Monday Morning Brief for April 25, 2022: Bass Collection sale

April 25, 2022 2 min read

Monday Morning Brief for April 25, 2022: Bass Collection sale

By William T. Gibbs , Coin World, Published: Apr 25, 2022, 7 AM

The decision by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation to remove the foundation’s collection of gold coins and patterns from the American Numismatic Association’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and to sell them at auction to raise funds for charitable purposes should come as no surprise. Market conditions make it good time to sell desirable coins like those in the Bass Collection.

The Bass foundation and the ANA have long had a strong relationship. Harry Bass was a longtime collector and numismatist and a major supporter of the ANA. The partnership between the foundation and the ANA has been fruitful and, based on comments from both parties, should continue after the last of the Bass coins are removed from the ANA museum.

I have spent time reviewing the Bass exhibit at the ANA museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado; it is a wonderful collection and the coins are remarkable. While the decision to remove the collection from the museum was “bittersweet” in the words of the executive director of the foundation, the moneys raised from the sale of the coins will go to good causes in the Dallas area, where the Bass foundation is located.

For collectors, the coming availability of the Bass coins is good news. All of the coins in the exhibit have been off the market for decades. It is likely that the sale of the unique 1870-S Indian Head $3 coin, last sold in 1982, will set a record for the denomination and make the winning bidder very happy. Collectors of gold coins should be eager to bid on many of the fresh-to-market coins in the collection once they appear at auction.

It is also refreshing to see no apparent ill will between the ANA and the foundation over the decision to sell the collection. I remember, as the principal reporter covering the story, the anger and the finger-pointing that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh attempted to sell its numismatic and philatelic collections. Local collectors and organizations sued to halt the deaccessioning of the collection; the legal battle was long and bitter.

Kudos to the ANA and the Bass foundation for reaching the decision in a graceful and positive manner.

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