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Record-Breaking Coin Auctions

Record-Breaking Coin Auctions
February 21, 2023
Bradley Calleja

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$113 million in 52 days.

If there's a recession coming, someone forgot to tell the numismatic market.We've touched on this market before, but just as a refresher or for those new around these parts, the term "numismatics" encompasses coins and currency. So what's that $113 million figure? It represents total coin auction sales at Heritage Auctions through the first two months of 2023.

The year is off to a record-breaking start - up nearly 8% from last year's two-month total of $104.5 million and 10% above the $102.7 million reached in the first 60 days of 2021. In the first two months of 2021, Heritage closed three auctions that realized at least $1 million in total sales. That number increased to four auctions in 2022, and in 2023, the compounding continued as the leading seller of collectible numismatics has hosted five separate coin auctions in 50 days that each delivered at least $5 million in sales.

Earlier this month, Heritage closed their 2023 Long Beach Expo Coin Signature Auction which delivered a 100% sell-through rate, with 996 lots sold and a total sum of sales in excess of $14.5 million. Last year, the February Long Beach Expo reached $16 million but also featured nearly 400 additional lots compared to this year's edition.While dozens of new top prices were established, the latest auction was led by a 1855-S Three Dollar Gold PR64 Cameo (pictured above) which attracted a fierce battle of 47 bids and finally hammered for $2.16 million.

The previous record for this rare $3 gold piece was established in 2011 and remained at $1.32 million for more than a decade. For additional insight into just how fast the high-end of the coin market is climbing, the top sale at the 2022 Expo was a $4 Gold Coin which closed at $184,500. This year, that price would have been the 11th highest as five different coins sold for at least $300,000.

While Heritage has long been a leader in numismatics, the records aren't just falling at the Dallas-based auction house. In January, GreatCollections Coin Auctions, the official auctioneer of the American Numismatic Association, sold a 1958 error penny for $1.14 million. That particular example was a "double die" penny which simply means it was stamped by a steel die twice, creating a double image on the coin that can now command upwards of seven-figures at auction.

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