Building a World Class Numismatic Gold Coin Collection The Josiah K. Lilly Collection Part 24

the early 1960s the rituals of working with Mr. Lilly and building his world
class collection continued. He would visit Stack’s twice a year, once in the
fall and once in the spring on his annual trip to and from to Florida. I would
then visit him at his home at least twice a year to make deliveries of new
items for his collection. The relationship was always warm and friendly.

Stack’s was able to acquire the 1822 half eagle for the J.K. Lilly Collection,
there was only one coin needed for it to be complete in U.S. gold coins. If
Louis E. Eliasberg, or his estate would offer the unique 1870-S three-dollar
gold piece for sale, we had the client to acquire it.

show how the numismatic hobby had changed and grown from 1954 to 1960, one need
only to compare the price Amon Carter, Jr. wanted for his 1822 half eagle (Mr.
Lilly paid $50,000 for it), with what Mr. Lilly had paid earlier for large sets
of gold coins. Some years earlier he had been able to purchase complete high
quality sets of gold dollars, $2.50 gold, $3 gold, (without an 1870-S) and the
$4 gold Stellas for the same price of $50,000. And most of the coins in those
four sets were either choice Uncirculated or Exquisite Proof!

the Farouk sale, and after many important collections came to the market in
1954 and 1955 (which had been off the market for decades), there was increased
supply and greater possibility to build major collections. However, this
increased supply also attracted more and more people to the hobby. While a lot
of great material was becoming available, there were more and more collectors
out there bidding and buying as new collections were being built. It was our
job at Stack’s to not only find items for Mr. Lilly and our other clients from
our own sales and inventory, but also to search for coins using our network of
contacts in the hobby.

contacting dealers here in the United States, reviewing auction catalogs and
attending many numismatic sales nationwide, we were able to gather together
many new additions to the Lilly Collection. Of course we contacted many
collectors nationwide as well, asking if they were thinking of selling their collections,
or even if they wanted to sell some of their duplicates. The hunt for new coins
became a “search and find” operation, sometimes spending quite a bit
of time looking for particular items.

the early 1960s Stack’s was selected to offer the George O. Walton Collection
for auction after that gentleman’s unfortunate death in an accident. Our sale
was held in October of 1963, and included Mr. Walton’s important collection of
Pioneer and Territorial items. As Mr. Lilly had chosen to build a world class
collection of these historical coins, we were able to add substantially to his
holdings, including some great rarities. However, as the collection grew, it
became more difficult to make major additions and we had to rely on finding
coins when and where we could.

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