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Looking Through The Baltimore Catalog

Welcome to my “walk through” of our main catalog for the official auction of the Whitman Coins and Collectibles Baltimore Expo. There are three separate publications – one showcasing paper money, the other our fabulous Rarities Night, and the present catalog discussed here. What a marvelous selection there is, with over 5,000 interesting lots!

The first session of the main sale begins on Wednesday afternoon, March 21, at 1 pm, continuing with the second session that evening, the third session on Thursday at 10 am, punctuated by Rarities Night that evening (in a separate catalog as noted), then currency starting on Friday morning (also in a separate catalog), continuing with the present catalog on Friday evening, and a final session on Saturday morning. As if this were not enough, an Internet only session will take place the following Tuesday. Wait! There’s more! We will be having a sale in Hong Kong the week after the Expo, but that is beyond the scope of what I discuss here. All told, during the week of the Expo, we offer virtually non-stop numismatic bidding opportunities. Of course you will want to look though the catalogs to pick the items of greatest interest, and attend those sessions. In the meantime there will be a lively bourse with hundreds of dealers at the Convention Center and also, early Friday afternoon, a special educational program held by Scott Travers and Christine Karstedt with invited guests. My gosh, there is a lot to do!

The catalog starts with an interesting mint error, a double struck 1984-W commemorative $10, after which there are Proof sets and then the often overlooked American Art medal gold series (fairly scarce in comparison to the later “eagle” coins and well worth having). Mint errors, quantity and group lots ranging from Lincoln cents to commemoratives, gold and other items carry the first session through lot 283.

Then comes a section of numismatic Americana with Betts medals, a silver Indian Peace medal from the Van Buren administration, Bryan money issued for the memorable 1896 presidential campaign, medals from various fairs and expositions, store cards, Bolen tokens, and more – very diversified.

On Wednesday evening at 6 pm the second session opens with a nice collection of early American coins assembled by Jim Jones, a true connoisseur. Of special interest will be lot 1008, a superb 1652 Noe-1 Pine Tree shilling, perhaps the “poster coin” epitomizing the American colonial era. A related example owned by Louis E. Eliasberg was one of his favorites and widely shown. Guide Book editor Ken Bressett considers another example to be his favorite, and in my bank vault I even have one myself – not quite as nice as the example scheduled to cross the auction block at the Expo. A Lord Baltimore shilling will attract attention as will a 1694 Carolina Elephant token. Betts medals and foreign coins used as money in America intersperse the colonial offerings in the Jim Jones collection. On page 45 of the catalog is a lovely 1776 Continental dollar, certain to attract a lot of attention. Ditto a bit later on for the famous Libertas Americana medal. Copper coins of the states, pieces featuring George Washington, and others round out the Jones collection, which ends with an example of the sentimental Washington Funeral medal by Jacob Perkins with the inscription HE IS IN GLORY, THE WORLD IN TEARS.

The catalog continues with additional colonial and early American coins from other consignors, the varieties ranging from popular to extremely rare. In due course, half cents are offered followed by large copper cents commencing with the first year of issue, 1793. Small cents commence with two examples of the 1856 Flying Eagle, a number of interesting Proof and Mint State Indian cents, and more, to lot 1468, where the Colin Withers Collection of Lincoln Cents begins. Mr. Withers was a connoisseur par excellence, and gathered a magnificent cabinet comprising Mint State examples, often superb Gems, of the standard varieties – 1909-S V.D.B., 1914-D, 1922 “Plain,” and others – plus, fascinating doubled dies, repunched mintmarks, and the like, the latter often rarer than regular issues. A superb Gem 1909-S/horizontal S will attract attention, as will the finest graded 1917 Doubled Die. An ultra Gem 1941 Doubled Die, the interesting 1943 D/D, and a spectacular example of the 1955 Doubled Die are also highlights – truly an offering to be remembered.

Two-cent pieces follow, and then silver three-cent pieces beginning with a superb Gem 1851-O, the only trime struck at a branch mint. A number of lots later the offering concludes with an ultra Gem 1873, the last year of issue.

Nickel five-cent pieces begin with the first year, a Gem 1866 with Rays, continue with other Shield nickels, then Liberty Head nickels from 1883 to 1912, followed by many interesting Buffalo nickels, concluding with some special Jefferson issues. Half dimes run from early to late and emphasize Mint State quality. Dimes are likewise comprehensive and include many attractions. Twenty-cent pieces, the shortest-lived American series, include all of the varieties except 1876-CC. Regarding that particular coin, a Gem example will be featured as part of the Battle Born Collection, to be featured in our official auction for the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money – well worth waiting for.

The third session on Thursday morning begins with quarter dollars and continues through various 19th and 20th century dates, again from common to rare and with many choice pieces. The same can be said for half dollars. The opportunity is presented to acquire scarce and rare dates and mintmarks, as well as pieces that will be ideal for a type set. Our second offering of Gems from the Walking Liberty Tribute Collection begins with lot 3436 and is beyond comparison – with multiple Gem Proofs from 1936 to 1942, to which marvelous superb Gem dates and mints from the “short set” era of 1941 to 1947 are offered. Year in and year out these have been among America’s most popular coins. You have the opportunity to put away some groups of these for the future, if desired. Or, more likely, to build a set of each Proof from 1936 to 1942 plus one of each mintmark from 1941 to 1947. Each is in superb high grade and has been handpicked for eye appeal.

The next session in our main catalog jumps ahead to Friday evening, by which time our Rarities Night and currency offerings will be history. Opening the session is a Proof set of 1882 from the Indian cent to the trade dollar, Gem quality with superb eye appeal, offered individually, after which you have a chance to compete for extraordinary quality coins from Proof sets of 1891 and 1903. Commemorative gold coins come up next, beginning with the first issue, the 1903 Louisiana Purchase and continuing down to the last, the 1926 Sesquicentennial quarter eagle. Pattern coins next cross the block and include interesting and desirable pieces of many different designs and denominations, a wonderful offering on its own, and a nice companion to the rare patterns that we feature in our Rarities Night. Next come territorial items, shipwreck coins, Hawaiian issues, and other items, each with a story.

Gold dollars begin with lot 7237 and continue in sequence, including many choice and rare pieces; the same can be said for quarter eagles, $3 pieces, and half eagles. Whether you desire a nice item for a type set or are seeking a scarce date or mint, there are many opportunities. Eagles are also diverse and include many with great eye appeal. Double eagles, a very popular series, offer outstanding opportunities as well. The session concludes with small denomination California gold, as well as western gold tokens.

The curtain comes down on our Baltimore Expo auction with the final session on Saturday morning, March 24, at 10 am. Early silver dollars are first across the block, continuing to include a very nice selection of Morgans – the most popularly collected 19th century American numismatic series. You will have the opportunity to compete for scarce dates and mintmarks as well as many coins in grades from MS-63 to MS-65, which have great eye appeal but are not particularly expensive. Here, indeed, is an ideal opportunity to begin a collection of this series. Trade dollars follow, after which there are many interesting commemorative half dollars, concluding the sale with lot 8844.

Session 8 is Internet only and takes place away from the Expo, the following Tuesday, March 27. You can participate in this from home, by which time the main sale events will have been concluded.

My best wishes to you for success in obtaining the pieces you find the most interesting. Our Baltimore auction sessions are indeed wonderful to contemplate.

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