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Of this, just over $623m was raised through auctions and $345m through private treaty sales

The auctioneers, who bill themselves as the third largest auction house in the world after Christie's and Sotheby's, attribute much of the success to "tremendous growth in rare coins," up $115m year on year at $334m - more than 62% of the Professional Numismatists Guild's (PNG) recently released $536m total overall sales of rare coins sold at all reporting auction houses, say Heritage.

It's the fifth successive year of growth for Heritage, who also report a steady increase in takings for wine, fine art, luxury accessories, comics and sports.

"As a company we continue to be impressed with what we see across all 39 categories we specialise in, culminating in our best ever year," said CEO Steve Ivy, "but coins have always been our heart and soul."