Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Goldbergs Auction the Paul Gerrie Large Cents

Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers conducted the sale of the Paul Gerrie collection on Feb. 3, 2013 at their offices in West L.A. Mr. Gerrie is a true connoisseur of old copper, and the coins in his collection reflect his passion for originality and high-quality early large cents. Physical attendance at the sale was modest, but the people in the room were just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak). Many collectors were being represented by dealers, while numerous others placed their bids by phone or over the internet. The bidding for these noteworthy Gerrie coins was spirited, with a few surprises to both the upside and the downside of pre-sale estimates.
  • One early surprise was provided by LOT#2, a 1793 Chain Cent (Sheldon-2) once owned by Walt Husak, and graded MS62 by PCGS. This coin was hammered for a high bid of $350,000 (against an estimate of $150,000).
  • A few lots later, LOT#7, a 1793 Liberty Cap Cent (Sheldon-13) became the subject of intense bidding among numerous contenders before selling at a hammer of $270,000 (vs. the estimate of $100,000)!
  • A 1794 Sheldon-23 Liberty Cap Cent (LOT#13) with an impressive pedigree that included Newcomb, Sheldon, and Paschal brought a surprisingly low winning bid of $6250 (lower than the pre-sale estimate of $7500).
  • LOT#33 was a stunning 1794 Sheldon-57 (once part of the Lord St. Oswald find) graded MS65 BN by PCGS. This coin brought a winning bid of $165,000 (vs. the estimate of only $50,000).
  • A scarce 1795 Sheldon-76a (lettered edge) (LOT#44) graded VF35 by PCGS was hammered remarkably low at just $6750 (below the estimate of $10,000 and far below the “book value” of $18,000). This coin was a legitimate bargain!
    The remaining lots in the sale provided plenty of bidding drama, and entertainment for the “copperazzi”, but they generally sold at levels that more-or-less met my expectation. The results of the Gerrie Collection sale helped prove two facts:
    1. The market for early-date large cents is as strong as ever.
    2. High quality and good eye appeal inevitably lead to strong sale prices for copper coins.