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Buss Rolls Out the Rarities for Auction

January 17, 1985|DON ALPERT

Interest continues to grow as the date nears for auction of the Jerry Buss coin collection. The auction contains more than 2,500 lots and includes three major rarities--the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known; the 1804 silver dollar, 15 known, and the 1894-S Barber dime, 14 known. About $5 million is expected to be realized in the three-day auction, Jan. 28-30. The first two sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Salon of Le Bel Age Hotel at 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd. in West Hollywood; the third session begins at 8 p.m.

These major rarities will be auctioned at the first two sessions at the hotel, which is a new site. The 1913 Liberty nickel, graded as Proof 63, is expected to sell for $250,000 and up, according to the cataloguers. The 1894-S dime, a Proof 60, is penciled in for $60,000 and up. Both of these coins will be on the block the first day of the auction. The 1804 dollar, second reverse, is graded Mint State 60-plus and will be offered on the second day. It is expected to garner $200,000 and up.

However, while these heady pieces will only be in the range of a limited few, many other quite affordable coins are listed. For example, a lot of two 1835 half cents is expected to go for $35 to $50; a 1912 MS-65 Lincoln cent is in the $70-to-$100 range; you might be able to pick up a Proof 60 1894 Liberty Head nickel for $150 to $200; a 1927-D MS-63 Indian Head nickel for $150 to $200; an 1890 Proof 60 dime, one of 590 proofs struck, for $275 to $375; a 1907 MS-60 quarter for between $60 and $80, plus numerous other selections. Definitely worth mentioning is a double Pan Pacific set in the original copper frame. It has a reserve price of $175,000 placed on it.

The Buss auction, an accumulation that began when the Lakers owner was only 11, may help point to the direction the coin market will take in 1985. It is being conducted by Superior Galleries, 9301 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Lot viewing will be by appointment only through Jan. 26. Telephone (213) 278-9740. A 10% buyer's commission will be added to the selling price. Question: Several years ago, I came into possession of a 1959-D cent with the peculiar engraving E-64 on the reverse side. Because it fit precisely into the columns of the Lincoln Memorial in upside-down position, it was not easily discernible. My opinion is that the engraving was done at the Mint, but for what purpose? I would be interested in its significance and its increased value for what appears to be a rarity.

--R.G.V.B. Answer: Sorry, but I don't share your opinion. Anyone can tamper with a coin, but that doesn't increase its value. In fact, love tokens are rather well known to collectors. They were created with initials being engraved in a rather flowery fashion. I have no idea what E-64 might be, and I suspect that the Mint could not help you either. Offhand, I'd say that your coin is an oddity, not a rarity.

Q: I have a coin about the size and weight of a silver dollar. It is dated 1965. One side has a woman's profile with Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina F.D. around the edge. The other side has a three-quarter likeness of Winston Churchill with his name printed around the right side plus other markings. Could you please tell me what it is and if it has any value?

--S.A. A: Your coin is a commemorative British issue produced to honor its wartime prime minister. It is known as a Churchill crown and is worth about $1 to collectors. Q: I have the following coins. Would you quote their approximate worth? They are: 1869 shield nickel (very good); 1844-O half dollar (very good); 1838 half dollar (very good); 1926 Sesquicentennial half dollar (good); 1925 Stone Mountain (fine); 1920 Pilgrim Tercentenary (very good), and 1892 (fine) and 1893 (very good) Columbian Exposition half dollars.

--S.A.B. A: Your nickel, one of 16 million, is worth $6; the half dollar is $4; Sesquicentennial and Pilgrim Tercentenary are $10 each; Stone Mountain commemorative half dollar is $15; the Columbian commemoratives are $6 each.

Q: What, if any, is the value of the following: $2 bills 25 years and older; wheat pennies; 1975 dollars, and 1890 silver dollar with no mint mark?

--R.L.M. A: Your $2 bills probably have no premium value; you'd have to go back into the '20s in most instances in order to get to collector pieces. Wheat cents are worth 1 1/2 cents each and up, depending upon date and condition. The 1975 Eisenhower dollars released for circulation are worth face value. The Morgan silver dollar is worth $10 and up.

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