The Summer Whitman Expo was held in Baltimore, Maryland last week and with it came a Stack’s Bowers auction that offered a large number of numismatic items, including several specialized collections. In this recap we will take a look at some noteworthy results from the auction, which seemed weighted in favor of the rarest numismatic items. All prices realized include a 17.5% buyers premium, and the entire prices realized list for the auction can be viewed or printed here.
The first collection that came under the hammer was the Twin Leafs Collection of Middle and Late Date Large Cents. One of the most complete sets of United States Large Cents from the years 1816-1857, the collection focused on many individual die varieties, being complete for the Middle Date cents, a feat not easily repeated due to the excessive rarities of some die pairings. The collection also included numerous rare die states, proofs, and specimen strikes, many of which were the finest known for their respective variety. Noteworthy results included lot 2042, a late die-state 1818 Newcomb-4 Large Cent, graded AU-58 by PCGS and stickered by CAC, which sold for $49,937.50. Lot 2111, a 1823 Newcomb-2 Large Cent graded AU-58 by PCGS and stickered by CAC, pedigreed to the Eliasberg collection, realized $44,062.50. Finally, lot 2314, an 1839/6 Newcomb-1 Large Cent graded AU-55 by PCGS and stickered by CAC, while not the finest known, realized an amazing $64,625. The same coin last sold publicly in a May 2010 Goldberg auction, where it realized $20,125.
The highlights of the Twin Leafs Collection consisted of a group of extremely rare Large Cent proofs. Produced on rare occasions and never sold to the general public, Large Cent Proofs are rare, with often only a few known for each date. Noteworthy coins and prices included lot 2019, one of three known Newcomb-6 Proofs, graded PR-62BN by PCGS and stickered by CAC, which realized $61,687.50. A PCGS PR-64BN CAC 1821 Large Cent, offered as lot 2083, realized $58,750, and lot 2239, a PCGS PR-65BN 1834 Large Cent, realized $52,875. Among later date Proof Large Cents, lot 2457 stood out: a Newcomb-42 1847 Large Cent, struck in Proof format only, graded PR-65RB by PCGS and stickered by CAC, realized $64,626. Lot 2540 was an extremely rare Proof 1850 Large Cent, graded PR-66RB by PCGS, which sold for $82,250, and lot 2619, the finest known 1852 PR-65RD Large Cent, sold for $105,750.
Also offered was the The Douglas C. Kazelitz collection, which consisted of mostly type coinage, assembled over many years by a passionate collector. Lot 5104 was the finest known 1803 Half Dime, graded MS-65+ by PCGS, stickered by CAC, and pedigreed to the Eliasberg collection, which sold for $164,500. Lots 5168, 5169, and 5170 compose a trio of extremely high grade early Half Dollars, all of which sold for strong prices. A PCGS MS-63 1795 Half Dollar sold for $123,750, the finest known 1806/5 O-104 Half Dollar, graded MS-66 by PCGS, realized $193,875, and a PCGS MS-65+ CAC 1807 Capped Bust Half Dollar sold for $129,250. Finally, as noted in our preview, the collection also included a high-grade 1797 Draped Bust Dollar, graded MS-64 by PCGS, and tied for finest known. It was offered as lot 5193 and realized $182,67.18.
These two specialized collections saw some very strong prices, while the rest of the auction saw a more common offering of United States coins of all sorts. Lots worth mentioning include lot 4253, a 1796 Draped Bust Quarter graded MS-62 by PCGS, which sold in line with expectations for $88,125. Selling extremely strong was lot 4227, a PCGS MS-64 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter certified in an old-green-holder. Several people must have thought that the coin had a chance of upgrading, as it realized $30,550, which is on the upper end of what MS-65s have sold for in the last couple of years. Finally, in our preview we discussed lot 6052, an extremely rare PCGS MS-62 1859 Eagle, one of just two graded at that level, which sold for $58,750. This is a very strong price for the coin and a healthy increase from the last two auction results, which were $41,125 in November 2014 and $47,000 (the same coin sold by Stack’s-Bowers) in April 2014.
While we generally do not discuss currency auctions in these previews and recaps, there is one lot from the U.S. Currency Auction that warrants mentioning. Lot 3438 was a very rare Fr. 1700 1933 $10 Silver Certificate graded Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ by PMG, a note of which only 216,000 were printed, and which constitutes a one-year type. The note, which also came from the Douglas C. Kaselitz collection, carried a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. Bidding was intense for the so-called “King of Small Size Notes”, and the note sold for $70,500.
Even though there were several high-powered lots that failed to meet the reserve (which is not uncommon in any market) these results indicate that rare, high-quality coins are still much in demand and in many cases do provide healthy return on investment. Original, pedigreed coins with a track record do especially well in today’s market. The next major auction is in August in conjunction with the ANA World’s Fair of Money held in Chicago, and is traditionally is one of the largest and best performing auctions of the year.