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We would have been amazed 40 years ago

Results achieved by Heritage Auctions for its Sept. 6-9 Signature Sale of U.S. coins in Long Beach, Calif., came in at just under $6 million.

When I joined the Numismatic News staff in 1978, $1 million in sale results would have been major news.

$6 million would have been epic.

Now, thanks to the phenomenal growth by Heritage, such a sum is routine.

But what else can you expect from a company that is knocking on the door of $1 billion in annual auction results in all of its fields of business?

Once the firm adds in results for world coins, world paper money and U.S. paper money, the total will be amped up to $18 million or so.

Also, unlike 40 years ago, auction prices realized now are so easily accessible on the firm’s website that collectors can follow market trends in real time.

That would have bowled us over in the days of the clunky Teletype machine that noisily chattered away all day long.

What happened in Long Beach?

Heritage reports that a 1915-S Panama-Pacific octagonal gold $50 was the star.

It was graded MS64 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

Selling price was $90,000, including a 20 percent buyer’s fee.

Another octagonal piece graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service as MS63 sold for $72,000.

In the ever-popular Morgan silver dollar series, the key date 1895 coin registered a close second among prices realized.

NGC calls it a Proof-65, and there is a Certified Acceptance Corporation sticker to ratify it.

Sales price of this rare cartwheel was $87,000.

Another key Morgan date that has stood the test of time is an 1889-CC.

An example of this graded MS62 PCGS Secure sold for $36,000.

An interesting piece from a research point of view is a $66,000 price achieved by an extremely rare variety half dollar.

The 1795 coin is Overton-132. Heritage points out that it is the only example that can be traced today.

Another was recorded in the 1920s but has not been seen since.

This information proves that auction catalogs should be used by all collectors for their educational value as much as for their market-setting results.

If you are interested in Carson City Mint gold coins, an 1879-CC Liberty Head $10 graded NGC AU53+ realized $45,600.

Visit for more details.

If you haven’t gotten into the habit of checking auction results on this website, you should. It is the place to be for the next 40 years.

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."