By Steve Roach – http://www.steveroachonline.com
First published in the Oct. 24, 2011, issue of Coin World.
Dealers are gearing up for the American Numismatic Association’s inaugural fall National Money Show, Oct. 13 to 15, in Pittsburgh. More than 300 tables have been sold, although dealers are hesitant due to the cool-down in the precious metals market and the perceived weakness of September’s Philadelphia Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo.
The new ANA show tests whether the coin market needs another rare coin show. For several years promoters tried to establish Coinfest as a mid-autumn East Coast show, but attendance waned as collectors elected to instead attend Whitman’s usually strong Baltimore expo in November.
The Sept. 28 announcement of Larry Shepherd’s termination as executive director was accompanied by a statement by President Tom Hallenbeck insisting, “The ANA is about more than just being a big coin show.” One wonders whether the ANA is still committed to expanding the ANA show schedule to three per year.
The official ANA auction by Heritage offers some great classic gold coins including the Norweb-Richmond 1854-S Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle in Very Fine 35. Per gold expert David Akers, the 1854-S Coronet quarter eagle is one of the three rarest regularly issued U.S. gold coins with a mintage of just 246 pieces, of which around a dozen are known.
The popularity of this issue has expanded beyond specialists into the numismatic mainstream in the past several years, as evidenced by its rapid price appreciation. This coin last sold at auction in 2004 for just $86,250. A similarly graded example sold at a 2009 Heritage auction for $253,000. As of Oct. 6, nine bidders have already raised the price of the presently offered lot to $253,000, with more than a week left to go until the live floor auction on Oct. 14.
Two significant New Orleans Coronet $20 double eagles are also posed to sizzle when offered at auction in Pittsburgh: an 1854-O coin in About Uncirculated 55 and an 1856-O example in Extremely Fine 45.
Heritage catalogers assert that these two issues, along with the 1870-CC double eagle in the auction, “stand alone among double eagles as the titans of the series.” The 1854-O double eagle was last offered at auction in 2005, then-graded AU-53, where it sold for $368,00. The 1856-O Coronet double eagle was offered twice at auction in 2009 where it sold for $276,000 in January and then for $253,000 August.