Catching coin fever

The Canadian Legacy Sale II will certainly go down in Canadian numismatic history books as one of the most successful auctions of all time.

The four-day auction shattered Canadian records, with sales exceeding more than $4 million.

This is great news for our numismatic community. The four nights of the auction, featuring 3,200 lots, created an event for dealers and collectors of all levels to buy some really rare coins that the market hasn’t seen in a long time.

The two key nights were Wednesday and Thursday, featuring The G.F. Landon Estate and The Victoria North Collection, respectively.

I attended the Landon sale, along with our freelance journalist Jesse Robitaille. As soon as we stepped into the room, you could feel the feverish, high pitch of anticipation. We were lucky enough to find two seats, because moments later it was standing-room only.

The Landon sale started off with a short, but impressive grouping of Dominion of Canada banknotes. The majority of the notes sold for under the auctioneer’s estimates, but this trend did not last for long.

In fact, by lot 18 – featuring more than 200 English coins dated between the 1700s and 1900s – bids began soaring above the pre-auction estimates. This particular lot, for example, received active bidding from the floor with the final bid closing in at $1,400, plus buyer’s premium. The estimate was $450.

From that lot onward, the bidding became fascinating – and entertaining – to watch. Even the auctioneers – Steven Bromberg and Charles “Chuck” Moore – sometimes had an interesting challenge keeping up with the onslaught of bids from both the floor and online through iCollector.com.

Landon’s collection featured more than 2,000 pre-confederation and post-confederation tokens with the majority still stored in “G.F. Landon envelopes.” In fact, according to the auction catalogue, “a few have the original auction lot envelopes from the time of purchase, (ca 1890-1910).”

For a collector, that’s not only cool but rare to see and have in one’s possession.

First up, were the large bulk lots containing “mostly common or lower grade tokens, all are unsearched for minor or interesting varieties.” All of the lots sold two to three times the estimates, such as lot 35 – a collection of more than 145 BR-901 and BR-960 tokens with grades between Poor and Very Fine, average VG to Fine. With an estimate of $500, this lot sold alone for $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium, which starts at 15 per cent.

While final sales of the single lots of tokens came in below the catalogue estimates, they still realized strong prices.

But that little dip only lasted momentarily, especially when it came to lot 210. This was the first of 17 lots featuring United States Hard Times Tokens, all in outstanding condition “with considerable remaining luster.”

Rarely have we seen so many U.S. dealers and collectors at a Canadian auction.

We may attribute this to the outstanding job of promoting the auctions in Canada and U.S. under the leadership of auctioneers Moore and Bromberg.

Both men attended the FUN (Florida United Numismatic) Show in Florida in early January, and successfully garnered tremendous interest from U.S. dealers and collectors for both U.S. and Canadian materials.

“Dealers and collectors often talk about the fresh material – coins that haven’t been on the market for very long – and these have never been available,” Moore told CCN’s Robitaille.

Well, history was certainly made in that room over the next few hours, as dealers and collectors bid feverishly on the U.S. coinage and “the largest group of Mint state Canadian large cents ever assembled.”

And we saw that momentum repeat itself at the other three auctions, especially at The Victoria North Collection sale.

As reported by CCN, the Victoria North centrepiece – the stunning 1921 50-cents Gem Uncirculated MS-65 – sold for $220,000 plus buyer’s premium; almost $50,000 more than the pre-auction estimate.

Records were smashed. A new, historical chapter has been written, and anyone lucky enough to witness these auctions – in person or online – will likely agree they send an important message that the Canadian numismatic community is strong and alive. The fever is catching.

This four-day auction was very successful, but to keep this momentum going, we must do our part. We must support the auctions the best way we can – attend, buy and support those who do.

Congratulations to the auctioneers, their teams and, most importantly, the bidders who are investing and growing Canadian numismatics. Be sure to support all future auctions in Canada because they all help strengthen the future of our hobby.

 

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