Santa Ana, CA. (August 24, 2018) – Numismatists from around the world descended upon the birthplace of United States coinage last week for the 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia, where once again, records were broken in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ official auction. Nearly 5,000 United States coin lots and an incomparable selection of historic rarities were offered in the firm’s summer 2018 sale and were met with strong enthusiasm from collectors of every segment. Over $21.1 million in U.S. coins were sold, including the record-breaking $4.5 million auction sale of the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel. This event demonstrates continued strength in nearly every segment of the U.S. coin market and points to Stack’s Bowers Galleries as a leader in numismatic auctions.
The offering of United States and related coinage began on Wednesday morning, August 15, as Session 2 opened with a number of important rarities in the Numismatic Americana series. An iconic 1781 Libertas Americana medal in silver (lot 4) realized $84,000, claiming the top price for the session. A beautiful bronze example certified MS-64 BN (NGC) in lot 5 brought a similarly impressive price of $31,200. Collectors of Washingtonia continue to demonstrate serious interest, eagerly pursuing the seldom offered rarities in the Stack’s Bowers sale. The extremely rare silver 1796 Washington Seasons medal in lot 42, with a design by famed American artist John Trumbull, garnered $33,600. A Gem 1776 Declaration of Independence Signing Ceremony medal in bronze, part of the Cardinal Collection, drew a high bid of $48,000 in lot 45. Lot 46 offered a complementary piece, a rare 1776 Declaration of Independence medal in silver with a provenance chain back to the Bushnell Collection (1882) and the Garrett Collection. Certified Specimen-63 (PCGS), it realized $40,800. Near the close of the session, bidders were treated to delightful Indian Head cents from the ESM Collection, many of which ranked high in their respective Condition Censuses. Highlights included an MS-65 RD (PCGS) 1871 Shallow N cent in lot 412 that brought $14,400 and a premium MS-66 RD (PCGS) CAC 1882 that garnered $19,200 in lot 421.
On Wednesday evening, August 15, the bourse floor began to clear as dealers and collectors made their way to the Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction room to witness the most highly anticipated event of the 2018 World’s Fair of Money. Presenting over 425 lots from colonial issues through Territorial gold, the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Rarities Night session featured some of the most famous issues in U.S. numismatics. Lot 1017 presented a magnificent MS-64+ BN (PCGS) 1793 Wreath cent that realized $99,000. An important MS-63 BN (NGC) 1811/0 Classic Head cent (lot 1050) featured a pedigree to the firm’s March 1995 sale of the James A. Stack, Sr. Collection and previously served as a Red Book plate coin; it sold for a strong sum of $102,000.
The crowd in the auction room continued to swell in anticipation of the night’s highlight offering. All eyes and a television camera were on the auction block as lot 1096 was opened for bidding. In front of a standing-room only crowd with auctioneer Melissa Karstedt at the podium, the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel brought $4,560,000. Certified Proof-66 (PCGS) CAC, the specimen sold by Stack’s Bowers is now one of the five most valuable coins sold at auction and ranks as the most valuable non-precious metal coin ever sold. As one of just three examples in private hands and with earlier provenance to the legendary Eliasberg Collection, it is surely one of the greatest rarities in U.S. numismatics.
Strong bidding continued as the Gem MS-65 (NGC) 1802 Draped Bust dollar in lot 1191 realized $132,000, equal to the amount garnered by the richly toned Proof-67 (PCGS) CAC 1895 Morgan dollar in lot 1223. Beautiful toning was common to the top lots of the session, as was exhibited on the magnificent MS-66 (PCGS) 1895-O Morgan dollar offered in lot 1225. It is one of the finest examples of the issue known and sold for $336,000. Similarly, an MS-67 (PCGS) 1921 Peace silver dollar near the top of the Condition Census brought a strong price of $132,000 in lot 1234. The Gem Proof 1879 Flowing Hair Stella in lot 1257, certified Proof-66+ Cameo by PCGS and approved by CAC, realized $300,000. Prices for gold coins maintained strength as the sale continued into the night. The second finest known 1873-CC Liberty Head half eagle (lot 1277), certified MS-61 (PCGS), brought an impressive $168,000, while a Proof-65 Cameo (PCGS) CAC 1887 Liberty Head half eagle realized $144,000 in lot 1286.
Strong participation from bidders continued throughout the remainder of the week’s sessions and into the following week with the Internet-Only portion of the sale. With seven sessions of U.S. and related coinage across both Live and Internet-Only formats, the Stack’s Bowers auction of the 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia was a monumental offering and a resounding success.
About Stack’s Bowers Galleries
Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.
Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.