July 1, 2005
This Week In Coin & Currency News
The Great Western Collection of Territorial Gold
Heritage-Slater Americana Auction Posts Outstanding Results!
Seldom Seen Selections: An Indian Head Half Eagle Graded MS68
Found Treasures: The Columbus Quincintenary Half Eagle
Website tips: MyNotes
Numismatic Glossary
Heritage Offers Huge Discounts on NumisMedia Guides
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2005 September Long Beach, CA Signature Auctions
Current Auctions: 2005 New York, NY Bullet Sale, Exclusively Internet Auction, Continuous Internet Auction, Internet Currency Auction, Amazing Sports Auction, Internet Movie Poster Auction, Amazing Comics Auction
Weekly Specials: Don't miss out on a great deal

Collector News
The Great Western Collection of Territorial Gold

As we return to the scene of so much important numismatic history in San Francisco for our upcoming ANA Signature Auction, it seems only fitting that we will have the great privilege to offer perhaps the finest collection of Territorial Gold we've ever seen at this most appropriate venue. The Great Western Collection of Territorial Gold is one of the greatest assemblages of these important pieces of numismatic history, and we are even more impressed now than when we first inspected it. After carefully examining the pieces it contains, it is remarkable both for the breadth of the issues and for the sheer variety of its $50 "slugs."

This collection is a far-reaching assortment of Territorial Gold coins from North Carolina, Utah, Oregon, Colorado, and, of course, California. Many unusual pieces are included, such as the Shultz & Company Half Eagle, a piece rarely seen in auction in any grade. This is the first such coin that we've had the privilege to offer in one of our auctions, and although it shows some porosity due to environmental damage, it is blessed with extremely sharp details, showing little or no actual wear.

Of course, the $50 Slugs are the first thing one might think of when the subject of California Territorial Gold comes up, and this collection is blessed with six such quasi-official coins, or "ingots". Although most collectors may not consider collecting these pieces by variety, there are five different varieties included amongst the selection of Humbert pieces, including an 1851-dated Lettered Edge piece with the word "ASSAYER" inverted which bears a PCGS-assigned grade of MS61. The sixth Slug is a United States Assay Office piece graded AU55.

For the collecting community, this will be an extraordinary opportunity, as most of the coins have been off of the market several decades - some for more than thirty years. This is an opportunity that specialists will talk about fondly for generations.

Highlights include:

This collection, along with the rest of the treasures we will be offering in the ANA Signature Auction, will be auction in San Francisco on July 27-29. Bidding will open soon at HeritageCoins.com, with floor bidding sessions will take place at the San Francisco ANA Convention on July 27-30.

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Heritage-Slater Americana Auction Posts Outstanding Results!

Heritage-Slater Americana held our latest Grand Format Auction of Historical and Popular Culture Americana on June 22 & 23, 2005 in our Dallas, Texas headquarters. 1,103 lots found new owners with sales exceeding $1.1 Million.

"I'm overjoyed by the results of this auction," said Tom Slater, Director of HSA. "This has been our best auction ever, and I'm thrilled that we're reaching so many new collectors and bringing so much new blood into this exciting hobby."

The star of the show was, undoubtedly, the spectacular 1864 Lincoln Campaign Banner, which was part of the Hershey farm collection. This banner, along with its companion piece, the 1844 Henry Clay banner, hung in the Hershey family home for generations, kept in a wonderful state of preservation. This is one of the few textile pieces to show "Honest Abe" with his familiar beard, and is a truly museum-quality artifact.

"I was especially pleased with the interest in the items related to President Calvin Coolidge," Slater said. "Lot after lot, rarity after rarity set new price records. The 6" Coolidge jugate led the pack, hammering at $11,000 plus the 15% Buyer's Premium. The Coolidge collection came to us from a well-known, long- time APIC member and Coolidge specialist, Larry Krug. It proves that when really outstanding merchandise is presented, collectors respond and prices go through the roof.

"Personally," said Slater, "I think it's great to see so many people taking such a profound interest in our country's rich and exciting history. From the War of Independence through the Civil War, World War II and beyond, our nation has played a pivotal role in world events. The memorabilia left behind provides a marvelous insight into those events and the effect they had on those that lived through them. I'm looking forward to our next auction, which will feature even more exciting items from times past."

Heritage-Slater Americana's next auction event, featuring Rare Books, Manuscripts and Autographs, will be held on September 12 & 13, 2005, in Dallas, Texas.

For more information about Heritage-Slater Americana auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HeritageAmericana.com.

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Seldom Seen Selections: An Indian Head Half Eagle Graded MS68

As a part of the July 28 Platinum Night in our upcoming San Francisco ANA Signature Auction, Heritage is privileged to present the only Indian Head Half Eagle of any date to ever have received a grade of MS68 from PCGS.

The 1908-S Half Eagle is usually found in lower grades, but when they are nice, they are really nice. This is just such a coin, almost certainly the single finest 1908-S Indian Half Eagle in existence. Walter Breen mentioned that Virgil Brand once had a small group of Mint State examples (Brand had small groups of just about everything). Perhaps this amazing example traces its history back to that group, which David Akers said "contained a number of gems as well as several superb pieces." In A Handbook of 20th-Century United States Gold Coins, Akers also noted that a few exceptional or nearly perfect examples exist today.

In general terms, 1908-S Half Eagles were quite sharply struck with strong mintmarks. This is especially significant for the present example has an "S" mintmark with exactly the same characteristics as found on the popular 1909-S V.D.B. cent. The most visible characteristic is a small lump inside the upper left curve of the letter. Mintmark punches were used over several years, as long as they were still serviceable.

This incredible specimen is fully struck and highly lustrous with frosty reddish-gold surfaces. Some lighter pinkish gold color is visible on both sides. According to Akers: "Most specimens have very good to excellent luster and the color is typically reddish gold or coppery." The connoisseur of gold coinage may never find a nicer example of the date or the type. We have spent considerable time searching for even the slightest little tick or mark for pedigree purposes, almost to no avail. The only marker we can find that might even remotely show up in older photographs of this coin is a tiny field nick below the space between UN in UNITED and a second at 8 o'clock on the reverse border. Even with present-day photographic technology, these may not be visible.

Bidding on this coin and the other great pieces in the San Francisco ANA Signature Auction will open soon at HeritageCoins.com.

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Found Treasures: The Columbus Quincintenary Half Eagle
by Stewart Huckaby

Every so often, my e-mail box sees a pretty good numismatic question that sparks my imagination and results in a somewhat lengthier reply than can be fit into the standard "Your coin is worth $1 to $5; don't clean it..." e-mail. A customer wrote in this week with a question that I hear (with obvious variations) with some regularity. Specifically, he wanted to know why the catalog values of the Uncirculated Columbus Quincintenary Half Eagle were higher than the corresponding values in the same grade for the Proof version of the coin.

As with any coin values, the basic economic laws of supply and demand rule, so it's not unusual at all to find a proof coin valued less than an uncirculated coin in the same grade. When there are more proofs than uncirculated coins in a particular grade, the uncirculated coins will generally be worth more. Similarly, if there is more demand for the uncirculated piece, the circulation strike coins will be worth more.

The most common examples where uncirculated coins would be worth more than similarly graded proofs might include:

  1. Comparatively few circulation strike pieces were minted and virtually all circulated. This was very common with late 19th century coinage — not so much with Indian Cents and Morgan Dollars, which were made in quantity, but often with other denominations. Seated Dimes, Quarters, and Half Dollars each went through periods with very small circulation strike mintages because of the immense numbers of silver dollars in production. Many collectors prefer to collect exclusively circulation strike coins (or exclusively proofs), and since proofs are by definition collector coins and most were saved rather than spent, the circulation strike coins become correspondingly harder to find in high grades and bring a premium when available. This pricing behavior is not limited to Seated coinage; Three cent pieces of both types, Shield Nickels, and Liberty Nickels all have similar examples. The key 1886 Liberty Nickel, for example, is far cheaper as a Proof than as a circulation strike.
  2. The circulation strike coin and the proof are both common and in a seemingly high grade, a condition very common with coins minted 1955-64. Because of the care taken in their manufacture, Proof coins tend to receive higher grades than circulation strike coins, so you might see a typical circulation strike coin receiving a grade of MS63-66 and its corresponding proof a grade in the 66-69 range. An example that comes to mind is the 1964 quarter, where the circulation strike can bring a tremendous premium in high grades because of a combination of poor production quality and the mass collector apathy brought on by tremendous production numbers. This extremely common coin is unknown in grades above MS67. The corresponding proof was made in huge numbers by the standards of proof coinage, but the majority of coinage receives grades of PR68 and PR69. A Proof-67 piece is not only very common, but a relatively poor grade for the issue.
  3. Modern commemoratives and (some) bullion coins. All of these come in high grades and most grade 68 or 69 regardless of whether they are circulation strikes or proofs. The price for these coins is based strictly on the availability of the type of strike, and more often than not with commemoratives the proofs are more common than circulation strike coins. The key to the entire Modern Commemorative set, for example, is the Uncirculated Jackie Robinson Half Eagle, a coin that currently sells for around $2,500. Its proof counterpart, a semi-key coin in its own right, is worth closer to $500 - which makes the fact that I picked mine up at $300 three years ago that much sweeter.

The Columbus Half Eagle in the original question is probably the rule, rather than the exception, among Modern Commemoratives, and particularly among Modern Commemorative Gold. People who buy coins from the US Mint tend to like them nice and shiny, and proofs are nothing if not that, while circulation strike Modern Commemoratives have a satin surface that is a bit on the dull side. In its original packaging, this coin might bring about $170 as a circulation strike, compared to roughly $30 less as a Proof, making it, if not as valuable as most later Modern Gold Commemoratives, at least a notch above the bullion status of its earlier peers. Interestingly, its Silver Dollar counterpart is worth perhaps $10 more as a Proof than as an Uncirculated piece.

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Website tips: MyNotes

Ever wanted to have a quick, convenient place to take notes about a lot that interests you in a Heritage Auction? Now you have that opportunity, and you need not look for pen and paper to do it. Heritage now provides you the opportunity to keep notes on our website on any item that shows up in any of the following places:

  • MyBids
  • MyTrackedLots
  • MyConsignments
  • MyWantlist Matches

When you visit any of these pages, you will see two buttons - "Add/Edit note" and "Remove Note" immediately above your listings. At the far left of each of these listings is a checkbox. Check any or all of the items on which you wish to enter notes. If you want to take notes on every item in your listing, click on the checkbox at the top. Once you have checked every item you wish to edit, click on the "Add/Edit Note" button.

Here, you will see a listing of every item you have chosen to enter, complete with description, lot number, and thumbnail image. Make any edits you wish, and then click on any "Save" button to save all of your edits. Note that you will be limited to 256 characters of notes on any one item, or about 50 words or so. The bottom of each listing will show you the amount of room you have remaining.

Once you've entered your notes, they will instantly be visible from your MyBids, MyTrackedLots, MyConsignments, or MyWantlist Matches listings, immediately below the short description of the item. You can enter notes on items in present, past, and even future auctions, so long as they show up in one of these listings.

To remove a note, just click on the checkbox to the left of the item and click "Remove Note.

MyNotes is a tremendous tool for you as a bidder, with an array of uses that is limited only by your imagination. Keep an eye out for more new features, on the way soon from HeritageCoins.com!

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Numismatic Glossary:

Novodel: (1) A coin struck with new dies to imitate an older type or date. Sometimes this can take the form of a "restrike" of a coin that was never struck in the first place. A rather obvious example would be the 1804 Dollar.

(2) A die trial. Used mainly with Russian coinage, which is only appropriate since Novodel is a Russian term.

Condition Census: (1) A listing of the finest known grades of a particular coin or variety. The number of coins listed in a condition census may vary according to the reference involved, but most references will list the top five. For example, the 3rd Edition Overton Condition Census listing for the 1815/2 Half Dollar reads "(65,64,63,63,63)."

(2) Used as an adjective to describe a coin fine enough to be included in the condition census.

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Heritage Offers Huge Discounts on NumisMedia Guides

As a valued Heritage client, we wanted to let you know about the special discounts we have negotiated with NumisMedia for you. We believe you'll find these guides to be an indispensable coin-pricing resource. Heritage, along with many other numismatic insiders, consider NumisMedia to be the most accurate rare coin pricing source available anywhere.

NumisMedia Online Dealer Price Guides - Market, PCGS, and NGC Prices:
Just $120 per year. Order NOW!

NumisMedia presents NGC and PCGS Dealer Wholesale Prices representing dealer bid prices, and is available to dealers. In subscribing to the NGC/PCGS Wholesale Prices, you will also have access to the NumisMedia Market Prices, dealer to dealer trading prices based on sight-seen trades from activity throughout the country.

Bonus: In addition, subscribers to the Online Dealer Price Guides will receive a copy of the Fair Market Value Price Guide each month and gain access to the Online Fair Market Value Price Guide. This is an additional $96/year value.

NumisMedia Monthly FMV Price Guide:
Just $17 for 3 months. Order NOW!

The NumisMedia FMV Price Guide is a monthly publication with concise listings of the most recent Fair Market Value prices for coins offered by dealers in the numismatic community. The Fair Market Value prices listed represent accurately graded, sight-seen coins that are accepted by a majority of the dealers across the country.

There are over 40 pages of VF through MS67 listings in the following categories: Flying Eagle Cents, Indian Cents & Lincoln Cents (1909-1933) Brown, Red & Brown, and Red; Buffalo Nickels; Barber Dimes, Quarters, & Halves; Mercury Dimes (incl. Full-Bands); Walking Liberty Halves; Morgan & Peace Dollars; $1 Gold through $20 Gold; & Gold & Silver Commemoratives. The balance of U.S. coinage is available in our online price guide with your paid subscription.

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Coin Club Outreach Program

In a move to help strengthen the coin hobby and increase membership in America's coin clubs, Heritage has created the Coin Club Outreach program.

The Coin Club Outreach program features a speaker's bureau to deliver presentations at coin club meetings, promotional items to be offered to clubs to help generate revenue and enlist new members, and access to the Heritage website and mailing list of over 100,000 active coin and currency enthusiasts. Anyone interested in scheduling a speaker for a coin club or other collector group is invited to contact:

David Lisot, Director
Heritage Coin Club Outreach
1-800-872-6467 ext. 303

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Heritage Interactive
Instant Quiz

NEW: Instant quizzes and polls twice a week at www.heritagecoins.com!

Answer these quick questions and see how you stack up against your peers.

1. Why were there no Charlotte Mint coins dated 1845?
       1845-dated dies were lost during shipment
       A fire at the mint
       The outbreak of the Civil War
       A shortage of gold
       A yellow fever outbreak

2. What is the denomination of the coin pictured in this Pan and Zoom close-up?

       One Cent
       Two Cents
       One Dollar
       Three Dollars
       Twenty Dollars

Last week's questions:

1. Which of the following coins bears the motto IN GOD WE TRUST?
Correct Answer: Shield Nickel (43%).

2. What is the date of the coin pictured in this Pan and Zoom close-up?

Correct Answer: Quarter (25%). This is the reverse of a Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle Quarter. Of the Draped Bust silver coins, only the 1796-1797 Small Eagle Half Dollar and the 1801-07 Heraldic Eagle Quarter bore the denomination anywhere on either face. The quarter's denomination, 25 C., faces inward from the bottom of the reverse, which contrasts to the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, which faces outward. Hence the C and reversed A you see above.

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Is It Time To Sell?

The Beach is Long, and the Time is Right

As official auctioneer of the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo, we've been proud to sell over $30 million in great coins already this year. Rarities such as an uncirculated 1794 Dollar, a 1838-O Half Dollar, and the finest known British 1643 Charles I Triple Unite have made headlines throughout the numismatic world.

Now, once again in September, Heritage is proud to bring more great US coins, World Coins, and Currency to our finest customers through the proven venue of the Long Beach show. We are thrilled to have outstanding collections of Colonial coinage, Half Dimes, Washington Quarters, and Illinois Nationals, as well as numismatic Washingtonia, already consigned to these auctions. If you have material to sell, give us a call and take this opportunity to participate in these auctions. The time is right!

Where else can you reach a base of over 150,000 registered Internet bidders from all over the world, as well as an appreciative audience of collectors and dealers on site at the show - in the midst of one of the hottest numismatic markets we've ever seen? Contact us today, and find out how we can help you get the most from your material.

The consignment deadlines are August 4 for Currency and World Coins, and August 11 for US Coins. Call us today to ensure that you can take full advantage of this opportunity!

2005 September Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 21 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 11, 2005

2005 September (CAA) Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 23 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 4, 2005

2005 (HWCA) Long Beach Signature Auction
Sale on September 21 to September 24, 2005
Consignment Deadline: August 4, 2005

Leo Frese
Director of Consignments
1-800-US-COINS ext. 222 (24 hour voice mail)

Interested in Selling?
What's My Coin Worth?
Get the Most Money for Your Collection
Consign to a Heritage Auction

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Current Auctions


Rare Coins
Closes Tue. July 5
at 10:00 PM
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Rare Coins
Location: New York, NY
Auction: 2005 New York, NY Bullet Auction #381
Auction Dates: July 4, 2005
Note: Internet Absentee Bidding Ends between 6 PM and 10 PM CT.
See the individual lot page for specific times.
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