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The Official March 2012 Baltimore Auction

Written by Q. David Bowers, Chairman Emeritus

Author: Q. David Bowers / Saturday, February 11, 2012 / Categories: From the Desk of Q. David Bowers
Looking for something new to collect? Our upcoming Baltimore auction offers many possibilities. How about commemoratives? If so, the 1935 Hudson (New York) Sesquicentennial half dollar is not only rare, but it launched a boom across the rare coin market. Read about it in our sale descriptions, and then perhaps bid on one of the several we offer. Today these are very reasonably priced in the market. And, only 10,000 were ever distributed.

I am contemplating our up and coming auction to be held with the Baltimore Whitman Coins & Collectibles Convention in the third week of March. For weeks the Stack’s Bowers Galleries experts and team have been immersing themselves in a treasure trove of interesting things. Part of the event will be the Rarities Night Auction spangled with scarcities and rarities—sure to attract a lot of attention. Beyond that there will be a wide selection of popular series, including many affordable Morgan dollars, commemoratives, Lincoln cents—you name it.

If you like pattern coins you will have a field day. Our Rarities Night Auction will be long remembered by specialists. How about the rarest gold dollar date—the 1875—struck in aluminum? Or a marvelous selection of 1863 to 1865 quarters, half dollars, and dollars with the IN GOD WE TRUST motto, dated before the motto became standard? There will be a lot to like! What may be the most extensive collection of Lincoln cent die varieties ever to cross the block will be there too—a showcase of the sort of things you can find in A Cherrypicker’s Guide to Rare Varieties, by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton. Other attractions await you.

What to bid on? How should I go about it?

Good questions these!

I suggest that when you receive your catalog or it is offered online you first review your specialties and see what is in the offing. Popular series such as Buffalo nickels, Walking Liberty half dollars (including marvelous gems from the Walking Liberty Tribute Collection), Indian Head cents, commemorative silver and gold—review the grades, descriptions, and pictures and make notes of the ones of greatest interest.

Then browse through the rest of the sale. One of the great things about numismatics is that there are so many interesting things! Read about some of the patterns I just mentioned, delve into the Betts medals related to colonial America, check out the double eagles. For colonial and federal series have a copy of the latest Guide Book of United States Coins handy. In that way if nickel three-cent pieces (of which there are quite a few) appear interesting, you can look them up in the Guide Book and get a feeling for the extent of the series and the prices in various grades. If a spark is ignited, bid on one or a few. It is more fun to start a new series from scratch than to have all but a few pieces in a present specialty and be able to add a new specimen only occasionally.