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Auction happenings at the World's Fair of Money

The annual World's Fair of Money, presented by the American Numismatic Association, is underway. In addition to buying and selling on the convention floor, there are auctions. We teamed up with KP Numismatics to take a look.

By Antoinette Rahn

This week marks the 110th year of annual conventions of the American Numismatic Association, commonly referred to as the ANA.

World's Fair of Money Steeped in Rich History

The ANA hosts two conventions each year, with the summer convention being the second. However, the two-a-year convention schedule hasn’t always been. However, without fail, since 1907 the ANA has hosted a convention each year. Prior to that, conventions had been held with some regularity, but not consistently. The inaugural gathering in 1891 saw more than 60 collectors come together. They would become the founding members of the ANA. All these many years later people from all walks of life still come together to celebrate collecting money. Hence the name of the convention “World’s Fair of Money.”

No matter how you look at it, 126 years in existence and 110 continuous years of annual conventions is a big deal. It also set the course for the next few days (Aug. 2-5). Days filled with buying and selling of coins and paper money on the bourse floor. Not to mention opportunities to take in exhibitions, and seminars. There are also award ceremonies, educational sessions, and auctions. Simply put, there is a lot to do in the name of celebrating coins and currency.

Online Auctions Allow Off-Site Participation

Even if a trip to the ‘Mile High City’ for the World’s Fair of Money isn’t in the cards for you, one way you can participate in the excitement is through auctions held during the convention. Stack’s Bowers, the official auctioneer of the ANA convention, is joined by Heritage Auctions to bring forth auction action during the ANA convention. As you can only imagine, with these two power-house auction houses involved the calendar and the auction catalogs are full. Below are a few lots captivating the attention of Team Antique Trader and the folks of our sister publishing group, KP Numismatics. Both Stack's and Heritage offer online bidding. 

Remember, these are just a handful of the thousands of coins, paper money and related numismatic items slated to come before bidders Aug. 1 and 2. Look for a preview of the Aug. 3 and 4 offerings to post Aug. 2.

*All auction starts are Mountain Time

Engraving Plates and Three-Cent Piece Draw Attention

Tuesday, Aug. 1

Stack’s Bowers kicks things off at 5 p.m.

Mid-19th century vignette engraving plate with Native American profile

Second scarce mid-19th-century vignette engraving plate from the American National Bank Co. (Photo courtesy Stack's Bowers)

• Lots 74 and 75 represent two uncommon examples of numismatic history, in vignette engraving plates from the Archives of American Bank Note Company. The plates each feature engravings depicting Native American warriors observing the actions of a locomotive as it barrels down a track within their familiar plains. According to the catalog description, this type of vignette was popular for bank note engravings of the mid-19th century. The images also reflect a clashing of cultures, the catalog states. These bank note engraving plates both measure 5 inches wide by 2 ½ inches tall. Learn more >>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 94 sold for $646.25 and Lot 95 sold for $822.50

• Lot 231 features a Choice Proof silver three-cent piece minted in 1856. Peripheral toning and a rich cameoed finish appear, while the strike is clear and sharp. This coin is among a series of rare silver three-cent pieces that has its roots in 1851. Interestingly, it seems all coins of this type minted prior to 1859 were not included in mintage data for the years of 1851 to 1856. It presents a PCGS grade of Proof-64 Cameo. Learn more >>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 231 sold for $9,400

Stack's Bowers and Heritage Auction Keep Thrilling Schedule of Sales

Wed., Aug. 2

Stack’s Bowers keeps things moving the second day of auctions with a 9:30 a.m. start to its Ancient


Decadrachm, dating to the time of ruler Dionysios I (406-367 B.C.), with an estimate of $35,000 to $50,000. (Stack's Bowers photo)

& World Coins auction. This 544-lot sale is filled with coins the likes of which you probably haven’t seen, but are remarkably cool, both in age and design.

• Coming in as Lot 20006 is an ancient Greek decadrachm (silver coin) dating to the age of the Greek tyrant Dionysius, who ruled between 432 and 367 BC. The design on the coin is the work of master engraver Euainetos, and it is signed. The coin reflects the action of a female charioteer at the helm of a quadriga. The ancient coin carries a grade of NGC AU and an estimate of $35,000 to $50,000. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 20006 sold for $37,600

Mysteries and Marvels of Minting

• Although the mintage of this scarce Cuban 20 pesos is officially unknown, it’s listed by Krause as 24 sets for the 1915 proof set. That fact alone makes it a rare find, but the other interesting fact surrounding this Cuban coin is that it was struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Its grade is identified as a PCGS Proof-63 Cameo, with an estimate of $35,000 to $50,000. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 20226 sold for $49,350

• Coins can teach us so much about history. Lot 20512 demonstrates that with great flair. The piece is a gold medal, circa 1966, referring to the Great Fire of London. It features the Great Seal of King Charles II and an aerial view of London prior to the burning on the obverse and on the reverse we find the depiction of a phoenix rising from the city of London engulfed in flames. It weighs in at 409.9 grams and comes forth with an estimate of $10,000 to $14,000 heading into the sale. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 20512 sold for $15,275

Heritage Auctions will host two sessions on the second day of ANA auction happenings. During the sessions, which begin at noon and 6:30 p.m. respectively, bidders will have a chance at:

Eyeing Up Error Coins

• A three-legged nickel whose name comes from the view of a bison on the reverse with what appears to be just three legs. Actually, the front left leg of the animal appears to have been completely effaced (erased) on the coin presenting as Lot 3407. Although the leg on the bison appears to be MIA, the bison’s head and features are easily distinguishable on this 1937 coin issued by the U.S. Mint right in Denver. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 23407 sold for $2,350

Birch Cent

1792 P1C Birch Cent, XF details, is poised to command upward of $150,000 at auction. (Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions)

• The headliner of Heritage’s Wednesday evening session may very well be Lot 3880. The coin, which has been unseen in the numismatic marketplace for 55 years, is a 1792 Birch Cent. The 1792 pattern series are most admired for their inroads in the way people viewed coins not only as essential tools of commerce but objects to also appreciate for their artful design. This coin is reportedly one of three surviving examples of a 1792 issue containing 264 grains of pure copper.

The naming convention of the coin also presents as a bit of historical mystery, according to the auction catalog. It’s said various designers of the day, with the last name of Birch are said to have been the mastermind behind the cents’ design. This coin, which has provenance related to revered early numismatist Lorin G. Parmelee, is showing signs of attracting a rapidly climbing bidding pace. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 3880 sold for $211,500

Room on the Auction Block for Everyone

• One thing we enjoy most about coin collecting is that errors are not shunned, hidden away, or dismissed by seasoned collectors. In fact, the error coin varieties are quite popular. Lot 3899 demonstrates the sheer excitement surrounding such error coins. The coin is a 1943 bronze Lincoln cent, one of the most sought-after error coin ever. Whew, that’s a pretty serious claim to fame. However, this coin lives up to the hype.

As the story goes, around the time the 1943-dated coins were minted, a nationwide effort was

1943 Cent

1943 Bronze Lincoln cent error variation — struck on the wrong planchet. (Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions)

underway to conserve copper in light of the war. With that being the case, zinc-coated steel cents were turned out by the U.S. Mint, however, a small batch of cents was struck in 1943 using bronze planchets left over from 1942. The coins moved into circulation detected. In short order, the rumor mill churned out a tale of Henry Ford offering to pony up a new car to anyone who could locate a 1943 ‘copper cent’ for the automotive innovator. This may have just been a rumor, but it certainly drummed up interest in coins and Ford vehicles. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 3899 sold for $282,000

Stack’s Bowers Wednesday evening session features 550 lots of U.S. paper money, including a $10 Brown Back banknote from the first sheet of currency issued by The American National Bank of Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1882.

Representing Old West Ways

• The Deadwood $10 Brown Back note presented as Lot 10533 is rated PCGS Very Fine grade, features two remarkable vignettes, and is from one of the most famous Old West locales of the past. I mean with folks like Wyatt Earp, ‘Doc’ Holliday and Wild Bill Hickok rolling through Deadwood time and again when it was a happening hot spot in the Old West, one can imagine the note bearing the faint scene of gun powder and whiskey. In addition to Deadwood’s deep and diverse history, the unique history of this note and The American National Bank makes this specimen a spectacular find. The bank closed its doors in 1905, after reportedly issuing 2,905 sheets of $10 and $20 Brown Backs, according to the lot description. The note carries an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 into the auction. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 10533 sold for $64,625

$1M Showing

• Lot 10321 quite easily may take someone’s breath away. It’s not every day you come across a $1,000 U.S. note. Thanks to a recent discovery, bidders will have the opportunity to try for a 1918 $1,000 Boston Federal Reserve Note. It is one of just five known notes for the catalog number, with one specimen in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution. The note is listed in PCGS-graded Extremely Fine condition, with an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. Learn more>>>

SOLD UPDATE: Lot 10321 sold for $76,375

Weekly Showcase



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