The ANA US Coin and Currency Sessions

Lots of fun, lots of interesting things to behold. As I write these words I am contemplating the virtual “library” of catalogs that Stack’s Bowers Galleries has put out for the upcoming World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia. If you plan to attend, I will be there next week from Tuesday through Friday and would welcome the chance to say hello. I can be found at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries booth, at the Stack’s Bowers auction, or at the Whitman booth. A fine convention awaits us.

On the other hand, if you are like most of our clients you will probably be bidding by Internet or, by special arrangement, by telephone. The Internet has been absolutely marvelous in recent years. Thousands of people from all over the globe can participate in real time – far more than could ever attend an auction gallery or convention in person. The dynamics of coin auctions have changed and for the better. Also to be admired are the beautiful high-resolution photographs now available on the Internet, far exceeding even the finest printing technology.

The preceding said, I will take a little “walk” through two of the several catalogs.

The first is the paper money catalog for the sale to be held on Wednesday evening, August 8. This is one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most rarity-filled currency sales to take place in our time. Rarities are galore, including seldom-seen high denomination $50 and $100 National Bank notes of the 19th century, plus high denomination notes in other series. Classics abound, what with two examples of the famous $100 “Watermelon Note” in the offing, one in affordable Fine grade (that is, affordable in the context of this issue) and the other being among the finest known. If you are building a fine collection, or simply trophy hunting, take your pick! This reminds me to suggest that you order a copy of The 100 Greatest American Currency Notes, by myself and David Sundman, published by Whitman. This is a very nice guide to high points in American paper money – beautiful designs, popular notes, and the like. Many of them you will find in our World’s Fair of Money auction.

The three Series of 1896 Educational Notes rank high on the survey and are, of course, everlastingly popular. The famous and rare 1905 $20 “Technicolor Note” is another classic, not to overlook the 1886 $5 “Silver Dollar Note,” some large denomination very early Silver Certificates, the beautiful Series of 1869 “Rainbow Notes,” early Legal Tender and other currency dating from the 1860s, and so much more, going into small-size currency of various kinds beginning in 1909.

Whether you are looking for something rare and special or simply looking for some “nice” notes to add to your collection or start a specialty, I encourage you to look through the catalog (or on the Internet) from beginning to end, contemplate the pictures, and then determine the pieces you would like most to own.

In the large “regular” catalog for the ANA convention you will find just about everything from half cents to double eagles, from colonials to commemoratives, from medals to patterns to territorial gold – you name it. Front row center is a truly magnificent collection of Flying Eagle and Indian cents from the Philip Winston Pillsbury Collection, consigned through the offices of Gary Adkins.

Within about any specialty you can name, Indian cents by date, Lincoln cents by date and mint, nickels of the Shield, Liberty, Buffalo and Jefferson types, Flowing Hair and Capped Bust silver, Liberty Seated issues, and more, there are bound to be many things that will capture your fancy.

Among 19th century coins, Morgan silver dollars are the most popular of all. We offer Mint State coins of affordable dates as well as Carson City issues and key pieces. Did you know that of the nearly 100 different dates and mintmarks of Morgan silver dollars from 1878 to 1921 well over half of them can be purchased in Mint condition for less than $500, and quite a few for less than $100. Browse through this section and have a field day.

Right now as you read these words each and every item coming up for sale next week is actually available. You have an equal chance with everyone else. If there is something that is especially appealing to you, go for it. Although the future is not known and no one can predict it, it is often the case that today’s high price at auction is tomorrow’s bargain. How I would dearly love to attend the Garrett Collection sales we offered in 1979 to 1981, setting record after record or the Eliasberg Collection in a series of sales from 1982 to 1997, again record breaking. Today, many of these pieces would be super bargains at the same levels. Come to think of it, numismatics is quite remarkable in this regard.

Enjoy the coins, tokens, medals, and paper money arrayed before you and plan to participate. I thank you for your interest.

Best wishes,
Dave Bowers

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