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Classic and modern coins battle it out

Stack’s Bowers reports that the Garrett Class III 1804 silver dollar sold for $1.88 million at its Rarities Night auction event at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Chicago.

Dave Bowers is quoted as saying, “This is one of my favorite coins. When I cataloged it for sale in the Garrett Collection back in 1980, it brought $400,000, which was then a world record.”

I wrote in a blog before the sale that I had held the coin back in 1980 and I would like to do it again.

I didn’t. I missed my chance.


I was distracted by the need to cover the sales of the gold Kennedy half dollar and the need to get up early and walk the line of people to see what they had to say, how long they were in line and observe how they were behaving.

In 100 years' time, the 1804 dollar will still be important to American numismatics. My reporting on the gold Kennedy will be long gone.

Still, the second email from Modern Coin Wholesale is offering to sell the new gold Kennedy halves with labels indicating whether they were purchased on the first day at the ANA, at the Denver Mint, the Philadelphia Mint or the Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Oh, yes, the coins have grades on them, too.

Proof-70 Ultra Cameo examples graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation are identically priced no matter where they came from at $4,849.95. Issue price was $1,240 on the first day.

I expect collectors will continue to focus on the gold Kennedy for a while, but I will also note here some of the other auction lots that crossed the Stack’s Bowers block.

A 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollar graded NGC as Specimen-64 went for $822,500. Its provenance traces to the Lord St. Oswald sale of 1964 in London.

A 1922 Modified High Relief Production Trial Peace silver dollar, Judd-2020, graded Proof-67 by the Professional Coin Grading Service brought $381,875. That was one of six rare Peace dollars that traced to Mint Director Newton D. Baker.

Among world coin highlights, a gold 5 rubles of Catherine the Great of Russia sold for over $150,000.

Paper collectors bid on over $7 million in U.S. paper money that was offered in the sale.

Both of these stories are important stand-alone pieces, but because they happened at the same time, they compete for our attention.

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."