Eye on Auctions: Classic Commemoratives

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By Antoinette Rahn

Some things just stop you in your tracks. For us, when we came across the words “classic commemoratives” in a description for a recent auction offered by Heritage Auctions, we stopped and immediately went to the online catalog to peruse. Had we checked sooner, we could have participated in this fascinating special monthly auction. Good thing we’ve now set up the proper auction alert so we won’t miss another.

With that, we thought we’d share some of the coins that we found particularly intriguing from this 245-lot auction, held May 15.

1900 $1 Lafayette Dollar, MS66 PCGS, CAC, DuVall 3-D variety

While we were struck by the profiles on this coin, and the price paid ($14,400), once we learned that the Lafayette Dollar was struck as part of the United States’ participation in the World’s Fair of 1900, we were smitten. Who doesn’t love a good fair? Plus, this coin was the top lot of the sale.

1928 50C Hawaiian, MS66 PCGS

Although we’ve not yet made it to Hawaii in our various travels, it is on the bucket list. However, for the time being, one of the things we enjoy most about coin collecting is the opportunity to collect by any number of specifics, including locality. Plus, it’s hard to beat a coin that, according to the auction catalog, has “vibrant original cartwheel luster.” Whew! This coin sold for $3,960.

1935 50C Connecticut, MS67 PCGS
While the toning on this 1935 issue, with it’s crimson, russet, and golden hues, certainly adds a fascinating appeal to the coin, it’s the sweeping tree with branches extended far and wide that captured our attention first. This coin sold for $1,560.

1925 50C Vancouver, MS66 PCGS
Another fascinating aspect of the profiles featured on commemorative coins is the opportunity to learn about a historical figure you may not have heard about or had forgotten existed. For us, this coin, with its profile of John McLoughlin, afforded the opportunity to become familiar with this noted physician, fur trader, merchant, and pioneer. This Canadian-born man of many skills was also noted for helping to settle what is now the state of Oregon. This coin sold for $810.

Whatever format you choose to arrange your coin collection, whatever criteria you use, one of the many things commemorative coins teach us is to be open to new possibilities for categorizing your coins.

Visit Heritage Auctions’ website, www.ha.com, to view upcoming coin and paper money auctions.

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