Rare coins from Dallas tanker fetch $20 million for North Texas nonprofits in initial sale


The initial sale of a collection of rare U.S. gold coins and die designs assembled by the late Dallas oilman and philanthropist Harry W. Bass Jr. raised $20.5 million for dozens of charitable organizations. Dallas-based nonprofit.

Just one piece – an 1821 capped left half eagle – accounted for $4.62 million of the total of what Heritage Auctions described as “a furiously competitive bid.” It attracted 70 bids at Thursday’s auction in Long Beach, Calif.

“This is an extraordinary piece that has brought an extraordinary result,” Heritage Auctions executive vice president Todd Imhof said in a statement. The coin is one of only two known to exist, the other being part of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

Bass’s collection, which he began assembling in the 1960s, has been on display at the American Numismatic Association’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, since October 2000. Earlier this year, trustees of his foundation voted to sell the collection. to increase its annual charitable giving from $2 million to at least $5 million.

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Will benefit from the sale of organizations supported by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, with a focus on early childhood education and literacy in Dallas. Among the four dozen recipients are Frazier Revitalization in South Dallas, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, the Momentous Institute, Bachman Lake Together in Northwest Dallas, and Readers 2 Leaders in the west of Dallas.

The full collection includes 450 gold coins estimated at over $60 million and Heritage Auctions is planning more auctions next year. The next one will take place January 4-9 in Orlando, Florida.

“The Bass Trustees are delighted with the results,” the foundation’s executive director, David Calhoun, said in a statement. Two additional pieces sold Thursday topped $1 million. Others have attracted bids ranging from $264,000 to $702,000.

Bass and his brother, Richard, inherited Goliad Oil and Gas Corp. in 1970 from their father, Harry W. Bass Sr. In addition to amassing a collection of rare coins, Bass also invested in Colorado ski resorts at Aspen and Vail, and was the lead developer of Beaver Creek Resort. He died in 1998.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, founded in 1976 by Steve Ivy and Jim Halperin, bills itself as the largest US-based art and collectibles auction house and largest curator -auctioneer of collectibles in the world.

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