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Moved sale set records

Hurricane Wilma moved Heritage Numismatic Auction
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Hurricane Wilma moved Heritage Numismatic Auction’s Nov. 2-5 Signature Auction to Dallas from the cancelled Palm Beach, Fla., show, but you wouldn’t know it from the $44 million in realized prices.


The total is exceeded only by Heritage’s Florida United Numismatists 2005 show results this past January. All figures in this story include 15-percent buyers’ fees.

A special session featuring the Phillip Morse collection of Saint-Gaudens, described by the cataloger as the finest ever sold at public auction, accounted for almost half the amount, selling for $19.2 million Nov. 3.

“This was the first time three coins have exceeded $1 million each in one auction, and in addition to individual record prices for some pieces, it was the world’s most valuable one-owner, single-session rare coin auction ever conducted, with Mr. Morse’s coins averaging $90,000 per coin,” said Greg Rohan, President of HNAI.

The second part of the Phillip Morse Collection will be offered in Heritage’s final 2005 numismatic auction in Dallas, Dec. 12-14.

A total of $42,858,975 was realized over two events. Following the auction, 76 lots were sold for a total of $214,634, although after-auction sales are still ongoing. A separate online session, held Nov. 7, realized an additional $1,176,712, bringing the grand total of all three auctions to $44,035,687.

“In spite of the last minute relocation, these were exceptionally strong auctions,” said Rohan.

“This event also set a record for the largest gross sales in a numismatic auction for a single day, with more than $36 million realized on Nov. 3, our Platinum Night session.”

Topping all lots was the $2,990,000 paid for a specially struck U.S. $20 gold piece with the date 1907 in Roman numerals MCMVII, known as an ultra-high relief because of the elevated height of the design.

The sale price was a record for that specific type of coin, and tied a Brasher doubloon sold by Heritage in January for the third highest price ever paid for a coin at auction. The coin is graded Proof-69 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

“Needless to say, this is a visually stunning coin,” writes the cataloger.
According to the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Census Report and PCGS Population Report, this coin is the only Proof-69 in existence.

Representing a number of clients, Doug Winter of Pinnacle Rarities in Lakewood, Wash., spent $5 million at the auction, paying a record $1,897,500 for a $20 gold coin struck in 1927 at the Denver Mint that is graded MS-67 by PCGS.

According to the cataloger, “The legendary status of the 1927-D double eagle is not due to a low mintage, as 180,000 pieces were struck. Rather, its rarity is derived from a very low survival rate.”

1927-D’s were extensively melted in the 1930s, almost wiping out the entire production run, says the cataloger. An estimated 10-12 pieces are known to exist, including this one.

Other highlights included: a 1921 $20, graded MS-66 by PCGS that realized $1,092,500; a 1907 $20 Small Edge Lettering, graded Proof-68 by PCGS, that realized $920,000; and an 1884 Trade dollar in PCGS Proof-65 condition that brought in $603,750 (it was once owned by actor Adolphe Menjou).

Visit the Permanent Auction Archives at for more information on this auction, and previous Heritage auctions.

To purchase a catalog for any Heritage auction, contact Nicole Jewell by writing to: Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc., 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX, 75219. Visit to order by credit card.