The Stack’s Bowers Galleries November 2019 Baltimore Auction brought together collectors of every discipline for an offering of five important collections and numerous additional rarities. In total, more than $17.6 million was realized across more than 6,000 lots of United States coins and related issues. In total, the firm’s official auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo realized $19,124,255 across 16 sessions. All prices include the buyer’s fee.
Session 1 of the sale featured numismatic Americana, including Washington Before Boston medals from the collection of Marc McDonald and Presidential Inaugural medals from the collection of Edmund W. Dreyfuss. Highlights from this session include the 1921 Harding Inaugural medal in silver that realized $31,200 and the 1905 Roosevelt Inaugural medal in bronze that sold for $28,800.
The offering of the John W. Adams Collection of Comitia Americana Medals in Session 3 was a historic opportunity for collectors of early American medals. Featured were many of the rarest and most significant issues from the series, including several pieces that are unique in private hands. The 1779 De Fleury at Stony Point medal in silver brought $120,000, while the original “1776” United States Diplomatic medal in bronze earned $126,000, the top price of the session. With a total price realized of $1.699 million for the Adams Collection, undeniable strength was demonstrated for this eclectic and fascinating segment of the market.
The auction firm’s Rarities Night offering in Session 4 marked a return to federal United States coinage and featured some of the most iconic rarities in the “Red Book”. Gold coins were clear favorites, ranging from some of the earliest gold issues of the Mint to the popular Territorial issues of the mid-to-late 19th century. Claiming the top spots of the session were a pair of New Orleans double eagles: an EF-45 (NGC) 1854-O that sold for $240,000 and an AU-53 (NGC) 1856-O that brought $264,000. A Prf-65 Cameo (PCGS) example of the legendary 1879 $4 gold Stella earned $204,000, while an 1802 half dime graded AU-50 (NGC) realized the top price for a non-gold coin at $192,000.
Session 7 featured Massachusetts silver coins and Connecticut coppers gathered by the late specialist Robert M. Martin. Assembled over many decades, the collection featured some of the most elusive rarities from each series, including rare cut fractional coins and pieces salvaged from the wreck of the HMS Feversham. A dramatic double-struck Noe-36 1652 Pine Tree threepence brought $36,000, and a rare 1652 Noe-8 Oak Tree Shilling, ranked as one of the finest known of the Rarity-7 variety, earned $13,200. Superb surfaces and superior eye appeal was the theme among the Connecticut coppers, complementing the assortment of rare die marriages. A Rarity-7 1787 Miller 1.2 mm “Muttonhead” garnered $26,400, while $22,800 was realized by the Rarity-8 1786 Miller 3-D.4 “Scholar’s Head.”
The focus on early state coinage continued in Session 8 where the E Pluribus Unum Collection of New Jersey Coppers was sold to considerable excitement from specialists. This collection featured both elusive rarities and exceptional Condition Census examples, including eight coins previously featured on the legendary photo plate of Dr. Edward Maris himself. The top price of the session was claimed by a 1786 Maris 10-gg, one of four known, that sold for $96,000. The even rarer 1786 Maris 8-1/2-C, one of just three known, earned $78,000.
Session 9 brought the offering of the E. Horatio Morgan Collection of Half Dollars. This collection was assembled chiefly in the 1980s and 1990s and has since been held privately, largely unnoticed by modern numismatists. It was complete by date and mint from 1794 through 1891, and nearly complete by die marriage from 1794 through 1836. Numerous rare die marriages attracted the most advanced specialists, while type collectors enjoyed rare “Red Book” types across the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Reeded Edge and Liberty Seated series. The star of the collection was the 1838-O half dollar graded Specimen-63 (PCGS). One of just nine known examples, it earned $504,000. A near-Mint 1796 O-101 16 Stars half dollar also caused significant excitement, eventually selling for $228,000 in an AU-58+ (PCGS) holder.
Closing the live portion of the auction was a monumental selection of Washingtoniana from the Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The vast majority of items from this offering can be traced back to the November 1897 bequest of William Spohn Baker, who was the seminal scholar on Washington portrait medals. Off the market for more than 120 years, these pieces attracted considerable attention and intense bidding across all 1,056 lots, earning a staggering total of $2.41 million between the live auction and Internet Only sessions.
The Seasons medals, as they are known, saw fierce competition, driving the silver example of The Home to $96,000 and an example of The Sower in silver to $48,000. Classic rarities from the medallic Washington series also demonstrated strong demand, with the 1792 Washington President Pattern half dollar earning $78,000 and the silver 1805 C.C.A.U.S. medal selling for $52,800.
While the Stack’s Bowers Galleries November Baltimore auction marks the end of the 2019 Showcase Auction season for the firm, several online sales still remain, including the December 2019 Collectors Choice Online Sale (Dec. 11) and the December 2019 Precious Metals Auction (Dec. 12).
The auction house is now looking ahead to its 2020 auction season, which will offer many significant consignment opportunities for United States coins and paper money, numismatic Americana, world coins and paper money, and ancient coinage.
For more information or to consign, call (800) 566-2580 or email Consign@StacksBowers.com.