DALLAS – Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest numismatic auctioneer, sold more than $105 million worth of coins and currency Jan. 5-12, 2014, setting records across U.S. Coins, World Coins and U.S. Currency including the most valuable piece of currency on the planet.
“The number of records broken during the first full week of 2014 is unprecedented in the
history of numismatics,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “These results show numismatics is a vibrant and thriving hobby and we are grateful to play a leading role in its growth.”
Two of America’s most famous and valuable rare coins lead the week’s sales when they brought a combined $7.87 million. The first gold coin made for the United States, a Brasher Doubloon hand-struck in 1787 by George Washington’s New York City neighbor, brought $4,582,500, while a nickel made under mysterious circumstances at the Philadelphia Mint in 1913, and which was famously featured in an episode of the 1970s television show “Hawaii Five-O,” realized $3,290,000.
Both the Brasher Doubloon and the 1913 Nickel were offered during Heritage’s Jan. 8-12 FUN U.S. Coin Signature® Auction in Orlando, Fla., which, along with Heritage’s FUN Currency Signature® Auction and the Adam Mervis Large Cent Collection Auction (also at FUN) generated a record $90+ million in total sales. This particular Brasher Doubloon had been off the market since it was purchased by a Chicago resident in 1979 for a then-record price of $430,000. It was the subject of a Raymond Chandler book, a Hollywood movie and it was displayed by a previous owner at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.
Additional records for U.S. rarities came as a 1927-D $20 MS66 NGC, the nation’s rarest regular-issue coin, set the highest price ever paid for any U.S. coin struck and released for general circulation after 10 determined bidders drove the price to $1,997,500.
Heritage’s Currency Signature® Auction set a world record for the most valuable piece of currency ever sold when the legendary 1890 $1,000 Treasury Note, popularly referred to as the “Grand Watermelon note” – due to the design of the large zeroes on the reversed side of the bill, resembling watermelons – sold for an astounding $3,290,000. The last time this note was offered at auction was in 1970, where it brought $11,000.
“Collectors knew this was not a chance that was going to come around again anytime soon, and they bid accordingly,” said Dustin Johnston, Director of Rare Currency at Heritage Auctions. “The result being that this beautiful little piece of paper is now the most valuable of its kind in the world and has a new chapter to add to its legend.”
Also topping the seven-figure mark in the auction was a unique 1882 $500 Gold Certificate, which finished at $1,410,000.
Earlier in the week Heritage’s offering of more than World and Ancient Coins during the annual New York International Numismatic Convention totaled approximately $15 million in sales, led by a stunning and pristine 1822 Pedro I gold 6400 Reis, AU55 NGC realized $499,375. The 1822 Pedro quickly surpassed its $200,000 pre-auction estimate, beating the previous world record for a Brazilian coin at auction two times over.
Additional World Coin rarities include a 1711 Felipe V gold Royal Cob 8 Escudos from Mexico for $293,750, and an 1824 Gold 8 Escudos from Guatemala for $176,250, a record for the type.
Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 800,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, visit HA.com, and to receive up-to-the-minute reports and auction news visit HA.com/Twitter and on Facebook at HA.com/Facebook.