The end of the calendar year means so many different things to different people, whether that means an extended visit with family, a holiday religious service or hours spent scanning the sky for a sleigh streaking between the stars behind a team of reindeer.
Unfortunately, it also can mean a number of other things that are less pleasant, including holiday shopping. Plenty of people like to shop, but in December it often feels like the best course of action would involve climbing into a full suit of body armor before venturing out to the mall, where navigating from one store to the next equates to running a gauntlet, or perhaps jaywalking in a busy intersection during rush hour – you might survive, but it’s hazardous, to say the least, and leaves many survivors pretty frazzled.
Heritage Auctions has a solution for those who feel the urge to come up with holiday gifts, including presents for those who collect. In addition to the auctions that Heritage holds throughout the year, many individual departments hold weekly, online auctions, many of which offer items at lower prices than those found in larger auctions, and there are some exceptional offerings available … any of which can be acquired from the comfort of the family couch. Some of our favorites:
1. Among the top lots in the Dec. 19 Internet Coin Auction is a 1908 $20 No Motto MS66+ PCGS. CAC. This Saint-Gaudens double eagle is considered almost universally to feature the most beautiful design of any U.S. coin – an opinion apparently backed by the U.S. government, which copied the obverse design for its gold bullion program beginning in 1986. Of particular note is the “No Motto” designation. When the coins initially were struck, in 1907, the words “In God We Trust” did not appear. That changed the following year, but some examples – like this one – were struck before the decision to add the phrase was finalized and then implemented.
2. A 1993 Muhammad Ali Signed Fossil Watch Display Photographs Lot of 10, available in Heritage’s Dec. 17 Sunday Internet Sports Collectibles Auction, is an extraordinary group of photos of the legendary boxer known simply as “The Greatest” as he stood over Sonny Liston at the end of their second bout in 1965. Fossil ventured into the sports world when it made watches honoring Ali in 1993; this lot includes 10 of the photos – each of which is signed by Ali – that were offered with the watches. Each is signed in silver paint pen and numbered out of 7,500.
3. One of the extraordinary lots in the Dec. 19 Tuesday Internet Auction is a Continental Currency February 17, 1776 $2/3 Extremely Fine note. Distinct in appearance because of its vertical orientation and featuring a Fugio design with 13 rings representing the 13 U.S. colonies, the note is dated Feb. 17, 1776 – nearly five months before the United States became a country. In lieu of a federal mint, this note was printed by Philadelphia-based Hall and Sellers. Also of note is the fact that the date on which this note – with a denomination of two-thirds of a dollar – was printed was the only day that notes with fractional denominations were printed by the Continental Congress.
4. Any serious collector of comics and comic art will appreciate this Batman: the Animated Series The Joker Production Cel (Warner Brothers, 1993), which is one of the gems available in Heritage’s Sunday Internet Comics Auction that ends this Sunday, Dec. 17. A close-up portrait of “the Clown Prince of Crime,” this hand-painted production cel is from the 49th episode, “The Man Who Killed Batman,” which premiered Feb. 1, 1993. The image includes a WB seal in the upper left corner, and the Warner Bros. COA is attached to the back of the frame.
5. This Frankenstein 1970 (Allied Artists, 1958) movie poster, which is in Heritage’s Dec. 24 Sunday Internet Movie Poster Auction, commemorates the black-and-white Howard Koch film in which the last of the Frankensteins, in need of money, rents out his castle to a film crew while he tries to complete his ancestor’s experiments in creation of life. Baron Victor von Frankenstein, played by Boris Karloff, spends the new income on an atomic reactor, with which he creates a living being that resembles himself before Nazi torture left him disfigured.
Written by: Steve Lansdale