ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A rare St. Louis coin collection that sold for more than $23 million at a two-day New York City auction can be traced to when the collection's 102-year-old owner received an 1859 one-cent piece more than nine decades ago from his grandfather.
Retired St. Louis lawyer Eric P. Newman only paid about $7,500 for the 1,800 piece collection of early American coins that sold for much more at the auction. Most of the coins had been off the market for 50 years. Auctioneer Jim Halperin said the items represent just one-third of Newman's total collection.
Another auction of foreign coins is planned for January and is expected to garner at least $10 million, Halperin said.
Proceeds from both sales will go toward supporting the nonprofit Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. The society operates the Newman Money Museum, which is part of the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis. Newman is a 1935 law graduate of the school.
Halperin, co-chairman of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, called Newman one of the world's most accomplished numismatists, or professional coin collectors. He's written at least five well-received books and countless articles on the topic in a journey that began with a present from his grandfather when Newman was just seven.