The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is an unassuming catalog with an 1804 dollar connection. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report.
The Lazy Cataloger: A Terse Description of an 1804 Dollar
The Fifth Avenue Art Galleries sale of the F. Delos collection (1902) crossed our path this week. The document was scanned at the ANS by Internet Archive associate Lara Jacobs, who has replaced John Graffeo in that position. John was responsible for scanning thousands of U.S. auction catalogs in the ANS library, and we thank him for his contributions. This was the first piece scanned by Lara, and, as almost all sales contain something interesting, we paged through it to see what made this catalog distinctive. At first glance the catalog contains only rare books, none of them numismatic, and we wondered why this catalog was in the ANS library. The answer is revealed on the final page, which suggests that the consignor might not have selected the best auction house to present his collection.
Lot 261 is a group lot of colonial and U.S. type, world, and ancient coins. The cataloger does not state the total number of pieces, but reminds us twice that they are “very rare.” The lot sold for $475, a substantial amount at the time in the numismatic market.
The real prize goes to lot 262, an 1804 dollar, simply cataloged as “United States dollar of 1804, very rare.” Although authenticity was guaranteed by the seller (and not the auction house, another faux pas), the 1804 sold for $55, a shockingly low amount. The Stickney coin sold for $3600 in 1907. The Delos sale took place in New York, and it’s certain the 1804 was a fake, as this coin would not have slipped through in that market.
John Lupia's biography article elsewhere in this issue covers Delos as well.
Link to Delos catalog on Newman Portal:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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