July 16, 2004
This Week In Connections
Largest California National Bank Note Collection Ever Assembled
Seldom Seen Selections: 1878-S Half Dollar
"Superbird" Quarter Pair at Pittsburgh ANA Signature Auction
Website Tips: Bidding Process Upgrades
Numismatic Glossary
Coin Club Outreach Program
Instant Quiz: Test your numismatic knowledge
Is It Time To Sell? 2004 September Long Beach CA Signature Auctions
Current Auctions: 2004 July New York, NY Signature Sale, 2004 July New York, NY Bullet Sale, Exclusively Internet Auction, Currency Auction, Amazing Sports Auction, Amazing Comics Auction
Weekly Specials: Don't miss out on a great deal

Collector News
Largest California National Bank Note Collection Ever Assembled

Heritage-Currency Auctions of America is proud to announce that it has been chosen to sell the Lowell Horwedel Collection, the largest collection of California National Bank Notes ever assembled. Containing over 950 California Nationals, it far surpasses any collection of California notes ever previously sold, including such landmark offerings as the Charles Colver Collection, which Currency Auctions of America was privileged to sell in May of 1999, and the Philip Krakover Collection, which was sold in 1990. The Horwedel Collection is not limited to National Bank Notes alone, as it contains almost 100 California obsolete and scrip items, several of which are thought to be unique and many which are considered excessively rare.

The amazing breadth of the Horwedel National Bank Note holdings is demonstrated by its extraordinary bank and town coverage. Spanning the entire state, from Yreka in the north to Calexico in the south, the collection includes examples from 334 of the 374 issuing charters, and boasts specimens from 196 of the 215 issuing locations. In fact, a comparison to the massive Colver Collection, the previous standard of excellence in California Nationals, shows that the Colver Collection contained just two towns that the Horwedel Collection lacks, while the Horwedel Collection contains a whopping 48 issuing locations missing from the Colver holdings.

With over 950 notes, it is difficult to pick out just a few highlight items, but a few of the excessively rare towns represented in the Horwedel Collection are Auburn, Brawley, Campbell, Coachella, Concord, Dinuba, Huntington Park, Jamestown, Kingsburg, La Habra, Los Banos, Monterey Park, Oxnard, Pittsburg, Roseville, Sanger, Santa Rosa, Tropico, Walnut Creek, and Yuba City. Many rare types are represented in the collection as well, with an 1875 $10 First Charter, a $50 Brown Back, a $100 Brown Back, and no fewer than seven National Gold Bank Notes.

The Horwedel Collection is valued at over $2 million and is the anchor consignment for Heritage-CAA's first ever sale in California. The auction will take place as the official auction in conjunction with the always heavily attended Long Beach Coin & Stamp Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center, with the sale scheduled for September 9th and 10th, 2004. Consignments are still being accepted for this major currency event until July 23rd. For information about consigning to this or any future Heritage-Currency Auctions of America sale, or for more information about the Horwedel Collection, please contact Allen Mincho at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 327 or via e-mail at Allen@HeritageCurrency.com or Len Glazer at (800) 872-6467, ext. 390, or via e-mail at Len@HeritageCurrency.com.

Catalogues for this sale will soon be available and may be ordered from Heritage-CAA, c/o Mary Mentesana, 3500 Maple Avenue, Dallas, TX 75219.

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Seldom Seen Selections: 1878-S Half Dollar
Heritage Numismatic Auctions will be offering an extremely rare 1878-S Half Dollar in its official ANA Signature Auction taking place in Pittsburgh, August 18-21. This problem-free coin, which has been off the market for more than a decade, has been graded XF40 by NGC. The ANA auction will also feature a second example, graded Good-6 and uncertified.

The 1878-S is a key issue in the Seated Liberty Half Dollars, and is a coin rarely seen on the market as most examples are locked up in major collections. Of the 12,000 pieces struck, only 60 or so are believed extant today in all grades. The survival rate for many 19th century issues averages around 1% of the mintage, but the 60 surviving 1878-S halves translate into only 0.005 % survivorship. Even worse for modern collectors, most of the few halves that were produced in 1878 were simply "worn out" from circulation.

Numismatists studying 19th century silver politics are fascinated by the swings in these special interest and political policy decisions, such as the Bland-Allison Act of 1878. When the Comstock Lode was discovered in the late 1850s by Henry T. P. Comstock, a.k.a. 'Old Pancake,' a mountain of silver was mined; as it entered world markets, the price for silver (as reckoned in gold dollars) dropped significantly. Western mining interests had powerful friends in Congress, and Rep. Richard P. 'Silver Dick' Bland and Sen. William Boyd Allison came to the rescue of the mine owners by passing a bill that required the Treasury to purchase between $2 and $4 million of new domestic silver each month. This silver was mandated to be minted into silver dollars -- simply because silver dollars were heavier than two half dollars, four quarters, or ten dimes.

Enactment of the Bland-Allison Act meant that the various mints ceased meaningful production of minor silver coinage - coinage needed for commerce! In order to meet the mandated number of silver dollars required by the Bland-Allison Act, the mints diverted most of their resources to striking silver dollars. Since this denomination wasn't truly needed for commerce, many bags of silver dollars sat in government vaults for much of the next century.

The 1878-S is a key issue to a set of Seated Liberty half dollars, and it is one that is rarely seen on the market as most examples are locked up in major collections. Of the 12,000 pieces struck, only 60 or so are believed extant today in all grades. For most 19th century U.S. issues, the attrition rate was high, but a rough rule of thumb is around 1% of the mintage may still be known today in all grades. Given that the number of 60 pieces is accurate, that would indicate a percentage of survivors of only 0.005 %. This number also indicates that half dollars were indeed needed for commercial needs in the west in the late 1870s, and the few that were produced in 1878 were simply "worn out" from circulation.

All 1878-S half dollars were produced from a single pair of dies. As one might imagine, counterfeits have been made and mintmarks added to "create" this important key. However, authentication is relatively easy. All genuine 1878-S halves show a die chip (or raised lump) high in the recessed area between the left edge of the reverse shield and the first set of vertical stripes. Since this lump is located in a recessed area, it is also visible on coins in very low grades.

Of the surviving specimens, approximately a quarter, or some 16 pieces, are known in the AU58-MS64 grade range. The remaining examples are AU58 or lower, with the circulated population fairly evenly divided between Fine to AU, and Fair to VG. This particular coin has original, untampered surfaces that show a gray-lilac overlay of patina on each side with a significant presence of underlying golden coloration. The design elements show even wear over the highpoints, and there are numerous small abrasions scattered over both obverse and reverse but none are of individual significance or large enough to be used as a reliable pedigree identifier. The demand for 1878-S half dollars is so great that many are placed directly into collector's hands as soon as they are available. This is an opportunity to acquire this major rarity in problem-free XF condition at a major public auction.

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"Superbird" Quarter Pair at Pittsburgh ANA Signature Auction

A pair of popular "Superbird" proof 1952 quarters will be placed under the auctioneer's hammer at Heritage's Pittsburgh Signature Auction. Heritage is the official auctioneer of the 2004 American Numismatic Association's "World's Fair of Money" convention, to be held in Pittsburgh the week of August 16 to 21.

According to Bill Fivaz, co-author of The Cherrypickers' Guide, 1952 proof Washington quarters sporting what appears to be an 'S' mintmark on the eagle's chest will be assigned variety designation FS-25c-1952-3 in Volume 2 of the forthcoming edition of the Guide. David Lange, a director at Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, states that "NGC is already accepting and attributing this variety and will use the 'Superbird' moniker on its label." With this formal recognition, the unusual but easily remembered "Superbird" variety will soon join the ranks of many other varieties highly sought after by collectors of the Washington quarter series. As the only proof Washington to display what appears to be an "S" in the center of its chest, the 1952 "Superbird" is certain to become a popular variety among specialists of the series, and may appeal to all numismatists who share a sense of whimsy.

The nickname "Superbird" was first 'coined' by Val J. Webb and was published in his 1984 book Cameo Proofs 1950-1964. Mr. Webb opined that the "Superbird" was exceedingly rare in heavy contrasted proof cameo condition.

Ken Potter, in his March 1998 installment of the Varieties Notebook in Coin World newspaper introduced us to the first image of "Superbird" variety. Citing that it was an "oldie" known within the hobby, Potter speculated that the "S" which appears on the eagle's breast may have been the deliberate work of an engraver because lines strengthening the interior wing feathers are common to proof quarters of the era.

ANACS was the first grading service to use the "Superbird" moniker on its label, and has now certified at least 17 coins ranging in grades from PR63 to PR67.

How scarce is the "Superbird?" Only 81,980 proof 1952 sets were issued. If one assumes that the "Superbird" variety represents a single reverse die, which appears to be the case, then perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 strikes may have been made using this die according to David Lange. However, if hand engraving took place some time after the die was put into production, the actual number may be far less. With cleaning and damage to many existing 1952 proof sets, unimpaired survivors may be small, making it a very rare bird indeed.

Heritage offers two examples in their upcoming Pittsburgh Signature Auction. The first piece is graded PR64 by NGC, and is described as "an essentially brilliant near-Gem that has splendid surfaces and a bold strike." The second specimen is certified as PR66 by NGC. The cataloger states that "the reverse of this brilliant and seemingly immaculate premium Gem offers mild white on black contrast."

The Superbirds will be available for bidding when Heritage's ANA Signature Auction is posted at www.HeritageCoin.com in late July.

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Website tips: Refine your searches

As a part of our website changes, we have now changed the look and feel of our bid confirmation and result pages. Each individual bid page still looks the same, but what you see when you place your bid now looks a little different.

When you first place a bid, you will see a page that looks something like this:

You have two choices: Confirm your bid, or cancel your bid. If you cancel your bid, you will be taken back to the page for the individual lot. If you confirm your bid, you will receive either of two screens, much as before, stating either that you are the high bidder on the lot:

...or giving you an immediate opportunity to bid again:

We have also expanded the explanations of some basic bidding concepts on these pages, such as how your secret maximum bid works and why in some cases the current bid on the item may be equal to your secret maximum bid.

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Numismatic Glossary:

Cherrypicking: Finding a rare or underpriced coin or variety in a group of common, low-priced material.

Certified: Professionally authenticated and encapsulated; usually graded as well. Also referred to as slabbed. Prices for certified coins can vary greatly depending on which service has certified the coin. A coin which has not been certified is known as raw.

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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.

Recently, Stewart Huckaby of Heritage visited the Delta Coin Club of Stockton, California as a part of this project. Mr. Huckaby spoke to the club about Heritage's award-winning website, www.heritagecoins.com, and fielded questions about many other aspects of Heritage Galleries. Heritage also donated material to the club in connection with this appearance. This club holds meetings twice a month, featuring Show and Tells from members and a generous drawing which always includes at least one gold coin. Mr. Huckaby reports that he was unsuccessful in his attempts to relocate said gold coin to Texas.

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,
1-800-872-6467 X303,

Stewart Huckaby,
1-800-872-6467 X355,

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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. What is a mule?
       The animal being ridden by Caesar Rodney on the Delaware Statehood Quarter
       A coin with mismatched obverse and reverse dies
       The machine used to strike High Relief Double Eagles
       A nickname for Leopold I of Austria-Hungary
       A unit of currency in colonial Bermuda

2. What was the year of the first edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins, popularly known as the Red Book?

Last week's questions:

1. What is the "Bugs Bunny" 1955 Half Dollar?
Correct Answer: A die clash (and therefore a die state) (68%) This variety is named because the clash causes Benjamin Franklin to appear to have buck teeth, just like, yes, Bugs Bunny.

2. Which of the following 1873-dated coins was a proof-only issue?
Correct Answer: Silver Three Cent Piece. (50%).

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Is It Time To Sell?
2004 September Long Beach CA Signature Auctions

Heritage has been the official auctioneer of the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo for many years, and we recently held our 41st and 42nd successful auctions in that capacity. The next Long Beach show comes up in September, and, yes, once again we will be the official auctioneers. This time, though, we'll see something new. Not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR auctions in that capacity!

Heritage World Coin Auctions will feature the Wayne Palmer Collection - one of the finest collections of British Commonwealth coinage that has ever been assembled, including for example fantastic groups of coins from Newfoundland, British West Africa, East Africa, Southern Rhodesia, British Honduras, Hong Kong, for example. The Lake Pearl Collection centers around coinage of the Holy Land and contains perhaps the finest aggregations of Egyptian coins and banknotes and Palestinian coinage to be offered in the last 50 years.

The Heritage-Currency Auctions of America Signature Auction will be anchored by the Lowell Horwedel Collection of California National Bank Notes. This is the finest collection of California Nationals that we've ever seen, and if you remember some of the great collections of California notes that we've offered in the last year or two you'll know that this is high praise.

While most of the activity and attention at Long Beach has historically focused on numismatics - with considerable justification - Long Beach has always been a convention devoted to many different types of collectibles, and with that in mind, Heritage has chosen to bring our Sports Signature Auction to the assembled collectors in Southern California as well. This auction promises to have great cards and memorabilia spanning American sports history, representing superstars such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Larry Bird, Muhammad Ali, Carl Yastrzemski, Home Run Baker, and Alex Rodriguez.

Of course, our Signature Auction of US Coins will contain the rarities you've come to expect from past Heritage offerings at Long Beach. Heritage has consistently shown the ability to bring both the greatest selection to our bidders and the highest prices realized to our consignors. Consignment deadlines for September's Long Beach Signature Auctions are July 29 for Sports and US Coins, and July 23 for currency and world coins. Take advantage of Heritage Galleries' unparalleled base of over 150,000 registered bidder-members in all fields and consign today!

2004 September Long Beach Signature Sale - Long Beach, CA
Sale on September 8 to September 11, 2004
Consignment Deadline: July 23, 2004

2004 September (HWCA) Signature Sale
Sale on September 8 to September 11, 2004
Consignment Deadline: July 29, 2004

2004 September (CAA) Signature Sale
Sale on September 9 to September 10, 2004
Consignment Deadline: July 23, 2004

2004 September (HSA) Signature Sale
Sale on September 10 to September 11, 2004
Consignment Deadline: July 29, 2004

Leo Frese
Director of Consignments
1-800-US-COINSx222 (24 hour voice mail)

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Rare Coins 2004 July New York, NY Signature Sale
(Signature Auction)
Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2004-Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2004
Sale #320
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Rare Coins 2004 July New York, NY Bullet Sale
(Internet Only)
Ends: Monday, Jul. 26, 2004
Sale #321
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