By Greg Reynolds
Bruce Morelan’s set of early silver dollars and his assortment of 18th century type coins were offered by Legend Auctions on Thursday, October 8 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Prices realized for Morelan’s coins tended to be consistent with current wholesale to retail values.
Morelan’s coins did not fare extremely well, but some brought strong prices. Surprisingly, there were no crazy bidding wars for any of his coins. Auctions of analogous collections usually include at least one wild bidding contest that leads to a very strong or even an absurdly high price.
The already mentioned Carter-Cardinal-Morelan 1794 silver dollar did not sell. As the reserve was $7 million and the buyer’s commission was 17.5%, a pledge of $8,225,000 would have been needed to buy it. Given current market conditions, players knew that it was unlikely anyone would pay that much in 2020. Morelan did not really wish to sell it. This 1794 dollar was included in the auction because an offering of his whole set of early dollars drew more attention than an offering of just a few of them would have drawn.
The Dexter-Dunham-Pogue-Morelan 1804 dollar did not sell either. A pledge of $3.76 million would have been needed, a $3.2 million bid plus a 17.5% fee. When Bruce bought this coin privately from John Albanese in March or April 2017, there was more than one collector interested. The asking price then was well above the $3.29 million price that Kevin Lipton and Albanese paid in March 2017.
It will be interesting to see how the mentioned Stickney-Eliasberg-Miller 1804 dollar fares in an upcoming auction by Stack’s-Bowers. While both the Stickney–Eliasberg and Dexter-Morelan coins are PCGS certified as “PR65,” privately voiced grading opinions tend to vary widely regarding both of them.