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
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
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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