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Husak Large Cents bring $10.7 Million

Dallas, TX: The auction room was jammed with hundreds of bidders before the first lot of the Large Cent Collection of Walter Husak was offered at Heritage’s Official Auction at the February 14-16, 2008 Long Beach Coin Expo. When the last of his 301 Large Cents were sold, most every record known had been shattered, with a total prices realized exceeding $10.7 million. Bidders described the prices as “astronomical,” “incredible,” “feverish,” and “stunning.” Total prices realized for the entire Long Beach auction are currently at $25,000,000. Images, descriptions, and prices realized are currently posted at Heritage’s HA.com website.

Walt Husak was equally enthusiastic: “The auction was wonderful. All the last-minute jitters disappeared with the sale of the first lot, and I was on a roller coaster going higher and higher. Heritage did a terrific job preparing. I was very surprised at the incredible prices paid for the coins I loved so - they soared above my highest expectation.”

“We expected prices for Walt’s Large Cents to be very high, ” commented Heritage President Greg Rohan, “but I think I speak for the hundreds in attendance - we were all amazed at the soaring prices! Walt’s two most valuable coins, a 1793-dated cent in nearly uncirculated condition, and a 1794-dated U.S. cent with tiny stars added to the reverse (the finest of less than 50 known), each sold for record-setting $632,500. Perhaps the explanation is ’simple’: the greatest collection of early Large Cents ever formed (including virtually every Sheldon number in the 1793 to 1814 series) was sold in a hot market to the most aggressive coin buyers in the world. Heritage realized the greatest prices ever for the greatest coins ever, with many realizing multiples of previous records. Husak spent years searching for Condition Census examples, and many of his coins were the finest known as well as having exceptional pedigrees. Quality coins realized quality prices, and the finest realized the highest.”

Dealer Tony Terranova expressed his astonishment at the prices realized: “I am stunned at these prices. Walt Husak’s coins sold for a fortune, with feverish demand from the specialists. This will force a total rewrite of the price guides.”

“Of the twenty highest prices in the entire Long Beach auction,” said Rohan, “Husak coins achieved 15 of them! We had estimated they would take about 90 minutes to auction, but the back and forth competitive bidding between the floor and online bidders stretched out to nearly three hours. For many of these collectors and dealers, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bid on some of these historic coins.”

Walter Husak was introduced to old coins by his grandparents, and whose pay for farm chores in 1955 went to buy coins at a local Iowa shop. As his second child was about to be born, Walt converted his first collection. Two decades later, after watching numismatics from the sidelines, Walt purchased an 1804 Large Cent in June 1980, and at the Robbie Brown auction in 1986 he purchased his first Sheldon-13. After failing to buy at the Herman Halpern auction, he became even more motivated to pursue early coppers, and by the end of 1994, he had decided to collect all of the Sheldon varieties. His aerospace business, HK Aerospace, prospered after 1983, and it is through that success that he had the opportunity to buy and enjoy these coins.

Prior to the auction, experts had proclaimed that the catalog would be an instant collector’s classic, and with the record-setting performance, that is now assured. Heritage is offering a limited number of hardcover Library Editions of the catalog at $250 and $125.

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