Quick thinking on the part of a Heritage Auctions
staff member led to the discovery of two high-value coins re-entering the marketplace.
In January 2017 Bill Walker, a rare coin specialist in Heritage Auctions' Dallas office, was approached by a Florida coin dealer seeking to auction five rare coins. Walker began researching the coins and noticed that they all had been offered and sold in the firms' Florida United Numismatics (FUN) Auction in 2016. The winner purchased seven coins and the Florida dealer was offering five from the purchase.
Realizing that the coins likely did not belong to the same person who successfully won the coins in the auction, Walker delved even further into the matter. Curiously, the dealer was being offered the coins for less than the recent auction records. Walker called contacts in the hobby and then the winning bidder to learn if the coins had been sold following the auction. As expected, the winning bidder denied selling the coins at a loss and only then made aware they had been stolen.
Walker traced the coins' history and discovered they likely were stolen while on the way to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation by a mail carrier shipment shortly after the auction. They likely were sold then to a Florida dealer, who subsequently offered them to another dealer, who eventually contacted Heritage Auctions.
"I knew these coins could not have belonged to the winning bidder," Walker said. "I thought it was extremely odd that the seller was offering the coins for less than the recent auction price. Come to find out some coins had been broken out of their certified holder."
Thanks to Walker's work and quick thinking, the grateful owner has so far recovered five of seven stolen coins.