Tag Archives: numismatic
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What You Can’t Live Without Buying in Treasure Auction #20 (part two)

25 Oct

In this blog, we will cover some of the big-ticket items (i.e. gold and gold and silver bars) you can find in our upcoming auction. These coins and bars are important for either their rarity, their quality, their provenance or all of the above. They are for the discerning advanced collector who can afford the best. These lots also represent historical treasures which anyone can appreciate whether they can buy them or not.

 

 

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Lot 30, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

The above Lima 8 escudos cob is the finest known of its type in the NGC census with a grade of MS 63. Dan has described it as “a superb specimen all around, befitting the top honors.” Over and above that, it’s from the 1715 Fleet!

 

 

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Lot 35, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

Another Lima 8 escudos cob, this coin is tied for finest known in the NGC census with a grade of MS 62. Dan’s description: “Clearly top grade but probably also the best in terms of strike, and apparently one of very few of this date and denomination recovered” from the Luz. ‘Nuff said!

 

 

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Lot 48, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

A Bogota 8 escudos cob, this coin is the finest and only specimen in the NGC census with a grade of XF 45. Per Dan’s description it’s a “royal-like specimen on a broad flan with 100% full and bold date and king’s name in legend….one of just a handful of full-date specimens from this mint that seem to have been intended as presentation pieces, so great is the contrast between them and the regular issues with only partially or non-visible dates.” Furthermore, he notes that “this Philip V issue is much tougher than the Ferdinand VI type that followed.”

 

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Lot 89, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

This Potosi bust 4 escudos is the finest and only known in the NGC census with a grade of AU 58. As Dan has noted, only 170 pieces (both laureate and non-laureate types) were minted and this date is the rarest bust-type issue in any denomination from this mint. It’s “a trophy gem and has no equal in any sales records known to us,” with “trophy” seeming like an understatement!

 

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Lot 161, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

The above is a Lima, Peru, bust 8 escudos from the time of Ferdinand VI and dated 1751. This lot is “one of only two of this ‘large wigged bust’ type” from the Luz shipwreck. Pretty rare stuff!

 

 

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Lot 202, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

On to bars! Above is a complete gold “strap” ingot for making oro corriente pieces, marked five times with circular tax stamp of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (Charles I of Spain) from an unidentified early 1500s wreck in the Caribbean. As Dan states, “its near-uniform flatness and its markings all indicate that this piece is the first example ever recorded of a complete ‘strap’ (in Spanish: riel) for cutting into the known (but very rare) money pieces (small) known as ‘oro corriente,’ which were used in place of actual gold coins (which were in short supply) in the colonies and thus represent the ‘first fish out of the lake’ from the colonies in terms of local gold coinage.” It dates to the 1520s and hence is “unique in importance, especially as the earliest form of Spanish colonial gold treasure we have ever offered.”

 

 

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Lot 203, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

Another important bar, the above gold “finger” bar is encrusted with coral as from the “Golden Fleece wreck” and was made “in a period when gold coins were not yet made in the New World and ‘oro corriente’ was being phased out” says Dan. Shipwreck bars are always in demand in our auctions.

 

 

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Lot 210, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

A very unusual silver “tumbaga” bar (#M-61) whose “most intriguing aspect is a large area of exposed pure copper, revealing how most ‘tumbaga’ silver was created by hammering silver and copper together and therefore showing the true nature of ‘metal of Michoacan’,” according to Dan. You should read The Tumbaga Saga by Agustin Garcia Barneche to learn more about these important and fascinating early silver bars.

 

 

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Lot 211, Sedwick Treasure Auction #20

What’s an auction without a large silver Atocha bar (#451)? As Dan notes of special importance, accompanying this bar is a “complete manifest report, which was an optional (and mostly declined) item when the bars were first distributed.” Rarity and provenance!

That’s all for now, and we hope this note will whet your appetite for our auction.

Gallery

Sedwick Treasure, World and US Coin Auction #20 Preview

7 Sep

christmas-packages

While all of us at Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC, are diligently working on making our November Treasure World & US Coin Auction #20 the BEST ever, I thought I would pause to tell you about some of the cool stuff we will have for you to bid on and *hopefully* buy. First off, make sure your Christmas wish list is empty because there are lots and lots of goodies you’ll want! I’m already making my list.

In the upcoming auction, we have a Maravillas Research Collection of countermarked Potosi cobs. Here’s a refresher about the Maravillas from our website (abridged):

Maravillas, sunk in 1656 off Grand Bahama Island

shipwreck

As the almiranta (“admiral’s ship,” or rear guard) of the homebound Spanish fleet in January of 1656, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was officially filled with over five million pesos of treasure (and probably much more in contraband, as was usually the case). That treasure included much of the silver salvaged from the South Seas Fleet’s Capitana of 1654 that wrecked on Chanduy Reef off Ecuador. The ill-fated treasure sank once again when the Maravillas unexpectedly ran into shallow water and was subsequently rammed by one of the other ships of its fleet, forcing the captain to try to ground the Maravillas on a nearby reef on Little Bahama Bank off Grand Bahama Island. In the ensuing chaos, exacerbated by strong winds, most of the 650 people on board the ship died in the night, and the wreckage scattered. Spanish salvagers soon recovered almost half a million pesos of treasure quickly, followed by more recoveries over the next several decades, yet with over half of the official cargo still unfound. The first re-discovery of the Maravillas in the 20th century was by Robert Marx and his company Seafinders in 1972. The second big salvage effort on the Maravillas was by Herbert Humphreys and his company Marex in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The wreck area is still being searched today, but officially the Bahamian government has not granted any leases on the site since the early 1990s.

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Roberto Mastalir Divisek

 

In addition to the above Potosi shipwreck cobs, we are honored to present a collection of “Transitional” 1652 Potosi 8 reales cobs put together and written about extensively by Robert Mastalir. All of his coins in the upcoming auction are featured (photographed) in his book The Great Transition at the Potosi Mint, 1649-1653, the 1652 Transitional 8 Reales, which is out of print already, but we plan to re-print it for the auction soon.

 

 

Unfortunately, sometimes collections come to us after the death of the collector, and that’s the case for the Charles Eidel collection of shipwreck coins and ancient Greek and Roman coins. Charlie was a genial retired NYC policeman whose appetite for coins was wide ranging. His meticulous record keeping and coin descriptions reflect his love for the hobby. It’s now time for him to posthumously pass along his gems for the next generation of collectors.

Near and dear to my heart is our major offering of Charles and Joanna coinage (both Early and Late Series) in this auction. We have a smattering of coins from several different sources which complement each other very well and will give you a lot of opportunities to enrich your collection…or start one! While we generally feature 4 reales from shipwrecks, this time we will have a large selection of the very hard-to-find smaller denominations. We will even have an early series Assayer R 1 real. And when’s the last time you saw Assayer S in any denomination? We’ve got a 2 reales for sale!

That’s it for now, but it should help you decide on what you’d like to see under the Christmas tree this year (or before)! Happy bidding.

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Gallery

When Size Matters

2 Feb

In the world of numismatics, size (in this context, weight) matters. Heads have rolled and the guilty have been jailed or bankrupted for minting gold and silver coins that are a bit south of expected weight. Just ask the assayer and former mayor of Potosi.

Drawing of Potosi Mountain

 

It’s a very serious business, and it’s easy to see why. Without the vast stores of gold and silver transported from the New World, Spain never woulchest of gold and silver cobsd have become a European colonial superpower. Each quantity of silver or gold mined in the colonial mines around Mexico City, Potosi, Lima, etc. and sent to the mint for smelting and/or coining would have a tax, a fifth (or quinto), charged by the crown and hence referred to as the “king’s fifth.” It all adds up after a while, and the king didn’t appreciate being cheated out of any of his money.

When minting cobs, which are hand struck on planchets without collars, the task of making sure the weight was correct must have been onerous. Note that many cobs have trim marks to cut away some of the material. The weight didn’t have to be exact, but it sure had to be credible.

So, how much should a cob weigh? Of course, it depends on the denomination. The largest denomination was the 8 reales (silver) or 8 escudos (gold). Each was supposed to weigh about 27 grams, with a slight underweight tolerance of perhaps three-tenths of a gram. As for the other denominations, The Practical Book of Cobs tell us:

Practical Book of Cobs

Practical Book of Cobs, 4th edition

The denominations in gold are 1, 2, 4, and 8 escudos. There is no ½-escudo cob, although the ½ escudo did exist in the later milled coinage. The usual denominations in silver are ½, 1, 2, 4 and 8 reales. (A few ¼ reales were minted in the earliest periods but are generally rare and seldom seen.) Each lower denomination was supposed to weigh exactly one-half of the next larger denomination.

Given that formula, a 4 reales or escudos coin should weigh around 13.5 grams, a 2 reales or escudos coin around 6.75 grams, a 1 real or escudo coin around 3.375 grams, and a ½ real around 1.69 grams. There would be more leeway with silver than gold, which is more precious in any era.

One of the best and cheapest purchases you can make if you’re serious about collecting cobs is a scale, so you can weigh your coins. If you’re concerned about whether a coscalein you just bought is genuine, weight it! If it’s significantly underweight, then there’s your red flag. The BIG exception is shipwreck silver coins. Silver corrodes in salt water so many shipwreck cobs are underweight, sometimes significantly. This is not true of gold which comes out of the ocean as intact as the day it went down with the ship.

Of course, you should always deal with a reputable numismatist when buying or selling coins!

Long Beach Expo This Week!

If you’re in southern California, don’t miss an opportunity to meet Dan and Augi at the Expo. See them Wednesday through Friday. They will have inventory for sale and/or can take your consignment for our upcoming Treasure, World and US Coin Auction #19.

schedule2016

Here’s the Hat Trick – Numismatic News

15 Jan

Just a quick note to remind everyone of our upcoming shows. Dan is heading to Vero Beach today for the annual Treasure Coast Coin Club show. He’s loaded with new purchases from the FUN and NYINC shows, so please go by and see him! He’s also taking consignments for our upcoming Sedwick Treasure, World and US Coin Auction #19. We’re always pleased to receive consignments of significant collections of cobs and choice Latin American coins. High-quality artifacts are always welcome as well.

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At the end of the month, Dan and Augi will be traveling to Long Beach, CA, for the Long Beach Expo from February 4-6. They will again be happy to take consignments AND buy or sell you something. It’s a busy time of year for us, but we’re getting excited about our next auction and hope you will join the fun. Auction dates are May 18 and 19, so mark your calendar now.

OK, now for a cool hat trick.

Goal #1: Purchase a 1704 8 reales Potosi cob (not hard to do).

Lot 1431, TA #14, 8R cob

Lot 1431, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC – Treasure Auction #14

Goal #2: Purchase a 1704 8 reales Potosi royal (a little harder to do but not out of the question).

Lot 707, TA #14, 8R royal

Lot 707, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC – Treasure Auction #14

And Goal #3: Purchase a 1704 8 reales Potosi heart (you have a better chance with the lottery than getting this!).

Lot 720, TA #18, 8R Heart

Lot 720, Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC- Treasure Auction #18

Pretty nifty hat trick, no? What I like about looking at all three of these coins is that we can study the details that are missing on our cob. This can go a long way in identifying coins.

One last note: the ANA (for American Numismatic Association) has just launched a digital archive of 127 years’ worth of The Numismatist magazine. Both Dan and my father, Frank Sedwick, have written articles for the magazine! Check out the story here: http://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/2015/12/ANA-launches-digital-archive-of-The-Numismatist-magazine.html

 

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The Office Travels to the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association Fourth Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona

19 Oct
US Mexican Association image

U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association

 

 

Last week Dan, Augi and I traveled to Phoenix for the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association Fourth Annual Convention in Scottsdale from Thursday, October 15 to Saturday, October 17. While the show is small, some of the most influential dealers and auctioneers in the business attend. The convention is open to members of the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association who were treated to both great “coin watching” and a good selection of outstanding seminars hosted by experts in the field, including Dan. Dan spoke about counterfeit coins to a packed house, so obviously there’s lots of interest in the subject. One gentleman who stopped by our table afterward mentioned that he had inadvertently bought a fake coin many years ago, but between buying The Practical Book of Cobs and listening to the lecture, he had a much better idea of what to look for when buying a coin. We also stressed to him the importance of buying and selling coins through bona fide dealers, i.e. dealers who display knowledge and answer your questions intelligently.

We had a table at the convention where we were busy showing auction lots for our upcomingDan with Customer at US Mex Show 2015 Treasure, World & U.S. Coin  Auction 18 to be held in Orlando, Florida on October 29, 2015.  The hearts and royals were a big hit, as they created an impressive display. We may never see so many of both in the same auction again! 

Another treat was when I got to meet the Executive Director of the American Numismatic Society, Ute Wartenberg Kagan, who was assisted at her table by Matt Wittmann, Assistant Curator of American Coins and Currency. It is vital that organizations like the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society thrive because they are repositories of knowledge and numismatic material that the average collector might never be able to access otherwise. Collecting is about learning as much as it is about owning.

Ute, Matt and Cori at US Mex Show

While it was a long way to go for a show, I’m glad we were once again able to go. Every show is an opportunity to buy, sell, meet people, show auction lots, and learn!

FUN for All: Report from the summer FUN show in Orlando

16 Jul
Our July FUN Show Table

Our July FUN Show Table

Last week Augi and I manned a table at the summer FUN (for Florida United Numismatists) show at the Orlando Convention Center. It was an unexpectedly busy show, especially considering that our sweltering summers generally have locals running to cooler climates like rats deserting a sinking ship. I guess good inventory trumps hot, humid weather. Check out our online store for our current inventory and great deals and visit our eBay store for more great stuff. If you’re buying, we’re selling!

Mora manning our table

Mora manning our table

While coin collecting is mostly an adult addiction, it’s nice to see that the FUN show offers treats for the youngsters. The youngest member of our team and Augi’s daughter, Mora, not only spent time scrutinizing our coins, but she also panned for gold just like in the Wild West and learned to carve the die of a hobo nickel. I wonder what she’ll know how to do by the time she graduates from elementary school.

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Mora carving a hobo nickel

Mora and Josie Beach carving a hobo nickel

So, if you want to visit a coin show with your children, know that many have fun programs that can entertain and educate. Who knows, maybe that will be the spark to create a collector out of him or her.

So You Think You Can Dance (or Produce an Auction Catalog)

25 Mar

We’re in the home stretch with our Sedwick Treasure and World Coin Lot cards for TA #17Auction #17 catalog! Let me tell you why it’s a Herculean effort by a few people…and a job best left to the pros.

Auction and catalog production begins many months prior to the auction date as we reach out to consignors to send or bring their consignments to us for evaluation and approval. This is the really fun part of the auction process because we never know what’s going to come through the door, and picking up packages at the post office seems a bit like Christmas. While most consignments consist of coins, there are also great consignments of artifacts and good old-fashioned pirate stuff:  swords, cannons, cannonballs, blunderbusses. Each coin and artifact is weighed and measured.Dan working on TA #17 (2)

Once we’ve decided that enough is enough and the deadline for consignments has drawn to an end, the real work begins. The order of lots is established (see the table of contents of any one of our catalogs for how we concatenate), and lot cards are designed and printed. Now we can shuffle lots from their temporary order to the lot-card order, and Dan can begin to study each auction lot to write up a description for the catalog. At the same time, Augi fires up his photography studio to begin the time-consuming process of photographing each lot. He will finish the process on the computer to arrive at the beautiful images you see in our catalogs.

In between we must find time to go to shows to promote auction items and give buyers a chance to see coins first hand. This is the best opportunity for anyone who has an interest to really be sure that a coin is what we say it is, so if you want to view auction lots for our upcoming auction on April 29-30, 2015, come see us at either the Whitman Baltimore Spring Expo on March 26-29, 2015, at the Baltimore Convention Center or at Chicago International Coin Fair on April 9-12, 2015, at the Crown Plaza Chicago O’Hare.

After our auction catalog is professionally printed, we quickly send catalogs out to many, many potential bidders. Are you one of them? The link to the auction will be available soon on our website, so stay tuned!Last lot TA #17

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