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1804 Dollar Sale Brings Anticipation, Hunger
April 18, 2008

I was hungry. The market for rare coins was hungrier last night. The Queller family collection featuring an 1804 dollar attracted a crowd. Hundreds packed the auction room at the convention center in Rosemont, Ill.

Bob Merrill opened the Heritage sale by introducing a formally attired Leo Frese as auctioneer just past 6:30 p.m.

I was hungry because I had had no supper. Bob Van Ryzin and I had gone directly from the bourse floor to the auction room. I was talking to as many people for as possible. Ironically, many of them were eating.

The sense of anticipation was strong. Dave Queller's son, Howard, said it was like waiting for a wedding. That was a good way to put it. When the bride, the 1804 dollar, became the center of attention it brought $3,737,500. That includes the 15% buyer's fee. It was sold to an Internet buyer who had never seen it.

After the sale, instead of rushing the buyer, which they couldn't do since he wasn't there, many individuals approached David Queller to ask him to autograph their auction catalogs, which he graciously did.

He told me afterwards that his knees were still shaking. That sounds like a father of the bride, too.

Then it was over. The market was fed. I got fed at 9 p.m.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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