Press Release - May 18, 2006

World's Finest Commemorative Gold Set Heads to the Auction Block!

Dallas, Texas:Gold has often been referred to as "The King of Metals." With an undeniable allure, this precious material has been highly valued throughout history, coveted by monarch and peasant alike, and often reserved for the crafting of items of the highest significance. It is an absolute symbol of wealth and affluence, and the natural choice when selecting a metal in which to cast important, commemorative coinage.

"Commemorative gold coinage started in the late 19th-Century, with the 1892 and 1893 Columbian half dollars," said Greg Rohan, President of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, "and continues to the present day. The commemorative program really took off, however, in the early years of the 20th-Century, thanks to the efforts of Farran Zerbe, past president of the American Numismatic Association, and a tireless promoter of the hobby of numismatics. He was involved with the commemorative program at all levels, from design through distribution, and he sold the coins at expositions across the country."

"Originally issued to memorialize such events as the centennials of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, America's sesquicentennial, or the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, and in spite of Zerbe's tireless efforts to promote the program, early coins proved only moderately popular with collectors," Rohan said, "resulting in the melting of countless unsold examples. Consequently, these beautiful coins, created to the highest standards of art and commerce, are even scarcer than was originally intended."

"Another thing to keep in mind," said Rohan, "is that gold is a naturally soft metal, more susceptible to dings and damage than many other coins. We know that many of the commemoratives sold were either carried in people's pockets, polished, set in jewelry fixtures and the like, all of which would have resulted in various degrees of damage. Therefore, its even more impressive than usual to find these coins in high grade."

"The gold commemoratives in the Swiss America/Dr. Merritt Collection, which we're proud to present in our upcoming Long Beach auction, are truly superb," said Rohan. "All graded MS65 or better, this outstanding assembly was put together with an undeniable eye towards exceptional quality. The collection contains many finest-known examples of these popular coins ? in fact, it's ranked as the #1 NGC Registry Set in the category 'Gold Commemoratives 1903-1926,' although a few of the coins have been crossed to PCGS at the same grade - and should prove to be one of the most exciting offerings in our upcoming auction."

Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the Swiss America/Dr. Merritt Collection of Commemorative Gold Coins in their upcoming Signature Auction, to be held May 31-June 3, 2006 as the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectible Expo, at the Long Beach Convention Center, 100 South Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA, 90802.

The Swiss America/Dr. Merritt Collection includes:

Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all of Heritage's previous auctions are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website,

To reserve your copy of a catalog for any upcoming Heritage auction, please contact Nicole Jewell, c/o Heritage Auction Galleries, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219, or call 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272.

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