Alan V. Weinberg submitted the following report on the recent Holabird-Kagin Americana auction of Bill Weber's so-called dollar collection. -EditorFellow E-Sylum reader Ron Lerch just returned from the 2 hour drive each way Sacramento to Reno and gave me a thrilling account of how the Holabird-Kagin Americana auction went of the late Bill Weber's so-called dollar collection. I would have flown up but my attendance at the Whitman Baltimore show several days earlier and the $350+ fare (more than I paid coast to coast to Baltimore from Los Angeles the previous week) convinced me to stay home and bid on the Holabird Americana website.
The Holabird-Kagin Bill Weber catalogue was a quality production, the cataloguing done by so-called dollar maven Jeff Shevlin and Fred Holabird himself. The catalogue was a delight to the eyes and will assume a place in any good numismatic / exonumia library. The bulk of Bill Weber's so-called dollars had been slabbed by NGC prior to auction although the impressive full page and heart-felt catalogue foreword, dedicated to Bill Weber's life and hobby, specifically mentioned Bill's abhorrence of slabs. Still, it was a good decision by Fred Holabird inasmuch as slabbing is the "name of the game" for so-calleds and the prices realized reflected the wisdom of pre-auction slabbing.
Ron and Fred report to me that the physical attendance was approx 40 bidders plus extensive phone and website participation - an excellent showing given the specialized nature of the offering, the state of the economy, and the "remoteness" of Reno, Nevada.
Ron comments that "Prices were astounding on all better items...Six Lauer [ 1894 California ] Midwinter so-calleds totaled over $7600...PPIE [Pan Pacific 1915] North Carolina around $6,000...1876 copper [ yes, copper- only seen in silver ! ] Nevada Centennial around $7500...It was a bloodbath...Only the junker cast pieces [Calif imitation "slugs"] went cheaply and not all those did."
Fred reports additionally that a Thompson Restaurant facsimile slug, one of the most frequently seen fascimiles, sold for $862.50. The Disney HK 753 in silver brought (gasp!) $3220 - 30 silvers struck in the 1960's, the aluminum dirt-common. I can't help chuckling as I type this.
Almost across the board, the prices realized were jaw-dropping. A "take no prisoners" bidder approach. It was clearly the high slabbing grades that did it. And, to a lesser degree, the Weber pedigree and the superb catalogue presentation.
It's exonumia results like these that makes one wonder about the wisdom and hobby benefit of Heritage's dissolution of their well-received Exonumia Dept and its auction catalogues. But that's another story.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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