ANA World’s Fair of Money Auctions Set Chicago Area on Fire; $75 Million in Sales

The King of American coins—the 1804 Silver Dollar graded PCGS PR 62—brought the house down, as it captured $3,877,500.

The sales price established a new record for the class I 1804 dollar in this grade, as well as setting a new house record for Heritage Auctions.

CHICAGO – Strength and power describe the ongoing prowess of the rare coin market. The just concluded American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money convention in Rosemont, Ill., featured two stand out auctions by Heritage Auctions and Stacks Bowers, the ANA’s host auctioneer. Combined, the two auction houses delivered more than 16,000 lots of coins and currency, reeling in more than $75 million!

Leading off the auction frenzy at the Heritage Rosemont signature sale, The King of American coins—the prestigious and iconic 1804 Dollar graded PCGS Proof 62—captured $3,877,500, bringing applause and cheers by the throng at the packed Hyatt Rosemont ballroom.

Although eclipsing by $140,000 the last time the same coin sold at auction in 2008, this may not seem like a significant increase when collectors or investors look at the possible return or store of value on several million dollars over a five year period. At first assessment, this would probably appear correct. However, it is important to note that when the iconic 1804 sold last, the ultra-rare coin market was at is acknowledged peak in the spring of 2008. It would be a mere few months before the ravages of corporate greed and overvalued housing brought our country and the world on the brink of financial calamity.

The aftershock of world financial events wreaked havoc on every industry and business, yet the rare coin market more than held its own, on average only giving up 10 to 15 percent on some top-tier coins. For the balance of 2008, the rare coin market rapidly found equilibrium and by early 2009 the market witnessed a new level of acceptance and value points for most areas within the numismatic arena.

The scintillating—and by far finest known—1889-CC Morgan Dollar graded PCGS MS 68 captured an amazing $881,250 for Stacks Bowers.

This was also a record-setting amount and a 65-percent increase of the price realized when the coin last appeared at auction in 2009.

A perfect example of this was the finest 1889-CC Morgan Dollar. It was at the winter FUN show in Orlando in January 2009 that the scintillating PCGS MS68 Carson City example, pedigreed to Louis Eliasberg and Jack Lee, captured $531,875. It was a solid showing by this consensus rarity which validated the true demand and continued strength in rare coins. Now we flash forward to the just completed Stacks Bowers ANA host sale, which confirms the ferocious demand is still chasing superb coins. The same 1889-CC Morgan Dollar, which last appeared a little over four years ago, soared to $881,250, an astounding 65-percent increase.

The phenomenal and finest known 1861 $20 Liberty graded PCGS MS 67 last appeared for public sale in the fall of 1995. Nearly 18 years to the day the coin now a part of the remarkable Stacks Bowers Rarities Night on Aug. 15 thundered to $352,500, nearly four times the price it achieved when it last appeared on the market.

Another coin from the Civil War era, an incredible 1865 $10 Liberty graded PCGS PR 66 + Deep Cameo offered up by Stacks Bowers, captured an amazing $528,750. Certainly a coup for the collector, as all Civil War era gold coins are coveted by numismatists. Of the original Proof mintage of a mere 25 coins, which known survivors numbers perhaps about half of that, today this is the finest known example.

A spectacular and finest-known Civil War era coin, the 1865 $10 Liberty graded PCGS PR 66 + Deep Cameo, was last seen on the market nearly two decades ago.

This coin roared to $528,750 as a part of Stacks Bowers ANA World’s Fair of Money Rarities Night session!

Another Gold Eagle, which was the first and largest denomination from our countries infancy, took top honors of the NGC graded coins at the Heritage Sale. The much-heralded and finest-known BD-5, 1795 Draped Bust Eagle 13 Lvs, pedigreed to Louis Eliasberg, witnessed the fabulous NGC MS 65 example power to $675,625, which establishes a record price for this exemplary first-year icon.

Key dates and rarities don’t always have to be at the top rung of the grading scale either. A great coin by any grading standard is the American classic 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar. Interestingly, the silver bullion supplied to coin all of the 1794 Dollars was provided directly by U.S. Mint Director David Rittenhouse. The Mint director then received the entire mintage of the 1794 Dollar and distributed the coins through private channels to politicians and dignitaries in Colonial America. Of the original mintage of a scant 1,758 struck as our inaugural U.S. silver dollar, perhaps around 135 are known to exist in all grades today. Confirming the desirability of this inaugural “Silver Cartwheel,” a PCGS Fine 12 with CAC sticker housed in an Old Green Holder raced to an amazing $170,375 at the Heritage Rosemont pre-ANA signature sale. Putting this in perspective, the “Coin Dealer Newsletter” values this coin wholesale “Bid” in this grade at $95,000, even the PCGS retail guide pegs the coin at $150,000. Certainly a record price for the coin within this numeric grade designation!

This inaugural 1794 “Silver Cartwheel,” a PCGS Fine 12 with CAC sticker housed in an old green holder, raced to an amazing $170,375 at the Heritage Rosemont pre-ANA signature sale. A record price for the coin within this numeric grade designation!

The much-heralded and finest-known BD-5 variety, 1795 Draped Bust Eagle 13 Lvs , pedigreed to Louis Eliasberg, witnessed the glorious NGC MS 65 example soar to $675,625 at The Heritage Rosemont Sale, which establishes a record price for this exemplary first year icon.

Some of the highlights of the Heritage Rosemont sale include the following prices realized:

The impeccable multi-hued sensation, 1850 Seated Liberty Quarter graded NGC PF 68, pedigreed to Pittman and Kaufman, is the finest of but perhaps three known examples. It realized $258,500 at the Heritage Rosemont sale.

• 1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS 65 $258,500;
• 1903 Barber Dime NGC PF 68* $14,100 (finest known);
• 1842 Liberty Seated Quarter small date PCGS PR 65 $258,500;
• 1848 Liberty Seated Quarter NGC PF 66 $55,813 (finest known);
• 1853 Liberty Seated Quarter arrows & rays NGC PF 66 Cameo $141,000;
• 1898 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 Ultra-Cameo $25,850 (finest known);
• 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar silver plug 2 Lvs NGC AU 55 $99,875;
• 1845 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 67 $141,000 (finest known);
• 1862 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 67 Cameo $51,406 (finest known);
• 1870 Liberty Seated Dollar NGC PF 67 Cameo $35,250 (finest known);
• 1883-CC Morgan Dollar NGC PF 65 Cameo $170,275;
• 1895 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 64 Cameo $52,875;
• 1887 Three Dollar Princess NGC PF 67 Cameo $64,625;
• 1811 Bust Half Eagle Tall 5 NGC MS 65 $76,375;
• 1866 $20 Liberty NGC MS 61 $30,550;
• 1892-S $20 Liberty NGC MS 65 $30,550;
• 1904 $20 Liberty NGC PF 67 Cameo $146,875;
• 1912 $20 Saint-Gaudens PCGS PR 67 $211,500;
• 1851 $5 Schultz & Co PCGS AU 53 $235,000.

Modern-era coins also flexed muscle as a radiant 1921-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar graded PCGS MS 65 CAC (OGH) soared to $108,688, which established a record price for this coin. This key date Walker, which is technically the second-rarest coin of the series, was one of only 16 coins graded as such by PCGS with one finer.

It was also voiced by many well-known traders that heightened activity in the metals market propelled some ANA Attendees in to action. “Silver, having not seen levels this high since early May, and gold spot on the upswing, trading closer to $1,400-an-ounce-level, ignited many of my good customers into action,” said a well-known Texas dealer.

The host auction by Stacks Bowers was headlined by many fabulous coin collections. One such assembly—the Bentley Shores collection of high-grade $10 Indians—provided a frenzy on the auction floor, where bidding was spirited to say the least.

“It was fierce and not for the faint of heart,” said Bob Green, president of Park Avenue Numismatics, who was fortunate enough to purchase several better-date $10 Indians pedigreed to the Bentley Shore collection. “Most of the coins sold immediately to my clients.”

This exquisite coin is the finest-known 1908-S $10 Indian graded NGC MS 69. In fact, it is the finest-known with motto Indian in existence.

Some of the superb prices realized for the Bentley Shore Collection include the following:

• 1907 $10 Indian rolled Rim J-1903 PCGS MS 67 $470,000;
• 1907 $10 Indian no periods PCGS MS 68 CAC $176,250;
• 1908-S $10 Indian NGC MS 69 $182,125;
• 1909 $10 Indian NGC PF 67 $141,000;
• 1911 $10 Indian NGC MS 68 $94,000;
• 1916-S $10 Indian PCGS MS 67 $111,625;
• 1920-S $10 Indian NGC MS 65 $199,750;
• 1933 $10 Indian PCGS MS 64 $367,188.

“The Law, Ford and Bentley Shore collections all performed magnificently. The rest of the sale did superbly also,” said an exhausted yet happy Brian Kendrella, president of Stacks Bowers. “We are very pleased with the broad-based support.” In total, a little more than $45 million was generated on the nine live floor sessions.

World coins were star performers too, as this stunning 1831 Crown from Great Britain struck in gold graded NGC PF 63 Ultra-Cameo with provenance from the Thomas Law collection. It was a crowd favorite and easily eclipsed the pre-auction estimate by more than two, realizing an impressive $305,500 at Stacks Bowers ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction.

Other standouts at the ANA World’s Fair of Money auction conducted by Stacks Bowers:

• 1652 Massachusetts Pine Tree Shilling Lg Planchet Pellets NGC MS 65+ $76,375;
• 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent No pole VF details PCGS $129,250;
• 1793 Flowing Hair Wreath Cent PCGS MS 69 BN $481,750;
• 1792 Half Disme PCGS MS 66 $793,125;
• 1926-S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 65 $47,000;
• 1834 Capped Bust Dime NGC MS 68 $28,200;
• 1893 Barber Quarter NGC PF 69 $29,375;
• 1795 Flowing Hair Half Dollar 2 Lvs NGC MS 63 + $82,250;
• 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar 3 Lvs NGC MS 62 $74,438;
• 1878-S Liberty Seated Half Dollar PCGS MS 63 $164,500;
• 1839 Gobrecht Dollar name below base J-105 NGC PF 65 $88,125;
• 1921 Alabama Centennial Half Dollar NGC MS 67 $25,850;
• 1797 Bust half Eagle Sm Eagle 16 stars PCGS MS 61 $411,250;
• 1797 Bust Half Eagle Sm Eagle 15 stars NGC AU 53 $129,250;
• 1915 Indian Eagle NGC PF 67 $94,000;
• 1932 Indian Eagle NGC MS 67 $28,200.

Until next time, happy collecting!


Jim Bisognani has written extensively on U.S. coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently resides in New England and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.

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