Welcome to Rarities Night 2014! What a great way and what a great day to start our series of auctions for the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. The eyes of the numismatic world will join you as you contemplate our Rarities Night presentation, which this year offers not one but three catalogs.
Our catalog of the Dr. James A. Ferrendelli Collection of Early United States Gold Coins 1795 to 1839, Act I of Rarities Night, is unique in that it is the only time in numismatic history that a complete collection of early quarter eagles has been presented at auction—each and every die variety from 1796 to 1834. The catalog itself is guaranteed to be a classic collectible—hold on to yours tightly. Our catalog of the Gilded Age Collection of Liberty Head Double Eagles is Act II of Rarities Night, a separate offering of the Robert Galiette Collection that is also unique in its combination of quality and scope.
Then begins Act III. Rarities Night continues a tradition started back in the 1970s when Stack’s was a part of the famous “Apostrophe Auctions” (offerings with 500 important coins each time), continuing to our Rarities Sales series of a decade or so ago, down to our present and equally famous Rarities Night. Several times a year we offer the finest of the fine, the rarest of the rare in a single-session auction event that attracts worldwide attention. This event will be everlastingly memorable as well.
Rarities Sale Highlights
The 1804 dollar, aptly called “The King of American Coins” by B. Max Mehl in his 1941 offering of the Dunham coin, will all by itself usher this session and this Rarities Night Sale into numismatic history. Our 1804 is the Garrett Collection specimen—an old friend, so to speak, as we showcased it over 30 years ago when we sold the Garrett Collection for The Johns Hopkins University. Tonight’s buyer will have a “your name here!” opportunity to add to the coin’s already illustrious pedigree.
Dr. Richard Aghababian’s Early Impressions Collection features many choice and rare coins, including the Samuel Wolfson specimen of the classic 1794 dollar. The Stu Keen Portfolio adds other notable coins, and from Robert Galiette come a number of Saint-Gaudens double eagles that he acquired outside of his core Gilded Age Collection, which comprised Liberty Head issues 1850 to 1907. We give a nod to the dozens of other consignors who have contributed to this auction and our other sessions at this year’s World’s Fair of Money.
Sometimes in numismatics there are events that have no precedent and, once they happen, may never occur again. Such is the situation with the newly discovered—and in some cases unique—Proof and Specimen 1921 and 1922 Peace silver dollars from the estate of Mint Director Raymond T. Baker.
To describe all of the key issues in this Rarities Night Sale would require many pages. As the catalog is now in your hands, we will give only a brief commentary.
Colonial and early American coins range from Massachusetts silver to a beautiful Mint State 1776 Continental dollar in pewter, with the designer’s initials E.G., for Elisha Gallaudet. Among copper large cents—certainly one of America’s most popular specialties—you will see an amazing Choice Mint State 1793 Sheldon-11b, a 1794 Jefferson Head cent in high grade, and more. Sure to attract a lot of well-deserved attention is the S-48 Starred Reverse, the most famous variety of that year, pedigreed to the Bowers and Van Arsdall collections. Watch it go!
Early American silver coins begin with a Specimen-65 half dime of the first year of issue, 1794, a “wow!” coin for sure. Although the dies were made in 1794, striking actually took place in 1795. It hails from our Lelan Rogers Collection Sale of years ago—still memorable. A Mint State 1828 quarter with the 25/50C error reverse die (reprised from its use in 1822) will draw bids from all directions.
An AU 1794 half dollar is among the finest known. A Specimen-64 1795 BB-20 silver dollar hails from the Lord St. Oswald Sale held by Christies in 1964, which Jim Ruddy of our staff attended in person. The story behind this collection is amazing and was detailed by Mike Hodder some years ago. Other early dollars will delight and amaze—the 1794 already mentioned, a wonderful Gem 1802 BB-241, and, of course, the “King of American Coins” 1804.
Gold coins, already covered in spades by the Ferrendelli and Galiette collections, include many other notable pieces from the late 18th and early 19th centuries continuing into the Liberty Head era of Gobrecht followed by Longacre. Included are some truly amazing Proof rarities. Saint-Gaudens twenties include many opportunities among which the 1920-S and 1921 rarities are particularly memorable.
An undated (1849) Miners Bank $10 in Superb Gem Mint State is the stuff of which dreams are made. How exciting is it and its history. Pattern coins include a wonderful and exceedingly rare 1871 Judd-1140, by far the finer of just two known, a splendid Gem Proof.
Plan to Participate!
If you plan to come to attend the World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, the red carpet will be rolled out for you! Welcome to lot viewing, our Rarities Night and other sales, and to the coin convention of the year. It was back in 1939 that we (Stack’s) had our first ANA sale—followed by a long line of others.
If you are staying at home—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. Whether you live in Fort Lauderdale, St. Croix, Moscow, or Le Havre, you will be “here.” It is amazing how worldwide our auctions have become in recent years.
Thinking of Selling?
We invite you to take advantage of the excitement and enthusiasm here at Stack’s Bowers Galleries and be a part of our 2014-2015 auction schedule! Upcoming sales include our 79th Anniversary Sale in New York City in early October, as an official auctioneer with the PNG convention, followed by our Official Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo showcasing the C4 club and its special offerings. Then in January 2015 it is off to the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) auction — a prestigious event dedicated to the needs of world and ancient collectors — held at the historical Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Consignors have numerous options when selling coins and paper money, but only one choice when it comes to having your consignments handled by a firm with the longest standing record of success in numismatics — Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Contact us today at 800-458-4646 (West Coast) or 800-566-2580 (East Coast) to ensure your rarities are part of our prosperous 2014-2015 auctions.
On behalf of all of us at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, we appreciate your review of our suite of catalogs produced for the American Numismatic Association’s World Fair of Money. It promises to be a grand event, and we look forward to you being a part of it.
Again, welcome to Rarities Night.
Q. David Bowers