The end of summer marks the beginning of a new round of action in the rare coin business, with a packed auction schedule along with national and regional shows. Ira & Larry Goldberg held their traditional Pre-Long Beach sale September 4th through the 7th, consisting of more than 2,500 lots of both U.S. and world coins. The Goldberg sales have been known for their consignments of early copper, and a large cent was the sale topper in this sale. An 1801 Sheldon-221, the well-known “Corrected Fraction” variety, with the reverse denominator showing a 100 over 000 that is graded PCGS AU58 (EAC grade AU50+). Stunningly, this coin realized $54,050, while the auctioneer’s estimate was “$4,000 – up.” For context, in the January Tom Reynolds sale Goldberg sold a pair of this variety. One was graded PCGS/CAC XF45 which brought $6,169 and the other was a PCGS/CAC AU55 that sold for $15,863. Back in 2005 Heritage sold an NGC MS63 for $37,375 in their FUN sale. According to pedigree information these are all different coins, and therefore it appears that the AU58 coin was relatively unknown to the top specialists and collectors prior to this appearance. The Goldberg catalog states that the coin has “not been seen by Noyes or Bland”, two experts who keep condition census records for early large cents.

Dealers reported a busy bourse floor at the Long Beach Expo, and the trading volume was higher than expected. There were some concerns going in to the show about the impact of having the ANA convention in nearby Anaheim a month ago, but it appears collectors were out in full force in Long Beach. So far the Heritage U.S. coin auction, while not yet completed as of this writing, has realized over $11 million, and the currency sales have taken in $1.7 million thus far.

THIS WEEKS MARKET
Gold Type: The slumping gold spot price has softened up this market, and there are noticeably fewer bids on the trading networks. Premiums relative to melt are historically low for mint state eagles and double eagles, and the spreads between extra fine and MS62 coins are very tight. There also seems to be some misunderstanding regarding Greysheet prices in this series. If you are trading in these coins, it is critical to have access to an online dealer trading network (such as CDN Exchange) to view the bids in real time. See the Bluesheet article in the September 9th issue for further discussion.
Classic Commems: This series has come under some pressure recently. Specifically, the Isabella quarter and Lafayette dollar have seemed to fall out of favor with buyers at auction. The population on these issues are such that a prospective buyer can be very selective, and if a coin does not “check all the boxes” it suffers.