Part 4 of the D. Brent Pogue Collection Sale is in the books – including the record books.

Just 61 coins changed hands in the fourth Pogue auction, held May 24 in New York, but they brought a remarkable total of $16,722,600. That figures out to an average of nearly $275,000 per lot.

The total, and the average, would have been much higher if the two most celebrated coins in the entire sale – the finest known specimen of the 1804 silver dollar and the only 1822 half eagle in private hands – had been sold at the auction. Both, however, fell short of the lofty reserves set by the collection’s owner, Texas real estate magnate D. Brent Pogue.

Even so, the four Pogue sessions held so far have realized a total of more than $85.3 million – more than any previous coin auction sale. And several segments remain.

The highest-priced coin actually sold at the one-night Part 4 session was an 1833 Capped Bust Left half eagle, which realized $1,351,250, including the buyer’s fee. The coin was graded Proof-67 by PCGS, making it the finest pre-1835 U.S. gold coin known to exist.

Also breaking the million-dollar barrier was a 1795 Draped Bust silver dollar, which brought $1,057,000. Eleven of the 61 coins sold at the latest Pogue session will now rank among the Top 250 auction records.

The market for traditional U.S. commemorative coins, which has been relatively weak in recent years, still has some life in it – at least when it comes to superbly toned mint-state and proof examples.

A young dealer friend recently wanted to add a few attractively toned commemorative half dollars to his collection. He is trying to slowly build a high-quality 144-piece PCGS silver commemorative set from 1892 to 1954. He attended a large auction, carefully examined the coins and past record prices and prepared his bids for four coins.

All four coins, including a Cincinnati and a Connecticut, were graded MS-67. None of them was finest known example, although their populations were low.

My friend was disappointed when all the coins he targeted brought significantly more than his bids. While unfortunate for him, that is good for the market.

Attractive coins are in demand – coins on which good luster is accentuated by attractive hues of gold, blue, orange, red, and other appealing colors.

A prominent collector of beautifully toned coins once told me, “You may pay too much occasionally for the right coin, but you always pay too much for the wrong coin.” I tend to agree with him.

In other market-related news:

  • At the World’s Fair of Money in Anaheim, California, Aug. 9-13, a Numismatic Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force Summit is being held. Industry leaders are seeking to provide better resources for law enforcement to deter counterfeit coins from entering the country and being sold to unsuspecting consumers. They also will be working on a counterfeit awareness program for the public.

  • As of May 24, the U.S. Mint had sold 418,000 ounces of gold American Eagles – more than double the 197,000 ounces it sold through May 31, 2015. The Mint sold 23 million one-ounce Silver Eagles through May 24 of this year – up sharply from the 15.9 million it sold in the first five months of 2015.

  • The Royal Canadian Mint is also setting records – to the point of generating a supply crunch. The RCM’s first-quarter 2016 sales report shows that its Silver Maple Leaf broke its all-time quarterly sales with 10.6 million ounces sold (the previous record was 9.5 million ounces). The Royal Canadian Mint said that sales of silver bullion “have been driven for several quarters by demand that exceeds supply in North America and Europe.”