Last week I asked if readers had stories about trades or sales that went particularly well or badly. Jud Petrie shared several.
1) While attending college in upstate New York I would often go to flea markets, auctions and yard sales. At one flea market a dealer had a cigar box full of Indian Head Cents, mostly 1900-1909, and mostly in VF-XF condition and selling them for the outrageous price (at the time) for $5 each. Going through them I found a 1877 VF+. I held it up and asked "You want $5 for this?" He responded "That's my price, I don't dicker, take it or leave it." Well, I took it! Anytime someone wants to sell me a $1000 coin for $5 I will buy it. I diligently went through about 800 coins looking for S mint marks and other key coins without any success. When asked if I told him it's value I respond with 'Hell no! Let him suffer in ignorance. I paid his price'.
2) Also in the same time frame (1969-1970) I would attend a weekly estate auction where I would buy coins. The night watchman at the auction house approached me and said that he noticed me buying coins and he had some that he wanted to sell. He also didn't dicker, his price was his price, and that was determined to be 50% of the Good price listed in the 1958 Blue Book. Almost all of my Large Cent collection came from him. The only drawback was that I was a struggling college student without access to the funds I would have liked to have.
3) Many years later I attended a coin auction not far from home. Amongst the lots were a number of rolls of Lincoln Cents. I opened one roll of 1911 cents, almost all of them were XF-AU. I got it for $10. Apparently I was the only one to examine the contents.
4) About 10 years ago I worked part time for a local auction house that often had coins in their estate sales. I was the underbidder on many coins against a local collector with deep pockets. Luckily for me he didn't collect Canadian coins. I bought a lot for $200 that contained 3 1926 Far 6 nickels, many Newfoundland coins, and over $800 melt value of silver coins.
5) Most recently at a local coin auction I bought a lot of Civil War era items. There were a number of Civil War Tokens, Seated Liberty coins, discharge papers for a soldier from Racine Wisconsin, and...a Sutler token! I got the lot for $175, sold the Sutler Token for $750, added the tokens to my collection and donated the discharge papers to the Racine Historical Society.
Knowledge is power! It also helps to be lucky"
Nice finds. Next up is Alan V. Weinberg.
I was friends with Bill Anton Jr (having worked for his dad on construction sites during a high school summer) and John Ford, Jr (visiting his Long Island home with Aaron Feldman one weekend ),
both in the early 60's. While I say
friends I mean that with each, they were numismatic mentors
having the same taste as I, but I quickly learned they each would take advantage of me if I wasn't
on my toes.
Bill took me to a candle-lit steakhouse dinner and laid out before me SEVEN genuine Higleys three pence, including an EF 3 hammers type with a small counterstamp of several dots on it.
Take your choice at $3750
. I chose a nice VF 1737 Axe Higley which years later I sold to Don Partrick when I bought a house.
But. on another occasion I wandered into the late Howard Hazelcorn's NYC 44th St coin shop ( almost a cubicle ) . He'd just bought the day before a
EG Fecit 1776 Continental dollar - the finest I've seen to this day, it'd walked into his shop - and quoted me $1500. I questioned the authenticity due to the incredible condition. So I asked Howard permission to telephone my mentor Bill Anton from Howard's shop. I apprised Bill of the coin and its condition and Bill said to
pass as it was probably a copy. I left and days later revisited Howard's shop only to learn Bill Anton had come in the following day that I had called him and bought the Continental dollar for $1500.
Thereafter, I learned quickly about colonials and human nature. Later that year or next I bought the 2nd finest EG Fecit Continental dollar I've ever seen for $1200 from collector / vest pocket dealer Harry Warshaw. A few years ago I recall a somewhat
inferior gem Unc auctioning for around $150,000.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: NOVEMBER 6, 2022 : Indian Head Cent Find
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