September 23, 2005
This Week In Coin & Currency News
Auctions Abound at Heritage Galleries
New: Currency For Immediate Sale
Found Treasures: 1885 Three Cent Nickel
Website tips: Tracking Lots In Previews
Numismatic Glossary
Help Wanted: Internet Sales
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2006 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Auction
Current Auctions: 2005 September Long Beach Online Session, 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


New: Currency For Immediate Sale is pleased to introduce currency for immediate purchase! Now, you can purchase the note you want directly from Heritage's extensive inventory without having to compete against other potential buyers and without having to wait up to half a month to find out if you have been successful.

Just search normally within Heritage's currency offerings from our home page for the note you want, add it to your cart, then follow the instructions to buy the note immediately. Happy hunting!

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Collector News
Auctions Abound at Heritage Galleries

The Long Beach numismatic auctions are winding down as you receive this newsletter, but that doesn't mean that we at Heritage are idle. The Palm Beach Signature Auction is right around the corner, and the other Heritage venues are offering great material for bidding even now.

It should come as no surprise that Heritage, the World's Largest Collectibles Auctioneer, is interested in the fast-growing regional market of Texas Art. We believe that the historical importance and impressive quality of this material as well as the dedication of the Early Texas Art collecting community, makes these treasures worthy of a larger place on the artistic stage. We are proud to offer these fabulous works to the attention of art collectors worldwide in our October Heritage Texas Art Signature Auction, to be offered October 1 in our Dallas headquarters.

Over half of the lots in this auction have a provenance directly traceable to the artist's studio. Much of this material comes directly from the artist themselves, their representative, or their estate. Included in this category are groups of paintings by Rolla Taylor, Carl Hoppe, Merritt Mauzey, William Lester, Kelly Fearing, Xavier Gonzalez, Robert Preusser, and Ralph White.

One of the most exquisite paintings being offered in this auction is the Texas-sized (44" x 100") bluebonnet painting by Porfirio Salinas that is featured on our catalog cover. It is joined by two wonderful pieces from the epic Texas Centennial celebration of 1936, the original mural study for the North Wall Mural of the Great Hall of State by Eugene Savage, and the stunning "Josephina" by Clinton King. Equally exciting is our selection of Texas Modernism, which has an abundance of masterful paintings.

A treasure trove of music and entertainment memorabilia will be available in our upcoming Music Memorabilia Signature Auction to be held October 8, 2005 in our Dallas, Texas headquarters.

One of the premiere pieces in this auction is an exquisite oil painting by the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. Although Sinatra painted for most of his adult life, his creations have never before been offered for sale. We're proud to offer this bold and striking work - the last painting that Sinatra ever did - in our upcoming auction.

Another great item is a 1963 White Fender Stratocaster Guitar, one of Jimi Hendrix's first Strats. This historic instrument, used early in Hendrix's career, was given to Skip Juried, one of Hendrix's closest friends and chief engineer at Juggy Sound Studios, by the legendary musician, and came to our consignor directly from Skip. The provenance is impeccable, making this museum-worthy piece a true historical treasure. There are lots of people out there claiming to have Hendrix guitars, but few have the documentation of this classic instrument.

Of course, we're extremely proud to offer Johnny Carson's Tonight Show Desk, featured on the show from approximately 1974 through 1981, as well. In our last auction, we sold Johnny's on-air Shure microphone for $50,787, so I'm excited to see where the bidding on this historic piece goes.

We're very pleased to be able to offer several pieces from the collection of the Blackstone Estate. Father and son, Harry Blackstone Sr. and Jr., were two of the 20th Century's greatest magicians, their combined careers spanning over 70 years. From costumes to fully functional stage props, including the classic 'Sawing a Lady in Half' illusion, there are some real treasures here.

We've had a blast assembling this auction. It's great to find these items, and we're excited to now offer them to collectors all over the world.

Heritage Comics Auctions (HCA) will hold their latest auction of rare and collectible comic books, original comic art and related memorabilia on October 14 & 15, 2005, in our Dallas, Texas headquarters.

One of the highlights of this upcoming auction is the staggering collection of high grade Mile High comics that we're offering, including such significant books as More Fun Comics #53 and Adventure Comics #72, CGC-graded NM/M 9.8 with White pages. That's not the extent of our Golden Age offerings, however, as we're also pleased to present some of the most desirable Timely books in existence. Start with the legendary 'Pay Copy' of Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, which featured the first printed appearance of Bill Everett's Sub-Mariner, CGC-graded VF/NM 9.0 with Cream to off-white pages, and one of the nicest copies of Captain America Comics #1 we've ever seen, the Windy City copy, CGC-graded VF+ 8.5 with Cream to off-white pages. The crown jewel of this section, though, has to be a stunning copy of the seminal Marvel Comics #1, one of the finest copies known to exist, CGC-graded VF/NM 9.0 with Cream to off-white pages. There's only one other copy tied with this one for the title 'highest-graded,' so this is a significant opportunity for collectors of true rarities.

Silver Age collectors will have plenty to be excited about, as we're offering several stunning DC titles, including The Flash #105, CGC-graded NM 9.4 with Off-white pages. And Marvel enthusiasts will want to take a look at a beautiful copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #9, CGC-graded NM+ 9.6 with Off-white to white pages, featuring Electro's first appearance. With rumors circulating about Electro's possible inclusion in Spider-Man 3, this is definitely a book to consider!

Certainly no Heritage auction would be complete without a strong selection of original comic art, and this one is no exception. Our premiere offering in this category is the unforgettable John Byrne/Terry Austin artwork for the cover of cover of X-Men #138, the book that immediately followed the landmark ?Death of Phoenix' storyline. Who can forget the image of a brooding Cyclops leaving behind the team he helped to found?

This is our last auction of 2005, and it's one that collectors won't want to miss. We've pulled out all the stops on this one, and we've come up with an event that the comics' community will be talking about for some time to come.

Meanwhile, our latest Decorative Arts Signature Auction was held on September 17, 2005 in our Dallas, Texas headquarters. 1,107 bidders competed for 1,078 lots, 210 of them successfully, for a final total of nearly $1 million.

This was a very successful event for us. Prices across the board were strong, especially in the area of decorative silver. We had a good turnout, and some aggressive bidding, both on the floor and over the phone and Internet. This is a fascinating area of collecting, and we're looking forward to our next auction, to be held December 10, 2005 in Dallas.

There are still great opportunities on some items that didn't sell in this auction. For a limited time, these items are available for direct sale at fixed amounts. This offer will end Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 10:00 AM CT. View the Post Auction Buys.

Auction highlights included:

A Russian Silver Tea Service
Mark of Antip Ivanovich Kuzmichev, Moscow, Russia, c.1900
REALIZED: $26,290

A Pair of German Silver Knights
I. F. & Son, Ltd., Germany, Nineteenth century
REALIZED: $19,120

An Austrian Porcelain Plaque
Maker unknown, c.1900
REALIZED: $17,925

An American Art Glass Vase
Tiffany Studios, c.1900
REALIZED: $16,730

An American Reverse-Painted Glass Lamp
Pairpoint Corporation, Early Twentieth Century
REALIZED: $15,535

An American Bronze D'Ore and Enamel Carriage Clock
Mark of Tiffany & Co., c.1890
REALIZED: $14,340

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Found Treasures: 1885 Three Cent Nickel
by Stewart Huckaby

Last week's Found Treasures subject, the 1904-S Half Dollar, was an example of a key and possibly underrated coin in a fairly recent but not terribly popular series. This week's coin is similar in many respects — it's a key coin in an obscure series and relatively unknown if not underrated — but it also serves to illustrate the value of doing one's homework before purchasing a coin.

The 1885 Three Cent Nickel is the unquestioned key to the Three Cent Nickel series - among circulation strikes, at least. The date is common as a proof, but only 1000 circulation strike pieces were minted, the lowest total in the series and a tiny total for any US coin.

Three Cent Nickel collectors are few and far between, so this piece does not have the notoriety of its Five Cent Nickel counterpart. The circulation strike 1885 Three Cent Nickel is, however, far rarer than the 1885 Five Cent Nickel. The catalog description for lot 1326 in our Long Beach auction, an 1885 Three Cent Nickel graded MS66 in a first-generation PCGS holder (pictured above), mentions that only 77 coins have been graded in all grades by either major grading service, and a little research shows than none of these has been graded lower than VF30. In contrast, the major grading services have seen nearly 700 1885 Five Cent Nickels in grades all over the spectrum, and of course this figure doesn't include the innumerable ANACS-graded coins of the date.

If you're familiar with Red Book prices, you'll know that they tend to be not only retail, but on the high end for most coins. Usually, coins will sell at auction at or near wholesale prices, which might run at about 70% of Red Book as a rule of thumb. 2006 Red Book prices for the 1885 Three Cent Nickel in various grades look like this:

  • VF20: $535
  • XF40: $600
  • AU50: $675 (the book actually says $575, which is probably a typo)
  • MS60: $900
  • MS63: $1100

Wholesale guides for this coin in these grades are in the 70-90% of the above figures depending on both the guide and grade of the coin. The Red Book does not cover this coin in MS65, but common wholesale guides range from roughly $1600 to $2000 and other retail guides show figures of $3000-$4000. MS66 listings are a bit tougher to find, but one on-line wholesale listing shows a figure near $2800 and another retail listing is at about $8500.

Based on the history of Heritage auction sales of this coin in the last five years or so, I believe none of the figures above is accurate; in fact, every one is probably way too low. I would estimate that the retail figures above for circulated coins are no more than two-thirds of what this coin legitimately will bring at auction today, and that the price guide figures for uncirculated coins are a mere fraction of what they should be.

Here are actual auction results from each of the Heritage auction sales of this coin since 2001:

  • 7-04: ANACS XF Details, Corroded, net VF20, $472. This is the only result in the last five years that falls below Red Book and it's for a problem coin, which will often bring far lower prices than a problem-free coin in the listed net grade.
  • 9-04: ANACS XF40, $891
  • 2-02: ANACS XF45, $748
  • 5-01: NGC AU55, $776. Reasonably close to today's price guides, but this sale is from over four years ago.
  • 1-05: PCGS MS64, $4,025
  • 5-05: PCGS MS66, $16,100
  • 6-05: PCGS MS66, $16,100
  • 2-05: PCGS MS67, $19,119. Tied for the finest known.

The Long Beach coin follows this trend. It shows a current bid of $13,000 as I write this, which equates to a sale price of at least $14,950 after we add the Buyer's Premium, as is customary. It has no reserve, so we already know it will sell for at least this amount. When you receive this, the auction will be over and you'll be able to click on the image of the coin above to find out exactly how well the coin fared.

As a collector, two of the series I collect avidly are Seated Half Dimes and Seated Dimes. I like circulated coins, and I'm at the point in my collections of these series where the vast majority of the coins I wish to add to this collection, particularly in the Half Dimes, are semi-key dates or something even tougher on the pocketbook, and most of the time I simply can't find a coin in the grade I want regardless of how hard I look. (Naturally, the rest of the time I can't afford the coin?) When a coin from one of these series that would fit in my collection does turn up, I've learned through hard experience and a great supply of e-mail outbid notices to take the price guides with a healthy supply of salt. A series may not be popular, but the people who collect it seriously will be aggressive if they see something they want, and they are by definition far more accurate in their pricing than the guides will ever be.

The Three Cent Nickel series is, if anything, even more obscure than the various Seated Liberty series, but the same principle applies. Sure, there are plenty of common circulation strikes early in the series and proofs regardless of date are always available for a price, but there are some legitimately tough circulation strike dates out there, like the 1885, and you may have to look pretty hard to find one at all. If you want a coin like this, make sure you check auction results before you place your bid in order that you know what people are actually paying. Sometimes you just have to throw away the price guides!

The Heritage Permanent Auction Archives are available to all members free of charge.

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Website Tips: Tracking Lots In Previews

As part of our commitment to staying on the cutting edge of auction technology, Heritage has added an exciting new feature to our award-winning websites.

Currently, all items that are described or imaged for an upcoming auction automatically appear on the appropriate web site, where users may browse the contents to preview auction items of interest. This auction preview feature has proven extremely popular with our bidders, as it's given them a 'heads-up' on items they might want to bid on.

You have the ability to track items in auction previews. Once an auction goes from 'preview' to 'live' mode, the tracked items will automatically carry over into the normal auction tracking section and allow easy access for customers to view and bid.

To find Heritage auction previews, just scroll down the home page below the current auctions and Post Auction Buys, if any. We will usually be previewing at least the next Signature Auction, and often two or three auctions into the future. You are encouraged to check these previews regularly to see what might have been added to an upcoming sale.

To track an item in an auction preview, just page through the auction or do any search from within the auction preview until you find an item that interests you. Here, I've done a search for "1927-D", knowing that we have the exceptionally rare 1927-D Double Eagle in the upcoming Morse Collection Signature Auction. Just as if you were in an ordinary search page, click the "track" box on the right of the search listing, and then click on the "Track" button at the top. We also now offer the option to track from within the individual item preview page, exactly as if the page were in a live auction.

To review your tracked lots, go to MyTrackedLots from the MyHeritage page, from the drop-down menu on any of our pages, or from MyBids. Once there, you will have the option to see your tracked lots in current auctions, in closed auctions, and now in Auction Previews. To see your tracked lots from an auction preview, just click on the Auction Previews link at the top of the page.

Most importantly, once the auction goes live, you will still be tracking the lot. You need not worry about finding it again; the site will remember it for you!

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Numismatic Glossary:

Short Snorter: A piece of currency autographed to a serviceman by his buddies or comrades in arms. This was a common practice during World War II. When there was no room left on the note, another would be stapled to the original to make it longer; longer short snorters would be rolled, rather than folded. By tradition, if someone asked to see your short snorter and you did not have it, you would buy the first round of drinks.

Roll: A fixed number of coins wrapped in paper or plastic for easy storage and transportation. Some common numismatic coins trade by the roll; other times, collectors will buy rolls of coins from the bank in order to search them for individually interesting pieces. The standard number of coins found in rolls is as follows:

Cents and Dimes: 50
Nickels and Quarters: 40
Half Dollars and Silver/Ike Dollars: 20

Susan B. Anthony/Sacagawea Dollars are found in rolls of either 20 or 25. Make sure you know the number of coins in your roll before you buy... or sell!

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Help Wanted: Internet Sales

Heritage is looking for someone to help us with Internet coin sales. If you have computer and Internet skills, and know coins, please contact This is a Dallas-based position.

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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 150,000 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!

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

1. Which of the following Territorial Gold issuers did not make $50 pieces?
       Augustus Humbert
       Baldwin & Co
       Kellogg & Co
       US Assay Office
       Wass, Molitor & Co.

2. What is the denomination of the coin pictured in the Pan and Zoom closeup below?

       Half Dollar
       One Dollar
       Five Dollars
       Ten Dollars
       Twenty Dollars

Last week's questions:

1. Which of the following terms does not refer to a National Bank Note?
Correct Answer: Funny Back (35%). This term refers to a Silver Certificate.

2. Where was the coin pictured in this Pan and Zoom image minted?

Correct Answer: Peru (33%). Pictured is the LIMAE mintmark.

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Is It Time To Sell?

A FUN Week in January

In 2005, Heritage made numismatic history with our FUN Signature Auctions, selling over $60 million worth of coins in one week? and over $30 million in one night.

In 2006, we're out to do even better.

As the traditional opening of the numismatic year, the Florida United Numismatists annual convention attracts dealers and collectors from all over the country. Auctions abound. But while most auctions are held before the convention, only one auction house holds the official auction of the FUN show: Heritage.

As official auctioneers, Heritage brings your coins to the biggest variety of dealers and collectors in Orlando for the show. Not to mention the over 155,000 registered Internet bidders just waiting for the chance to bid on the right material. Yours.

Take advantage of this unparalleled venue by consigning your coins and currency today! Get the widest possible exposure, the biggest selection of bidders, and the best results! Call our consignment hotline at 1-800-US-COINS, x222, and reserve your spot in an event that will undoubtedly make numismatic history once again!

2006 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Auction
Sale on January 3 to January 7, 2006
Consignment Deadline: November 24, 2005

2006 January (CAA) Orlando, FL Signature Auction
Sale on January 6 to January 7, 2006
Consignment Deadline: November 19, 2005

2006 January (HWCA) New York Signature Auction
Sale on January 8 to January 9, 2006
Consignment Deadline: November 18, 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. Sept. 20
at 10:00 PM
View Lots
Rare Coins
Closes Sun. Sept. 25
from noon to 10:00 PM
View Lots
Rare Currency
Closes Fri. Sept. 30
at 10:00 PM
View Lots

Rare Coins
Location: Long Beach, CA
Auction: 2005 September Long Beach Online Session #385
Auction Dates: September 26, 2005
Sports cards, autographs, collectibles, and more...
Closes Sunday, September 25, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.
Movie posters, lobby cards and more...
Closes Sunday, September 25, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.
Comics, comic art and more...
Closes Sunday, October 2, 2005 at 10:00 PM
View current auctions.

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