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Americana Sale Review

Written by Q. David Bowers, Chairman Emeritus

Author: Stack's Bowers Galleries / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Categories: From the Desk of Q. David Bowers
It is all over but the shouting! A familiar expression, this. I am speaking of the Americana sale held by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in New York City from Tuesday, January 22 through Thursday night, January 24. Actually, although shouting continues and the event will echo in the halls of numismatics -- perhaps forever, what with the world’srecord $10 million realization for the 1794 silver dollar -- a lot is still going on. Letters, emails, and other messages of congratulations are arriving from all directions, the Americana Sale has inspired a flood of potential sellers to contact our consignment directors, and more nice things have happened.

I hasten to say that these three days, with thousands of coins, offered interesting pieces in all price categories. There were even some that sold for less than $100. One nice thing about numismatics is that you do not have to be wealthy to buy significant coins, even rarities, and to have a good time.

I enjoyed myself immensely, greeting visitors to the sale, conversing with staff including those from the New York and California offices and, coming and going, riding on the Acela as part of Amtrak from New York City to Boston. If you haven’t traveled Acela, this bespeaks of the “good old days” when traveling on a train was a luxury. Things have changed, of course, what with WiFi, electricity, and more, but the circumstances are still comfortable and nicely appointed. I did make the observation, however, that the route, laid well over a century ago, goes by what was once the base of American industry -- factory buildings in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts -- many of them closed, boarded up, or otherwise faded in glory. The route can hardly be called “scenic” except perhaps for the seacoast area, such as Mystic Seaport, but from any accounting it can be called “historic.”

The New York City Americana Sale is a landmark yearly event. While it may be a bit early to think of January 2014, here at Stack’s Bowers Galleries we are already doing our planning -- with a nice program being formulated and, of course, with a tentative line up of coins, tokens, and medals in all categories, from entry level to museum quality.

There is an old advertising saying, “Nothing happens until someone buys something.” Well, a lot of nice things can happen in numismatics without buying anything -- such as reading a good book, chatting with an experienced collector, or attending a club meeting. However, there is indeed something special when you see something on your want list featured in one of our sales, compete for it, and are the winner.