We don't generally discuss grading or pricing, but this Stack's Bowers press release highlights an interesting numismatic aspect of their recent sales of physical crypto-coins: significant premiums over the value of the cryptocurrency contained within.
2013 physical Lealana Bitcoin
Over $500,000 in physical bitcoins and other cryptocurrency was sold by Stack's Bowers
Galleries in their Spring 2022 Showcase Auction, contributing to nearly $37 million in overall prices realized for the
sale—a 60% increase above the pre-sale estimate. The Stack's Bowers Galleries Spring 2022 sale was largest and
most diverse offering of physical cryptocurrency ever by a major auction house, confirming Stack's Bowers
Galleries as a market leader among today's expanding community of collectors. The firm first presented this
category at auction in November 2021 when a 500% premium was realized by a Lealana 0.1 Bitcoin. Strong
premiums continued to be earned throughout this recent offering, far exceeding premiums reported in any other sale
venue. The Bitcoin price at the time of the April sale was approximately $45,000 and all premiums to follow reflect
the percentage earned above the underlying
face value of the cryptocurrency.
The sale featured an array of Bitcoin and Litecoin from the popular Lealana and Casascius series, all certified and
encapsulated by PCGS. Also included were several unloaded and redeemed coins that remain very popular as
keepsakes of this exciting technology. The Casascius coins were highlighted by a 2013 1 BTC that earned a near
50% premium at $66,000 and a 2013 0.5 BTC that sold for a 40% premium at $31,200. These were purchased
directly from Mike Caldwell, the creator of the series, as part of original rolls of coins. They were accompanied by
two of the historic 2011 Casascius Error 1 Bitcoin pieces, which are important as the first funded physical bitcoin
ever produced, according to researcher Elias Ahonen's Encyclopedia of Physical Bitcoins and other Crypto-Currencies. Included in this pair was a MS-66 (PCGS) that realized a premium of over 70% at $78,000, ranking as the sole finest of just five at PCGS.
The Lealana coins were spotlighted by a scarce four-coin set of silver 2013 Lealana bitcoins, offered individually in
consecutive lots. Each coin is marked with the serial number 24, making it one of the earliest sets issued by Lealana
creator Noah Luis, aka "smoothie." The set was highlighted by an important gold-plated 1 BTC graded Proof-69
Deep Cameo (PCGS) that brought a 140% premium of $108,000. This historic coin is described by specialist Elias
Ahonen as "perhaps the most visually interesting" issue from this series.
Also included in the set was a 0.1 BTC graded Proof-70 Deep Cameo (PCGS) that sold for a 245% premium at
$15,600, a 0.25 BTC graded Proof-69 Deep Cameo (PCGS) that earned a 240% premium at $38,400, and a 0.5 BTC
graded Proof-70 Deep Cameo (PCGS) that realized a 190% premium at $66,000. A similarly matched set of 2013
Lealana litecoins was also featured, highlighted by a 10 LTC Proof-68 Deep Cameo (PCGS) that brought a 530%
premium at $7,800.
With such significant premiums and over a half million in prices realized, the Stacks' Bowers Galleries Spring 2022
Auction will be forever remembered as a historic offering of physical cryptocurrency.
So yeah, we're all kicking ourselves for not buying a roll or two when we had the chance.
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
BITCOINS GO FROM VIRTUAL TO PHYSICAL
U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN PHYSICAL BITCOIN MINTER
PHYSICAL BITCOINS, BOGGS, AND EXPENSIVE PIZZA
2013 SILVER LEALANA 0.1 BITCOIN OFFERED
NEW BOOK: ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHYSICAL BITCOINS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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