An E-Sylum reader submitted these thoughts on U.S. coin auctions.
I really enjoyed Harvey Stack's and Alan Weinberg's recent reminisces of how auctions used to be and how they changed . There is no substitute for the excitement in the room when a an old and quality collection crosses the auction block. The Internet is a part of this lost excitement. Similarly to the difference at a live NFL playoff game V.S. watching it in your living room.
Today's distant collector can bid from the comfort of his office. There clearly is no substitute witnessing a 6 ft plus distinguished looking Harry Bass standing on his chair at the back of the room with his arms and bidding number fully extended up to intimidate all buyers, because they knew his arm never came down until he won the lot. Then there was Kamal Awash who would stand on his chair and scream at the other bidders to stop bidding , and if they were close enough he might hit them in the head with his catalog. And who could forget Buddy Ebsen falling asleep and snoring.
These exciting days at coin auctions in the US are all but gone. It is rare today to witness this excitement , another factor nearly as large as the Internet is the fact that coins today are normally professionally graded . There was an exception last weekend when Alex Cooper sold the coin and currency collection of Arthur E Young of Red Loin PA. deceased since 1956. All of Mr. Young's coins were housed in Wayte Raymond binders and pages nearly all with original color and surfaces all items were sold without reserve and not professionally graded. There was electricity the room among all the collectors and dealers who came in the attempt to add to their collection or inventory. Mr. Young's coins came from Homer Downing Hayes, Barney Bluestone and Stack's.
His 1794 half cent C4A is destined for an uncirculated holder. His 1794 S29 cent as choice and early cooper as I ever seen , all though not quit uncirculated . The gorgeously toned 1873 arrow 25 cent piece is possibly the finest known . The fact that these coins and paper money were certified allowed us to keep alive an illusion as to the possibly grade and value of a coin or note. The lack of this illusion has greatly diminished the excitement surrounding US coins and paper money for the collector.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
HARVEY STACK: THOUGHTS OF AN OLDTIME AUCTIONEER
Wayne Homren, Editor
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