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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 22, May 28, 2006, Article 5

WEINBERG'S NOTES ON THE JOHN FORD BETTS SALE

Alan V. Weinberg offers the following commentary on the Betts II
Stack's Ford Sale: "The XIVth John J. Ford Jr auction by Stack's
occurred in NYC May 23. I have attended every Stack's Ford sale
since their inception, save the Chicago Hard Times sale and the
Atlanta paper money sales. The sales' contents literally offer a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  The sale attendance and prices
realized have reflected that from the start.

John Ford's tastes were often esoteric, areas that investors,
speculators and Redbook collectors ignored. Those areas are now
becoming fashionable, perhaps because most other series are
outrageously priced, beyond the comprehension or capability of
most collectors.

But the prices realized Tuesday night can only be described as
outrageous, jaw-dropping. When the hotel's auction room opened,
intelligent speculation was attendance would be sparse and many
seats would be empty. After all, Betts medals? A heretofore very
thin market. Who could predict that almost every seat would be
taken, with bidders standing in the rear? A number of Ford Family
members attended, knowing this series was one of John's favorites.

The serious oldtime collectors turned out, along with a number
of very wealthy coin collectors and coin dealers who had not
previously exhibited any interest in historical medals. The
result was unbelievable with the 676 lot auction lasting from
6:30 PM to 11:30 PM - 5 hours!

A choice silver Libertas Americana medal hammered for $110,000,
a silver Washington/Franklin/Eagle Betts 617 medal (Ford had
several) at $42,500 hammer, a silver Franklin/Beaver B546 at
$35,000 (Ford had two) and many others to Brent Pogue of Dallas,
the owner of the Childs 1804 "original" dollar at $4.1 million
and the Bullowa Unc 1795 flowing hair dollar at $1.3 million.

Dick Margolis captured the two extremely rare Lagemann German-
struck Franklin death medals which he'd sought worldwide for
so many decades and paid a combined $44K hammer. I do not think
either has appeared at auction since 1930 in Europe. The incredible
and unique silver Franklin 1777 Privy Council medal B547 hammered
for $80K to John Adams...I'm certain this medal was the  most eagerly
sought  after of John Adam's pursuits. JJF paid around $100 for it
in 1967. Other active bidders included Chris Eimer all the way from
England, Tony Terranova, Dave McCarthy for Kagin's, Stu Levine,
Bill Anton Jr, Isaac Rudman of the Dominican Republic, Roger Siboni,
Syd Martin, John Kraljevich of ANR for multiple clients and, it is
rumored, the Anderson Bros of Whitman Publishing through a very
skilled floor agent.

The only book in the sale was Ford's personally annotated and
repaired/rebound Betts medal book at $13K hammer to John Adams
who is forming the finest Betts medal collection now that Ford
is deceased.

The biggest surprise of the sale, for many, were the outrageously
high prices realized for early Massachusetts silver copies and
mid 1800's Bolen copies. The circa 1858 Good Samaritan shilling at
$40K hammer to Anton, a large number of Mass silver 1800's forgeries
from $2500 - $5,000 hammer,  a silver Bolen Carolina elephant token
setup-struck over an 1807 bust half at a relatively reasonable
$11K to Terranova etc.

Much of the sale interest and the high prices are absolutely
attributable to a mouth-watering and fascinating auction catalogue
of the highest quality authored by Mike Hodder and overseen and
published by Larry Stack. These two guys are aware, as was John
Ford in the 1950-70 era, that a well-researched, authoritative,
interesting-to-read auction catalogue with top notch photography
will generate strong buyer enthusiasm even where there was no
previous interest. Invest the time and money into creating a
lifetime reference and the effort will return untold rewards.

I can't wait 'til the October sale. There are, I believe, seven
scheduled Ford auctions left, all with untold numismatic treasures."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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