Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers for rare coins and currency and a subsidiary of Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK), announced today that noted numismatic professional Chris Napolitano has joined the 27-year-old auction house as president. At the same time, Spectrum Group International (SGI) reported that its Collectibles Division achieved a record $45 million in worldwide aggregate auction sales for the three months ended December 31, 2010, its second fiscal 2011 quarter.
Mr. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum Group International: “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.”
A collector since childhood, Mr. Napolitano decided to make numismatics his life’s career in 1989 with the founding of Summit Rare Coins, Inc., serving as president and CEO since its inception. Under Mr. Napolitano’s leadership spanning more than two decades, the company has handled in excess of $250 million in rare coins, including many classic American rarities, and has attended every major show and auction during that period. In 2001, Mr. Napolitano co-founded American Rare Coins and Collectibles with locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which he helped to grow into a $20 million business. Mr. Napolitano belongs to many important numismatic organizations and is a Lifetime Member of the American Numismatic Association.
Mr. Napolitano has personally handled approximately 80 of the coins featured in the popular numismatic reference book by Jeff Garrett, “100 Greatest U.S. Coins,” along with many notable pedigrees. He counts the L. Rogers 1794 FH $1 in PCGS 66 among his favorites, and other career highlights that include:
* 1794 50c PCGS 64
* 1793 Chain 1c PCGS Specimen 67 BN
* 1793 Wreath 1c PCGS Specimen 68 RED
* 1870-S Seated $1 PCGS AU 58 EX-NORWEB
* 1893-S $1 PCGS 67 EX-NORWEB/JACK LEE
* 1870-CC 25c NGC 64 EX-ELIASBERG
* 1856-O $20 PCGS 58 EX-AMON CARTER
“My mission in business has always been to provide great service and the right product — at the right price — to both the wholesale and retail community,” Mr. Napolitano said. “I have known Bowers and Merena throughout my career in this industry, and I am excited to join such a highly regarded business that shares my goals.”
“We are very happy to welcome Chris to our team,” said Greg Roberts, president and CEO of SGI. “His numismatic knowledge is virtually unsurpassed, and I have tremendous confidence in his business and leadership abilities. Along with the addition of Chris, who will be relocating to Orange County, Bowers and Merena has also acquired certain assets of Summit Rare Coins, furthering our goals of expansion and growth.”
Continued Mr. Roberts, “Chris could not have joined us at a more opportune time. We have just concluded a quarter which saw a record-setting level of aggregate sales for our Collectibles Division, which includes Bowers and Merena Auctions and its world and ancient coinage division, Ponterio & Associates, Teletrade Certified Coin and Currency Auctions, H.R. Harmer, Spectrum Wine Auctions, Corinphila Auktionen of Switzerland, Corinphila Veilingen of The Netherlands, Heinrich Köhler in Germany, and John Bull Stamp Auctions in Hong Kong. Many of our auctions came in at multiples above their pre-sale estimates, which I believe is a testament to the buying strength of our customers worldwide.”
In November, Bowers and Merena delivered the largest ever Official Baltimore Auction, offering more than 6,800 U.S. and world lots to realize over $13 million in total sales. Also that month, Teletrade’s Official Santa Clara Auction was one of the largest ever in its 24-year history, realizing $1.0 million. The quarter culminated with three outstanding auctions that took place in December, highlighted by the Ponterio & Associates auction of the historic Wa She Wong Collection of Chinese and Asian Coins in Hong Kong, which realized $10.5 million, far exceeding the company’s expectations and breaking a number of records. Spectrum Wine’s Hong Kong auction was the largest wine auction held by that company since its formation one year ago, and Corinphila’s Switzerland auction also achieved notable results.
Dieter Michelson, head of the SGI’s worldwide philatelic division, commented, “Our three stamp auctions in the second fiscal quarter were conducted live on three continents, generated in excess of $14 million in aggregate sales and delivered many record-setting prices. We take these results as evidence of the success of our new global philatelic network, which draws on the strengths of each of our international stamp auction houses.”
Mr. Roberts added, “We are already preparing for our next season of auctions in spring 2011, where we hope to continue our run of auction successes.”