Legend Numismatics Market Report and insights on buying the 1794 Silver Dollar
THE 1794 $1.00 ONE OF THE GREATEST AMERICAN RARITIES
Legend Numismatics is proud to announce that our firm was the buyer of the spectacular $1 1794 PCGS SP66 CAC sold in the Stacks sale of the Cardinal collection on Jan. 24th. We are the undisputed leader in the classic rarity market outright buying and selling MORE coins (and collections) in excess of $5 million dollars than anyone. We now hold the record for buying the most valuable regular issue US Coin along with the most valuable deal ever done-the $36,000,000.00 Pattern Collection back in 2008.
Legend has NO plans to sell this coin. No games are being played, no slick secret marketing here. This coin is NOT being offered nor do we have any plans to do so anytime soon.
When we heard the Cardinal Collection was coming up for sale we were surprised. We never thought the dollar would be included. We had made a few feeble attempts at purchasing it before. However, when we confirmed it was for sale via auction, our brains started working in over drive. We must have gone through dozens of scenarios as to its real value. We did arrive at a $10 million dollar figure almost immediately. After all, this is a no question specially struck coin. It very well could be the FIRST Silver Dollar ever struck based on the evidence. The striking DOES match up with the very first struck dollar-the 1794 COPPER PATTERN that resides in the Smithsonian. Then we started to think about who handled it (George Washington maybe?) and the coins over all amazing qualities.
A month out we were ready to buy it at $10 million dollars all in. Then “auction fever” set in. We heard rumors, we started to evaluate potential bidders, we began feeling the pressure that $10 million for this iconic coin would not be enough. After all, how many chances will there ever be to buy a classic coin like this?. In an auction setting, anyone could pop up for it. The market has dramatically changed since it had been offered for sale in 2010. Classic rarities are in demand and are circling the numismatic universe in their own orbit. So we decided to raise our bid. Then last week, the Batmobile sold for nearly $5 million dollars. Then we read about some paintings that just sold for $100,000,000.00+. Those events were critical. We rationalized, about what money is really worth (how much the gov. is printing too) and how people perceive value and are spending on it on non traditional assets these days. At that point we realized the 1794 was a tragic oversight to be valued at anything LESS then $10,000,000.00. We raised our limit to $15 million and started to sweat what the other buyers would do. Knowing there was at least one buyer who has coveted this coin forever and had the means to buy it, made us lose lots of sleep last week.
Two days before the sale our lead partner made the final decision, we MUST pay $10 million dollars all in MINIMUM. We developed a ‘shock and awe” plan. We were all in agreement, we even went through a mini practice.
The next two days we were all nervous wrecks. We tried to put on our best poker faces about bidding. Everyone in the dealer community pretty much expected us to be bidders. But we tried to hide our plans as best we could.
On the day of the sale we all woke up sick-nerves were getting the best of all of us. It was not until we actually got to NYC-in the auction room itself we felt better. But, with every well dressed person who entered the room, we panicked – OMG, they could out bid us on the dollar! How any of us survived with out having a heart attack is a wonder. So we all spoke on the phone and our last minute discussion involved implementing “shock and awe”. After sitting thru 93 lots of incredible coins in at total fog, the time had come. We all started to hold out breath.
The auctioneer looked around to make sure she had a clear sightline of all potential bidders. We freaked slightly when we saw the head of a major coin company get ready to bid-we didn’t add him to our equation. Oh no! Then the bidding started at $2.2 million. It slowly climbed to $5 million. That was our original planned “shock and awe” point to take control of the bidding hopefully freezing out other buyers. Instead in the fog of bidding, we suddenly got hit at $5.5 million (missing our $5 million dollar invoke). We knew we could not wait any longer, we invoked “shock and awe” and jumped the bid to $8,525,000.00. EVERYONE in the room was stunned. We firmly believe we took control of the bidding at that point and made a powerful statement about what it will take to beat us. Then for what seemed like the longest close to any lot ever (only because of the stress and lack of breathing) we had done it! We purchased the 1794 $1.00-now more than solidified as the worlds most valuable coin. On the phone and at our table (if you were there) you probably heard the biggest sigh of relief ever. Our strategy had worked! We later confirmed there was at least one bidder right under us. Whew!
The purchase of the 1794 $1 was now history! One of the first people to come up and say congratulations to us was the collector we had feared most for months. That was very gracious of him and we say a sincere thank you. We also wish to thank every one who came up to us, called us, and emailed us their best wishes and congratulations.
LEGEND IS MARKET LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER
Yes, it is always our job to save our customers money when bidding in auction. We do practice that at every sale we attend. This was an extremely rare instance where the true value of the coin had to be unlocked. At $7 million, the coin would have been a lackluster purchase and the market would have yawned and moved on. We felt very strongly that at anything LESS then $10 million this coin would have been locked it in undervalued purgatory (along with every other great rarity for a very long time). Plus, we also knew that $10 million would create a huge buzz for the entire coin market and “change the game”. A new era in the rare coin market has been created!
We did NOT by this coin to EVER resell it. The only way this coin would ever be worth LESS then $10 million-if the entire market crashes hard along with the U S economy. Coin dealers who advised their customers for the most part are followers who are afraid to think out of the box. They have to stop being afraid to unlocking value. We love to use the $10 1920S PCGS MS67+ coin as an example of what recognizing a great rarities value can do. Back in 1977 Dr Steven Duckor paid at the time and INSANE $75,000.00 for this monster. $75,000.00 back then was huge money for a coin. For years dealers heckled his purchase. The coin was deemed all along the greatest $10 Indian and possibly one of the greatest 20th century gold pieces that existed. Then it was for sale in the 2008 at the ANA Mid Winter auction. We had a customer building the all time finest collection of $10 Indians, who like Dr Duckor has NO plans on ever selling his collection. So we advised him around $1.25-$1.5 million would do it (its hard to value the unknown). Sure enough, we paid $1,725,000.00!!! A record. Dr Duckor was vindicated and now it was our turn to be snickered at. We have had a serious offer of $2,500,000.00 for the coin recently, but is NOT for sale. We strongly believe if the coin is ever resold, next time it will be in the $5 million range. There is NOTHING else like it! Ditto this 1794 $1. In the back of this writers head the it seems like a $25 million price in the next 10 years or so will happen-and this coin will be it. Why not, it’s the ultimate rarities rarity masterpiece!
Paying $10 million dollars for this coin already changed the way outsiders and how many collectors now perceive the coin market. There is no question the news of this coin bringing “real money” (like what the hedgies play with or the billionaires think about) put coins like this on the radar of significant people outside of our regular market. Collectors now know there is no limit to the potential of what the great rarities can do.
Legend Numismatics is close to the real world of high finance more so than most rare coin firms. We regularly deal with people who buy the $100 million dollar paintings, have 4-5 huge homes, and live lives we only dream about. They really can’t wrap themselves around a $10,000.00 coin or even a $1,000,000.00 coin. They want dazzle, they want excitement, and most of all, they DEMAND the VERY best. A $10,000,000.00 record priced coin that is the UNDISPUTED FINEST KNOWN gets their attention. They will buy a coin like this because they know the value is there-and they never settle for marginal potential. Hard to believe but when people like this want something, do NOT fret over what they pay. Our guests at the auction were two Wall Street biggies. They totally LOVED the auction and it meant a lot to them that a coin broke the $10 million dollar barrier. We were gratified that both immediately agreed with the strategy we executed. Both these gentlemen are powerful collectors already, but now they feel more comfortable to step up their games. We’re sure as more people hear about the 1794 sale, more people will become coin collectors and more collectors will see more potential.
Hope you enjoyed our insight about buying this amazing rarity. We already are cherishing its ownership (we’ve all been on cloud 9 here) and are proud to be its next generation of custodians. We do plan on displaying this great coin the future.
Congrats and thanks to Martin Logies for being such a wonderful custodian of coins and for being such a passionate collector.
THE 1793 CHAIN CENT PCGS MS65BN CAC FROM THE CARDINAL COLLECTION
Hands down this coin is clearly as good-or in most experts opinions BETTER than the coin that sold for $1,380,000.00 in a heated contest last year. This was the first big coin of the night we had to sweat out. We knew it was going to open around $550,000.00. We were just hoping the dealer who we thought would be a player on it wasn’t figuring it like we did. Both dealers and collectors quickly bid this wonderful GEM Chain cent up to $800,000.00, with the last bid belonging to a collector. We bid $850,000.00 and then heard nothing. Much to our total surprise, we watched like it was slow motion the auctioneer closing the lot. We purchased it for $998,750.00 (all in)!
We’re not sure why this coin did not break $1 million-but that’s OK. Quality was NOT the problem. You never really want to start the auction with a big coin. Everyone wants to get a feel for prices etc. This just happened to be the date order for the series that caused it to be sold first.
A VERY important note about our customer who bought this amazing Chain Cent. He is from Asia! The US Rare coin market is truly international. We have other customers from Singapore, England, Canada, and India. It fascinates us to no end there is someone sitting on the other side of the world who cherishes US rarities as much as we do. He was not afraid of the price (he was prepared to go a lot higher) as he has paid MORE for other coins we have sold him! Many congrats to the new coins new owner!
THE CARDINAL SALE
Overall, we believe the sale was success. Martin Logies would be the final word on that. We hope he did well as what he put together through his foundation won’t be duplicated for many years-if ever.
We had announced to various dealers and Stacks we were coming in “loaded” for the copper. It is the worst kept secret that we are deep down “copper weenies”. We had done that also to hide our burning desire to buy the 1794 $1. Fortunately, we knew that by buying the first lot, our cover would not be blown and maybe even give us breathing room. But then time came for us to bid on the other copper. We really had thought for we could buy a huge %. NOT! We had figured really strong bids-and we got out bid! In some cases badly! It was really rough going for us the entire sale up to the 1794. No question early copper or SUPERB GEM Copper is strong. Sure we were a little distracted, but it took huge money to out bid us on the coins we wanted. We had left some Internet bids to be safe. One coin in particular we really wanted and did not get, was the 1852 PCGS MS65RD-possibly the FINEST MS Red of ANY date-ever. We figured it in the low $20′s. Final price: $32,900.00. Hands down, the Naftzger pieces rate as some of the most desirable and finest Large Cents on the market today. The Cardinal Collection had only the best of the best from the Naftzger sales. We should know, we got whiffed by Martin Logies then too! Our take: only about 6 or 7 Superb pieces.