|Central States Signature
Auctions Realize Over $24 Million!
Auctions, Inc. (HNAI) and Heritage Currency Auctions of America
(CAA) held our latest Signature auctions on May 4-7, in St. Louis,
Missouri. Our HNAI Signature Auction, featuring US coin rarities,
brought consignors in excess of $15.5 million, including
post-auction sales. Paper money rarities in the Heritage-CAA
Signature Auction Realized over $8.3 million. And our Bullet
Auction, with viewing on site in St. Louis and bidding over the
Internet at www.HeritageCoins.com, brought in over $1.1
The strength of these auctions was the featured collections. The
Tom Mershon #2 All-Time Registry Collection of Lincoln Wheat Cents,
Realized over $1.1 million, an ample reward to Mr. Mershon for
offering the finest collection of Lincoln Cents to ever be
Highlights of the Tom Mershon Collection included:
The Central States Signature Auction also included the fourth
part of the Richard J. Chouinard Collection, the Tim Cook Registry
Collection of Liberty Seated Dimes, the Gary Kramer Registry
Collection of Washington Quarters, the Milwaukee Shore Collection
of Morgan Dollars, and Part Four of the Larry Rausch Collection of
significant nineteenth and twentieth century error coins.
Additional highlights included:
1889-CC $1 MS65 NGC. Realized $161,000.
1893-S $1 MS63 NGC. Realized $97,750. From The Milwaukee
1804 25C MS63 PCGS. Realized $92,000.
1802/1 $2 1/2 MS63 PCGS. Realized $103,500.
1841 $2 1/2 PR50 NGC. Realized $103,500.
1875 $5 Sailor Head Five Dollar, Judd-1438, Pollock-1581, R.8, PR65
NGC. Realized $287,500.
1875 $10 Sailor Head Ten Dollar, Judd-1443, Pollock-1587, R.8, PR64
NGC. Realized $402,500.
1916 50C Walking Liberty Half Dollar Pattern, Judd-1991, Formerly
Judd-1798, Pollock-2056, High R.7, PR63 PCGS. Realized
The Currency Signature Auction featured the Type Note Collection
of Jim O'Neal, the retired former president and chief executive
officer of Frito-Lay. The collection of 194 lots, which was offered
entirely unreserved, sold for nearly $4.3 million.
This collection, assembled during more than a decade of
searching, was replete with rarities, several of which were unique
and others that were the finest known examples of their type. The
collection was astounding, in that it offered at least one example
of virtually every major design type listed in the Friedberg
When asked to comment, O'Neal said, "Saturday night's auction
was an exciting and very rewarding event, from both a monetary and
psychological standpoint. It was a real testament to the whole
Heritage team. The room was electric with a high level of energy. I
was hoping for $3 million and my notes brought $4.3 million, so
obviously, I'm very pleased with Heritage's marketing efforts. I
could not be happier with the entire process."
Highlights of the Jim O'Neal Collection included:
The Tom O'Mara Collection of Fractional Currency was also a
standout, realizing nearly $1.1 million. We were very pleased to
see CAA reclaim the record price for a Fractional Currency note
lot 16007, the Fr. 1255a from the Tom O'Mara collection
Other highlights from the Tom O'Mara collection included:
This auction, with its total of over $8.3 million, was the
second largest currency auction ever. The largest was our Taylor
Family sale in February at nearly $12 million, and the third was
our 2005 FUN sale at $6.7 million. CAA has held the three largest
currency auctions ever, all back to back, in the first six months
of this year.
Other highlights included:
"These were another in a string of very exciting, very
successful auctions," said Greg Rohan, President of HNAI. "2005 is
already looking to be our best year ever."
Images, descriptions, and prices Realized from all of Heritage's
previous sales are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at
the Heritage website, www.HeritageCoins.com
Back to Top
Seldom Seen Selections: 1838-O
One of the rarest
American branch mint proof coins, the
1838-O Half Dollar minted in New Orleans, is being featured in
our Long Beach
Signature Auction, June 2-3, 2005 in Long Beach, California.
This is the Official Auction of the Long Beach Coin Expo.
Among our 3,000-plus Long Beach lots, we have many wonderful
rarities, but none quite as impressive as two of the great classic
American rarities: the 1838-O Half Dollar, Capped Bust with Reeded
Edge, and certified as PR64 by PCGS, and a 1794 Silver Dollar
certified as MS61 by NGC. The exact number of surviving examples is
not specifically known, but it is generally believe to be in the
vicinity of a dozen different coins, approximately the same number
as the '94-S Dime and the '70-S Dollar. This 1838-O Half Dollar is
one of the finest extant; none have been graded higher by either
PCGS or NGC.
The New Orleans Mint had not been long in operation when this
great rarity was struck. The Mint had been established by
legislation dated March 3, 1835, along with branch mints in
Charlotte and Dahlonega. The original Mint Act specified that the
New Orleans branch was to strike "coinage of gold and silver," and
to that end, for "purchasing sites, erecting suitable buildings,
and completing the necessary combinations of machinery," $200,000
was appropriated. The legislation further stipulated that the
Superintendent of the New Orleans Mint was to receive a salary of
The New Orleans Mint was ready for operations by 1838, but there
were considerable problems with press breakage, and it is generally
accepted that only half dimes and dimes were struck during 1838 ?
with some thought that even the half dimes took through 1839.
Although half dollar dies were received in New Orleans during 1838,
the 1838-O half dollars weren't actually minted until early 1839.
Walter Breen suggested that the halves were coined in January,
while R.W. Julian believed that they were not minted until March.
In either case, there is 19th century evidence that the total
production mintage was limited to approximately 20 coins: a
handwritten note stating that Rufus Tyler, Coiner of the New
Orleans branch mint, struck "not more than 20 pieces." It is known
that the 1838-O obverse dies were defaced in June 1839, limiting
the time of production to no later than that month.
Considering the problems that the New Orleans coiners were
having, there is some logic to the suggestion that the coins were
produced to test the set-up of the press for larger coins. Dies for
1839 Half Dollars had already been received, but it makes sense
that Rufus Tyler used the earlier dated dies to test the new press,
for fear of breaking the newer 1839 dies. Coinage of the 1839-O
half dollars began in early April, thus accounting for Julian's
belief that the 1838-O half dollars were coined in March.
This 1838-O Branch Mint proof is known as the Baldenhofer
Specimen, and its illustrious pedigree includes: Col. E.H.R. Green;
W.G. Baldenhofer (Stack's, 11/1955), lot 708; Robert Pelletreau
(Stack's, 3/1959), lot 782; Jerome L. Cohen; Lester Merkin; Q.
David Bowers; Charles Jay (Stack's, 10/1967), lot 181; Dr. E. Yale
Clarke (Stack's, 10/1975), lot 253; Julian Leidman; NASCA (Bryan
Collection, 11/1977), lot 708; Julian Leidman; Paramount (Auction
'82), lot 1689; unknown. It has been certified by PCGS as PR64 BM,
with the "BM" designation for "Branch Mint."
This half dollar issue ranks among the most famous of all
American coinage rarities. Its inclusion in a collection enshrines
the owner among the highest ranks of American numismatics.
This lot is open for bidding at www.HeritageCoins.com.
Back to Top
Website tips: Heritage
MyCollectionTM Value Passes $2
Heritage is pleased to announce that the total value of coins
listed with our free MyCollectionTM feature is over $2 Billion. 42,300 users are
now listing over 1.5 Million Coins.
"$2 billion represents the value of all the coins listed by our
clients using free online MyCollection software, based on
Numismedia wholesale values. And it really shows the incredible
growth of our collector base over the past few years," said Jim
Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. (HNAI).
"In fact, just one year ago, the total value listed was under $600
million, and its user base was barely 16,000!"
MyCollection is a special feature of the HeritageCoins.com
website available to all of Heritage's over 145,000 registered
numismatic bidder-members. Collectors can list their coins in an
easy-to-use, secure and confidential database, and instantly obtain
population data, current market values, past auction results, and
much, much more about each piece in their collection. Demand
ratings show how many fellow numismatists are looking for a
particular coin, and a convenient 'Sell Now' option allows members
to contact Heritage should they want to liquidate one piece or a
whole group of coins. They can even add their own descriptions and
photos, and can customize the database to display and list their
coins in whatever fashion they chose. Best of all, membership and
the feature itself are both totally free!
"We debuted MyCollection on December 22, 2000," Halperin added,
"and the overwhelming response to the software has exceeded our
highest expectations. Our business philosophy centers on more
transparency, and in giving our clients the tools that allow them
to research their collections just like experts do. More than
anything else Heritage offers, we believe it's that philosophy to
which collectors have responded so enthusiastically."
For more information regarding MyCollection, and the many other
collector-friendly features available on the Heritage Website,
please visit www.HeritageCoins.com,
a free on-line community of over 145,000 numismatists.
Back to Top
Fantasy: A coin struck within the Mint, but without
authorization. Many of our best-known rarities are fantasies, such
as the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
A few readers sent along responses to Bob Korver's article
about pet names for coin types. Here are some highlights:
SLaQers: Standing Liberty Quarters
Bra Buster: Any Bust type coin
Bare Breasted Amazon: Type 1 Standing Liberty Quarter
Bike: Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar
Bob, who has always thought that the Two Cent Piece needs a new
name, adds "Tuppent" for that denomination. He also points out that
the "Bra Buster" term above brings an entirely new meaning to the
venerable CC Dollar.
Back to Top