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Good sales, buyer buzz at FUN Show

10 Jan

There was a notable buzz at the recent Florida United Numismatists (FUN) coin show held Jan. 5-8 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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A young collector, Jacquelyn Proctor, reviews our selection of shipwreck coins.

The show was busy, especially on Thursday, where sales and purchases were made all the way up to closing time, said Daniel Sedwick.

“We experienced a large volume of sales despite the incident at the Fort Lauderdale Airport on Friday,” he said. “We bought and sold well across all world coin sectors and paper money.”

Other dealers commented on the increase in motivated buyers, saying collector confidence in the economy and the numismatics market was on the rise.

The show’s timing also mattered, said Augi Garcia.

“The fact that the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC) and the FUN show are not conflicting for the first time in several years gave a new air to the show,” he said. “Overseas dealers that only go to NYINC were at FUN this time and making purchases.”

Areas of particular collector interest include shipwreck coins. Coins recovered from the 1715 Plate Fleet did well due to the historical connection between Florida and the Fleet. Our friends with the 1715 Fleet Society were in attendance and hosted a group dinner which we attended on Thursday night.

Gold cobs were hot but new supplies from Europe allowed us to refill our inventory. Expect to see them on our online store soon.

A number of bank notes sold, and we purchased many more at the show. A number of Latin American reverse proofs from the American Bank Note Company are new additions to our inventory.

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Ben Costello, the 1715 Fleet Society director, spoke at the group’s dinner.

Many interesting consignments came in during the show for our Treasure, World, U.S. Coin and Paper Money Auction #21. We obtained many fascinating shipwreck coins and artifacts during the show, but can always use more. If you’d like to consign to the next auction, please email us at office@sedwickcoins.com or call us at 407-975-3325.

In a closing note, our thoughts go out to all those affected by the shooting incident at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Special thanks to the Broward County Police and Sheriff’s Departments for providing security and presence in the area.

Our next trip will take us to the NYINC show on Jan. 12-15 in New York, followed by the Treasure Coast Coin Show on Jan. 14-15 in Vero Beach, Fla., and the Long Beach Expo on Feb. 16-18 in Long Beach, Calif. We hope to see you there!

Sunken luxury: the loss of the SS Andrea Doria

3 Jan

The SS Andrea Doria name invokes tragedy now, but at the time of construction, she represented the hopes of Italian recovery after World War II. Construction began in 1950 with the ship launching in June 16, 1951. In terms of size, she was 697 feet long with a 90 feet beam and had a total tonnage of 29,100 tons. When fully furnished, she represented a source of Italian pride by being one of the finest ships on the Atlantic Ocean at the time. Even her namesake, the 16th-century Genoese admiral Andrea Doria, invokes a sense of Italian maritime power.

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The SS Andrea Doria at sea.

During her three years of service from 1953 to 1956, she had many transatlantic voyages and became popular with passengers for her luxury accommodations and quick speed. Passengers had every form of entertainment at their disposal, from movie to swimming pools, orchestras to modern artworks and mosaics. A lot of money and wealth went into the Andrea Doria, both in terms of construction and her passengers.

On the night of July 25, 1956, the Andrea Doria was on the final leg of a voyage, destined for New York City the following day. Travelling through heavy fog, the bridge officers noted a radar blip ahead. Despite taking evasive maneuvers, the distance between the two ships was too little for any meaningful actions. Out of the fog, the bow of the MS Stockholm, a Swedish American Line passenger liner, plowed into the Andrea Doria’s starboard side, leaving a gaping hole. However, safety measures kept the Andrea Doria afloat for 11 hours, long enough for the survivors to evacuate. All together, 46 people died aboard the Andrea Doria while 6 crew members of the Stockholm were killed, most during the collision itself.

The below newsreel shows images of the doomed ship in the early hours of July 26, 1956. Divers descended upon the wreck just a day after its sinking to find it lying on its starboard side at a depth of about 250 feet, far too deep for recreational diving.

Divers descended upon the wreck just a day after its sinking to find it lying on its starboard side at a depth of about 250 feet, far too deep for recreational diving. Since then, through advances in diving equipment, technical divers are able to reach the wreck.

In 1981, adventurer Peter Gimbel, his wife Elga and a salvage team uncovered the Bank of Rome safe held onboard the ship. When the safe was opened in 1984, thousands of American $1 silver certificates, hundreds of Italian bank notes as well as American Express checks were found, still preserved despite decades of submersion. The Gimbels carefully preserved and encased the banknotes in protective Lucite holders before offering them on the numismatic market. Many silver certificates and Italian lira have since been graded by PCGS Currency according to shipwreck grading standards.

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An example of a Andrea Doria recovered $1 silver certificate.

As the leading shipwreck coin and artifact dealer, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC has a number of $1 silver certificates recovered from the SS Andrea Doria for sale. All notes are graded “A” by PCGS Currency, meaning they are almost entirely intact (despite 30 years of saltwater immersion), with prices dependent upon the eye appeal of the note. They come in a blue case along with a DVD of their recovery by the Gimbels and their crew. To view these notes, please click on the picture below and navigate to the Andrea Doria listing:

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Today, heavy currents, silt clouds and the depth still make the Andrea Doria a difficult wreck to dive, earning it the nickname “the Mount Everest of wreck diving.” Regardless, the allure of the ship’s luxury and artifacts still on board bring divers back again and again. For many, a dive to the SS Andrea Doria will never happen. By buying these silver certificates, anyone can own a piece of history from a ship that launched with so much promise only to become a modern tragedy.

Gallery

A relative to the Confederate half dollar? 6 U.S. highlights in Treasure Auction 20

28 Oct

While Spanish colonial and shipwreck coins make up much of our November auction, a number of other collecting areas are well represented. We’ve already taken a look at paper money, so let’s turn to U.S. rarities coming up for auction.

Lot 1401 – 1890-CC Coronet Head double eagle – Est. $2,000 – 3,000

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As the highest denomination struck by the famous Carson City Mint, their double eagles were never struck in great numbers. Mintages barely topped 100,000 between 1874 and 1876. By the time this 1890-CC double eagle was struck, the mint had only three years left before closing in 1893. Still, the fact that 91,209 were minted in 1890 is impressive and makes this example an in-demand, yet affordable piece for the Carson City type set collector.

Lot 1414 – 1844-D Coronet Head double eagle – Est. $1,500 – 2,250

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The former Dahlonega Mint building in 1877 or 1878.

This 1844-D half eagle was struck in the better years of the Dahlonega Mint, where mintages of the half eagle approached 100,000 coins from 1843 to 1845. In 1844, 88,982 Dahlonega half eagles were made, making it, like the above lot, attractive yet affordable for the Dahlonega type collector or for someone who just wants to own one. The typical bag marks and scratches are noted in the fields, with wear evident yet not enough to knock it down to Very Fine as the coin still has a full Liberty headband.

Lot 1429 – 1914 Indian Head quarter eagle – Est. $1,500 – 2,250

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Some rarities take the form of gorgeous, high grade examples, such as this 1914 quarter eagle. NGC certified it as MS-63, putting it ahead of many others in uncirculated grades. Only light bagmarks are noted in the fields with some planchet adjustment lines in the headdress and light toning throughout.

Lot 1436 – 1846 Seated Liberty silver dollar – Est. $900 – 1,350

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This AU-55 1846 Seated Liberty dollar is perfect for a U.S. type set collector. Only light even wear is visible on the high points. The fields and some areas of the design are darkly toned with lighter toning around the stars, dress folds, and eagle’s wings. Overall, a nice, lightly circulated example with a well-centered strike.

Lot 1437 – Set of three New Orleans-minted half dollars from the SS Republic – Est. $1,500 – 2,250

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This set represents two important events to U.S. coin collectors: the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 and the sinking of the SS Republic in 1865.

Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 6, 1860, Southern states began to secede, with Louisiana seceding Jan. 26, 1861 before joining the Confederate States of America on March 21, 1861. It was during that time the New Orleans Mint continued striking Seated Liberty half dollars under all three governments: U.S., State of Louisiana, and Confederate. Through die diagnostics, all three issues can be identified, while in this set, the U.S. issue is denoted with an 1860-O half dollar.  The 1861-O Confederate issued half dollar in the set, noted for the die crack on the obverse above Liberty’s face, shares the same obverse die as the four known Confederate half dollars bearing the words “Confederate States of America” above the eagle on the reverse.

Furthermore, all three coins were recovered from the SS Republic, a ship that sank with many U.S. coins onboard, both silver and gold, on Oct. 25, 1865. Since the wreck’s discovery in 2003, some U.S., State of Louisiana, and Confederate issued Seated Liberty half dollars have been found and packaged into attractive sets like this, where coin collectors, Civil War historians and shipwreck researchers can appreciate these historical coins.

Lot 1439 – 1909-S Indian Head cent – Est. $700 – 1,000

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This is a beautiful 1909-S cent, a rare, key and final date to the long-lived (1859-1909) Indian Head cent series. Certified by NGC as AU-58 Brown, this piece has lovely chocolate brown toning throughout with choice wood-grain toning on the obverse and only light wear on the high parts of the design.

For more U.S. coins appearing in our November auction, visit the Session Four page here, up for sale on Sunday, Nov. 13 and Session Five (internet-only) page here, hammering on Monday, Nov. 14.

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