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  • 2016-11-23 08:06
  • currency prices, greensheet, Lyn Knight, market activity, and stacks-bowers
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The final two major U.S. currency auctions of the year are now in the books, with Stacks Bowers and Lyn Knight holding auctions in November. Both auctions had strong sell-through rates, an indicator of both demand and realistic expectations on part of their respective consignors.

Stacks Bowers was up first, with their auction in Baltimore. This sale saw ten different notes achieve the five-figure level, with the group a good mix of various types. Unsurprisingly, a small-size large denomination note was the topper – in this case a series 1934 $5,000 from the Chicago district. Graded PMG XF40 Net, it brought $64,625. In large size type, a PCGS CU66PPQ $2 Educational note brought $14,100 to lead the way. Another lot worthy of attention was a Fr.97 series 1875 $10 Legal Tender graded F12 which sold for $6,169.

Lyn Knight’s auction in conjunction with the PCDA convention had 14 five-figure notes-but interestingly-eight of them were U.S. notes and six of them were world currency. The overall sale topper was an 1864 $20 Compound Interest Treasury note, PCGS VF30 Apparent, at $28,200. Second place overall went to a serial number matched denomination set of the Bahamas 1965 Decimal issue, which sold for $26,438. A gem series 1869 $2 Legal Tender in a PCGS holder brought down $23,500, while the always popular and in demand $100 large size National-in this case a series 1882 brown back from the state of North Dakota-sold for $21,150. Close on the heels of this result was a 1937 Canadian $50 with a rare signature combination graded PCGS CU66PPQ which sold for $19,975. It is fascinating to see prices realized for world notes in lockstep with U.S. notes at a major auction.

Heritage has three auctions coming in the near future: a world paper money sale in Hong Kong December 7th through the 9th, and both a U.S. currency and world currency sale in Florida at the FUN show in early January.

Aside from collectible currency, paper money in general has been very much in the news lately. Months ago the European Central Bank announced the discontinuation of the 500 Euro note, and much more recently the Swedish central bank (Sveriges Riksbank) took steps to issue “virtual currency” which would effectively end the issuance of coins and notes. Ironically, the Riksbank was the first western central bank to issue paper money in the 1660s.

Even more impactful, on November 8 the nation of India demonetized their two highest denomination notes in circulation: the 500 and 1,000 rupee. This recall is causing mass chaos as the citizenry rush to exchange the outmoded notes into new currency, with extraordinarily long waits and restrictive daily limits the norm. Intrepid antiques and collectibles dealers in India are reportedly gathering the various signature and series varieties of the now obsolete notes.

What do actions like these mean for the future of collectible paper money? Is it a net positive or negative? One argument is that if less paper money in used in everyday transactions, the currency will fall from the public consciousness and collecting it will be negatively impacted. On the other hand, many of us scarcely use coinage in our daily lives but the rare coin market remains relevant.

The keys for the long term success of the collectible currency market are two things that go hand in hand: confidence on the part of buyers and availability of information. Add to this transparency and honesty in dealing. Unfortunately, the sharp increases in the value of world notes over the past five years have led to the nefarious doctoring and restoration of notes which is often not disclosed at the time of selling. When a dealer buys a note- particularly from a public auction – in a certain grade and then the note reappears later on the market in a higher grade, the entire market is undermined and the effect is long-term damage to the credibility of rare paper money as a whole. Fortunately, the amount of information about paper money is increasing each day, allowing for a better investment with fewer traps.




  • 2016-11-23 07:58
  • $10 Liberty Coins, Greysheet Quarterly, and quarterly review
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As we went about reviewing the activity in the series covered in this *Quarterly issue*, one trend became quite apparent: the volume of $10 Liberty coins, especially the low mintage dates, that have been sold over the past three months, and the corresponding prices paid. While a handful of intrepid collectors have completed sets of this type, this series has historically been the “third wheel” after Liberty half eagles and double eagles. The half eagle’s smaller size is appealing because they have an overall lower cost (there are exceptions of course), and the double eagle has the historic appeal of being the largest gold coin and highest denomination for regular circulation issued by the United States.

However, there was clearly some pent up demand for the better date $10 Libs, as evidenced by the recent prices realized. This demand was met, and perhaps fueled by, the offering of a few large collections such as the Twelve Oaks collection sold by Heritage. Branch mint coinage, especially from New Orleans commanded the most attention, as can be seen by the chart.


It can be argued that these coins have long been undervalued, and all it took were are few market participants entering at the same time for these scarce and desirable pieces to elevate to a new price level. Digging deeper into some statistics, from the first of September to this writing, there have been nearly 600 individual lots of $10 Libs sold at auction for a total realized price of more than $1.28 million. While much of this was common date material, the market readily absorbed this quantity, along with all the other coins of different types sold in the period.

Elsewhere, we observed softening levels for circulated $20 Libs, including for dates that have traditionally thought of as better. It is still not fully known how much U.S. gold resides in Europe, and as large hoards can hit the market at any moment, the picture can change rapidly with populations and prices. We made the decision to categorize certain dates as type coins based on recent prices realized. The San Francisco minted coins from the 1880s and €˜90s are ones to pay attention to in particular going forward.




  • 2016-11-23 07:50
  • coin collecting, monthly supplement, numimatics, and Young Numismatist Programs
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You can hardly heave an egg on a coin bourse these days without splattering some doom-and-gloomer dolefully declaiming that the hobby and business of numismatics has started to “circle the

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Whitman Publishing Releases Massive New Bowers Volume on the United States Mint

  • 2016-11-21 09:01
  • David Bowers, press release, The Official Red Book, United States Mint, and Whitman Publishing
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Whitman Publishing announces the release of A Guide Book of the United States Mint, by Q. David Bowers. The 448-page softcover book is available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide,



  • 2016-11-21 02:41
  • gold centennial trio, greysheet, This weeks market, and United States Mint
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The United States Mint has released the final coin of the gold centennial trio, the 2016-W Walking Liberty Half Dollar. The initial release price was $865, with a maximum mintage

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