As 2018 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to look at this year’s accomplishments as well as what we are looking forward to in 2019.
Reflecting on the past twelve months, I think first of the new relationships that have been established and the existing ones that have been strengthened. Numismatics is first and foremost a community, one that comprises collectors at all degrees of interest and advancement, as well as varying economic levels. We are all joined by a mutual fascination with coins, tokens, medals and paper money and their role in history. All of us at Stack’s Bowers Galleries (“SBG”) appreciate your friendship and are honored to have been trusted with your business.
The past year has been a banner one for SBG. Across all categories we achieved over $127 million of total prices realized, up almost 30% from 2017. Nearly every specialty in which we operate achieved double-digit growth in both prices realized and lots offered and sold. Meanwhile we have maintained a 91% sell through across all categories.
In total, SBG sold 14 of the top 20 numismatic auction lots in 2018. This includes four lots that brought seven-figure realizations, and 114 that sold for six-figure prices.
The most valuable coin sold at auction this year was our sale of the finest known 1913 Liberty Head Nickel that realized $4,560,000, the fifth highest all-time price for a U.S. coin sold in auction. SBG also had the honor of selling the most valuable U.S. currency lot of the year, the finest known “Grand Watermelon” 1890 Treasury Note that realized an astonishing $2,040,000, making it the fourth most valuable piece of U.S. currency ever sold in auction.
These record setting results caught the attention of the numismatic press along with national and international media. Throughout 2018, SBG was featured in numerous outlets including the New York Times, Fox News, CNBC, Fortune, Barron’s, MSN, USA Today, the Washington Post and others, increasing mainstream awareness of numismatics among millions of people.
SBG has always specialized in presenting great collections and we continue to do so. Our motto states, “When Great Collections are Sold, Stack’s Bowers Galleries Sells Them,” and this year we really lived up to that statement. We had the honor of presenting some of the most advanced collections, including the Joel R. Anderson Collection, the Archangel Collection, the Caine Collection, the Fairmont Collection, the John E. Herzog Collection, the Q. David Bowers Collection of Chinese Coins, the A.J. Vanderbilt Collection, the Eldorado Collection, the ESM Collection, the John Whitney Walter Collection, the York Collection, the Cardinal Collection, and the Thaddeus A. Tatum III Collection to name a few.
Our ongoing sale of the Joel R. Anderson Collection and our past sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, give SBG the distinction of having sold the most valuable U.S coin and the most valuable U.S. currency collections.
In addition to continuing our legacy of auction success, during the past year we have spent significant energy and resources on creating new or improving existing products and services for our customers.
Perhaps our biggest accomplishment has been the complete rebuild of our Auction Archive. Our new Auction Archive now features 640,544 past auction records, including many Stack’s and ANR sales dating back to 2002, which have not been available until now. These past auction records can also be found in our Previous Prices Realized tool within our lot detail pages. Our Auction Archive now includes many famous auctions such as the Oliver Jung Collection (2004), the Frog Run Farm Collection (2004), the Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins (2005), the Cardinal Collection/A Gentleman’s Collection (2005), the Norweb Collection (2006), the Keusch, Snow & Del Zorro Collections (2008), the Philadelphia Americana Sale (2010), and the John J. Ford Collection Parts VII to XVI, along with many other additions.
Our new Auction Archive also features industry leading search speeds, with additional tools such as robust filtering capabilities, guided search, Boolean search and several sorting options. I highly encourage you to test out this new tool for pricing and historical research and welcome your feedback.
Our website also saw the launch of a new and redesigned Catalog Library, which features over 1,000 past auction catalogs from SBG, as well as our predecessor firms Stack’s, Bowers and Merena, American Numismatic Rarities, Coin Galleries, Ponterio and Associates, and Manifest Auctions. From this page, our customers can download PDF’s of each of our published catalogs, PDF’s of the prices realized and have quick access to the auction results in our Auction Archive.
In addition, the firm published two new research books by Q. David Bowers: The Copper Coins of Vermont and Alexander Vattemare and the Numismatic Scene.
Lastly, we expanded our operations into Singapore, welcoming Frederick Yow to our team, and further showing our commitment to the Asian market.
I could not be more proud of the Stack’s Bowers Galleries team who achieved these fabulous results and continually work to provide the best auction presentation and customer experience in the industry. Nor could I be more thankful for you and all our valued customers, who make it possible.
All the best,