Published: February 27, 2007
The official currency auction of the Florida United Numismatists convention was the site of a record-breaking auction that achieved prices of $10,385,202 for currency and $65,180,395 for coins, combining to set a new world’s record for the largest numismatic auction. Held January 6–8 at the FUN convention, Heritage Auction Galleries’ director of currency, Jim Fitzgerald, said, “Well over 6,412 bidders participated in the coin and currency signature auctions, with many more bidding in the online sessions; more than 900 consignors placed their prized notes and coins with Heritage.”
According to Heritage President Greg Rohan, “As Heritage’s FUN signature and platinum night catalogs continued to grow during production, we knew that this sale would be inspiring — but the consignments that arrived during the last two weeks before the deadline convinced us that this would be a monumental auction. Rarities abounded through all series, but there is no question that the many collectors who consigned important gold rarities really made the difference.”
The strength of the currency market is evidenced by some of the highlights: a federal reserve 185a $500, 1874 Legal Tender realized $517,500 while an uncut pair on The First NB of Key West, FL, $10–$20, 1882, Brown Back, sold for $195,500. A cut sheet of four federal reserve 1072a $100, 1914 red seal notes, uncirculated, achieved $155,250 and, another top lot, the Federal Reserve 212, 1864, $50 interest bearing note realized $138,000.
Heritage’s US coin auction was led by the 1907 ultra high relief $20, lettered edge coin that sold for $1.84 million. Among American coin collectors, the Saint-Gaudens ultra (or extremely) high relief double eagle coin may be the most recognized coin ever produced. “There are other great rarities of outstanding reputation, but no other combines the beauty, rarity and the story of collaboration between President Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens as this coin does,” commented Rohan.
Another top lot was a coin that is one of the finest 1839 proof eagles — beyond the quality of the only other example available to collectors. The 1839/8, $10 ultra cameo brought $1.61 million. Another very old example was among the high flyers at the Florida auction. The 1796 stars quarter eagle (gold $2.50) is the only known example in gem quality and it achieved $862,500 with nine bidders competing.
The next two top lots both went to the floor, during the live auction. Each had several bidders competing with the winners taking these exceptional coins home with them. The 1879 Liberty Head Quintuple Stella, Judd-1643, Pollock-1843, achieved $862,500, and the 1855 $50 Kellogg & Co. realized $747,500. An Internet bidder won the 1907 $20 high relief, wire rim at $546,250.
The 1933 eagle is among the rarest Indian $10 in all grades, and nine bidders wanted it. It went to a floor bidder for $546,250.
Heritage Auction galleries is at 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th floor, Dallas, Texas. All prices given include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.ha.com or 800-872-6467.
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