The session begins with the John “Jack” Royse Collection. Formed over the course of many years (from roughly 1955 to virtually the present time), Jack Royse worked closely with members of the Stack Family; in fact, Harvey and Larry Stack visited him in his home to take possession of the coins. His collection contains rare and interesting pieces, many with famous and important pedigrees. We begin the sale with a rare Sommer Island Sixpence, Ex Roper Collection in PCGS VF-20. These rare coins are the first issues of a British colony in North America. Directly following is a small selection of seven pieces of Massachusetts silver, starting with an example of the famous and extremely rare New England Sixpence, found in a potato field on Long Island in February 1990. Lot 6003 is a Willow Tree Shilling, ex Richard Picker, in VG details. In keeping with the theme of pedigreed, rare colonials from the Royse Collection, is an AU-50+ (PCGS) Lord Baltimore Shilling (ex John Roper Collection) and the Norweb INIMICA TYRANNIS AMERICA Confederatio Copper, one of perhaps five known. Among other rare coppers, are a Broad Axe Higley copper, a Non Vi Virtute Vici and George Clinton Excelsior copper, both purchased from our (Stack’s) October 1989 sale of the Gilbert Steinberg Collection. A nice selection of Fugio, New Jersey and Connecticut coppers are also offered, including several scarce types and Condition Census pieces. We end the Royse Collection with a selection of rare numismatic volumes from his library.
Following the Royse Collection is Part I of the Legendary Ted L. Craige Collection. Ted Craige is one of the most famous colonial coin collectors of the past fifty years, and a gentleman who passed away too soon in 1971. His extensive collection has since sat untouched in a bank vault. The collection will be sold in several parts, with Part I offered in November. Part one features his St. Patrick Coinage, one of the most extensive and important collections ever offered, which includes many Condition Census pieces. A magnificent silver St. Patrick’s Farthing, graded AU-58, is offered as lot 6148 — a wonderful example, among the finest known for the issue. Also from the Craige Collection, we are pleased to present his Voce Populi coppers, ranked among the finest collections ever assembled of this series and including every variety except for the Nelson-5 and the newly discovered “Nelson-17” (which we had the honor of selling in our 2012 ANA auction). This part of the Craige Collection also features a rare John Chalmers sixpence and concludes with an extensive offering of a wide variety of French Colonies 9 Deniers of 1721-22 and Louis D’or from the Le Chameau wreck. We are very pleased to offer the first part of what will be one of the most extensive collections of Colonial coins to cross the auction block. Stay tuned for Part II which will be offered in our January 2013 New York Americana sale.
After the Craige Collection, we return to “Guide Book order” and begin with a large selection of Massachusetts silver coins. Many of the 51 pieces trace their pedigrees back to famed collections we have offered in the past including the Ford and Hain Family collections. Also featured is Lot 6411, a lovely Rhode Island Ship Token, struck in brass with the wreath removed, graded by PCGS as MS-63 and awarded the coveted CAC sticker. Also graded by PCGS and “stickered” by CAC is Richard Picker’s Short Worm Chalmers Shilling, in EF-40. Consigned by a well known collector is a lovely Gem MS-65 Massachusetts half cent, one of the finest graded by PCGS. Diverse selections of state coppers follow, with a large variety of Connecticuts and New Jerseys, many of which hail from important collections of the past; of note is Herbert Oechsner’s Maris 56-n New Jersey copper struck over a 1787 Connecticut, graded AU-55 by PCGS.
Anchoring our selection of 102 Vermont copper lots is the Dan Freidus Collection. Dan is a well known expert in the colonial field, and his paper on Higley copper die varieties is the standard reference to the series. Dan’s collection, combined with the Vermont coppers of other consignors, offers a powerful selection, featuring most of the 39 Ryder varieties, missing only eight varieties to be complete. Again there are many high grade and Condition Census coins, as well as interesting die states, coins struck over Nova Constellatio and other coppers, and well pedigreed examples.
Lot 6720 is an extremely rare and very attractive (for the type) 1817 Texas Jola. Graded VF-20 by PCGS and housed in a Secure Holder, this coin is a different die marriage from the PCGS Fine-12 example that we sold for $48,875 in our ANA sale. This coin features the name M.BA[…]RA, which matches Manuel Barrera, the minter named in the decree of March 29, 1817. This is a wonderful rarity that will be a highlight in an advanced colonial type set.
No colonial coin offering would be complete without a 1776 Continental Dollar, and lot 6765 is an acceptable EF-40 (PCGS) example for a collector grade type set. Featuring similar design elements, next comes the Rob Retz Collection of Fugio coppers, an advanced study collection that includes 63 coins. Again, there are coins with wonderful pedigrees, exceedingly rare varieties and even a few Newman Plate Coins. Fugio coppers have a great history, and have been studied by numismatists for the better part of a century.
Rounding out the sale is the David J. Wnuck Collection of Contemporary Counterfeit and Imitation Spanish Colonial Coins. David, a long time dealer from Connecticut who specializes in colonial and early American coinage, elected to collect these fascinating coins over the course of many years. Recently, the reference collection of Michael K. Ringo (offered by Stack’s) provided many opportunities for Dave to fill holes in his collection. This collection is the result of diligent study and patience, and we are proud to have been selected by him to sell his personal collection.
Colonial coins are tangible connections to the founding of our great nation, by their very nature they are direct links to the founding fathers. Even if Colonial coins are not currently your specialty, close examination of the coins in the offing may entice you to expand you horizons and begin a new collection. Catalogs are in the mail but in the meantime, we invite you to view the full listings on our website at www.stacksbowers.com , and we hope to see you at lot viewing, either in our Irvine office (through October 30 by appointment), our New York office (November 6-10), or in Baltimore. With the large number of special coins being offered, the interest in this sale is huge, and early viewing is recommended. Please contact one of our auction services specialists to schedule a time.