World’s Fair of Money Recap

Last week at the American Numismatic Association convention in Philadelphia life was a whirlwind. Not for me as much as for the auction crew, but the entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries staff was busy, along with the people from Teletrade and Catherine Canuti from CFC. There was not a moment without something happening!

The auction was the center point of the entire show. It attracted a lot of intense action, with much of that action on the Internet, with a number of items setting record prices, particularly pieces related to Civil War history. Many collectors came in for just two or three days, often consulting our auction program to be sure that they are in the right place at the right time. For example, at the show Wednesday was “paper money night” with many great items crossing the block – and with paper money enthusiasts in attendance.

All bets were off with Rarities Night on Thursday, which opened at 6:00 in the evening with a large gallery completely packed from front to back, side to side, standing room only and with standees in the rear. This may have set the record for such a large gathering anywhere in numismatics in the 21st century! Amazing!

Rarities Night began with some comments by Rusty Goe, who for a number of years had been assembling the Battle Born Collection which comprised a complete panorama of Carson City coinage from the first dimes to the last double eagles. The collection was named for Nevada joining the Union during the Civil War in 1864, and for the occasion a Nevada state flag was put on the podium. The collection contained one of everything including the unique 1873-CC No Arrows dime (which crossed the block for close to $2 million and was a record setter), the 1873-CC No Arrows quarter (one of just five known), the classic 1876-CC twenty-cent piece, and amazing Carson City silver and gold coins from the first several years of the mint’s operation.

After a brief recess following the Carson City offering, action resumed with early American and related issues, continuing into the federal series. Several hours later many records had been broken and buyers had smiles on their faces – in the auction gallery and around the world on the Internet. Auction action continued through Friday, followed by a mail bid session. But, wait! There is more! On Monday after the show many in our auction crew including Rick Ponterio and staff, headed off to distant Hong Kong for lot viewing (going on right now as you read this), followed by what is sure to be a very exciting auction. Interest in world and ancient coins is very intense.

On the bourse floor I enjoyed meeting and greeting many dealers, collectors, researchers, and others, always a pleasant experience. Apart from the bourse and auction, I was on the program at the Professional Coin Grading Service Awards Luncheon on Friday – always a nice event. David Hall was elected into the Coin Dealer Hall of Fame, the award being chosen by past recipients (including me) without any involvement by PCGS. At 1:00 pm, right afterwards, I gave a Money Talks (name of the series) presentation on Civil War tokens to a packed audience in a rather small room. A good time was had by all. Then on Saturday it was a breakfast with the Rittenhouse Society, then off to the airport, with my grandson John Bowers accompanying me. All throughout the week he had been working with the auction crew, at one time staying up until two in the morning.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the ANA convention if you attended. If not, I hope you had a nice time at home. See you soon.

Dave Bowers

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