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Juneteenth Additions to Fixed Price List

June 19, 2024

I'm still recovering from jet-lag following a two week vacation that included a cruise down the Danube, Vienna to Budapest.  I celebrated today's holiday by posting 11 new items, including an 1815/2, to the Fixed Price Sales page.  Enjoy!  First come, first served.

The June 30 consignment deadline to my annual World's Fair of Money auction [MB 58] approaches.  If you have a candidate or two ... or more ... now is the time to email or call.  Already on hand are a number of rare and important bust halves: no.1 or no. 2 Condition Census examples of the 1822 O.103a (MS 62+), 1827 O.123 (MS 63) and 1827 O.148 (XF 45).  Louis Eliasberg's remarkable 1825 O.109 (MS 63) will be offered alonside an MS 62 example of the 1807 Small Stars O.113a.

Heritage will display Paul Gerrie's wonderful set of bust half-dollars during the show, another reason that Rosemont is the place to be in August.  (Unless, of course, you will be in Paris for the Olympic Games.)  Make your reservations now.

Memorial Day Offering

May 26, 2024

Twenty new bust halves were just posted on my Fixed Price Sales page.  All are marked "NEW."  I will take orders this week.  Then a hiatus while away on vacation, June 2-15.  

Mail Bid Sale 58 is coming together.  A few spots remain for quality coins.  If you have a candidate or two - or a few - please get in touch by phone or email.  The consignment deadline is June 30, 2024.  The auction will close during the ANA's World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, Aug. 6-10.  I expect the show to be a barn burner!  Make your reservations now.  Lodging information is available on the ANA web site:


December 25, 2023

The New Year approaches.  So does the excitement accompanying Mail Bid Sale #57.  You may now preview photos and descriptions of all 99 lots.  Just click on the Active Auction tab above.  Live bidding commences tomorrow, December 26.  Mark your calendar: the sale closes at 6 PM EST, Friday January 5, 2024.

Hard copies of the 53 page catalog are in the mail.   My practice is to send catalogs to bidders who were active in at least one of my last 3 sales.    Not sure if that’s you?  Email me.  I’ll let you know.  Everyone is welcome to download the catalog.  Here are links to the pdf files.  The cover and terms of sale are here.  The catalog is here and a bid sheet is here

I have again been honored with some marvelous consignments. Mike Brelsford, a student of the series and veteran bust half collector, contributed a dazzling group of coins from his collection.  Mike was passionate and patient in his search for early halves with exceptional eye appeal.  He focused on coins with colorful toning and top quality surfaces.  The fruits of his efforts over the past 15 years are presented in Part 1 of the Sale, lots 1-20.

If you’ve been around awhile you remember Mail Bid Sale #29, my 2004 sale of Jeff Oertel’s nearly complete capped bust half-dollar die variety collection.  He lacked only 5 die marriages.  Jeff purchased his first bust half in 1979, the same year he graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in architecture.  The demands of running an architectural firm prompted the sale of his collection.  “I could not seem to break away for a visit to a national coin show or to even spend the time I’d like at local coin shows,” he wrote.  Bust half fever, however, refused to go away.  It wasn’t long before Jeff started anew, this time with an eye to attractive coins rather than rare die marriages.  His numismatic interests also expanded to other series, notably bust dollars and counterstamped coins.  Jeff recently decided that he had to narrow his focus.  In October he sent me his 113 piece collection of capped bust halves.  I selected 22 of them for this auction.  They are in Part 2, lots 21-42.  The remainder of his collection will be displayed and offered at the upcoming Fun Show.

Keith Davignon requires no introduction.  To my (happy) surprise Keith again raided his collection of stupefyingly gorgeous half-dollars.  Look for them in Part 3 of the Sale, lots 43-57.  Those 15 coins “are all I can part with,” he wrote.  No apology necessary.

Part 4 of the Sale, lots 44-99, includes rare die marriages and a host of eye-appealing bust halves, many with CAC stickers.  I count 42 coins in the Sale with little green stickers.  The offerings from various consignors are top heavy with colorfully toned coins.  One coin deserves special mention.  A new example of the very rare 1827 O.148 surfaced in August.  It makes its auction debut here, lot 91.

Never hesitate to write or call if you have a question about the Sale.

Mail Bid Sale #57 is On the Way

December 2, 2023

I’ve been lazy since the momentous Pittsburgh World’s Fair of Money.  But hey, those of us enjoying a 9th decade above ground deserve time off.  I headed to Great Britain and Europe for a nice vacation.  Thanks to many friends in the coin community I returned to find a panoply of consignments for Mail Bid Sale No. 57.  The sale will close at 6 PM EST, Friday January 5, 2024, day 2 of the upcoming FUN Show.  The catalog is underway.  Recently active bidders will find a copy in their mailboxes later this month.  As always, photos and descriptions will be posted on the Active Mail Bid Auction page of my website.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy a peek at the 99 lots to be offered.  Click here to view and download the Lot List.

MB 56 -- The End is Near

August 5, 2023

We are just 4 days away from the close of MB 56.  I'm off to Pittsburgh tomorrow.  If you plan to attend the World's Fair of Money please stop by my bourse tables 801-805 Monday through Wednesday to preview auction lots.  The clock stops and the auction closes at 6 PM EDT Wednesday Aug. 9.  Prices Realized will be posted on the Active Auction page of my website an hour or two later.  Lot pickup begins Thursday at 11 AM EDT.  Invoices to absentee bidders will be emailed as soon as I return from the show.
Early bidding is rampant.  The close-out offer of Overton's 5th edition at $5 per copy to early bidders undoubtedly helped.  The no. 1 attraction, however, is the quality of the coins.  More than one bidder has written to say, "What an amazing auction."  Indeed it is.  
This weekend would be a good time to look over the offerings and get your bids entered.  If the website gives you trouble let me know ASAP.  So far, so good; remember, I am always ready to enter bids for you.  No excuse needed.  Just email a list of your bids.  Or give me a call.  Be sure that each bid is a full increment (or more) above the current bid.
I ran out of Overton books last week.  I have 3 copies left of Steve Herrman's latest AMBPR, Vol. 62.  If you've entered a bid in the auction I will be happy to send you a copy for $30 plus postage.  That's $10 off the $40 cover price.  First come, first served.

MB 56 is Live and Comes with a Bonus

July 19, 2023

It's time to get serious.  MB 56 closes at 6 PM EDT August 9, three weeks from today.  There are advantages to bidding early, notably your ability to grab the increment representing your top bid.  If you settle on $2,000 as your maximum on a lot and someone else bids that amount before you do, you lose.  You want to OWN that increment!  What if no one else bids more than $1,500?  Still good news.  You win the lot for $1,550 - one increment over the next highest bid.  No one knows that your maximum bid was $2,000.

In this sale I'm offering a special bonus to early bidders - an opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of Don Parsley's revised 5th edition of Al Overton's EARLY HALF-DOLLAR DIE VARIETIES, 1794-1836.  This is the latest edition.  Don sent me the last box of his essential reference book.  Enter a bid on any lot in the auction before August 1, 2023 and you may purchase a book for only $5 plus media mail postage.  Just send an email with your shipping address.  I'll send you a book, invoice and return envelope.

If you wish to preview lots by overnight Express Mail or Fed Ex it is not too late.  I will continue to ship lots to prospective bidders until Wednesday July 26.  All I need is a list of the lots you wish to see.  Contact me by phone or email for details.

Let the fun begin!


July 16, 2023

Hard copies of the MB 56 Catalog are back from the printer and will be mailed to active bidders this week.  Everyone is welcome to download PDF versions of the catalog and related documents now.

Download the Cover and Terms of Sale here.

Download the Catalog here.

Download a Bid Sheet here.

Mail Bid 56 Draws Near

June 23, 2023

Wednesday August 9, 2023.  Put it down on your calendar.  Mail Bid Sale No. 56 will close at 6 PM EDT that night, day 2 of the Pittsburgh, PA World's Fair of Money.

There are 91 lots in the sale, something for everyone.  Grades range from Fine to MS 64+.  Tim Osborne's consignment leads off.  Lots 1 through 39 offer a dream set of Capped Bust Half-Dollars, 1807 though 1839.  Only the 1815 is missing.  All are graded by PCGS.  Most are AU 58, with a sprinkling of AU 55s.  Many have been off the market for a quarter century or more.  CAC stickers adorn over half the coins, including lots 1 and 39 -- AU 58 examples of an 1807 Large Stars and 1839-O.  Amazing!

Part 2 of the sale, lots 40 through 82, showcases an assortment of high grade, high rarity, beautifully toned and otherwise eye-catching bust halves, 1795 through 1836.  Again, eye appeal is the watchword.  I was fussy about accepting coins for this remarkable sale.

There are but 9 coins in Part 3, lots 83-91.  But, oh my!  Three carry R.6 rarity ratings.  Condition Census pieces include an 1811/10,  1812/1 Large 8, 1817 Punctuated Date and a stunning 1831 O.120.

The printed catalog is a work in progress.  Part 1 is complete.  I'm taking a one week break to enjoy sites in NYC.  I'll return July 1 to finish things off.  In the meantime preview a list and photos of every coin in the sale.  Just click on the Active Auction link.

Lot preview in Pittsburgh will be Monday through Wednesday, Aug. 7-9, at my bourse table.  Can't make it to the show?  Preview by overnight mail or Fed Ex will be available in July.  Send a list of the lots you wish to see. We will work something out.

On-line bidding will commence 7 to 10 days before the auction closes.

Bust Half News – A Memorial Day Feast

May 27, 2023

                                 A Host of New Fixed Price List Offerings

After an interminable delay PCGS graded over 50 bust halves from the collection of Donald and Bonnie Parsley, the son-in-law and daughter of Al Overton.  You may recall that I purchased the collection intact this past February.  The recently encapsulated coins were purchased in the 1990s and early 2000s.  This was their first visit to a grading service.  The collection, of course, includes coins that were already graded and encapsulated by PCGS (with old green labels), NGC (in “fatty” holders) and ANACS (most in older, small holders).  Scroll down my Active Fixed Price List and you will find 61 new offerings from the Parsley Collection.

Coins that were already graded and encapsulated were photographed by Lance Keigwin.  The fresh group from PCGS has not yet been photographed by Lance.  I did, however, include a link to PCGS’s TrueView photos of this group.  None of the coins have been sent to CAC.

                                  On the Horizon – Mail Bid Sale No. 56

I humbly suggest that that the scope and quality of my upcoming Sale will justify a decision to attend the World’s Fair of Money, August 8-12, in Pittsburgh.  One highlight is Tim Osborne’s consignment of his 40-piece date set, 1807 through 1839-O.  Only the 1815/2 is AWOL.  All but 5 are graded AU 58 by PCGS.  The 5 stragglers are PCGS AU 55.  Green CAC stickers grace 21 of the coins, including an 1807 Large Stars (O.114) and 1839-O, both graded AU 58.

Then there are five Monster coins from the Parsley Collection.  The most valuable coin in the sale is an 1812/1 Large 8 O.101, recently graded AU 53 by PCGS and immediately adorned with a green CAC sticker.  Awhile back PCGS upgraded the Ruby-Frederick-Link coin from AU 53 to AU 55.  The two coins run neck and neck for finest known.  Another show-stopper is the Parsley 1831 O.120 (R.6-).  It lays claim to 2nd or 3rd finest known.  (The Tettenhorst-Byers-Link prooflike UNC is in a league of its own.)  PCGS just assigned an AU 55 grade to the Parsley coin.  It came to them after Elton Dosier passed away in 1997.  Elton found it (unattributed) at the June 1976 Long Beach show.  I have assigned two other great rarities from the Parsley Collection to the sale, an 1823 O.113 (R.6+) PCGS VF 25 and an 1827 O.137 (R.6-) PCGS F.12.  A dazzling 1817/3 O.101, NGC MS 62, rounds out the Parsley consignment.

As if the Osborne and Parsley coins were not enough, I have two other special consignments, the Kings Park Collection and another that I’ll simply refer to as an old-time collection.  Each consignment is rife with eye-appealing Capped Bust Half-Dollars.  Miscellaneous consignments include an eye-popping 1811/10 PCGS MS 64+ with a CAC sticker.

                                              More Consignments Needed

Should you be thinking of parting with one or more rare and/or nice quality bust halves, 1794-1839, don’t be shy.  Get in touch.  I have room for another 20 to 25 coins.  The lot limit, as usual, is 100.  I’m not there yet.

                                                      AMBPR Special

Is your AMBPR up to date?  I have a few copies of the Spring 2023 issue available at $35; that’s $5 off the cover price.  Just send an email with your shipping address.

Big News

March 14, 2023

I recently posted a large group of bust halves in the Active Sales page. If you have not paid a recent visit, now is the time to do it.  Pay particular attention to the listings of Steve Nomura’s wonderful collection of Draped Bust Halves and an assortment of Capped Bust Halves from the Beaver Falls and Tim Osborne Collections.  I have also listed a number of new purchases from my own inventory.  I will bring these coins to the Baltimore show this week.  Please visit my bourse table Thursday or Friday, March 16 and 17.  Unfortunately I must miss the Saturday session of the show.

That’s not the half of it!  I just purchased Don and Bonnie Parsley’s entire collection of over 350 bust halves.  Old-timers will recall the Parsleys' 1993 decision to sell the Overton Collection intact.  I was happy to broker the sale on their behalf.  Don, of course, is the son-in-law of Al Overton.  Bonnie is Al’s daughter.  They acquired the Overton Collection when Al passed away in 1972.  For the next 20 years Don continued to augment the Collection, purchasing bust halves that filled a few gaps or improved those Al had acquired.  Photos of coins in the Overton Collection are readily available.  Just open your copy of Don Parsley’s 3rd, 4th or 5th edition revisions of Al’s standard reference.

After selling the Overton Collection Don still had the “fever.”  He started over, focusing on the Capped Bust series, 1807-1836.  During the period 1994-2000 he put together a die variety set of 340+ pieces that includes such noted rarities as the 1812/1 Large 8 in choice AU, 1831 O.120, also choice AU, 1823 O.113, 1827 O.137 and virtually all of the R.5 die pairs.  I counted 143 coins in PCGS, ANACS or NGC holders.  All PCGS capsules carry the coveted “old green label.”  The NGC holders are of the same vintage.

Most of the coins in the Parsley Collection are “raw,” grading XF or AU.  They will come with me to Baltimore and be offered for sale during the show.  I will also display and offer a small group of “slabbed” bust halves from the Collection.  Others must wait until after the show.  Look for them on my web site in early April or visit me at the Central States Show in Schaumburg, April 26-29.

Yes, there will be another Mail Bid Sale at the ANA Convention in Pittsburgh this August.  MB 56 will have the usual 100 or so lot limitation.  A number of consignments are in hand.  If you wish to discuss inclusion of your coins don’t be shy.  Email or call at your convenience.

Upcoming at FUN

January 1, 2023

Along with my usual assortment of nifty bust half-dollars I will bring some baby busties to FUN.  The Beaver Falls Collection includes more than 100 (each) bust dimes and half-dimes.  I only had time to slab about 30 of the coins (graded by PCGS last Thursday, received Friday).  The rest are raw.  All were assembled from auction and private purchases during the period 1977 through the early 1990s and have been off the market since then.  Yes, there is an 1829 curl base 2, low grade as usual: Good detail, scudzy surfaces.  Also a pair of bust dime proofs and many choice AU and UNC pieces.  Pay me a visit at table 223 to look over this fresh group.  I do not yet have a list available.

Happy New Year to all!

MB 55 Update

December 27, 2022

It’s a cold and rainy day in Northern California.  But nothing like the terrible snow and freezing weather afflicting central and eastern parts of our nation.  If you are inside and warm it may be a good time to enjoy your hobby.  Why not spend a little time perusing photos and descriptions of a quite remarkable bevy of bust halves.  Hard copies of the catalog for MB 55 went in the mail last week.  If you have been a regular bidder keep an eye on your mailbox.  Santa's elves invaded my printer’s workshop.  The 61 page catalog came up 3 pages short!  The Introduction, Terms of Sale and the last page, lot 101, were missing.  Easy fix: we printed the 3 pages separately and inserted them in the catalog.  Remember, you can easily download the entire catalog from the links provided below, in my postings of Dec. 17 and 18.  No need to print it.  Just keep the file handy and scroll through it at your leisure.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

MB 55 is Live!

December 18, 2022

Enter bids and grab your favorite increments now.  Trouble remembering or resetting your password?  Email me.  I can help.  Enjoy the Sale!  You can scroll through the catalog using this link.

MB 55 Uploaded and Soon to Go Live

December 17, 2022

All 101 lots are now available for your reading and viewing pleasure.  I caught some typos this morning while uploading descriptions.  Kind souls alerted me to others.  I have no shame asking for your help.  Just like in the airports -- if you see something wrong please say something!  I can fix it.  At least on this web site.  The deadline to fix oversignts and typos in the printed catalog is Monday Dec. 19 at 9 AM.

The plan is to Go Live with the auction Sunday Dec. 18 - that's tomorrow folks - between 9:00 and 9:30 AM PST.  Lunchtime for you Easterners.  If you bid in one of my last 2 or 3 sales, a printed catalog should reach your mailbox before year's end.  You may download the 61 page document today by clicking here.

I usually offer preview by overnight US Priority Express Mail.  I'm hesitant to do so during the Christmas rush.  If you're desperate, give me a call.  Mabye we can use Fed Ex.

There are wonderful coins in the auction.  It was great fun fondling and describing them this past month.  I hope you enjoy the auction as much as I did putting it together.

MB 55 Coming Soon -- REAL Soon

December 17, 2022

The holidays are here.  The FUN Show is on the horizon.  Bust Half Headquarters shifts to Orlando, FL Thursday January 5, 2023, when the doors open to the public.  I’ve been quiet since the August ANA but will happily present many new acquisitions at the show.  More important, you are invited to lot preview for Mail Bid Sale No. 55 at my bourse tables 223-225-227 all day Thursday and Friday.  The catalog is at the printers.  Lot descriptions and photos will be posted on my website this weekend.  Live bidding will commence shortly thereafter.  The sale will close Friday evening, January 6, 2023 at 6 PM EST.

The Sale opens with over 50 lots from the renowned collections of Tim Osborne and Steve Nomura.  It then turns to an assortment of high quality and rare bust halves from various consignors.  The highlight of the Sale is undoubtedly Steve Nomura’s 1806 Knob 6, No Stem O.108a, one of 2 known with a reverse die cud and one of only 7 known from this die pair in all die states.  A staggering assortment of rarities follows.  Be on the lookout for these delectable coins, all graded by PCGS.

·         Lot 10 1806 E over A VF 30

·         Lot 11 1806 O.126 AU 53, Overton Plate coin and finest known

·         Lots 60-61 1809 xxx and III edges, both AU 55 with CAC stickers

·         Lot 69 1814 O.106a MS 63, 2nd finest known

·         Lot 74 1817 O.104 R.6 ex Chris Merrill

·         Lots 36 to 39 1827 O.122, 123, 144 and 145 – all in AU!

·         Lot 93 1827 O.148 R.6 ex Glenn Peterson

·         Lot 40 1828 O.105 R.5 MS 62

·         Lot 94 1828 O.119 Small Letters Reverse MS 62 ex Norweb, Pryor and Palmer

·         Lot 99 1831 O.120 R.6 VF 30

·         Lot 100 1833 O.115 R.5 XF 40

Stay tuned for more updates as the year ends and the auction approaches.  Your questions are always welcome.

Happy Holidays to All!

Need a Bid Sheet?

August 11, 2022

In olden days you couldn't bid without one.  Along with  supplanting live floor bidding, the Internet has done away with the need for bid sheets.  Well, not quite.  They remain handy for jotting down the bids you enter on a web site.  And I am happy to receive them from those who would like me to enter bids for them.  I will have a stack of them at my bourse table in Rosemont.  If you wish to download one now just click here.

August 6 Update on MB 54

August 6, 2022

Mail Bid Sale No. 54 has engendered unusual excitement.  More than half the lots have received bids and are now "in play," their reserves having been met.  From long experience I can tell you this bodes well for the bust half market and, of course, my consignors.  I can almost guarantee that 60% of all bids will be entered during the 24 hours before the auction closes at 6:00 PM CDT, Aug. 17, 2022.
Certain lots have grabbed the lion's share of activity.  I see one lot with 20 bids already entered, another with 17, a third with 13.  And all this before printed catalogs arrived in the mailboxes of hardcore bidders.  The catalogs went out via first class mail on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  The Post Office told me to expect delivery this weekend, Monday at the latest.  Perhaps you downloaded your personal copy, using the link in the preceding News Article.
Lot preview by mail is now closed.  The last mailing was today.  It is not too late to order a copy of Steve Herrman's empirical price guide for bust halves, AMBPR.  I have two copies left.  The cost is $32 plus Priority Mail postage.  The 270 page booklet is invaluable to collectors.  You should also subscribe to Dave Rutherford's online Bust Half-Dollar Auction and Sales Results,
Many of you know Ron Guth.  He is a numismatic researcher and author with 50+ years experience in the coin business.  He is a past president of PCGS (preceding Don Willis' tenure).  In 1999, while associated with PCGS, he created CoinFacts, a vital research tool with which we are all familiar.  (Known today as PCGS CoinFacts).  His numerous writings and contributions to the numismatic community earned him the 2014 ANA award as Numismatist of the Year.  They also earned him a place in Coin World's Top 10 Most Influential People in Numismatics.  If you kept your copy of the April 2021 Coin World issue turn to page 82 for more about Ron.  (I'm in there too, but NOT in the Top 10.)
Ron wrote me last week.  He had seen the online version of my catalog and thought it might be worthwhile to review and comment upon the upcoming auction.  Ron has an educational channel on YouTube.  He offers news and personal observations on significant numismatic events.  Trust me, this was a completely unexpected development.  I think you will enjoy his presentation:

MB 54 Going Live!

July 30, 2022

All 100 lots are now posted and available for Preview.  Live bidding will commence Sunday July 31, 2022 at 10:00 AM PDT.  Lot preview will be available during the forthcoming ANA World's Fair of Money at my bourse tables in Rosemont, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 17.  The auction closes Wednesday night at 6:00 PM CDT.  Lot pickup will be available after 10:00 AM Thursday August 18. 

Not going to the WFM?  Lot preview by overnight mail is available now and will continue through August 7.  Email or call me for details.  It's easy and not terribly expensive.  Looking at coins in the comfort of your home or office is a joy and well worth the expense.  Postage is usually $27.50 each way.  I pick up the cost of insurance.

If you were a successful bidder in any of my last 3 sales you earned a complimentary copy of the MB 54 Catalog.  I delivered the catalog content to the printer last Wednesday, expecting to put copies in the mail this weekend.  A "supply chain" problem intervened.  This message arrived Friday, "We are still waiting for paper stock to come in. It’s over 850 sheets of 24 x 36 (high quality) paper."  Curses!  A stack of pre-addressed envelopes awaits stuffing and mailing.

If you are a new bidder (or did not have success in Mail Bid Sales 51, 52 or 53) and plan to bid in MB 54 I will be happy to send you a catalog.  If you want a copy for your library the cost is $11 plus $4 postage.

Everyone is welcome to download the Catalog Cover and the 58-page Catalog.  The cover is here.  The catalog is here.

Enjoy the Sale.  Never hesitate to call or write if you have a question.

Coming to Rosemont

July 16, 2022

The 2022 Chicago World’s Fair of Money is but a month away.  The bust half gods were extraordinarily good to me the past few months.  I am anxious to pass along the fruits of good fortune.  Three bourse tables will be needed to display the acquisitions!  You will find me at tables 1416, 1418 and 1420.  (Check out the location of your favorite dealer here:  

Are you considering a visit to the Rosemont Convention Center?  I offer 3 good reasons for you to book a flight to O’Hare: 1. Steve Nomura; 2. Mail Bid Sale 54; and 3. Part 2 of the Beaver Falls Collection.  

Let me explain.  

Many of you remember Steve Nomura’s fabulous Red Book set of capped bust halves, 1807-1836.  In 2013 I had the pleasure of selling his treasures via private treaty and at auction.  Many were featured in Mail Bid Sale No. 37.  I introduced Steve’s coins thusly: If you recall my sales of the Gehring Prouty, Roger Solomon and Dick Graham collections your mouth is already watering.  Eye appeal and first-rate surfaces are touchstones of this group.   Steve was not done collecting.  Far from it.  He set his mind to expanding a budding collection of Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle half-dollars, 1801-1807.  This time he sought quality examples of both Red Book and Overton varieties.  There are 62 die pairs in the series.  Steve found 59 of them!  Only the 1805 O.114, 1806 O.129 (both R.8) and unique 1806 O.130 escaped.  Yes, the collection includes an 1806 Knob 6, No Stem O.108 and the Charlton Meyer 1807 O.115 R.8 (Lot 18 in my upcoming sale).  Thirty-two of the coins sport green CAC stickers.  

Mail Bid Sale 54 will close August 17, 2022, during the upcoming WFM.  The catalog should go in the mail and live bidding on my website will begin between August 1 and August 5. Eighteen of Steve Nomura’s pre-turbs open the sale, followed by a 42-piece consignment from Tim Osborne, then 40 more delectable goodies from various consignors -- 100 lots in all.  If you have not yet registered to bid in my sales, now is a good time to do so.  

Early this month I picked up Part 2 of the Beaver Falls Collection.  All but 2 of 350 bust halves are “raw.”  Although most grade XF 40 to AU 58, there are a fair number of VFs and UNCs.  The bulk were acquired at auctions and major coin shows between 1977 and 1991.  If your MB 54 catalog arrives a bit late, blame it on the pleasant distraction of sorting these fascinating coins, artifacts of an era when collectors had to do their own grading.  Imagine that!  Things have changed.  Registry sets and professional grading are now integral parts of the collecting landscape.  I have sent off more than 100 bust halves to PCGS for grading.  You probably know that PCGS is experiencing grievous delays in processing submissions.  We may have to wait until the Baltimore show in November for results.  I will bring a selection of raw coins from the collection to Rosemont as well as those that make it through the PCGS grading maze before mid-August.  I will tantalize you with a couple of observations.  There are nice AU examples of the 1814 E/A, 1817/3 and 1823 Broken 3.  Overton collectors will be thrilled to see a select uncirculated 1814 O.106a (finest known?) and a choice AU 1828 Curl 2 with Knob, O.106.  

Enough for now.  I’ve got to get cracking on the catalog for MB 54. 

The FUN Show and MB 53 - Recent Developments

January 3, 2022

The FUN Show opens to the public Thursday this week.  You probably heard that I will not be there.  Florida has been hard hit by COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant.  I am not keen on contracting the virus, particularly while away from home.  Babysitting coins while quarantined in a hotel for several days is a dismal prospect.  The FUN Board met in September and decided to hitch its COVID-19 protocols to those of the State of Florida and Orange County Convention Center.  With the recent surge in infections the Board might have reconsidered and instituted a "No vaccination/No mask/No entry" protocol.  Despite outcries from numerous dealers and collectors it has not done so.  The Board's latest pronouncement is here:  It is starkly reminiscent of Pontius Pilate's infamous hand-washing decision, memorialized in Matthew 27:24.  I am also reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien's admonition, "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

 postponed the close of MB 53 untl 6 PM PST, Saturday January 15, 2022.  This will allow you time to preview lots by mail.  The process is simple.  Email a list of the lots you wish to see.  I will ship them to your home, office or P.O. Box via USPS Priority Express Mail (or Fed Ex, if you prefer).  You keep them overnight and return them the next day with a check for my postage, usually $27.70.  I pick up the insurance, both ways.

Hard copies of the catalog were mailed last month.  I have a few left.  If you did not receive one and intend to bid in the auction let me know ASAP.  You may also download a pdf version of the 60-page catalog here.  The cover is here, a bid sheet here.  Five errors in the original catalog have been corrected.  Lot 6 is an 1811 O.112a, not 1812.  Lot 68 is an 1808 O.104, not O.109a.  Lot 92 is an 1827 O.117, not O.143.  Lot 101 is an 1838 RE, not 1837.  Also, the wrong photo for lot 88, the Eliasberg 1827 O.132, was inserted in the original catalog.

Never hesitate to email or call if you have a question about the sale, lot preview or anything else.


December 19, 2021

You may now view photos, descriptions and enter bids in the sale.  The catalog is at the printer and will be mailed to regular bidders before Christmas.  (Library copies of the catalog are available for $10 plus postage.)  The sale closes during the FUN Show, Friday January 7, 2022, at 6 PM EST.  Here is page 1 of the catalog:


Welcome to MB 53!  There are 108 coins in the sale.  Once again, the principal consignor is Tim Osborne, and the watchwords are eye candy.  Tim spent more than 30 years on the hunt for bust half-dollars with exceptional eye appeal.  His BHNC friends, colleagues and suppliers during that period included Floyd Farley, Dr. Gerald Schertz, Charlton “Swampy Meyer, Gehring Prouty, Keith Davignon and, recently, Dr. Charles Link.  Prices Realized for his 60-piece consignment to my recent ANA Sale, MB 52, confirm that his knowledge and patience paid off.  This time Tim favors us with a 64-piece consignment.  When reviewing Tim’s coins pay special attention to his AU 55s.  Many will leave you wondering, “Why not AU 58?”  At lot preview during the November Baltimore Show the most talked about coin in Tim’s consignment was his 1813 O.104, lot 9, a fully original choice AU, masquerading in a CAC approved PCGS AU 55 capsule.  

Several other collectors generously offered one or more pretty coins for the sale.  You will find them in Part 2, lots 65 through 101.  Highlights include three mouth-watering selections from the legendary collection of Louis Eliasberg.  Perhaps you will find an XF-AU 1811 O.113 to your liking.  And, oh, the coin doubles as a major error: it is struck off-center!  Lot 66 is an AU 58 1807 Small Stars.  Need I say more to whet your appetite?!  Last minute consignments, lots 102-108, include jaw-dropping, Condition Census examples of two noted rarities, an 1827 O.124 and 1828 O.105.

                                                     SLAB PHOTOS

I again asked Lance Keigwin to photograph both the coins and their slabs.  To view slab photos just click on the cropped photo next to the description.  The photos are also available by clicking the BID button.  (No, that will not trigger a bid.)  Voila!  You will be greeted by a description of the coin and photos of the coin, cropped and slabbed, along with information on current bidding.

                                             A PEP TALK FOR BIDDERS

This is an auction.  There will be coins that sell for record prices.  There will be coins that sell below expectations.  Approach the sale as you would any other: select the coins that are of most interest; research current and past prices; then bid what YOU are willing to pay, without worry that someone else will bid “too much.”  Some coins are doubtless of Royal Blood, the finest of their ilk.  Others are working class citizens.  Each is lonely and seeking a new home.  

Two invaluable research tools should be at your fingertips, Dave Rutherford’s on-line price guide,, and Steve Herrman’s latest edition of AMBPR, Vol.59. I have a couple of copies available.  Call or email if you need one.  

  Thanks, and enjoy the sale!

MB 52 – An Update and Reminder

August 4, 2021


We are 7 days from the close of Mail Bid Sale No. 52.   Time to hunker down and look at the lots that pique your interest.  The witching hour is 6 PM CDT Wednesday August 11.  If you’ve not already marked your calendar, now is the time to set a reminder.


In mid-July, when the auction went live, consignors were greeted with a remarkable number of early bids.  Another wave of bids arrived a week or so later, when the catalog hit the mailboxes of established bidders.  At this writing only 9 lots in Part 1 of the Sale, Tim Osborne’s 60-piece consignment, lack an opening bid.  It is my experience that over half the bids in an auction that allows Internet bidding are entered in the last 24 hours, many in the closing minutes.  Late bidding in this Sale is certain to occur when collectors attending the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money hand in bid sheets after previewing lots at my bourse tables this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.  Snipers will lie in wait, as always.


The past couple of weeks brought several emails and phone calls that concern the auction.  One question recurs.  “If the current bid is $500 and I bid $1,000 will other bidders know my top bid?”  The answer is an emphatic “No.”  Other bidders will see that the current high bid has moved to $550, requiring a minimum bid of $600 to continue the battle.  If a new bidder bids the minimum, the computer will bid $650 on your behalf and advise the new bidder that he or she has been outbid.  The new bidder, of course, may skip over the $600 minimum and bid $1,001.  Ouch!  You will go into 2nd place and face a new minimum bid of $1,101 if you wish to carry on.  Many bidders tack on an extra 1, 5 or 10 dollars, hoping to avoid this bit of frustration.


Other questions concern sources to be consulted when valuing a lot.  That’s a tough one.  PCGS offers a retail price guide,  Steve Herrman’s AMBPR is in most of your libraries.  Dave Rutherford’s important resource, Bust Half Auction and Sales Results, is here:  Some collectors subscribe to the Greysheet for wholesale pricing suggestions.  Heritage, Stack’s/Bowers and Legend allow us to access their auction archives.

Whew!  Sorting out available data can be a chore.  And confusing.  Price disparities are sometimes explained by a dirty little secret of the coin business.  Pretend you are a coin dealer who just bought a 50-piece collection of PCGS graded bust halves.  You look through them, falling in love with a dozen nicely toned coins while shaking your head in wonder at another dozen that lack eye-appeal or look over-graded.  What to do?  No rocket science here.  Set aside the best coins for your best customers and extol their virtues as you add them to your Price List.  You hope to see these coins again.  The ones you don’t want to see again?  Consign them to auction, hoping someone will buy the plastic, not the coin. 

Major auction houses survive on dealer consignments but crave collector consignments, especially collections put together over a few decades by a discerning collector.   The names George Hamilton, Brent Pogue, Dale Friend, Keith Davignon, Roger Solomon and others come to mind.  Compare the prices their coins brought with similarly graded, unpedigreed coins.

I am pleased to report that every coin in MB 52 is consigned by a collector.  There are no dealer castoffs.  If an “AU 55” in the Sale is bid at 3 times its usual range consider it a well-earned thank you to the consignor.  He is offering us the fruits of his patience and knowledge, exercised over many years.


Did I neglect you?  Take heart.  You may download the catalog here.  The catalog cover and Terms of Sale are here.

Sheridan Downey, Numismatist
4400 Keller Ave., Suite 140, PMB 398
Oakland, California 94605
(510) 479-1585

©2024 Sheridan Downey