The Pleasures of Collecting
Over a long period of years many of our
clients, as well as other enthusiasts, have made numismatics a part of their
lives. I recall many pleasant hours spent with Harry Bass after he discovered
coins, and in 1976 purchased a gold dollar at auction. He was a businessman par
excellence – the main developer of the Vail ski resort who later started
Beaver Creek, an investor, and an oilman. Equally important, he had a great
sense of curiosity, a desire to explore the unknown. Collecting coins opened a
new world for him. Starting slowly, he set about buying as many books as he
could for various American series. He attended coin shows. After exploring
several avenues he settled on American gold coins as his specialty. In time, he
built the highest-quality collection ever. He did not stop there. He signed on
as a councilor of the American Numismatic Society and was eventually its
president. By the 1980s he knew more about gold coin die varieties than anyone
before or since. Numismatics became very important in his life.
For more than just a few prominent
medical doctors – James Ferrendelli, Warren Lapp, James O. Sloss, Harry
Salyards, J. Hewitt Judd, Haig Koshkarian, and many others come to mind –
immersion in the art and science of numismatics was and still is central to
their enjoyment. I must not forget George F. Heath, a medical doctor who was
the mayor of Monroe, Michigan, who loved traveling on railroads, and who was a
great author. In 1891 he founded the American Numismatic Association. I could
make a list of great figures in science, business, politics, and entertainment
that have also been prominent in the hobby.
Indeed, for men and women with sharp
minds who enjoy the finer things in life, coin collecting has always been a
A fine collection cannot be built
quickly or without knowledge. Success is the reward for those who take time and
With this as prologue, I introduce this
Selections from Great Collections
The Cardinal Collection Educational
Foundation has once again selected us to showcase coins, many of which have
been off the market for a long time. You may remember when we sold the Cardinal
1794 dollar, the finest known, for over $10 million, a world’s record that
still stands today. Now in our November auction we will be offering early
medals, an incredible Washington Born Virginia copper, a 1792 silver center
cent, and amazing early silver coins such as a MS-64 1797 dollar, a grade
nearly unheard of for this low-mintage year.
The Alexander Collection brings
rarities that have been off the market for decades, including an impressive run
of early and Liberty Head half eagles, a nearly complete run of Proof Liberty
Head quarter eagles, and notable silver issues. Years ago the owner, who had a
sharp eye for quality, enjoyed collecting these one by one. Now, you have the
We are honored and humbled to have been
selected to sell the Catherine E. Bullowa Estate Collection. In memoriam we
have devoted a page to her career. The consignment includes various coins that
she considered to be special, and did not sell to her clients. And, they are
The Murray Hill Collection contains
just 17 coins, an incredible type set of gold that will be included in the
Rarities Night section of our auction event. I mention as enticements such
treasures as 1796 and 1808 quarter eagles and one of the finest 1879 $4 Stellas
ever to appear in one of our sales (quite a statement, considering what we have
sold in the past).
Over a dozen years ago the dedicated
numismatist who formed the Frog Run Farm Collection (consignors often choose
interesting names!) favored us with a marvelous selection of coins, followed in
time by others. Now we offer a fourth part of this collection, featuring
memorable Barber and 20th century silver coins.
Similarly, the owner of the Twin Leaf
Collection, one of the foremost numismatists in the American West, has
consigned magnificent large cents. Now comes Part IV of his collection.
Syd Martin, one of the brightest stars
in the galaxy of colonial coin collectors – and an award-winning researcher and
author as well – has consigned some wonderful duplicates that will be offered
in the section of our catalog devoted to the Colonial Coin Collectors Club (C4)
and their annual convention. As part of this I will be presenting an
On behalf of the American Numismatic
Society and its endowment campaign for the executive director we offer
important U.S. Mint medals and Washingtoniana that were donated by Stanley De
Forest Scott. Stanley is a fine friend who first consigned coins to us in the
Beyond items from these sources, you
will find a marvelous panorama of coins in just about every American series
from the colonial era to modern times. There are many “great” coins, so to
speak, that are not necessarily expensive – Morgan silver dollars,
commemoratives, small-denomination coins, and more.
As much as any auction we have ever
held, our November Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo
is diverse. It offers you the opportunity to add to your present
specialties or start a new one – or two. If you follow the comments I made at
the beginning of this introduction, we at Stack’s Bowers Galleries will look
forward to having you as a familiar face for years to come. Nothing could be more
Baltimore, a Numismatic Center
A few years ago a survey was taken of
dealers who travel all across the country and set up at various shows. “What is
in your opinion the best convention city?” The answer by a large margin was
Baltimore. And what a fine city it is. The Inner Harbor area where the Whitman
Coin & Collectibles Expo is held offers many fine hotels, restaurants,
shops, and entertainment facilities. The Expo is one of the top shows of the
year, with our auction, a large bourse, and other non-stop activities.
If you plan to come to Baltimore, the red
carpet will be rolled out for you. Arrive a day or two earlier than usual to
view the auction lots at leisure. Bring your significant other or your family
with you. There is a lot to do in the city.
Meet and greet our staff during lot
viewing, at our auction sessions, or continuously at our bourse table. We will
be buying, selling, and accepting consignments. In addition, we will be happy
to simply say hello and will do our best to help with anything else.
Have a question about our auction?
We’re here to help – from lot viewing through the sale sessions to pick-up. If
you are staying at home, we have good news for you. Using our dynamic Internet
site you can participate in virtual reality – in real time watching our
auctioneer at the podium, seeing the item being offered, and featuring an
enticing green “Bid!” button! With advance preparation with us you can also
arrange to bid by telephone on important lots.
After our Baltimore sale closes we have
a special Internet section with its own delights and treasures.
Thank you for your interest and
participation in our sale. I am looking forward to seeing you in Baltimore or
to your bidding on line.
All good wishes,
Q, David Bowers
Co-founder, Stack’s Bowers Galleries