The Stack’s Bowers Galleries November 2019 Baltimore Auction brought together collectors of every discipline for a historic offering of five important collections and numerous additional rarities.
In total, over $17.6 million was realized across more than 6,000 lots of United States coins and related issues. In total, the firm’s Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo realized $19,124,255 across 16 sessions. All prices include the buyer’s fee.
Session 1 of the sale featured significant Numismatic Americana, including Washington Before Boston medals from the collection of Marc McDonald and Presidential Inaugural medals from the collection of Edmund W. Dreyfuss. Highlights from this session include the 1921 Harding Inaugural medal in silver that realized $31,200 in lot 108 and the 1905 Roosevelt Inaugural medal in bronze that sold for $28,800 in lot 104.
The offering of the John W. Adams Collection of Comitia Americana Medals in Session 3 was a historic opportunity for collectors of Early American medals. Featured were many of the rarest and most significant issues from the series, including several pieces that are unique in private hands. The 1779 De Fleury at Stony Point medal in silver brought $120,000 in lot 2024, while the original "1776" United States Diplomatic Medal in bronze earned $126,000 in lot 2106, the top price of the session. With a total price realized of $1.699 million for the Adams Collection, undeniable strength was demonstrated for this eclectic and fascinating segment of the market.
Our Rarities Night offering in Session 4 marked a return to federal United States coinage and featured some of the most iconic rarities in the Red Book. Gold coins were clear favorites, ranging from some of the earliest gold issues of the Mint to the popular Territorial issues of the mid-to-late 19th century.
Claiming the top spots of the session were a pair of New Orleans double eagles: an EF-45 (NGC) 1854-O that sold for $240,000 in lot 3187, and an AU-53 (NGC) 1856-O in lot 3188 that brought $264,000.
A Proof-65 Cameo (PCGS) example of the legendary 1879 $4 gold Stella earned 204,000 in lot 3152, while an 1802 half dime graded AU-50 (NGC) realized the top price for a non-gold coin at $192,000 in lot 3045.
Session 7 featured Massachusetts silver coins and Connecticut coppers gathered by the late specialist Robert M. Martin. Assembled over many decades, the collection featured some of the most elusive rarities from each series including rare cut fractional coins and pieces salvaged from the wreck of the HMS Feversham. A dramatic double struck Noe-36 1652 Pine Tree threepence brought $36,000 in lot 5053 and a rare 1652 Noe-8 Oak Tree Shilling in lot 5004, ranked as one of the finest known of the Rarity-7 variety, earned $13,200.
Superb surfaces and superior eye appeal was the theme among the Connecticut coppers, complementing the assortment of rare die marriages. A gorgeous Rarity-7 1787 Miller 1.2-mm "Muttonhead" garnered $26,400 in lot 5115, while $22,800 was realized by the Rarity-8 1786 Miller 3-D.4 "Scholar’s Head" in lot 5088.
The focus on early state coinage continued in Session 8 where the E Pluribus Unum Collection of New Jersey Coppers was sold to considerable excitement from specialists. This collection featured both elusive rarities and exceptional Condition Census examples, including eight coins previously featured on the legendary photo plate of Dr. Edward Maris himself. The top price of the session was claimed by the exceptional 1786 Maris 10-gg in lot 6013, one of four known, that sold for $96,000. The even rarer 1786 Maris 8 ½-C in lot 6010 (one of just three known) earned $78,000.
Session 9 brought the offering of the E. Horatio Morgan Collection of Half Dollars. This collection was assembled chiefly in the 1980s and 1990s and has since been held privately, largely unnoticed by modern numismatists. It was complete by date and mint from 1794 through 1891, and nearly complete by die marriage from 1794 through 1836.
Numerous rare die marriages attracted the most advanced specialists, while type collectors enjoyed rare Red Book types across the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Reeded Edge, and Liberty Seated series. The star of the collection was the 1838-O half dollar graded Specimen-63 (PCGS). One of just nine known examples, it earned $504,000 in lot 7197. A near-Mint 1796 O-101 16 Stars half dollar in lot 7040 also caused significant excitement, eventually selling for $228,000 in an AU-58+ (PCGS) holder.
Closing the live portion of the auction was a monumental selection of Washingtoniana from the Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The vast majority of items from this offering can be traced back to the November 1897 bequest of William Spohn Baker, who was the seminal scholar on Washington portrait medals.
Off the market for over 120 years, these pieces attracted considerable attention and intense bidding across all 1,056 lots, earning a staggering total of $2.41 million between the live auction and Internet Only sessions. The Seasons medals, as they are known, saw fierce competition, driving the silver example of The Home to $96,000 in lot 20052 and an example of The Sower in silver to $48,000 in lot 20050.
Classic rarities from the medallic Washington series also demonstrated strong demand, with the 1792 Washington President Pattern half dollar in lot 20023 earning $78,000 and the silver 1805 C.C.A.U.S. medal selling for $52,800 in lot 20077.
While the Stack’s Bowers Galleries November Baltimore Auction marks the end of the 2019 Showcase Auction season for the firm, several online sales still remain, including the December 2019 Collectors Choice Online Sale (December 11) and the December 2019 Precious Metals Auction (December 12). Stack’s Bowers is now looking ahead to their 2020 auction season which offers many significant consignment opportunities for United States coins and paper money, Numismatic Americana, world coins and paper money, and Ancient coinage. Contact the firm today at 800-566-2580 or Consign@StacksBowers.com to feature your collection in one of their exciting sales.
Stack’s Bowers Galleries (StacksBowers.com) conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block.