Continuing an annual tradition begun in 1996, Heritage Auctions has awarded a Mint State High Relief double eagle to Bill Bedinghaus, a collector from Ohio. The valuable rare coin was the Grand Prize in Heritage's sixteenth annual survey of clients, undertaken by the auction firm to provide data for continuing high levels of service. The coin has been certified by NGC as a Wire Rim MS-60.
"Mr. Bedinghaus' numismatic story — Billy Joe to his friends — has a less pleasant side, as he has been disabled for the last six years due to a back injury. While he considers his prize "absolutely beautiful, it will be coming back to Heritage at some point to help with family finances."
Mr. Bedinghaus' immediate response on opening his package was "WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO! Let me start by saying thank you very much. I have never won anything before, and to have received this coin is the best thing to ever happen to me, next to my wife and four children.
"This almost seems like a dream. I will forever be in your debt. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!"
"Mr. Bedinghaus' interest in rare coins," explained Heritage Vice-President David Mayfield, "started back in 2005, with a single 1976 US Mint Set (his birth year) purchased by his father in a local auction. A little surfing on eBay and he was hooked."
According to Mr. Bedinghaus, "I had not been a collector of anything before 2005, but it seemed to me that spending money on coins would at least be a good investment. I didn't realize just how much I would depend on that aspect until after I hurt my back. My 'retirement fund' coins have been used on several occasions to pay the mortgage and other bills."
While Mr. Bedinghaus has been forced to recognize his investment much earlier than anticipated, his coins still mean more to him than just a store of value.
"Coins to me are so much more than money; they are history, intrigue, knowledge, excitement, and DREAMS. Coins can teach us so much about our past as a country. They can make you wonder: who held it, what was done with it, how it got those rub marks or dings.
"Coins are exciting. I love buying a coin but I am the most excited when I finally get to hold it and add it to that set." Among his dreams, Mr. Bedinghaus hopes to someday open a small coin shop, if his health permits, so he can "educate his customers about the wonderful world of coin collecting."
We reported on a sale of high relief double eagle (including the story of how it came to be) last year.
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