Articles

What's It Worth? How Valuable Is Confederate Currency? Today I’d like to talk about Confederate currency. All currency seems to be collectible — especially prior to 1940. Many pieces of American currency are just worth 1% to 10% over the face value, but of course there are many examples that are worth thousands of dollars for a single $1 bill. Most Confederate currency bills are worth between $5 and $20 each. Condition is a big issue. If Confederate bills are very crisp and have not been folded or circulated, they can be worth $10 to $100 each. read more
What's It Worth? Aggressive Offer + Patience = Last Laugh In 1992, a local dealer bought a group of pens at an Orlando auction for $50. He called me because other dealers were offering him $5,000 for one of them; he was anxious to sell but wanted to know the “real” value. I told him I would beat any offer; later he claimed the offer had risen to $10,000 from a New York buyer. Although I couldn’t see it in person, the description sounded intriguing. Since we are aggressive buyers, I offered him $11,000. I bought this odd Waterman snake pen and the “pen fanciers” went crazy. read more
What's It Worth? Is Bullion Ever Collectible? Yes. We are always buying gold coins, but some are worth more than their gold value. Everyone likes to have silver or gold in their portfolio, but 99 percent of bullion coins are just that — bullion only — and worth only the gold value. At any given time, it can be worth from 5 percent under to 6 percent over gold value. These bullion gold coins are minted and sold by most countries. South Africa has krugerrands, China has pandas and Austria, Mexico, Canada and other countries mint 1 oz. read more
What's It Worth? Rare Local Treasure Brings History But Not Dollars Tokens are fun to collect. Many families have tucked away bus tokens or WWII tokens that are worth pennies. This local, historical Maas Brothers treasure just surfaced. “Treasure” does not always mean wealth, and indeed, the historical value of this week’s find exceeds its monetary value. While there have been recorded single-token sales of $12,000 and more for 1870s Arizona territories one-cent tokens (pre-statehood), most “trade tokens” bring $1 to $10 each. read more
What's It Worth? Selling Online in the Time of Social Distancing We were very happy with our international auction results this month. Our continental porcleain and fine and decorative arts sale was already “loaded up” for our sale prior to the lockdown, so Katrina and I conferred with our consignors and decided to go forward. It was a good decision. Held one week ago, this auction was our third most successful online auction ever. Porcelains went for as much as $7,000, with other items going as high as $20,000. A majority of these auction items were sold overseas. One item we were a bit worried about fared quite well, achieving almost $9,000. read more
What's It Worth? Understanding the Value of Silver Dollars There seems to be a lot of confusion about valuation of silver dollars. The prices wax and wane due to collectors’ whims, the silver value and of course, as always — condition and provenance. Silver dollars from 1878 to 1935 are worth roughly $15 to $25 apiece. Of course, there are many variations; and certain dates — like 1889-CC, 1892-CC, 1893, 1893-S, 1894, 1895-O, 1878-CC, 1879-CC, 1880-CC, 1881-CC, 1882-CC, 1883-CC, 1884-CC, 1885-CC, 1890-CC, 1891-CC, 1893-CC, 1893-O, 1895, 1895-S, and 1903-O — can bring huge premiums, from $50 all the way to $20,000 apiece! read more
What's It Worth? What is the Value Of “Stuff” During a Crisis? There are several points of view on this subject — some studious, some passionate and some poignant. Some say collectibles tend to suffer a bit, and we agree. But many collectors use this opportunity to buy up watches, coins, fine art, etc., while the prices are lower and interest has waned. (Gold, however, is very high.) At Hess Fine Art and Old Northeast Jewelers — being a family business — our highest priority is ensuring our customers and team are safe and healthy. read more
What's It Worth? Gifts from Juan Perón to his Personal Physician We received a call from a California jeweler with an incredible estate. A relative of the infamous doctor James Poppen — and a dear friend and confidant of Juan Perón, the president of Argentina — had decided to sell Poppen’s estate. It is hard to assign value because of the heavy gold content, so we were able to purchase at 25 percent over gold. While the retail value on each piece might be in the high hundreds to thousands, we were able to buy the entire collection for $15,000. Featured: 18 karat gold 156 gram ruby-encrusted cigarette case signed by Perón. read more
What's It Worth? To Clean Or Not To Clean One of the most enduring debates in the world of fine art and collectibles is more nuanced than just whether or not to clean an item. This controversial subject is generally debated in a cerebral and studious manner among aficionados, experts, collectors and academics. But often the discussion turns ugly. I have never seen fisticuffs or weaponry used, but believe me, the discussion is passionate. Included among the naysayers (those who think an item should be left alone) are art historians, originalists (my term) and purists. read more
What's It Worth? Tokens and American History At various times during our country’s illustrious history, private entities have issued tokens to be used by their own clientele, or in the case of local government, by their citizens. In the past couple of months we have seen an inordinate amount come through our doors. Many gold tokens were legal tender in California and were called California gold tokens. They came in many shapes and sizes and were called fractional because they were worth a quarter or a half of a dollar. read more