7+ 1786 New Jersey copper, Maris 24-M, Wide Shield, was bid all the way to $45,600.
Company President Brian Kendrella remarked at the close of the session that “our staff has been fully booked with processing presale bids and setting up phone bidders for each of the upcoming auction sessions. And, our superb online bidding software has been carrying the load, as is the norm in today’s auction world. It’s hard to keep enthusiastic collectors on the sideline when there are so many bidding options for them to utilize and such high-quality numismatic material crossing the block.”
The ESM Collection of Half Cents was a magnet of interest when exhibited at major conventions over the previous several months, and that interest was on full display as the ESM Collection opened the Rarities Night Session on Thursday, March 19. The session opened with lot 3001, a PCGS MS63BN 1793 Liberty Cap Cohen-3 that sold for $84,000. The Liberty Cap Half Cents continued to perform as a PCGS MS62BN 1794 Cohen-1a realized $43,200 (lot 3002) and a PCGS MS63BN 1794 Cohen-9 was bid to $72,000 (lot 3003). The Classic Head section also saw multiple coins sell well into five figures, including lot 3035, an 1809/‘6’ in an old green PCGS holder at PCGS MS65BN accompanied by a CAC sticker that fetched $36,000.
The most anticipated offerings of the session included a pair of incredibly rare Proof-only Trade Dollars from the E. Horatio Morgan Collection. Offered in lot 3215 was an 1884 Trade Dollar that ranks as the fourth-finest of the 10 known examples at a grade of PCGS PR64+CAM. It was last offered at auction in Stack’s January 1984 sale of the Carter Family Collection, where it brought $45,100. It went on to sell for $552,000 in the Stack’s Bowers March 2020 Auction. An 1885 Trade Dollar, the second finest of five known, was presented in lot 3216. Graded PCGS PR64, it sold for $1,320,000.
These two Trade Dollars were accompanied by numerous world-class rarities in the session including four additional lots that broke into six-figures. The sole-finest Liberty Seated Half Dollar earned $120,000 in lot 3167, while a Gem Sandblast Proof 1913 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle realized $162,000 in lot 3275. A pair of 1915-S Panama Pacific Expo $50 commemorative gold coins were offered with nicely matched grades of PCGS PR64+ in lot 3280 (Round) and lot 3282 (Octagonal); they went on to realize $108,000 and $102,000, respectively.
Nearly three years after Part V of the D. Brent Pogue Collection hit the market, the most valuable coin collection ever sold cemented its grip on the record books with more than $15 million in additional sales, increasing the total prices realized to $131,298,560. With most bidders participating online, the 420 United States coin lots of Part VII realized 104% of their presale high estimates, which were determined well before recent economic difficulties.
Included were two coins that are counted among the most famous rarities in the entire realm of United States coinage. Leading all sales was the finest-known example of the legendary 1854-S Liberty Head Half Eagle, the first $5 gold coin struck in the San Francisco Mint. Pedigreed to the Eliasberg Collection, the PCGS AU58+ Pogue coin is the best example of the three confirmed to still exist. It realized $1.92 million after 38 years off the market. The PCGS PR55 example of the "King of American Coins," the Berg-Garrett Class III 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, brought $1.44 million.
At $408,000, the famous "Little Princess" 1841 Proof Liberty Head Quarter Eagle from the Pogue Collection set a new world record for the type. Pedigreed to the Eliasberg and Bass collections, the Pogue specimen is graded PCGS PR64CAM and is considered the finest in private hands. Another world record was set by the finest-known 1854-S Liberty Head Quarter Eagle, formerly in the F.C.C. Boyd and Harry W. Bass, Jr. collections. Graded PCGS AU50, the low-mintage rarity brought $384,000, surpassing a 15-year-old record for the date.
The PCGS MS66 1896-S Barber Quarter, tied for finest certified, brought $96,000 and the PCGS MS67+ 1901 Barber Quarter realized $180,000. The PCGS MS65 1918/7-D Overdate Standing Liberty Quarter blew by estimates, selling for $90,000. The 1919-D Standing Liberty Quarter is a major condition rarity in Superb Gem grades, pushing the Pogue PCGS MS66+FH to a final price of $114,000. The PCGS-graded Pogue Washington Quarter set won accolades for both superb grades and spectacular toning. Despite most coins being estimated in the few hundreds to few thousands of dollars, collectors bid the coins well beyond those levels. The beautiful PCGS MS66 1932-S Washington Quarter in PCGS MS66 brought $43,200 against its $20,000-25,000 estimate. The opposite of high-grade coins — Pogue's "low-ball" set — also saw frenzied bidding, led by a PCGS PO1 1938 New Rochelle Half Dollar, a condition rarity that brought $4,080.
With over $25.59 million in U.S. coins sold in their March 2020 Auction, Stack’s Bowers Galleries demonstrated superior ability to host a successful major sale in the face of unanticipated global uncertainty. The firm is now looking toward their summer 2020 auction season, including their official auctions of the Whitman Summer Expo in Baltimore and the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Pittsburgh. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is inviting consignments to both sales and expects the success realized in their March sale to extend to these flagship events. Contact them today at [email protected] or 800-566-2580 to speak with a numismatic expert.
About Stack's Bowers Galleries
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.
Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded PCGS SP66 that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack's Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.