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Heritage Auction and I'm looking at what?

The Heritage Auctions U.S. coin auction in Tampa realized $39,238,170.

The sale dates were Jan. 3-5 and Jan. 7-8.

While buyer’s are probably grumbling about a 20 percent buyer’s premium, it certainly makes figuring out hammer prices much easier for people like me.

It is the big prices that generate the headlines.

Bringing $444,000 was an 1838-O Capped Bust half dollar with reeded edge. It is a branch mint proof graded Proof-63 by the Professional Coin Grading Service with Certified Acceptance Corporation sticker.

$312,000 is the final price for an 1879 Flowing Hair $4 gold piece, which is nicknamed the Stella. The coin is graded Proof-67 Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

$300,000 was achieved by a 1793 Chain Cent, S-2, B-2, that is graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service Secure as MS-63 with Certified Acceptance Corporation sticker. It is called tied for the sixth finest known.

While I would like to have the wherewithal to be a buyer for each and everyone of these, my particular interest was focused on prices for the Buffalo nickels that were in the auction.

Platinum Night included 14 of these nickels.

Now remember that Platinum Night is when the finest of the fine coins are offered, the choicest of the choice.

Of course, there are 1918/7-D overdate and 1937-D three-legged Buffaloes, but I first wanted to see what price the 1926-S would bring.

The coin was graded MS-65 by PCGS and had a CAC sticker.

It sold for $99,000.

Why oh why was I not searching for a top grade of this date when I was a kid?

The price of this was nearly double the price of the top graded 1937-D three-legged Buffalo, which in PCGS Secure MS-66 sold for $48,000.

Now if someone had asked me whether I wanted a top graded 1926-S or a top three-legged Buffalo when I was a kid, I would have thought it was a trick question.

But the wonders of grading services and population reports makes us all smarter.

We realize true rarity where we did not recognize it before.

A 1925-S called lightly toned MS-65 by PCGS Secure sold for $16,200.

There were two 1918/7-D overdates.

The PCGS MS-62 CAC commanded a bid of $45,600 and the PCGS Secure MS-64 brought $66,000.

All of these prices are well beyond my budget, but they are not beyond my interest.

Congratulations to the buyers.

Here is a link to the Heritage website.

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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