The Charles Litman Collection
PCAC, December 6, 2003
The sale of an advanced collection of Hard Times tokens always causes excitement. Generally speaking, a collection of 125 of original 183 Low numbered tokens is considered and advanced collection. The collection offered here of 141 different tokens was built many years ago primarily by Donald Miller. His primary collection was sold intact to a New York collector over 15 years ago. However, Miller kept not only an extensive duplicate, but also a triplicate collection. Both of these collections were purchased intact by Charles Litman from the Miller Estate. It was from this purchase that Mr. Litman “caught the bug” and it was not long thereafter that he set off in earnest to add to his already advanced collection.
In the past 40 years there have been only 9 public auction sales that offered more than 125 different original Low numbers.
1. Gilbert Steinberg Collection. B&M 11/9/02 (143)
2. Hard Times Sale. PCAC 3/20/99 (143)
3. Michael Zeddies (Virgil Brand). B&M 3/28-4/3/90. (144)
4. Gilbert Steinberg. Stacks. 10/17/89. (158)
5. Herbert Oechsner. Stacks. 9/8-9/88. (136)
6. The Collection of Julian Leidman. PCAC & B&M 4/12/86 (136)
7. John L. Roper, 2nd. Stacks. 3/20/84. (133)
8. Roy Harte Collection Part III. B&R 1/25-7/83 (132)
9. The Landmark Sale. PCAC 3/20/76 (132)
The most recent of these sales, Bowers and Merena’s offering of the Gilbert Steinberg Collection had 143 of the 183 tokens. This offering was of Mr. Steinberg’s duplicate set plus about 19 tokens from his 1989 Stack’s sale, which did not meet their reserves. Three years prior to this, PCAC also offered a selection of 143 different Hard Times tokens. This was an offering which combined several different consignments. We can now reveal that the “Hoosier Collection,” (which contained many of the rarities in that sale) was, in fact, the triplicate collection formed by Donald Miller of Indiana, Pa.
Prior to these two sales, one has to go back nine years to the Zeddies-Brand Sale before another advanced collection reached the auction marketplace. Although and occasional rarity popped up in other sales during this period, there really was not been much to talk about in the way of significant pieces that were exposed to competitive bidding.
Where we have deemed it significant, we have quoted appearances and prices realized from the nine sales listed above. In addition, we have surveyed all of the remaining advanced collections that went to auction in this century.
They are as follows:
1. R.D. Allen Collection of HHT. Stacks. 4/23/55. (130)
2. New Netherlands 45th Catalog. 4/22/55 (141)
3. NENA Assn. Sale. Stacks. 10/9-10/54 (135)
4. New Netherlands 40th Catalog. 5/9/53 (132)
5. W.F. Dunham Collection. B. Max Mehl 6/3/41 (142)
6. Catalogued by William Hesslein. 1/18-19/24. Sold as one lot. (140)
7. The James Ten Eyck Collection. (Said to the Colbourne Collection purchased by Ten Eyk in 1879.) B. Max Mehl. 5/2/22 (129)
8. Henry C. Miller Collection. (Tom Elder) 3/11/16 (150)
9. Dr. Geo. P. French. US Coin Co. 6/30/15. (137)
10. J.N.T. Levick Collection, Thomas Elder. 10/14-15/07 (126)
In addition, there were two significant fixed price lists that deserve attention:
1. A Descriptive List of an Outstanding Collection of Hard Times Tokens For sale by Kenneth W. Rendell. (154)
2. FPL, United States Coin Co. 12/12 (142)
(H. Joseph Levine, PCAC, The Charles Litman Collection, December 6, 2003)
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