Damon coins sell at auction for $548,000
NEW YORK » A proof set of 14 coins made to commemorate the 1876 U.S. centennial sold for $548,000 yesterday at Doyle New York. The coins, which carried a high estimate of $300,000, have a face value of $43.
The coins drew the top price among 700 lots from the estate of Samuel Mills Damon, a Hawaii banker who died in 1924. The set, along with 26 other lots, was bought by one of Damon's descendants. The proof set was a business gift to the bank from Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. in the 19th century.
"This is really something that should be in Hawaii to represent the Damon family and its legacy," said Joanne Fujita of Honolulu, who bid on behalf of a Damon family member she declined to name. "We will be displaying them in public space."
Fujita also bought an 1871 copper token from a Wailuku plantation for $7,200 and a silver medal from the Royal Hawaiian Agriculture Society, circa 1850, for $33,600.
The auction lasted seven hours and totaled $3.9 million. About 40 coin dealers and collectors sat patiently in an Upper East Side salesroom that, in keeping with the Hawaiian theme, was decorated with yellow orchids. Three men wore colorful Hawaiian shirts.
There were 200 registered bidders, according to Doyle.
Hawaiian coins and currency generated some of the most spirited bidding in an auction hotly anticipated in numismatic circles.
An 1883 Hawaii silver dollar, in near-mint condition and featuring a picture of King Kalakaua, fetched $192,000, more than double its high estimate. An 1880 Kingdom of Hawaii $10 bill, with a drawing of a cowboy lassoing cattle, sold for $268,000, more than four times the high estimate. It is one of only three ever issued.