An article on collector Dell Loy Hansen and his affect on the rare coin market appeared in print in the November 2019 issue of The Monthly Greysheet. Here's an
excerpt - see the complete article online, -Editor
Numismatist Dell Loy Hansen is on a pursuit to build what he calls "The Greatest All-Time Collection of U.S. Coins," and he's making headlines while doing it. In just the past
18 months, the real estate developer has picked up three coins most numismatists dream for a lifetime about owning, including the 1894-S Barber dime, 1804 Draped Bust dollar, and
1885 Trade dollar—all multi-million-dollar coins, each with a colorful story capable of filling volumes.
But Hansen's goals were not once so lofty as besting what 20th-century Baltimore financier Louis Eliasberg did in 1950, when he completed what was then the most comprehensive
United States coin collection ever. Back in 2016, Hansen had the simple goal of "building a nice set of Saint-Gaudens double eagles." But he quickly achieved that goal and wanted
more. He set his sights on Eliasberg, a man whose collection was once prominently featured in Life magazine and, during the Bicentennial in 1976, drew one million visitors
when it was displayed at the United States Mint in Philadelphia.
While it's natural for the numismatic world to sing the praises of what Hansen is doing, many inside the industry have a variety of opinions on what affect his Eliasberg
moonshot has on the marketplace. One concern often heard relates to the general effect of a single buyer dropping many millions of dollars on rare coins in a short time, and its
affect on the value of coins. In some cases, the market can be skewed by Hansen's, "I''ll pay whatever it takes" attitude when buying a prized item. The sellers of such items
certainly aren't complaining, but the rest of the market can feel frozen out. According to CDN Publisher, John Feigenbaum, "the ramifications are complicated. At CDN we are
working hard to predict accurate values for future coin trades, and Dell Loy's strategy can be a wild card. However, " Feigenbaum continues, "from my perspective the uncertainly
and chaos adds a lot of excitement to the hobby and makes our job all the more interesting. We love seeing it, and I could only wish for more well-heeled collectors to enter the
Douglas Winter Numismatics
Q. When you look at the discussion boards, there are a few critics who claim Hansen could've done better with this buy or that, or perhaps that he missed some rare
opportunities to buy a couple pieces when he "had the chance." Do you agree?
The thing I find most amazing about what he's doing involves the compendium of knowledge that's required. He's doing Saints and early gold in Gem and Roosevelt dimes with Full
Torches simultaneously—the amount of knowledge that's required to collect coins of the highest magnitude in so many different areas is pretty amazing. He's been criticized in
certain areas for not doing one thing or doing another thing. I'd answer the critics that the breadth and scope of what he's doing is so difficult. He may not purchase the right
coin the first time, but as he becomes more knowledgeable and sophisticated, he's buying some great pieces..
Q. I understand you're not too keen on calling Hansen "the greatest collector ever." Is that an opinion you hold merely in collegial jest?
I have always agreed Mr. Hansen is ONE OF THE greatest collectors. Many people just do not know who else and what else exists like I do. There is a lot more to it than just
spending the money to build a set. Even though he is buying much better now, he is still way off line on what he should be buying to earn the title of greatest collector. I'll
still challenge him vs Bob Simpson or [the] Tyrant [Collection] any day for the title. I see things differently than how Mr. Hansen is buying—but, he can buy what HE wants, not
what the people want. It's his collection, whether right or wrong, whatever makes him happy. I also think his learning curve has dramatically changed since he met JB [John Brush].
I can see he simply is choosing to complete his set, then upgrade.
Q. What are some of the short-term and long-term impacts of Hansen's collection and his objective to build such a large and comprehensive cabinet?
It's an amazing conquest he is working on. I think it has stimulated the collecting public's imaginations and maybe inspired some people. Many collectors like to know there is
someone else out there who is as crazy as they are. The negative impact, he is taking many coins off the market for the long term which does not allow for others to build similar
Q. You talk about coins coming off the market… Are there any especially rare coins he bought that represent especially good buys for him?
My personal 3-cent silver proof collection. It has the unique 1851 proof in GEM. His $20.00 Liberty set. Nothing comes close, nor will ever.
Q. Hansen's bagged some big coins already, but he's got a few biggies to go, including the (sole legally obtainable) 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20. Do you see opportunities for
Dell to pick up those last major rarities, and which coin might be the last?
I think if he wanted to pay the asking price… I believe he could pick up an 1854-S $5 for that matter. It could be a phone call away, it's not impossible. But, I think the last
coin he will end up buying is the 1870-S half dime—that's in a collection with a well-known collector, and I don't think he's going to let it go. If the funds are unlimited, I
think that will be the last coin he'll pick up.
To read the complete article, see:
Dell Loy Hansen has his eye on the Ultimate Prize: The
Greatest Collection of All Time (http://blog.greysheet.com/dell-loy-hansen-has-his-eye-on-the-ultimate-prize-the-greatest-collection-of-all-time/)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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