U.S. Coin Price Guide

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Amazing auction results
By Steve Roach

The Dan Holmes Collection of Early Date Large Cents was an extraordinary grouping of choice and rare coins assembled by a connoisseur.

Anyone with a few million dollars can put together a "name" collection that will get them on the cover of an auction catalog, but only the dedicated – or extravagantly wealthy – can put together a legendary collection.

Does the recent Larry & Ira Goldberg auction of the Dan Holmes Collection for $15.08 million represent a general elevation of the copper market, or is it simply a one off?

The $1.265 million realized for the 1795 Liberty Cap, Reeded Edge cent removed a psychological barrier that will possibly influence prices at the highest end of the market. The auction may have piqued interest for rare die varieties as well.

However, auctions such as these do not typically have a unilateral effect on the market – common, average or below-average coins will likely reflect little impact in their prices.

It's understandable. After being offered some of the finest coins in existence – the crème de la crème – a collector is much less likely to want to settle for something ordinary.

The general consensus is that collectors purchased the vast majority of the coins, meaning that they will not show up in dealer's cases to create a glut in the market.

By all accounts there were multiple bidders for nearly everything. The substantial depth of bidding and the prices realized illustrate that this market can continue to absorb exceptional coins.

Not all coins were huge winners and the air at the height of the market can be a bit thin. Some coins sold for less than they did at the 2008 auction of the Walter J. Husak Collection, which realized $10.7 million. But those were generally exceptions, and most coins achieved higher prices than the Husak sale – which at the time was characterized as a resounding success.

Just as some coins brought amazingly high prices, others seemed reasonable in comparison, including the two 1793 Strawberry Leaf cents which brought $264,500 and $218,500. The offering represented half of the known examples of these mysterious varieties.


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