Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

I need more Redfields !!!

30 posts in this topic

Miko...when I first started collecting Morgans a couple years ago, I saw the Redfields pop up on Yahoo and ebay auctions. At first, I asked myself what they were and why people would want rough toned overgraded coins (at least the 65s). Then I did a little homework and read the Redfield story..about what this guy did and why...and I was fascinated. I won one in a Yahoo auction because I wanted what I consider a piece of numismatic history (a 97-P in a red 65 slab that is probably no more than 62). Since then I've picked up 4 others--3 rather common date red slabs and a really wildly toned black slab 90-S.

 

Now I'm not a slab guy...I've got a few ANACS/NGC/PCGS holdered coins---but the Paramount slabbed original Redfields...like the GSA Carsons...( I even have a couple Binion NGC dollars...another neat story) hold a particular place for me...I really enjoy the story behind them and love to tell it at coin clubs to all those "veterans" who may have heard of the hoard but don't know the whole thing. To me...that's what collecting should be all about...finding an area that brings you happiness.

 

Yeah...I paid way too much for the coins I got if you look at it from purely a grade scale...but to me I get a kick out of knowing I have a few of the dollars that sat in that old man's basement in Reno...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnny - If you have a link to the Redfield story, can you post that? If not, or if you are so inclined, please tell the story - I'd be most interested and appreciative.

 

Hoot

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hoot and Miko....don't have a particular link handy, but if you do a Yahoo or Google search under LaVere Redfield, it'll pop you up a couple things which tell basically the same story.

 

Redfield by all accounts was not a collector or numismatist. Post Depression he made millions on real estate, oil, and some shrewd stock deals while working as some kind of financier in Los Angeles. He decided on a quieter life, so he took his millions and moved to Reno and became a gentleman farmer.

 

By some accounts, he was rather reclusive and quirky....eccentric. (I have yet to be able to find a picture of him.) He also didn't trust the government and banks, didn't care for paper money and the "promise" of paying in silver, and absolutely hated paying taxes.

 

He started hoarding silver dollars, preferring the hard asset over the paper. Being rather prominent, he was able to make contacts at the local banks...where he would buy 1000 coin bags of dollars at face value. He'd take the bags home and toss them down the chute into the coal bin of his house. Occasionally he would peep into the bag to see what he got, and we do know that he occasionally sold some of his bags to prominent dollar dealers of the time...but there's really nothing to indicate that he was particularly knowledgable about collector value.

 

It's figured that at it's peak, the hoard contained over 600 bags...600,000 silver dollars. He sold some, as I mentioned, and did get robbed a few times...When he died in the early 70's, there were still over 400 bags in the hoard sitting in his basement. Story has it that an IRS assessor was with the family when they went to the house to start working his estate...and a note was found from Redfield telling the family not to let the IRS know about his little stash in the basement.

 

A company called A-Mark bought the whole hoard at auction in 1976 or so for somewhere around 7 million...consigned it to one of their subsidiaries (Paramount)...who slabbed them and sold them to the public...without the internet mind you wink.gif The coins come in 3 grades...MS 60 (black slab), MS 65 (red slab), and MS 65+ (green slab...I've only seen pictures of one of those).....this is before the grading services and when we went psychotic on all the different MS grades. Most of the 60's I've seen are better than 60...and all the 65s I've seen are not that good (some are close though...)

 

That's the basic story.....as far as I know there's no comprehensive list of what was in the hoard, although folks have put together a list of the dates that have been seen....and there's no real market pricing/Blue sheet type value that I've seen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I don't have my "Comprehensive Encyclopedia of U.S. Silver Dollars" at work with me.....nobody really knows complete numbers....there were some Peace in the hoard but far outnumbered by Morgans.

 

As for keys...don't know about 93-S or 89-CC off top of my head...I'll have to look it up. All the other Carson dates and other keys were covered, I'm pretty sure.

 

I'll dig up some more info on the known stuff in the hoard and post it soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also have collected Redfields off and on over the years and still own one of the 65's, an 82-s probably a 64 if slabbed. I kept this one because it has the famous peach stain look. Besides the hoard of Morgans there cans of peaches, supposedly stored near by and leaked through the bag.

 

One of the other interesting tidbits was his habit of when the bags arrived, burning a hole in them with a cigarette to look for rarer dates. If they didn't meet his liking he would ship them off to the local casinos. The haul weighed 11 tons when it was removed from his basement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A little more on the Redfield Hoard.

According to Wayne Miller There was close to a full bag of 95-S dollars and approximately the same amount of 93-CC dollars in the hoard. The coins were run through a coin counter supposedly by the company who appraised the hoard. Many of the 93-CC and 95-S were marred on the face of Liberty and the Eagles Breast with a very large and noticeable scrape. Most of the dollars were well struck with good luster, but were unsaleable because of the damage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most were "S" Mint Peace Dollars. He went to Banks in the Reno area and bought bags of Peace Dollars. Most he threw in his basement, where they sat in a pile until he died. Someone spilled a yellow liquid (conjectured to be Chicken Soup or Peaches) on the coins in his basement.

 

Many BU coins were stained yellow. He was a miser and would not spend any of his sizeble fortune on himself or anyone else. When he died, his children found $402,000 in Peace Dollars in his basement. The Hoard contained a few Morgans mixed in but it was mostly Peace Dollars.

 

Paramount was the first company to organize and market many of the coins in their holders. In the process of counting them, one of Paramounts Employees used a Coin Counting Machine. The machine scored thousands of the coins with radial scratches.

 

Between the yellow stains and the scratches from the coin counter, there were not too many coins left that were over MS60/62. A-Mark also marketed some of the Redfield Hoard. Maybe only 4 or 5% of the coins in the Hoard were higher graded MS63/65 (or Paramount MS65's?). The hoard also contained very few of the 1927-S, 1928'S or 1934-S key-date Peace Dollars, probably because Redfield would not pay more than face value for them. Almost all of the poorly struck, banged up 1922-S through 1925-S Peace dollars came from the Redfield Hoardtongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oldtrader, where did you get information that they were mostly peace dollars. I I have never heard that claim before. In fact I have heard just the opposite. I'd be interested in the source of that information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A List of some of the Redfield Dates Morgans

1878-S, 1879-S, 1879-S reverse of 78, 1879-CC approx. 400, 1880-S, 1881-S, 1882-S, 1883-S, 1885-CC, 1886-S, 1887-S, 1888-S, 1889, 1889-S, 1890, 1890-S, 1890-CC, 1891, 1891-S 1891-CC, 1892-CC, 1893, 1893-CC, 1895-S, 1896, 1897, 1897-S, 1898-S, 1899-S, 1900-S, 1902-S,

 

Peace Dollars

1921-S, 1922-S, 1923-S, 1924-S, 1925-S, 1926-S, 1927-S, 1928-S, 1935-S

 

These figures came from a book written by Steve Ivy, and Ron Howard around 1984. Some of the dates went from several rolls to multiple bags. All dates from the hoard may not be included.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Johnny

The Redfield Hoard is a real interesting subject, but did have a lot of hearsay especially in the area of the contents of the hoard.

Too bad that Steve Markoff and Stacks never fully revealed what was included and not included as far as all dates and numbers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is stuck in my memory from an old Steve Ivy article back 20+ years ago. Maybe someone else has better numbers. These little nuggets pop-up in my brain which has now developed much better recall of ancient history than yesterday's events. This is based, I am sure, on the fact that he was getting most of his coins from Nevada Banks. I will do some checking and try to find more information on the make up of the hoard. tongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John Highfill, in his US Silver Dollar Encyclopedia states that there never was an exact inventory of the entire hoard, but the majority were common "S" Mint Morgans. Sorry for the misleading statement. I took it out of context from when the Hoard was first released and I guess there was a lot of bad information circulating.

 

Bowers, 2 volume Silver Dollar tome agrees with the mix stated by Highfill.:p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bowers, 2 volume Silver Dollar tome agrees with the mix stated by Highfill

 

With all due respect to Bowers, much of the info that went into his encyclopedia was not primary info. A large percentage of his work was merely a compilation of existing info that he did not personally verify.

 

From an academic perspective, the encyclopedia was a nightmare because you never knew which bit of info you could trust. Same with the Breen general encyclopedia on US coins.

 

EVP

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miller in his book states:

"At the time of the sale, which took place on January 27, 1976, only Steve Markoff, the winning bidder; Stacks, the firm which had initially appraised the collection and submitted a bid which was surpassed by Markoff; and the lawers handling the estate, KNEW ITS EXACT CONTENTS. The firm of Bowers and Ruddy, which bid $7.2 million dollars before acceding to Markoff, did not know the contents of the hoard."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are correct. I think the estate lawyers knew how many bags of dollars there were. But, I get the impression from reading several articles and the Highfill book that the numbers of any given date were an approximation unless they were cataloged by a buyer. tongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is the trouble with a large book or books in this case. Unless you keep careful footnotes and attributions, the reader does not know whether the information was verified or heresay. I get the impression with Bowers sometimes that he writes more to entertain the reader, rather than to inform them. tongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With over 400K Redfield dollars, one would think that there would be enough to meet collector demand. How many of the hoard were actually slabbed in Paramount holders, how many have remained raw, and how many are slabbed in other holders?

Link to comment
Share on other sites