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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, https://www.busthalfprices.com/index.php.
 
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEvE-fQ8Xwc.
 
 

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: https://money.expocad.com/Events/2022chi/index.html.)  

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: http://www.funtopics.com/index.html.  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."

I
 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.

MAIL BID SALE NO. 53 IS LIVE!

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:

INTRODUCTION TO THE SALE

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, https://www.busthalfprices.com/index.php, 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

A DEADLINE APPROACHES

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.

WHERE WE STAND AND WHAT IS COMING

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.

A BIDDING QUESTION

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.

WHAT’S IT WORTH?

Other questions concern sources to be consulted when valuing a lot.  That’s a tough one.  PCGS offers a retail price guide, https://www.pcgs.com/prices/.  Steve Herrman’s AMBPR is in most of your libraries.  Dave Rutherford’s important resource, Bust Half Auction and Sales Results, is here: https://www.busthalfprices.com/index.php.  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.

NEED A CATALOG?

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
sdowney3@aol.com
(510) 479-1585

©2022 Sheridan Downey