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$30 Million Collection Bought/Sold

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Perhaps you have already heard of this or seen it but I read in this morning's paper that Legend brokered a deal where an anonymous "western states collector" has purchased a collection of about 1000 pattern coins for over $30 Million. The coins span the period from 1792 to 1942. Highlights include test designs for the first pennies made in 1792 and six coins from 1872 that are often referred to as "Amazonian" patterns because the female figure portraying liberty is much stronger and regal looking than earlier versions. It took the seller about 10 years to accumulate which sounds amazing to me itself.





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This may explain why Laura Sperber and the rest of the Legend crew were bouncing around like high school kids when I was at Baltimore. I'm sure their commission was nice!!


Scott :hi:

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First I'd like thank our customer who has the resources, love of coins, and vision for allowing us to work with him and build his already great collection into one of the greatest collections ever formed. We view his legacy as our legacy as well and have always worked hard to make his collection the best it can be while letting him enjoy the thrill of building it. He has been a good friend to Legend and it has been a dream to work with him. We are proud to have worked with him on this recent acquistion of a major Pattern collection that is valued well in excess of $30,000,000.00!


Our friend began collecting Patterns about 4 years ago. A Stacks Rothschild Collection catalog with some Amazonian silver patterns caught his eye. So he directed me to attend, evaluate, and buy them (the sale was all raw coins). We did very well and got the grades we calculated. I think his favorite coin purchased was an silver Amazonain Half in GEM. The Bickford $10 Gold Pattern (which he now owns) was one of the highlights of the sale-but he was not focused at the time on Gold Patterns.


Between then and now, when really rare and pretty Patterns came up, we'd be instructed to view them and buy them if we liked them. The majority of Patterns we bought were copper. We would "cherry pick" through major Pattern auctions (like the Millenium Sale and this years FUN Sale) to get the best pieces. We'd firgure our numbers, but in the end, we'd always stretch to buy the really special pieces. Before we bought this huge collection of 1000 pieces, we had already built a collection with 400 coins.


During the time while he was just dabbling we became aware of a mega size collection of patterns being formed. We did't know it until we were told about it-but I knew the collector well. He had always worked through a series of agents.


I began watching him compete with us in the major auctions as we got a bit more serious. Our track record was better than his at buying. But he was always there in the fray bidding. I started to realized his set and our customers set together would be a perfect match. I had heard this collection has many major rarities in it and was big on Gold Patterns (something we totally lacked). So there were two unique copper patterns I knew for sure the collector needed as well as our customer needed. I told our buyer to pay whatever it takes and buy them. I figured it would help open the door to buy the set. I had spoken to my customer about buying this major deal-and he was interested. He did feel it was a pipe dream and that I would be rejected immediately.


By chance I had a meeting wth the owner of the pattern set at a major show. I looked him right in the eye and told him (not asked) that we'd like to buy his collection. He sat back in his chair and said: "Laura, you caught me at the right time". I about fell over! He asked if I knew the size (which I did not-nor did he!). He asked if I had any idea hwo much it could be? I told him we were not afraid (while I was thinking how my customer would shoot me). I also promised his we would do everything possible to make it a smooth transaction. I was promised a list of the coins for sale and prices within 2 weeks. We did sign a lock tight confidentiality agreement. Even after the deal was long done, the seller was still complimenting us on how we didn't peep a word until we got the release. Apparently not all his prior dealings with others had gone so well.


Sure enough, in 2 weeks, the list and the prices showed up. After spending 3 straight days looking at tiny numbers, all seemed fair. So I told my customer I recommend to proceed. The next step, George and I flew to teh sellers bank and viewed the coins. It took us 2 days to write up our comments. We were bug eyed after viewing so many coins!


The ANA Show got in the way and we all agreed to meet again the week after. Only this time, it was deal time. Our customer flew us on his private jet to see the collection. We spent the whole day going over the key coins. Life sure is easier when you make your airline schedule! Exhausted at the end of the day, we agreed to let the two collectors chat privately. They spoke for about a half hour. When the door swung open, they both seemed happy.


We were told they were working things out. Some more negotiating took place collector to collector via the phone over the next day or two. An agreement had been made, contracts were sent. In a day or two the monies were wired and the deal was done. It really was that simple.


Many coins from this incredible collection WILL be on display over time. We're discsusing displaying all the Amazonians early next year at a major show. Our customer now has the COMPLETE GOLD, ALUMINUN, COPPER, and GILT Sets. He has the finest Quitupple Stella. The list of amazing coins in this Pattern collection just goes on and on.


We were in the "right place" at the "right time" and the result is the all time finest monster Pattern collection has now been assembled. For me, it was really about thinking "out side the box" in order to help my customer build his set. He had actually said to me: "what are you going to say when he (the seller) tells you no?". Even he didn't think this deal was going to happen in the beginning. Once we started talking between parties, it seemed clear a deal would eventually be worked out. For me, it is absolutely the highlight of my numismatic career.


The Patterns are only one small part of this incredible collection we are exclusively building. Classic rarities our customer owns include:


1894S 10C NGC PR66


1884 $1 PCGS PR63

1885 $1 PCGS PR63

1920S $10 PCGS MS67

1907 $20 UHR NGC PR68

1927D $20 PCGS MS66


All of the collections we have built for him (save for his Saints) easily rank as the all time FINEST KNOWNS. Sorry he is not ready to list everything on any registry as his sets are all still works in progress. He is not trying to be the next Eliasberg. His demands have always been about quality and eye appeal. We have passed up many rarities because of problems or bad eye appeal. He refuses to get caught in the stigma (especially with Patterns) of having to find every coin and fiull every hole with coins-even if they are junk.


Our customer obviously has a deep love of coins. He also knows it is a very stable long term investment. He trusts third party grading or else he would not be investing as much as he is. Both he and I feel very strongly that Patterns are one of the last areas in the market that are truely undervalued as a group. This is why this monster tranaction was not hard to do.


Hope this story wasn't too trivial, but many people have asked us how it happened, what is it like, and can I tell them anything about our customer.


And FYI: this story hit the AP wires big time. As of Sunday night, we were in over 135 major newspapers. All the major TV stations said something, or like CNN and FOX put us on their tickers. Yahoo and AOL made us front page stories for a while.


Its cool to know other than collectors, the world DOES think coins are neat. I am told we have hundreds of emails and I dread all the calls we have to retrun tomorrow. It wil give us something to do for a few days!


P.S. I'd also like to thank the seller of the collection. He is wonderful, sincere, and was straight forward to work with. He also has one wicked sense of humor!


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