The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 13, April 1, 2007, Article 5


The March 27 issue of Numismatic News has an article by David L. Ganz 
on the litigation between numismatic auction firms Heritage and 
Superior over alleged plagiarism of auction catalog descriptions. 
Heritage filed a complaint with the U. S. District Court for the 
Northern District of Texas against Superior, which in turn filed a 
counterclaim against Heritage. Ganz notes that the full text of the 
complaints is available for a fee on the court's web site. See the 
following URLs. PACER is the Public Access to Court Electronic 
Records system. 

Ganz mentions the Maine Antiques Digest article on the suit; see 
below for a link to our initial E-Sylum item on the article and suit. 
According to Ganz, a trial is scheduled for April 2008. He writes: 
"Issues in the Heritage v. Superior case have potential significant 
impact on collectors, dealers and auction houses, many of whom have 
used the descriptions of competitors with abandon in advertising, 
catalogs, auction handbills and even commercial or educational 
exhibits, both with and without attribution."

One E-Sylum reader forwarded the following lengthy example of text 
found word-for-word (with just one exception) in catalog descriptions 
by published by both Heritage and Superior (in May 2005 and August 
2006, respectively). The lone difference is that in one account the 
low-end mintage estimate is 425 and in the other the estimate is 415:

"One of the most popular and endearing patterns ever issued by the 
Philadelphia Mint. As seen on virtually all known examples of this 
issue, there are faint striation lines crossing Liberty's cheek and 
hair. These were the result of the planchet preparation process and 
were caused by the rollers used to squeeze the gold ingots into long 
strips for cutting out the planchets. Normally, these roller marks 
would be eliminated during the striking process, but on these stellas 
virtually all show some evidence of these faint lines. The exact same 
scenario is found on S-mint Barber coinage for many years, with 
similar lines crossing Liberty's face. This is the only generally 
available stella, from a mintage variously registered from 415 to 
slightly over 700. Of course, the term--available--is relative, and 
in comparison to demand for such pieces, coins of this quality are 
indeed rare. The actual number produced, in 1879 and 1880, is thought 
to be somewhat greater. These coins are known in two different alloys; 
the standard alloy is 90% gold and 10% copper, and also in the metric 
alloy which is 85.71% gold, 4.29% silver, and 10% copper. The specific 
alloy of this coin is unknown, nor is the alloy generally given in 
other auction descriptions, as it would require elemental analysis. 
The point seems to be moot. The obverse has a large date logotype, 
the digit 1 is slightly high, and the entire logotype is slightly 
curved. The reverse die has the D in UNITED doubled, the original 
placement slightly above the final position.

"This obverse die and the similar Flowing Hair die of 1880 were both 
designed by Charles Barber, while the much rarer Coiled Hair obverse 
dies of 1879 and 1880 were designed by George T. Morgan. It is not 
known who engraved the reverse die, which was used to coin all the 
1879 and 1880 stellas.

"The regal beauty of this curious denomination has kept demand very 
high for an attractive example, such as the coin offered here, and 
many numismatists have long desired to own such a prize. However, 
the price of ownership seems to continue to outpace all but those 
who greatly desire and can afford the cost required to secure an 
example. Here is an opportunity for yet another collector to fulfill 
the dream of finally obtaining one of America's most popular and 
unusual denominations ever produced"


To read the complete Maine Antique Digest article, see:
Full Story 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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