by Neil Sharkey, Monaco Rare Coin
As I walked onto the bourse floor of January’s Florida United Numismatists (F.U.N.) convention for the first time I realized this show was going to be big” The staff of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL seemed to be in overdrive. Adam Crum and I were allowed to enter the floor early to set up our multi–million dollar featured exhibit. The Smithsonian and Monaco Rare Coins exhibits were side by side, setting up for what would go on the record as one of the best F.U.N. conventions ever!
A staff member assigned to our exhibit already knew who we were and why we were there as he asked, “Are you the ones with the $15 million Civil War exhibit?” I smiled with pride and said, “Yes.” His reply, while gesturing toward the two 10–foot tall, 800–pound crates, “I can’t wait to see what y’all have in dim’ thangs.” To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t either. I had not seen the amazing artifacts in this exhibit since they had graced the bourse at the A.N.A. Convention in Pittsburg, PA three years ago. But this time, it would be even better! The feature of this year’s exhibit was not one, but two, Philadelphia–minted Paquet $20 Gold Double Eagles. They are the only two known, and this was perhaps the first time these two giants of numismatics had been together since they were minted in 1861. It was like reuniting old friends, and I couldn’t help but think what a lovely pair of earrings they would make!
Anthony C. Paquet’s new design for $20 Coronet Liberty Double Eagles was both approved—and rejected—at the Philadelphia Mint in the year 1861, and only two of the “P–mint” Paquet $20s are known to exist to this day. The crowning achievement of any numismatist would be to own one of these two examples.
In 1861, the San Francisco Mint was a bit slower to receive news that the Paquet design would not be used, and they’d already minted 19,250 coins by the time they’d received the news that the Paquet had been cancelled. Today, less than 100 of these classic San Francisco–minted Paquet rarities exist, and both the Philadelphia and San Francisco Paquet $20s have a place in the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins book.
It is truly amazing that Monaco Rare Coins was able to reunite these incredible rarities and display them at what turned out to be an historic F.U.N. Show.
While standing there looking over this gigantic convention concourse, I remember thinking to myself, “How will they ever fill this place?” Later that afternoon, as all of the dealers entered to set up their tables, I thought, “Wow, this place sure filled up quickly!” The next day, when the public was allowed to enter, the bourse floor looked like a surging ocean of people. Thousands of collectors and dealers were all in a frenzy to capture as much market share as possible.
The location of our exhibit was the perfect place to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the activity on the floor. It was like watching a football game from the first row on the 50–yard line, only this “field” was 4 to 5 times larger than a football field. One of the many benefits of having an incredible exhibit is the fact that everyone wants to see it. I didn’t have to elbow my way through the maze of people in each isle to talk with the dealers whose opinions mattered to me…I just sat back and let them all come to me. After all, not a single person alive today has ever seen both 1861 Philadelphia–minted Paquet $20s at the same time. And for the entire week, one person after another exclaimed, “What an amazing display!”…or “What a great show!”…and “I’ve never seen the F.U.N. show this busy!”
One of the more exciting evenings for me was sitting in on the Platinum Night Rare Coin Auction. Not only was this auction large in terms of lots, but it would prove to bring down some huge money. Of course, all combined, the five nights of auctions would prove to be as exciting as the bourse floor itself. Many new price records were realized in almost all sectors of the market.
There were far too many coins which sold for more than six figures to mention them all, but I will detail some of the more interesting specimens, limiting the list to items of $200,000 or more. The only exception, because I collect them myself and help others build sets as well, is the 1866–S No Motto Type I $20 graded AU58, which sold for a record $195,500. This is a coin that when Adam published his Red Alert Buy on this series would have cost you approximately $50,000. Not too shabby of a price increase over a three–year or so period!
|1866-S||Type I $20 NM||AU58||PCGS||$195,500|
|1795||$10 13 Leaves||MS63||PCGS||$201,500|
|1855||Wass Mol $50||MS60||PCGS||$212,500|
|1796||$2.50 No Stars||MS61||NGC||$253,000|
|1796||$2.50 No Stars||MS63||NGC||$287,500|
|1907||$20 High Relief||MS68||PCGS||$316,250|
|1879||Coiled Hair $4||PR63||NGC||$316,250|
|1795||$5 Small Eagle||MS64||PCGS||$345,000|
|1907||$10 Indian RE||MS67||NGC||$402,500|
|1907||$20 High Relief||MS69||NGC||$546,250|
|1907||$20 UHR Saint-Gaudens||PR68||PCGS||$1,840,000|