1998 started off with a great numismatic surprise! In late December of 1997 Congress passed into law the Statehood Commemorative Quarter Dollar Coinage Act, and during the first week of January 1998 President Bill Clinton signed the law authorizing the new issues. This act provided for the Mint to each year issue five individual quarters for general circulation, commemorating each state’s entering the Union. These quarters would be issued in the order that the states joined the United States, starting with Delaware and, in the first year, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut. The series would run for 10 years and result in a set of 50 state quarters. This followed the idea I had presented before the Banking and Finance Committee of Congress in 1995, and I was indeed honored that the idea was adopted. Over the next decade these quarters would be struck by the billions and offered a way for people to once again “collect coins” from their daily change at just the cost of the coins’ face value.
In 1998 Stack’s was in contact with several museums that were desirous of selling some of their numismatic duplicates in order to redo their exhibits and make their displays more attractive and informative. We were able to offer through our auctions a great selection of scarce and hard to find numismatic items. From these various institutions together with some privately owned collections we produced seven important auction catalogs, which collectively contained about 13,000 lots of United States, Foreign and Ancient coins in all metals. As a result of these public auctions and our over-the-counter dealings 1998 was a very productive year for us. Many collectors and dealers whom we had not seen for several years visited with us and enlivened our sales.
January featured a 1,682-lot catalog of colonial and federal coins, medals and currency, highlighted by many choice and classic numismatic items. Our March event started with a collection of Confederate notes from the Museum of Connecticut History, along with a highly pedigreed collection of late date United States large cents. The Cherry Creek Collection added rare and unusual U.S. gold coins to the sale, resulting in over 2,000 lots of important material.
In May we were very pleased to feature the outstanding collection of early Massachusetts silver formed by Reed Hawn, a noted numismatist from Texas. This sale of 1,341 lots included many very desirable items. June brought our sale of a large and important collection of world coins and paper money from Wesley A. Miller and Dr. Alfred R. Globus, as well as the Museum of Connecticut History. This catalog of nearly 2,200 lots featured pieces that were rarely offered at public auction.
Our fall season opened with our September sale that once again featured the Dr. Alfred R. Globus Collection, as well as a classic collection of early European coins from Richard Mahaly and a wonderful selection of world coinage from Gregory J. Gallagher. This sale of 1,975 lots was a highlight world coin sale of the year and attracted a huge audience of bidders and also brought in a large number of mail bid sheets. In October we celebrated our 63rd year of auctions with a catalog of 1,776 lots of rare and choice United States gold and silver coins, primarily from the estate of Carl Zelson. This collection, which had been almost 40 years in the making, featured many exceptional early coins that had been purchased from collections that had been built in the 1950s and early 1960s. Our auction year closed out in December with a sale that offered something for everyone as it featured ancient, foreign and U.S. coins that had been assembled by the two major consignors over decades of searching. It was a great sale to end a great year of auctions for Stack’s and we looked forward to another successful year in 1999.