If you want to know what a professional coin dealer would sell his own mother, you have that chance thanks to a GreatCollections auction Aug. 26.
The Irvine, Calif., firm will conduct an online auction of the Ruth Weinberg Estate.
She died at age 96 earlier this year.
Her son, Fred, is a well-known variety and error dealer today.
Back in the 1970s, he worked for Numismatics, Ltd., in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Remember the 1970s?
It was running at a 12 percent rate in 1974. In 1980, it was even higher.
Interest rates peaked at 21.5 percent in 1980.
Gold peaked at almost $200 at the end of 1974.
By January 1980, it had peaked again at $850.
Gold had begun the decade under $40.
What was Fred Weinberg selling his mother?
Gold, of course.
A May 26, 1973, receipt lists $2,595 in purchases:
• BU Type I 1853 gold dollar, $265
• Gem BU Type 3 1883 gold dollar, $325
• Gem BU Type 3 1889 gold dollar, $265
• Gem BU 1898 $2.50, $155
• Gem BU 1878 gold $3, $1,000
• Gem BU 1885-S gold $5, $110
• BU 1922-S Saint-Gaudens $20, $475
Wow. Don’t you wish you had made those purchases?
These are coins most collectors could have purchased then.
No out-of-reach super rarities are on this list.
Further, Fred had the coins slabbed by the Professional Coin Grading Service three decades ago, and the coins are in older holders with the green labels.
“The gold coins were all purchased and selected by Fred himself, from his buying trips to Europe on behalf of Numismatics, Ltd. – and have an original/fresh appearance,” said Ian Russell, owner/president of GreatCollections.
“Many would grade higher than the grades assigned 30 years ago if resubmitted today, as grading standards were more strict back in the late 1980s,” Russell said.
Coins purchased by Fred Weinberg’s mother weren’t just gold.
The key-date 1916 Standing Liberty quarter was described on the 1976 receipt as Choice BU with a sale price of $2,000.
The coin was graded by PCGS as MS-63 Full Head and is expected to sell for over $10,000, according to Russell.
Another highlight cited by Russell is the 1860 Seated Liberty half dollar, sold in 1979 as Gem Proof for $3,000.
The coin was graded by PCGS as Proof-66 and is expected to sell for over $6,000.
All of these pieces a reader of Numismatic News could have acquired at the time, unless he or she just was chasing Ike dollars.
We can thank Ruth Weinberg for a remarkable time capsule.
She was a remarkable woman, who worked for 75 years at Abell Auction Company.
Then get ready to do some bidding.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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