Smithsonian Benefit Auction

Here's how it will work:

  1. Call 800-872-6467 to speak with a Consignment Director.
  2. Consign a coin/currency valued over $500 or a group of coins/currency valued over $1,000. Or, designate the proceeds of an existing consignment toward the NNC Endowment Fund.
  3. After the auction, receive a gift receipt from the Smithsonian for the sale price of your consignment.
  4. All proceeds raised benefitting the NNC Endowment will be transferred to the National Museum of American History after each auction.

The National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

Editorial Opinion
By Beth Deisher Coin World Editor
Heritage's NNC initiative deserves widespread support

Brent D. Glass, Director of the National Museum of American History, speaks at the January 2011 FUN Convention reception for the National Numismatic Collection. The collecting community is being presented with a wonderful opportunity this year to assure that future generations will continue to be able to learn about America's coinage and to guarantee that the rarities and treasures in one of the world's most renowned numismatic collections will be preserved and maintained properly.

Heritage Auctions announced Jan. 6 that it is donating all of its services to stage a benefit auction in January 2012. There will be no seller's fees and no buyer's fees. All — 100 percent — of the proceeds will go directly to the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection in Museum of American History to create an endowment fund. The goal is to raise at least $1 million.

Anyone can participate by donating collectible coins or paper money to be sold in the auction. If you cannot bear to part with a treasure from your collection, donations of cash will also be accepted.

Or you can designate the proceeds of specific lots of your consignments to any of Heritage's auctions throughout the year and they will be applied to the NNC Endowment Fund.

Regardless of the way you give, your donation will be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law, less any benefits received.

Benefits for you? In addition to the great feeling of knowing that you will be part of an important and worthy cause, there are some tangible benefits. The benefits are predicated on the value of your donation:

  • $500 or more — Invitations to Smithsonian exhibit opening events and other special programs.
  • $1,000 or more — Benefit of $500 level plus membership in the Smithsonian Council for American History, acknowledgement of your council membership in an issue of the museum's e-newsletter, reserved seating at select Smithsonian public events and a subscription to Heritage Magazine.
  • $2,500 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus an invitation for you and a guest to an exclusive Smithsonian cocktail party where you will meet the museum's director and engage with its vast collections, and recognition in the Smithsonian's Annual Report.
  • $5,000 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus unique access to the museum's collections through small-group tours with world renowned curators and behind-the-scenes visits offered to council members twice per year.
  • $10,000 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus invitation to an annual council breakfast with the museum's director, where you will learn about recent acquisitions, new exhibitions and plans for the future, plus a VIP behind-the-scenes tour for you and a guest at Heritage's world headquarters in Dallas.
  • $25,000 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus invitation for you and a guest to join the museum's advisory board and a senior Heritage executive at an intimate dinner featuring a notable historian or other distinguished guest speaker, and recognition as a council steward on electronic donor panels within the museum.
  • $50,000 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus a private, behind-thescenes visit to the NNC and a tour of the vault.
  • $100,000 or more — Benefits of all lower levels plus a customized afterhours tour of the museum for you and your family and friends (up to 10 people), including a meeting with the museum's director and staff from the National Numismatic Collection.

Think of your donation as a seed that can help the NNC grow and blossom into a wider museum experience, traveling exhibits, a complete online catalog and website to attract and engage future generations of collectors. More importantly, you can join forces with other collectors to help preserve one of the world's great treasures and provide continuity, the key to the survival of numismatics.

It is one of the single best investments you can make in your and the hobby's future. If no new and young collectors are being brought into the hobby and market, who will be interested in buying, studying and preserving the coins, medals, notes and other numismatic items you have collected, cared for and treasured during your lifetime?

Heritage plans auction to raise Smithsonian fund
By Beth Deisher Coin World Staff

Heritage Auctions announced Jan. 6 it will host a charity auction in January 2012 with the goal of raising more than $1 million to create an endowment fund for the National Numismatic Collection housed in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The NNC, containing more than 1 million numismatic items, ranks as one of the premier numismatic collections in the world and includes some of the United States' greatest numismatic treasures.

The endowment will be used to help care for the collection and provide greater access to it for both scholars and the general public. Projects planned in the immediate future include photographing the entire collection and making it available in an online catalog, producing a Web-based numismatic library, and providing additional traveling exhibits with a special emphasis on offering a window into the nation's history through coinage.

Heritage Auctions President Greg Rohan, at a reception during the Florida United Numismatists Convention in Tampa to launch the year-long effort to secure items for the auction, asserted that the numismatic community is charged with the responsibility to grow the hobby and that "we owe it to the next generations to provide the resources to introduce the next generations to numismatics."

Jim Halperin, Brent Glass, Greg Rohan & Steve Ivy

Rohan noted that despite the common belief that the Smithsonian is totally federally funded, it receives only a portion of its operating funds from the government, and that funding and donations from the private sector are vital to its future.

Donations accepted:

Anyone may donate collectible coins and paper money for the auction, and Heritage will donate all of its services in conducting the auction. There will be no seller's fees or buyer's fees and 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the NNC.

Cash donations will also be accepted for those who do not wish to donate items for the auction.

Rohan announced that the first item to be donated for the January 2012 auction is a Proof 66 deep cameo 1895 Morgan dollar that was recently purchased at auction by its anonymous donor for $126,000.

Rohan said Heritage and Smithsonian official do not expect all donated items to be in the same league as the first coin. "In fact we welcome the coins in the $500 to $1,000 range."

Donors will also have the option of designating the proceeds of specific lots consigned to other Heritage auctions throughout the year for the NNC endowment fund.

Read about the National Numismatic Collection in the Heritage magazine

All who donate to the Smithsonian Benefit Auction will receive a charitable gift receipt from the Smithsonian for the tax-deductible contributions. They will also qualify for a range of benefits established for various levels of donations that begin at $500 and top out at $100,000 (see the Editorial in this issue, Page 14, for details on the various donation and benefits levels).

Funding help critical:

Dr. Brent Glass, director of the Smithsonian's Museum of American History, speaking at the reception said public-private partnerships such as the benefit auction are "critical to the future of the Smithsonian."

Glass observed that the Smithsonian is "in the forever business," and that during the next year through traveling displays and special exhibits, he and the NNC staff hope to build awareness of the collection and invite the public, especially the numismatic community, to become much more involved in assuring its future.

For information about donating items, contact Heritage via e-mail to, or at (800) 872-6467, Ext. 1000 for coins and Ext. 1001 for paper money.

Dear Fellow Numismatists,

As passionate collectors, we believe that we have a responsibility to preserve the history of numismatics for future generations. It is with this sense of duty that we are compelled to ask for your help.

The National Numismatic Collection (NNC) is among the world's finest such collections and consists of more than 1 million objects, including coins, medals and paper currency. It is housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and preserves the role that money has played throughout this nation's economic history. Currently, no endowment exists to support the collection and to guarantee broader access for collectors and the general public.

Therefore, Heritage is making a commitment to the Smithsonian to create an endowment for the National Numismatic Collection by raising over $1 million through "donated consignments," where the consignor designates that the sale proceeds go to the NNC. This endeavor will culminate at FUN 2012 with a special session auction of the donated consignments. We are also donating 100% of our services as well as waiving 100% of our commissions. We are thrilled to announce that our very first donation has already been received, a 1895 Morgan Dollar PR66 Deep Cameo valued at over $100,000!

So, we challenge you to please consider donating a coin (or piece of currency), valued at $500 or more, to help build this incredbly important endowment. You will receive a charitable gift receipt from the Smithsonian for the proceeds of the sale of your consignment, less the value of any benefits received. Your contribution will guarantee a bright future for this collection.

We consider this to be one of the most important endeavors that Heritage has ever undertaken and we are proud to lead this project. We invite you to email us with your consignment, or any questions you might have.

With our most sincere appreciation for your support,

No coins from the Smithsonian or the NNC will be auctioned and the consigned coins are not intended for acquisition by the Smithsonian or the NNC. Neither the NNC nor the Smithsonian makes any representation or warranty as to the provenance, condition, grading, or value of any coin for auction.