Like everyone else, you are probably searching for holiday gift ideas to please that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative. Shopping this year is even more difficult, with most of your options limited to online shopping. As we bring 2020 to a close (thankfully), try celebrating with numismatic gifts for your loved ones, if one or more is a collector or may be inclined to collect. However, numismatists can be very hard to surprise with gifts.
It is with great disappointment that the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) board of directors is announcing FUN 2021 is cancelled. Slated for January 7-10, 2021 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, the convention would have been the 66th annual event held by the Florida organization devoted to serving collectors of coins, paper money, medals, and tokens.
Most major players in the rare coin market have been concerned about the COVID-19 crisis’s impact on the US economy. However, numismatics has been flourishing during these challenging times. With so many staying at home with extra time on their hands, coin enthusiasts have turned to the internet to explore their hobby.
The world of rare coins has gone almost entirely online.
During my tenure on the ANA Board of Governors, including my time as President from 2015 to 2017, the organization has struggled to secure funding for its educational mission. Annual membership dues barely covered the cost of producing and shipping the ANA's monthly publication, The Numismatist. Funding for other pillars of the organization, such as the Ed Rochette Money Museum and the Dwight D. Manley Numismatic Library needed to be found elsewhere.
Next week, Heritage Auctions will be offering the Maurice Storck Collection. Storck was a coin dealer who was active starting in the 1950s and famously attended the King Farouk sale that was held in Cairo, Egypt in 1954. When he died last year at the age of 97, he was the last US numismatist who attended that sale in person. His collection contains an interesting array of US rarities and will be warmly received, as are all old-time collections when they enter the marketplace.
While reviewing the catalog, one section was of particular interest to me: over three hundred lots of Californian fractional gold coins. This is a very comprehensive offering and is sure to garner considerable attention from specialized collectors of this series.
Posted on 9/24/2020
US gold coins have been a fascination of mine since the start of my career in the 1970s. Back then, there was a high demand and a significant premium over gold spot prices for common date US gold coins. We would handle hundreds of coins during a typical week of going to coin shows and visiting shops. After getting burned a few times on counterfeits, I became determined to become an expert on authentication. Seeing and handling thousands of coins in a few short years served me well in that process.
Years ago, Charles Anderson, owner of Whitman Publishing, began a collection of US Pattern coins. The collection grew into one of the most complete ever assembled. That collection sold intact to the mega-collector Bob R. Simpson in 2007 for over $30 million — the largest private numismatic transaction at that time. In the following years, Mr. Simpson made an effort to buy any and all Patterns to complete the collection as fully as possible.
I had the pleasure of selling some great Pattern coins into this collection over the years. However, completing a collection of US Pattern coins is a difficult task, even for a billionaire.
A few weeks ago, NGC announced that it had recently certified hundreds of additional colonial coins from the extraordinary collection assembled by Donald G. Partrick. NGC had certified about 350 colonial coins from the collection in 2014, and they were sold at public auction for over $25 million. The centerpiece of the most recent submission is the finest known 1787 ‘EB’ on Wing Brasher Doubloon graded NGC MS 65★. Brasher Doubloons were the first gold coins struck in the newly created United States of America.
Last week should have been the highlight of my numismatic year. Every summer since 1974, I have attended the ANA World’s Fair of Money. The show is the cornerstone of the numismatic calendar, and is greatly anticipated by thousands of collectors and dealers around the world. The bourse usually boasts over 700 tables, with dealers offering material from every corner of numismatics. Many years there are over 10,000 public attendees. My company normally has six to seven tables with sales of hundreds of thousands. This year, none of that happened!