Stack’s auction program for 1989 was large and important. This was the second year since the 20% drop of the Stock Market on "Black Monday," October 19, 1987. While things were recovering, it was a slow process. and the effects were felt for two years. This drop had been caused by the failure of the bond market to make promised payments and interest to many investors, leading to a wild sell off. During this period hobbies slowed down, but the numismatic market seemed to stay basically stable, as many collectors continued to enjoy the hobby and see coins as a store of value. The 13 auctions we conducted in this year reflected some clients who were ready to stop collecting, some who had passed away, and others who were interested in new specialties. A large majority of our sales in 1989 were "name" collections, and these always attracted great attention and active bidding.
The year started off with our January sale of the L.R. French, Jr. Collection of United States Silver Dollars, just over 200 lots. It started with a 1794 silver dollar in Mint State, and continued through each early date issued, including 1801, 1802, 1803 in Brilliant Proof, as well as the Adams-French 1804 dollar. Issues from the Gobrecht series and most of the Liberty Seated coins were in Proof, and there was a superb 1870-S from the Fairbanks Collection. Morgan and Peace dollars in Mint State and Proof were presented along with an extraordinary set of trade dollars, highlighted by the rare 1884 and 1885.
In that same month, Stack’s presented the Stanley Simon Collection of United States Gold, Silver and Copper Coins, 1,467 lots of U.S. coins, highlighted by this gentleman’s type collection, and featuring mostly Proof and Mint State pieces.
March 1989 brought our sale of an extensive collection formed by Howard W. Gunlocke of high quality United States gold, silver, and copper coins, starting with the first years of issue, along with a large collection of U.S. paper money. This sale included 2,246 lots in all. In April, we were able to offer a sale of nearly 1,000 lots of Ancient and Foreign gold, silver, and copper coins that included many popular rarities.
May brought another famous name collection, the Herman Halpern Collection of United States Gold Coins. It started with a type set of U.S. gold coins, all in high quality that Mr. Halpern had built over the years, adding choice examples as they became available, mostly from Stack’s inventory and our Public Auctions. Besides wonderful early gold issues, the sale was highlighted by a 1890 gold Proof set and a 1915 Panama Pacific set in the original box of issue. While only 330 lots, this extraordinary collection attracted a room full of collectors. May also brought to the auction block the New Jersey Collection of U.S. Gold, Silver and Copper Coins, plus the John M. Foreman, Sr. Collection that featured all series of U.S. coins. These collections (a total of 1,130 lots) along with the Halpern Collection made up our sale in conjunction with the Greater New York Numismatic Convention, always a popular venue for our auctions.
In June we brought to auction A Southern Gentleman’s Collection of United States coins, a diverse offering that featured something for all collectors. This comprehensive collection comprised 2,872 lots and featured extensive dates and mints in each denomination. While the first half of the year had been very busy and exciting, there was more to come in 1989, which I will describe in my next article.