Hawaiian coins robust
By Steve Roach
market for Hawaiian coins is robust, especially
for the rare Proof issues, as evidenced by the
strong results of the Sept. 7 auction of a
collection of Hawaiian coins offered by Larry
and Ira Goldberg Auctioneers in conjunction with
The collection, described in the catalog as "the
most extensive ever to appear at auction or
elsewhere in the history of American
numismatics," offered a wide range of Hawaiian
issues, of varying quality, rarity and price
As background, five official coins were issued
for the Kingdom of Hawaii. The 1847 cent was
produced in Massachusetts and issued by King
Kamehameha III. The 1883 production of dimes,
quarter dollars, half dollars and dollars of
King Kalakaua I bear a portrait by Charles
Barber and were produced at the San Francisco
This series is often collected by U.S.
collectors, and most of the circulation issues
offered brought strong prices above their
Because many U.S. dealers are unfamiliar with
the Hawaiian series, it has been an area where
counterfeiters have been active recently,
casting a slight question mark on the market as
collectors have been rightfully suspicious of
uncertified Hawaiian coins.
The connoisseurship evident in the strong prices
for the rare Proofs carried forward to the top
Uncirculated issues, with two coins of the same
grade often achieving wildly different prices.
Lot 1373, an 1883 10-cent coin that Numismatic
Guaranty Corp. graded Mint State 65 went for
$3,450 while the next lot, with the same grade,
sold for $7,188. A toned 1883 Hawaiian dollar
Professional Coin Grading Service graded at
MS-64 realized $8,913, an NGC MS-64 example
brought $9,200, and a brilliant untoned piece
grading PCGS MS-63 sold for $13,225.
More than 50 1928 Hawaiian Sesquicentennial
commemorative half dollars were offered,
traditionally an expensive issue. The selection
offered a cross-section from MS-65 to polished
About Uncirculated 50, and they sold at prices
comparable to other recent sales.
However, the recent influx of these halves on
the market may make it a good time to buy one.