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Mesmerizing auctions

When I signed into my computer this morning, I discovered that virtually nothing has changed since I signed off on Friday afternoon.

The March of Dimes Special Silver Set is still available on the Mint website for $61.95.

Gold was trading at $1,88.50 a troy ounce and silver was $16.40 when I checked the Kitco website.

My email had some new arrivals in it. It would be really strange if it did not, but after subtracting the spam, it appears that collectors thought more about Mom and Mother’s Day than about writing to Numismatic News.

Imagine that.

Perhaps this lack of evidence of activity in my email is because collectors are simply mesmerized by the richness of two major auctions they are about to witness.

Tomorrow Heritage will call the third part of the Eugene H. Gardner Collection auction in New York City.

One of the stars of this sale is an 1870-S Seated Liberty silver dollar.

The coin grades XF-40 and is the fourth finest known, according to the cataloger.

When there are just nine coins total in existence, does it matter much whether your coin is at the top or bottom of the list?

To play in that top numismatic league, you have to think it does.

I tend to still think of coins as candidates for a Whitman album rather than as ocean front luxury properties with legal titles and pedigrees of the American numismatic nobility that have owned them.

But that’s just because of how I came up in the hobby – and mostly because I do not have a computer based fortune to dip into to personally play the finest known game.

Am I envious?

Of course, I am, but I enjoy having witnessed so much of this in my career.

On May 19, the D. Brent Pogue Collection sales begin. They are being held jointly by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s.

They will go on for years, but when all is said and done, the coins in the collection are expected to bring $200 million.

This first sale installment opens with a 1792 half disme and then the lots improve from there.

Can you imagine a 1792 half disme as a lesser coin in a sale?

For most of us, it would be the crown jewel.

While looking at the catalog and the comments in it by Q. David Bowers, it occurred to me that he has probably handled more than a billion dollars’ worth of coins in his career if we consider all the fabulous pieces that have gone under the examination of his keen eye since 1953 at 2015 prices.

There are going to be many collectors and dealers checking their liquid funds to participate in these auctions.

Good luck to them.

I should have thanked Mom yesterday for the encouragement she gave me in jumping into numismatics with both feet. Otherwise, I would not have experienced such fascinating things as these two auctions undoubtedly will be.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

 

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