Whitman Coin and Collectibles November Expo Market Report

Welcome to the latest issue of my Market Report. I have nice memories of the recent Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale at the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, Maryland. The event was dynamic from front to back, an ideal show in many ways. Our auction started on Tuesday afternoon, continued almost non-stop on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and concluded Saturday afternoon. The action was very good. In these days of the Internet, it is often the situation that coin auctions held by any company attract a sparse gallery offering, while thousands of people compete on the Internet. Not so with the Expo, as each time I looked in on the sale there was a lot of activity, a lot of hands raised. Otherwise I was at the bourse, where there was also a lot of buying, selling, and camaraderie.

A highlight of this sale was the Teich Family Collection Part I, which commenced on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm. I went up to the podium and spent a few minutes reminiscing about Stack’s and the good old days—the 1950s and 1960s—when I visited there often, this being the period that the Teich family was there as well, although I don’t recall having met them. Typically Dr. and Mrs. Teich and their three sons would visit Stack’s when a new collection was purchased or one was in the offing for an auction. They would meet with Harvey, Morton, J.B., and Norman Stack, review the offerings and solicit advice as to which pieces might be suitable for their collections. The last word is plural, as the family endeavored to build three parallel collections, one for each son. This was in an era before numbers were used on most coins, and long before certified grading. Going over the items at hand, agreement would be reached on which pieces had special eye appeal, after which they would be purchased outright or competed for at auction. The result was a magnificent collection of early Proofs, rarities, and other items. The first session brought substantially over the pre-sale estimate, with action coming from all directions. Now we are looking forward to Part II scheduled at the Whitman Expo in March.

While the good old days are long gone, reminiscing is enjoyable to do, and Harvey Stack followed me to the podium. We both remember the days in which the gallery at 123 West 57th Street—the same facility you can visit today—was in effect a club for collectors, beginning and advanced, who would come by to buy and sell coins, trade stories, and ask advice.

Apart from the Whitman Expo, business has been excellent in other areas. In California the main office is relocating to our own new building, state of the art, over 50,000 square feet, offering just about every facility imaginable. Along with computers and other things, good old-fashioned service remains very much in style. In time a nice visitors’ center will be set up with interesting exhibits.

The market continues to be strong, for which we can all be thankful. A lot of press coverage is devoted to silver and gold bullion, but I am not quite sure what this really has to do with the market for truly rare coins. If anything, when bullion prices are high it makes some popular coins such as common date Morgan dollars out of the price reach of many beginners. Of course, who cares what the meltdown value of a rare gold or silver coin is, for the numismatic value far exceeds that. In the Thanksgiving season and the upcoming December holidays we all have a lot to be thankful for. Here is wishing you and your family much happiness.

Dave Bowers

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