George O. Walton, Part 3

Part 3: Presenting the Walton Collection

When the time came for Stack’s to present the George O. Walton Collection at auction, my cousin Norman and I were given the opportunity to catalog the Bechtler coins. There were close to 500 Bechtlers and we divided the group as follows: First we separated the A. Bechtler examples from those of C. Bechtler. We then divided these groups by denomination and then by variety including by die and wording variations. Although many were of varieties already listed in the Standard Catalog of U.S. Coins (Raymond) and the Guide Book of United States Coins (Whitman), new varieties and types were discovered among the Walton coins.

Once we had sorted and cataloged the October sale Bechtler coins by issuer, denomination and variety, we numbered each variety and assigned them an “S” number (Stack’s new variety number). We were able to offer, illustrate, and describe 26 different design varieties, for collectors who might want to try to collect them all. We took the best among the varieties and offered them individually. Next we tried to offer a type set of C. Bechtler coins and one of A. Bechtler coins. Then we combined the types. We tried to separate the pieces in a way that offered the most variety per lot, so that the buyers would have the beginning of a collection of varieties. Eventually we had to double up on the types and so on until we had them in as many lots as we could form. Our goal in this method was to give all interested buyers the opportunity to acquire something that would lead them to expand on the collection.

Walton also had an exciting group of other private and territorial gold coins, including issues of A. Humbert, Miners Bank, Baldwin, Schultz, Dunbar, Wass, Molitor, Kellogg, Oregon, Mormon, and Clark Gruber. His collection was monumental, not always the choicest, but the rarest specimens he could find.

In the same October sale we offered most of the other rare gold U.S. coins from $1 to $50, singly and in groups, including 100 different dates of $20 double eagles in one lot. We felt that sorting the gold into lots containing different dates and mints would attract collectors.

George Walton was a major contributor to the growth of numismatics through his ownership of so many rarities and his willingness to show them extensively at shows, clubs and to dealers he visited. While often remembered for the rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel he owned, his entire collection was impressive and was the main reason he was considered by many who knew him to be a legacy in numismatics.

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