This report was supplied by Eric Eigner of Drake Sterling Numismatics.
The NYICC has always been the most prestigious international coin show on the numismatic calendar. Historically held at the glamorous Waldorf Astoria, this year’s show occupied two floors of the modern Grand Hyatt hotel near the famous Grand Central station. The show itself filled the Grand Ballroom, while the lower level was dedicated to auction viewings and the auctions themselves.
I arrived on the Thursday morning to register early and then joined the queue to get into the ballroom. The line was long, and once I got inside the show itself was reasonably busy. Almost every table had a crowd of collectors around it, and it wasn’t long before gaps began appearing in the coin displays as coins got sold. With ninety-two dealers displaying their wares, and with almost every table surrounded by people, you can imagine the energy and bustle in the room. It was certainly a challenge to buy, though not because of a lack of range on offer!
Indeed, the variety of coins on offer was impressive, although I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the coins available. I don’t think I found even a single high-grade sovereign, while the range of Australian silver and copper coins was very thin on the ground. Fortunately, I did find a lovely 1893 Sydney veiled head half sovereign in PCGS MS62, as well as a few odd sovereigns in lesser grade. There was also a nice run of better Sydney Mint sovereigns, although the selling prices were too high, in my opinion.
Most exciting were the 1855 and 1856 Sydney Mint sovereigns that were on display. Both coins were found in the wreck of the SS Central America, which was a ship that sunk in 1857. What makes the coins special are their very high grades. Both are amongst the finest of their years, while the 1855 in particular, graded MS62+, is the third-finest certified by PCGS, and would be worth over AU$100,000. It is surreal to imagine these two coins at the bottom of the Atlantic for over a century, after having been in circulation for only two years or less. As an interesting side note, both coins were certified alongside a small pinch of authentic San Francisco gold dust found on the SS Central America, hand-signed by the Chief Scientist of the SS Central America recovery programme, and enclosed in a holder the size of a mouse pad. Both coins were to be auctioned eventually, but no details on estimates were available at that stage.
For British collectors, there was a lovely 1952 proof penny on display. Priced at US$250,000 (about AU$340,000), the coin is a one-off and is the only example of a British 1952 penny, as either a proof or currency issue.
On the whole, it was a great show to attend, with a wide range of coins on display and great dealers to meet, all in a warm and convivial atmosphere. I look forward to the next show in 2021, and hope more dealers and collectors from Australia can attend.