Georg Frederick Kolbe, Crestville/CA21. January 2010
Overwhelming results at the George Frederick Kolbe book sale of the Stack library
For only the second time, a single-day numismatic literature auction sale has grossed over a million dollars. On June 1, 2004, the first one thousand lots of the John J. Ford, Jr. library brought 1.66 million dollars, eclipsing the four Armand Champa library sales (just under 1 million dollars), and the five Harry Bass library sales (1.25 million dollars).
And on January 9th, 2010, George Frederick Kolbe / Fine Numismatic Books sold at public auction 400 highlights from the Stack Family numismatic and 100 duplicates from the American Numismatic Society Library. Estimates for the 500 lots came to $540,000 and the total hammer price was $873,000, exceeding the estimates by over 60%. Including the 15% buyer premium, the sale realized slightly over a million dollars. Every lot found a buyer and the per lot average of $2,000 is the highest ever achieved.
Sixty-eight registered bidders jammed the saleroom and, along with a dozen telephone bidders and over thirty Internet bidders, purchased over 90% of the lots in the sale, overwhelming unusually strong participation by absentee bidders.
Those interested in learning more about this landmark sale or in accessing the catalogue and prices realized list online may do so by visiting: www.numislit.com. A limited number of well illustrated catalogues, including a prices realized list, may still be ordered by sending $35.00 to George Frederick Kolbe, Fine Numismatic Books, P. O. Drawer 3100, Crestline, CA 92325.
The first 190 lots in the sale were comprised of works on American numismatics from the Stack Family library. As he came to the podium to call the first few lots in the sale, Harvey Stack, who joined the family firm in 1947, received a hearty round of applause. Harvey returned to the podium a little later, to auction lots 79 and 80. Lot 80 was Joseph Stack’s three volume photographic record of the fabled collection of $2.50, $5.00, and $10.00 United States gold coins from the collection of Colonel E. H. R. Green; it and lot 79, original inventory records and other materials relating to the acquisition by Stacks of Colonel Green’s gold coins, shared top honors, each realizing $80,500 [all results reported include the 15% buyer premium]. The family’s complete bound set of Stack’s auction sale catalogues brought $63,250 and their complete bound set of Coin Galleries publications, estimated at $5000, brought $29,900. Henry Chapman’s 1883 Andrews work on large cents realized $3,220 on a $300 estimate and the 1911 Henry Chapman Siedlecki sale with plates sold for $5,750 on a $3000 estimate. Several classic works on large cents from the library of Henry Hines, often filled with letters and research notes, all brought prices well over their estimates, as did two inventories of the Louis Eliasberg collection. The 1915 United States Coin Co. sale of the Granberg collection with plates was estimated at $4,000 and realized $5,750. The first six volumes of The Numismatist brought $20,700 and the American Journal of Numismatics sold for $14,950. J. N. T. Levick’s own annotated copy of his April 27-29, 1865 coin collection (postponed to May 28, 1865 due to the assassination of President Lincoln), sold for $12,650 and a large paper copy of Hickcox’s 1858 “Historical Account of American Coinage” realized $19,950.
Classic works on ancient and foreign numismatic topics generally brought strong prices, including a complete original set of Georgii Mikhailovic’s monumental work on Russian coins, bound in thirteen volumes, at $51,750. Classic Russian coin sales all brought well over estimate and an original Haeberlin on Aes Grave realized $4,887. Gnecchi’s great three volume work on Roman medallions brought $3,737 and a complete run Ars Classica ancient coin sales sold well. Classic sets on medieval and modern German numismatics included Bahrfeldt on Marienburg at $4,255 and Fiala on Brunswick at $1,840.
Highlights among the sale of 100 duplicate numismatic works from The American Numismatic Society included classic European auction sale catalogues featuring ancient coins, among them Rhousopoulos, Montagu and Ponton d’Amécourt on Roman gold coins, Bunbury, Lockett, Ratto Byzantine, and others. Nearly all sold for well over estimate. Browning’s original 1925 Early Quarter Dollars of the United States sold for $2,760 and Nützel’s 1898-1902 Katalog der Orientalische Münzen realized $$4,600 on a $1,250 estimate. Miles’ Numismatic History of Rayy sold for a reasonable $690, while a nine volume set of Sestini’s Lettere e Dissertazioni Numismatiche from the Newell library realized $3,450 on a $1,500 estimate. The rare 1925 W. W. C. Wilson sale of American and Canadian coins and medals, with photographic plates, sold for $3,737 on a $2,500 estimate.
A second Stack Family Library sale is planned for June 2010. Catalogues may be reserved by sending $10 to Kolbe at P. O. Box 3100, Crestline, CA 92325-3100.