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Category: Heritage Auction Galleries

All-Time Greatest Collection of Barber Half Dollars to be Auctioned in Boston, Part 1

by Greg Reynolds

On Wed., Aug 11, during the Platinum Night event of the Summer 2010 ANA auction in Boston, the all-time greatest collection of Barber Half Dollars will be auctioned. This set was assembled and consigned by Dr. Steven Duckor.

I. Overview

Here in part 1, I will introduce Dr. Duckor’s collection, mention the last two coins that were added, focus on his 1904-S half, and discuss the evolution of his set of Barber halves. In part 2, the historical and cultural importance of this set will be analyzed, along with references to other landmark sets of Barber Halves, including those of Thaine Price, Louis Eliasberg and the Norweb family. Plus, there will be some additional information in at least one of my Wednesday morning columns. Please read tomorrow’s column.

All of Dr. Duckor’s coins are authenticated, graded, and encapsulated by the Professional Coin Grading Service. During the Spring, the entire set was re-evaluated by the PCGS under the new SecurePlus™ program. Twenty-seven of Duckor’s halves received plus grades, Duckor himself reports, and “one coin fully upgraded to the next grade.”

In accordance with the rules of the PCGS registry, Duckor’s primary set has a “weighted” grade point average of “66.776.” With inclusion of the rare and recognized 1892 Micro O variety, his GPA drops a little to “66.72” The second ‘current finest’ set is owned by Dr. Peter Shireman and it is third on the “all-time” list. My guess, though, is that the Thaine Price collection is superior to that of Shireman. In accordance with current grading criteria, some of Price’s coins would merit higher grades than these received in the 1990s.

I am not referring to Dr. Duckor’s set of Barber Half Dollars as the ‘all-time’ best because it is the number one “All-Time Finest” in the PCGS registry, though this is so. I am referring to it as the greatest collection of business strike Barber Halves of all time because it is superior to any other, better than those that were disbursed before the PCGS was founded, and better than those that include a mix of PCGS and NGC certified coins. I have spent considerable time researching and analyzing the topic of business strike Barber Half Dollars.

Actually, so few collectors have even attempted to assemble gem quality, complete sets of business strike Barber Halves, it was not that difficult to determine that the Duckor collection is the greatest of all time. References to other sets of Barber Halves are central to an understanding of Dr. Duckor’s set. In terms of the culture of coin collecting, Dr. Duckor’s set of Barber Halves is perhaps the most important collection to be auctioned in Boston this August, even though tens of millions of dollars worth of rare coins, including several wonderful collections, will be sold.

Unfortunately, I am not able here to extensively discuss many of the individual Barber Halves in the collection. The objectives of this two-part series are to explain the importance of this set, to provide information about its evolution, to relate it to other sets of Barber Halves, and to discuss the meaning of this set in the context of the history and traditions of coin collecting in the United States. I will mention a few specific Barber Halves in my weekly columns, starting tomorrow.

Mark Borckardt, surely, did an admirable job of cataloguing Dr. Duckor’s coins. I strongly recommend that collectors read the catalogue. Even collectors who cannot afford these halves will find the catalogue to be educational and interesting. In order to understand the coins that a collector possesses, it is necessary for him or her to learn about coins that are not affordable. (more…)

Complete Collection of all 102 Continental Currency Friedberg Examples to be offered by Heritage

Heritage will present The Collection of a Patriotic American, a complete collection of all 102 Friedberg numbers associated with Continental Currency and believed to be the finest collection ever assembled. It represents over a quarter of a century of dedicated research by one man with a passion for American history, collecting the finest examples that could be acquired. Perhaps even more importantly, the notes were selected for their eye appeal, and in the few instances where technical grade is lacking, the notes are likely finest looking, rather than finest known. The collection does include a large number of finest known examples as well as important counterfeits, the only known Raised Denomination Continental and rarely seen counterfeit detector sheets.

The collection also includes 71 additional related items, including the finest $20 marbled edge bill and the extremely rare marbled edge counterfeit detector; eight extra Fugio bills representing the different plate positions; 21 different contemporary counterfeits; nine sheets of Continental Currency, including a very rare sheet of Fugio bills; and nine counterfeit detector sheets. Among the 71 items are 23 pieces issued by cities and states payable in Continental Currency: four notes from Albany dated 1776 and 19 typeset certificates from Georgia dated June and September 1777.

The superb May 10, 1775 marbled edge bill is truly the highlight of the collection. Unique among Continental Currency in size and shape, it is the finest known specimen of the only Continental Currency bill printed on marbled paper procured by Benjamin Franklin. Complementing this bill is its extremely rare counterfeit detector, the finer of only two extant, the other held by Colonial Williamsburg’s museum. The full sheet of 24 Fugio bills of Franklin’s design, comprising six bills of each of the four denominations from $1/6 to $2/3, is the finest of three in existence. The overall quality of the collection is superb and contains numerous choice uncirculated and finest known specimens.

Continental Currency is inextricably linked with the history of the United States from its inception. J.W. Schuckers stated in his 1874 book A Brief Account of the Finances and Paper Money of the Revolutionary War, “In the modern mode of making war, money is not less essential than valour in the field or wisdom in the cabinet. The deepest purse decides the fate of nations as often as the longest sword.” Accordingly, the Continental Congress authorized the first issue of Continental Currency on May 10, 1775. The bills were to be redeemed via taxes levied on the individual thirteen colonies using a quota method. Congress authorized eleven different emissions, the last being January 14, 1779, resulting in the issuance of a total of $241,552,780 of Continental Currency with denominations ranging from $1/6 to $80. (more…)

2,500 year-old Greek coin anchors ancient offerings in Heritage Boston ANA auction

Coin originated in Rhegion region – modern day Reggio, Italy – was struck between 415 and 387 BC; offered as part of Heritage ANA World Coin event

A nearly 2,500-year old silver coin of Rhegion, an ancient Greek city located in would become Italy, is expected to bring upwards of $25,000 at the Heritage Signature® Auction of Ancient and World Coins at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston, Thursday, Aug. 12, starting at 6 p.m..

The silver tetradrachm – lot number 20007 – a coin about the diameter of a quarter but much thicker and heavier, depicts the stylized head of a lion on the obverse and a profile portrait of Apollo, Greek god of wisdom and enlightenment, on the reverse. It was struck between 415 and 387 BC, a time when the Greek cities of Italy and Sicily were competing with each other and with Carthage in North Africa for control of the western Mediterranean.

“Simply stated, this piece is an artistic masterwork,” said David S. Michaels, director of Ancient Coins for Heritage. “The artist who engraved the dies was a supremely talented individual who employed a host of sophisticated techniques in creating an image of unique power and beauty.”

The lion’s head on the obverse uses foreshortening and compression to create an illusion of extreme depth, while his piercing gaze is shifted slightly to the left, as though zeroing in on his prey. The image of Apollo on the reverse is also created with such lifelike distinction that, were he to walk into a room, he would be instantly recognizable from his image on the coin.

Rhegion, modern Reggio, Italy, also called Regium, is located on the “toe” of Italy, just across the Straits of Messina from the island of Sicily. The second-oldest city in Italy, it was founded by Greek colonists from two cities on mainland Greece, Chalkis and Messenia. According to legend, the Chalkidians set forth after a famine in their homeland. The citizens appealed to the god Apollo for help, who replied through an oracle that a large body of colonists should seek a fresh start in fertile southern Italy.

Rhegion (meaning “it breaks away”) prospered and built a temple dedicated to Apollo, who appears prominently on the city’s coinage. The Messenian component worshipped the demigod Herakles. The lion on the obverse likely refers to the Nemean Lion slain by Herakles as one of his Twelve Labors.

Rhegion grew rich and powerful by controlling trade through the Straits of Messina.

“During its heyday in the fifth century BC, Rhegion produced coins as beautiful as those of the great contemporary Greek cities of Sicily, including Syracuse, Akragas, and Messana,” said Michaels. “There seemed to be a competition among these cities to produce the most attractive coins in commerce. Now it’s one of the highlights of one of our best-ever offerings of ancient coins.” (more…)

The Most Important Coin I’ve Ever Handled

By Mark Borckardt

During 30 years as a full time professional numismatist, I have had the opportunity to examine and handle many of the most important rarities in the American series, including two Brasher doubloons, all five 1913 Liberty nickels, two 1894-S dimes, and four 1804 silver dollars. I have handled 80 of the 100 greatest U.S. coins according to the study published by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.

Last week I had the pleasure of examining and researching a coin that I believe carries more numismatic and historical importance than any of those coins mentioned above, or any other coin that I have ever handled. It is the 1907 Wire Rim Indian eagle with a plain edge. Only two plain edge specimens were struck, and they were the first Indian eagles ever created, to fulfill the wish of a dying man.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was near death in the middle of July 1907. Dies for the Indian eagles had already been created, but the collar containing 46 stars was not completed. For that reason, the two plain edge coins were minted, one was sent to President Theodore Roosevelt, and the other was sent to Saint-Gaudens. The sculptor passed away a couple weeks later on August 3.

Roger W. Burdette has traced the issue in his reference Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 (Seneca Mill Press, LLC, 2006), and Michael F. Moran has also examined the issue in his 2008 reference Striking Change — The Great Collaboration of Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In a July 28, 2008 Coin World article, P. Scott Rubin writes: “I received an important e-mail from Roger W. Burdette … that this coin was ‘…one of two plain edge pattern pieces struck in July 1907.’ Just as important, he informed me that one of the specimens went to Secretary of the Treasury Cortelyou and the other went to Augustus Saint-Gaudens… I learned that this was the only coin similar to those issued to the public designed by Saint-Gaudens that the artist saw before his death.” While we are unable to say with certainty that the present piece was the coin sent to Saint-Gaudens, it almost certainly is. The coin that went to Cortelyou was forwarded to President Roosevelt who returned it to the Mint. In all likelihood, the Cortelyou-Roosevelt coin was melted, as it does not appear among coins at the Smithsonian Institution.

It is thought that President Roosevelt returned the coin he received, and it is also believed that the coin sent to Saint-Gaudens was retained by the artist. It is my belief that the coin I handled is the exact coin that Saint-Gaudens received. Since all other Indian eagles and all double eagles of his design were minted after his death, this single coin seems to be the only coin of his own design that Saint-Gaudens ever saw in person.

This plain edge 1907 Wire Rim Indian eagle will be offered for sale as lot 3561 in the Platinum Night session of Heritage’s 2010 ANA auction in Boston. The Platinum Night session is scheduled for 6:00 PM EST on Wednesday, August 11. I hope to see many of you there, and hope that those unable to attend will be watching this historic offering on HA.com/live.

Previously Unknown Specimen of 1855 $50 Kellogg & Co. Fifty Dollar available at Heritage Boston ANA Coin Auction

In the words of B. Max Mehl, the Kellogg & Co. fifty dollar gold pieces are “the most beautiful of all Pioneer gold coins and one of the rarest.” While Heritage has handled Kellogg fifties on several occasions in the past, we take particular pleasure in offering this specimen, which seems to match none of the previously known examples of this extraordinary issue. A “new” Kellogg fifty is a numismatic landmark and an unparalleled opportunity for the Territorial gold collector.

For more than a century, numismatists have puzzled over the purpose of the Kellogg fifties and exactly how many were struck. All known specimens were minted in proof format, suggesting they may have served as presentation pieces for bankers and politicians: They were struck when the firm was considering a large business strike mintage to compete with the fifty dollar pieces of their competitors, Wass, Molitor and Company. The “regular-issue” coins never materialized, but the proof production has delighted and puzzled collectors since the coins appeared.

One disputed question about the Kellogg proof fifties has been the number struck. The proprietors of Kellogg & Co., John Glover Kellogg and Augustus Humbert, were partners in 1855. Both of them retained several examples of the Kellogg fifties long after they dissolved their partnership in 1860. Kellogg’s heirs, including his son Karl, remained in possession of three coins many years after Kellogg’s death in 1886. Humbert, who died in 1873, left his collection to his brother, Pierre. When Pierre died in 1901, his heirs sold the collection to Captain Andrew C. Zabriskie. As Henry Chapman relates in the introduction to the Zabriskie Collection (Henry Chapman, 6/1909):

“Capt. Zabriskie some years ago had the good fortune to purchase from his executors the collection of coins left by Mr. Humbert, the California Assayer, and from which collection he derived many of the most remarkable Pioneer Gold Coins, which , added to his collection that had been forming for many years, makes his Pioneer Gold the best ever offered at public sale.”

Later in the sale, Chapman described the Kellogg fifty in lot 341, which realized $1,250, a huge price at the time. To quote his description in part:

“Sharp, beautiful specimen. The finest known, as Capt. Zabriskie had his choice of the six which Mr. Humbert had preserved. So far as I am aware, it is possible about 10 are known, in fact, this is the number it is said was coined.”

Chapman thus reveals the startling fact that Humbert saved at least six specimens of this issue until his death. We can only wonder what Humbert’s purpose was, since $300 was a large sum in 1855, too large to tie up in souvenirs. Whatever his reasons, he deserves the thanks of all Pioneer gold collectors for preserving so many of these wonderful coins. In his catalog of Humbert’s collection, which he sold in 1902, Chapman mentioned one specimen in the collection of J.W. Scott, which would be the 10th coin in his census, after the three kept by Kellogg’s family and the six in Humbert’s estate.

The trouble with Chapman’s roster is this: More than 10 specimens have always been known to numismatists since the coins surfaced. The census of known examples has gone up and down over the years, but most catalogers agree at least 13 pieces were struck, even if fewer examples seemed to be extant at a particular time. With the appearance of the present coin, we have a pictorial record of what seem to be 14 different coins. (more…)

Heritage to Present 2,800+ Lot Currency Auction at Boston ANA

Official Auctioneer of the ANA World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 11-16

The Official Currency Auction of the 2010 ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston, MA will be conducted by Heritage Auctions Aug. 11-16. The auction includes three floor sessions and one online session. Lot viewing will be conducted at the Hynes Convention Center, Room 210, 900 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02115 and the floor sessions will be held at the Hynes Convention Center, Room 203, 900 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02115.

In addition to lot viewing in Boston, a preliminary lot viewing will take place at Heritage Galleries Beverly Hills, 9478 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite #100, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 on Friday, July 30, 2010 and Saturday, July 31, 2010.

Session One will begin on Wednesday evening, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. ET and includes Continental Currency, Colonial Currency, Fractional Currency, Encased Postage, Obsolete Currency, Confederate Notes, a Confederate Bond, Miscellaneous, Postal Notes, Military Payment Certificates, World Currency, and Canadian Currency.

Heritage Currency Auctions is presenting The Collection of a Patriotic American, a complete collection of all 102 Friedberg numbers associated with Continental Currency and believed to be the finest collection ever assembled. The collection also includes 71 additional related items, including the extremely rare marbled edge counterfeit detector; eight extra Fugio bills representing the different plate positions; 21 different contemporary counterfeits; nine sheets of Continental Currency, including a very rare sheet of Fugio bills; and nine counterfeit detector sheets. Among the 71 items are 23 pieces issued by cities and states payable in Continental Currency: four notes from Albany dated 1776 and 19 typeset certificates from Georgia dated June and September 1777.

Among the many highlights of the collection is the finest known Continental Currency May 10, 1775 $20 PCGS Choice About New 58PPQ. The $20 from this first issue of Continental Currency is the only piece of the 102 different Continental Currency notes that has a different shape, size, paper, and color. Benjamin Franklin procured the distinctive marbled edge paper from his contacts in Paris.

Other exceptional rarities in the collection include: a Continental Currency February 17, 1776 Twenty Four Note Sheet Choice About New, the finest of three known examples; a Continental Currency May 20, 1777 Complete Double Sheet of Sixteen Extremely Fine-About New which is unique to Heritage’s best knowledge; a Continental Currency May 10, 1775 $20 Counterfeit Detector PCGS Choice About New 58, one of only two known examples and the only one available to collectors as the other piece belongs to the Colonial Williamsburg Museum; and a gorgeous Georgia June 8, 1777 $8 PCGS Choice About New 58PPQ that was payable in Continental Currency, hence its inclusion in this collection. (more…)

Unique Plain Edge 1907 $10 pattern – believed the only Saint-Gaudens coin actually seen by the artist – at Boston ANA auction

Historic pattern struck just before the artist’s death for his approval

The only known Plain Edge 1907 ten dollar coin with Wire Rim, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens – and likely the only example of his coinage that he ever saw – is among the most historically important pieces in Heritage’s upcoming U.S. Coin auction. It will be offered on Aug. 11, as part of the Official Auction of the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Boston, MA.

“At the turn of the 20th century, Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of America’s most prominent artists,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “In 1905, during Theodore Roosevelt’s second term, Roosevelt convinced Saint-Gaudens to redesign the two largest American gold coins: the ten dollar, or eagle, and the twenty dollar, or double eagle. The results made Saint-Gaudens one of the most famous American coinage artists and secured his lasting fame.”

The coinage designs would be the artist’s final masterpieces. In July 1907, when Saint-Gaudens was going through the last stage of his terminal cancer, two early examples of the ten dollar coin were struck. The edges of these two coins were plain; later Wire Rim 1907 ten dollar coins have an edge design of 46 stars.

“The two Plain Edge coins were patterns, made to see how the coins looked,” said Rohan. “They were the coinage equivalent of an artist’s proof. After the two Plain Edge coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, they were split up.”

One was sent to Treasury Secretary George B. Cortelyou, who forwarded it to the President, while the other was sent to Saint-Gaudens at his studio in New Hampshire. This was the only time Saint-Gaudens would see his work in coin form. He died on August 3, 1907, before further work could be done on either denomination.

Archived letters show that the coin Roosevelt saw was eventually sent back to the Mint, while the Saint-Gaudens coin disappears from the record. This coin’s history is largely unknown, and it is impossible to say with certainty whether it was sent to Roosevelt or Saint-Gaudens, but it is a coin of tremendous importance regardless of the answer. Either it was sent to President Roosevelt, whose dedication to coinage redesign had been vital to the whole project; or it went to Saint-Gaudens, the artist who had spent more than two years bringing the President’s ambition to life. (more…)

1796 Bust Quarter from the Norweb Collection in Heritage Coin Auction

In his 1796 Mint report, dated November 29, Elias Boudinot discussed some of the problems that faced the fledgling Mint in Philadelphia: “He has seen, with regret, an opinion generally prevailing, that the establishment is unnecessarily expensive, and less productive than was rationally expected by its advocates and friends.” Among the problems was free coinage, meaning that the government paid the cost of refining silver and gold deposits, including the cost of copper that was necessary for alloy purposes. Boudinot continued: “not only the original cost of the works, and the salaries of the stated officers, fall on the public, but also the whole amount of the workmanship, with the alloy, wastage, and contingent losses.”

During the period from July 18, 1794 to November 12, 1796, a total of 39 deposits of silver were brought to the Mint. Among those were five deposits in August 1794 that were the exact fineness of standard silver (89.24% pure). Only seven of the remaining 34 deposits were lower-purity than standard silver, but those seven deposits totaled 98,556 gross ounces of silver, or nearly 25% of all the silver deposited during that 29-month period. The result was a necessity for the Mint to supply more than 2,100 pounds of copper to bring the silver deposits up to standard. At the prevailing rates, the cost of that copper alone was approximately $560. Copper collectors will be quick to point out that the cost of the alloy was equal to a little over 70,000 additional large cents that could have been minted.

The 5,894 quarter dollars minted in the second quarter of 1796 were included among the silver coins minted at the time. Attempts to correlate silver deposit data from the 1796 Mint Report to coinage delivery records have failed, but research continues. Comparing those records does indicate an approximate delay of three months, suggesting that the silver contained in the coins was deposited around the first of the year.

The 1796 quarters were the first of their kind, featuring the Draped Bust obverse modeled from the work of Gilbert Stuart, and the Small Eagle reverse that would soon be replaced with a Heraldic Eagle design. These are one-year type coins, the first quarter dollars ever minted, and a low-mintage issue. Total production included the 5,894 coins struck in 1796, and 252 additional pieces coined in February 1797. Modern research into die states shows that the Browning-2 quarters, with the High 6 date position, were the first coined, adding to the importance of this coin.

More than a dozen Gem Mint State 1796 quarters still exist, although few of them have the strike of this example. On nearly all known examples, the eagle’s head and neck are flat and indistinct, with the leaves above showing no detail. Although minor adjustment marks affect the strike on the present coin, the head still shows nearly full design definition. Breen claimed in his Proof Encyclopedia that “The weakness at eagle’s head is characteristic of the design and is not to be attributed to imperfect striking.” The mere existence of sharp heads on pieces such as the Norweb specimen clearly show that Breen was incorrect. However, the vast majority of pieces have poorly defined head and neck details on the reverse. Finding an example with full details at that location is a rare numismatic event.

This boldly defined Gem is one of the finest existing 1796 quarters. Steel, russet, and sea-green toning enhances the underlying deep golden appearance. The fields are fully and obviously prooflike. Besides the bold definition on the head, the wing feathers are sharp, and the rock below the eagle has full detail. The border dentils, especially on the obverse, are bold and wide, providing a wonderful frame for the design elements. An early die state example, the Norweb Gem is struck from perfect dies, adding credence to the idea that it is a special presentation strike. A few light adjustment marks on the reverse are visible, but they hardly affect the incredible beauty of this piece. The cataloger for the Norweb Collection suggested that this is a special piece: “This is quite possibly a presentation coin, of the type which years ago used to be called Proof, struck, as Walter Breen suggests, at the beginning of coinage of the denomination on April 9, 1796.” The combined attributes of this incredible coin from the Norweb Collection ensure that it will delight collectors for generations to come. (more…)

The Coin That Proves When 1838 Gobrecht Dollars Were Restruck

Our August 11-15 Boston ANA Signature Auction will feature a fascinating example of a 1838 Gobrecht dollar struck over a 1859 seated dollar. This coin was apparently first noticed by Louis Werner in the Earl Bostic Collection (Stack’s, 12/1956). Walter Breen thought it noteworthy enough to comment on it in the May 1957 Numismatist in an article entitled “Some Unpublished Gobrecht Rarities”:

“In a recent New York auction Louis Werner observed that the 1838 brilliant proof Gobrecht dollar (a typical restrike, with two minute rust spots on the obverse die which should have been mentioned in my description of restrikes on page 17 of the monograph) showed a faint but unmistakable date 1859 to the right of the real date 1838. When I first saw the coin I recognized that this could have come about only through the fact that it was actually overstruck on an 1859 silver dollar. …I will simply say that I have looked at over twenty 1838s all told-originals and restrikes alike-and have never seen any other example of the kind.”

While unprecedented among Gobrecht dollars, there are parallels to two other famous coins, the 1851 dollar overstruck on an 1859-O or 1860-O dollar, and the unique Class II 1804 dollar was overstruck on an 1857 Bern Shooting taler. It is conjecture, but certainly possible that the 1851-O dollar, the Class II 1804 dollar, and this piece were all struck within a few months of each other. It is also most likely that all three were struck by the same person, Theodore Eckfeldt.

Theodore’s family had been employed in the Mint since 1792 (when Adam was first employed to do blacksmith work). In a case of poor judgment on the Mint’s part, after firing young Theodore for theft, he was later rehired as a night watchman. Eckfeldt then proceeded to work with employees in the Coiner’s Department to strike various rarities, including 1804 dollars, which he then sold to Dr. Montroville Dickeson.

Much of the Seated dollar undertype is apparent. The 859 is clearly discernible (see closeup), and most of the 1 shows except top of serif, which was struck out by the 8. Under a microscope, all obverse stars are visible (star 9 is faintest), and several of the letters in the reverse legend can be detected. (more…)

Heritage Summer FUN Rare Coin Auction Realizes $7.4 million+

Original 1867 Cameo Proof Shield Nickel Tops Sale at $57,500; demand for rare gold coinage steady

An original 1867 5C Rays PR65 Cameo NGC. Dannreuther-1A, State a/a, a highly desirable and celebrated rarity, brought $57,500 to lead Heritage’s $7,387,384 July Orlando, FL Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction. Demand for high quality numismatic gold rarities continued in Orlando, with seven of the top 10 lots being gold rarities. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“We’re quite happy with the result of this auction,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “It was a small auction by Heritage standards, but quite focused, and collectors responded. The result was a very successful auction.”

More than 3700 bidders competed for the offerings, which saw a 94% sell-through rate by total lots.

The 1867 Rays Gem Cameo Proof Shield Nickel is a coin well known to specialists and advanced numismatists and the competition for this specimen was indeed heated before landing in the collection of a smart buyer. Though there may be more 1867 Rays proofs known than originally thought, many are known to be later restrikes, while this piece bears every hallmark of being one of the few – likely 10-15 total – true originals struck

A momentous 1829 Quarter Eagle, BD-1, MS64 NGC, Breen-6132, High R.4. followed the 1867 Rays Gem Cameo Shield Nickel, competing for top honors and almost nabbing the top spot in auction with a final price of $51,750, a mark that was equaled by an historic 1803 $10 Small Stars Reverse MS61 NGC, Breen-6844, Taraszka-28, BD-3, R.4.

One of the most hotly contested non-gold lots of the top 10 was a magnificent 1865 25C MS66 PCGS, CAC, Briggs 1-A, an exceptional example from the concluding year of the Civil War, and an important opportunity for the Seated specialist, one of whom added the coin to their collection for a price realized of $48,875.

A remarkable 1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS, was close on the heels of the 1865 25C, with a price realized of $46,000. This coin was a result of the numismatically inclined President Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted to create coins for the United States that would rival the beauty of those struck by the ancient Greeks. The result was the 1907 High Relief double eagle, considered by many to be the crowning achievement of Roosevelt’s coinage renaissance.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

Heritage to Offer The Witham Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars at Boston ANA

As a part of the upcoming 2010 August Boston, MA Signature ANA Coin Auction, Heritage will present the Witham Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars. Bust half variety collectors will go nuts when they examine the over 170 examples in this famed collection.

Stewart P. Witham, a prominent numismatist at mid-century, specialized in half dollars in general, and Capped Bust Halves in particular. Mr. Witham was the cofounder of the Bust Half Nut Club, holding BHNC membership #1. His coins were purchased from many of the important dealers of the day.

Mr. Witham sold his collection of Capped Bust Halves circa 1983. Our consignor purchased the Collection that year, although he is uncertain about how many hands it may have passed through before it reached him. When Witham’s rarer coins appear in pedigree lists, their descriptions typically end with: “The whereabouts of this coin is unknown.” While that statement may have been true for the numismatic community at large, it was a source of some irony to the consignor.

The consignor has held the Collection intact for more than a quarter century now. Originally acquired as a hedge against inflation, the consignor carefully protected the coins, understanding their historical significance. In point of fact, he never actually touched the coins — when he removed them from their envelopes to appreciate his acquisition, he always wore cotton gloves. Over the years, he became increasingly interested in their history. He would research them over the web, and often would find himself holding a Witham coin and comparing it to the “whereabouts unknown” image. His favorite coin was the 1817/4 O-102 rarity, with only nine known survivors, which is now graded VF20 by PCGS.

The Collection has remained in Pennsylvania for the last 27 years, but the consignor wishes to remain anonymous. Where the coins will be this summer is a certainty — on the auction block in Boston selling to someone who most likely holds a substantially higher BHNC membership number!

A few of the other highlights of this collection include:

* 1807 Capped Bust Half Dollar Large Stars, 50 Over 20, O-111, R.6 VF30 PCGS
* 1812/1 Half Dollar, O-101, R.5 Large 8 Genuine PCGS
* 1817 Half Dollar, O-104, R.6 Genuine PCGS
* 1823 Half Dollar, O-109, High R.5 AU58 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-137, R.6 VF30 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-124, R.5 AU58 PCGS
* 1827 Half Dollar, O-144, High R.5 AU55 PCGS
* 1828 Half Dollar, O-105, R.5 MS62 PCGS
* 1830 Half Dollar, O-114, R.5 MS62 PCGS
* 1833 Half Dollar, O-115, High R.5 VF35 PCGS

This auction, along with auctions of rare world coins and rare currency, will post for bidding soon at HA.com/Coins. Previews are available now!

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1793 Half Cents, Chain Cents, Wreath Cents, 1808 Quarter Eagles — one-year type coins in general

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #8

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme Is On One-YearType Coins

Although some expensive coins that appeal to advanced collectors will be discussed below, this column is largely introductory in nature. Learning about one-year type coins is important. Furthermore, many are not expensive, and may be especially reasonable in modest grades. In addition, one-year type coins are important elements in the history of U.S. coinage. Moreover, knowledge of one-year type coins is central to understanding the relative values of many significant classic U.S. coins. My aim here is not to provide a lesson on type coins. Rather, I am mentioning some one-year type coins in the upcoming Boston ANA auction in August and discussing the general significance of these issues.

One-year type coins have always fascinated me. These are both the most common and the rarest dates of their respective types. As a kid, I dreamed of owning all one-year type coins. I remember my acquisition of an 1859 Indian Cent. I was eight or nine years old at the time and I was thrilled. I was later able to obtain other one-year type coins that are accessible to low-budget collectors, 1883 ‘No Cents’ Liberty Nickels, 1913 ‘Buffalo on Mound’ Nickels, and 1909 VDB cents, though it is debatable as to whether 1909 VDB cents are really one-year type coins. In circulated grades, 1853 ‘Arrows & Rays’ quarters and halves can be obtained by non-affluent collectors. The ‘Arrows & Rays’ and just ‘Arrows’ issues, though, are sometimes regarded as subtype coins rather than full type coins. Likewise, 1839 ‘No Drapery’ Halves are typically thought of as a one-year subtype as the design of these is not substantially different from that of the Liberty Seated ‘No Motto’ half dollar type that was adopted later in 1839.

As usual, I am discussing coins that were minted prior to 1934. Types of so called ‘modern issues’ constitute a different topic. Most rare or at least somewhat scarce U.S. coin issues were minted prior to 1934. In the upcoming Heritage ANA Auction in Boston, there will be offered a sizeable number of pre-1934 one-year type coins.

II. Half Cents of 1793

Among the most popular of all U.S. coins are the copper coins of 1793. While some patterns were made in 1792 at a private location, including half dimes which circulated, 1793 is the first true year of the U.S. Mint.

As U.S. silver coins were not minted until 1794 and gold coins not until 1795, only copper coins were struck in 1793, half cents and large cents. The half cents of 1793 are a one-year design type, and three different types of large cents were struck during this same year, Chain Cents, Wreath Cents and Liberty Cap Cents. Chain Cents and Wreath Cents are certainly each one-year types.

It is debatable as to whether 1793 Liberty Cap Cents are a one-year type. The PCGS and some large cent experts regard 1793 Liberty Caps as a one-year type; the NGC and other experts view Liberty Cap Cents dating from 1793 to 1796 as all being of the same design type. The main difference between 1793 Liberty Cap Cents and those Liberty Cap Cents dating from 1794 to 1796 is that the 1793s have beaded borders while the later Liberty Caps have dentilated borders. Dentils, which are sometimes called denticles, are tooth-like devices near the edge. Dentils are different from beads, which are sort of like oval buttons. (more…)

Dwight Manley’s Superlative New England Silver Registry Set to Highlight ANA Platinum Night

What’s better than an offering of New England coinage at the Boston ANA? An offering of the very finest New England coinage at the Boston ANA, and Heritage’s Platinum Night festivities will feature precisely that.

Dwight Manley’s NE Silver Collection is a Registry masterpiece, the #1 finest set of all time at PCGS:

  • #1 Massachusetts Silver Shilling Design Set (1652-1682)
  • #1 Massachusetts Silver Design Set (1652-1682)
  • 2009 “Best of Registry Award Winner”

Dwight Manley is no stranger to outstanding coins, and this collection is proof of that. The five coins in this collection include:

Gem Mint State 1652 Pine Tree Shilling. One of Only 11 Examples of Noe 7 Known, and the Finest Example Certified. While not rare, Pine Tree shillings have a romantic quality that has enticed countless collectors. If a collector were to choose only one Colonial coin to own, it would undoubtedly be the Pine Tree shilling. A previous owner of this coin described it succinctly: “Gem Coin. Cannot Be Excelled.” We feel that his description accurately represents this stellar coin.

Spectacular 1652 Oak Tree Shilling, MS66. An Oak Tree shilling in Mint State 66 is something so remarkable that one must see and hold it in person to fully appreciate it. (I have, and I concur. -Editor) This lucky survivor is the finest example certified by PCGS by a margin of two points and could possibly be the finest Oak Tree shilling in existence.

1652 Willow Tree Shilling, VF35; Plated in Noe. This very piece has a special significance to numismatists as the discovery coin for the Willow Tree type. As a type, the Willow Tree shillings are rarer than their NE, Oak Tree, and Pine Tree counterparts, and this piece is additionally an example of the very rare Noe-3 variety, with perhaps eight examples known to collectors.

Rare and Important About Uncirculated New England Shilling; Plated in Noe. The rarity and significance of the New England shilling can hardly be overstated. The NE pieces claim the title of first coins struck in British America. Few collections, including some of the most advanced cabinets of Colonial coins, have possessed a representative of the New England shilling, let alone an example that has the quality of the present coin.

Rare Libertas Americana Medal in Silver, MS61. This is only the second time in 20 years that Heritage has had the pleasure to offer an example in silver. These medals are so highly prized and rare that it may be many years before another silver Libertas Americana, particularly one in Mint State, appears at auction.This auction will post for bidding soon at HA.com/Coins, with previews available now!

1875 Walla Walla, WA $5 brings $161,000 to lead $5.1 million Heritage Memphis Currency Auction

Rare U.S. and World notes make strong showing at International Paper Money Show

Heritage Auction Galleries’ Currency Signature® Auction held in Memphis, TN, June 17-19, in conjunction with the Memphis International Paper Money Show, showed continued strength in the rare currency market, successfully realizing $5.1 million.

“This auction contained a wide variety of significant U.S. and World notes,” said Allen Mincho, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage, “and savvy collectors – both at the show and online – were more than happy to take advantage of the offerings.”

Highlights from Session One included: a BC-28 $1000 1937 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, which realized $19,550; an exceedingly rare green ink Russian-American Company 1 Rouble ND (1816-1867) Pick UNL Kardakoff 53.4, one of two known, graded PMG Choice Very Fine 35 Net, finishing at $18,975; a Puerto Rico Bank of Porto Rico in San Juan $10 1.7.1907 Pick 48ctfp Face Proof PMG Uncirculated 61 Net brought $18,400; a Australia Bank of Queensland Limited Dalby Branch £1 Dec. 1, 1864 Pick UNL PMG Very Good 8 sold for $17,250 and a Hawaii Republic of Hawaii Silver Certificate of Deposit $10 1895 (1897) Pick 12a PCGS Fine 12 also realized $17,250.

Other notable items from Session One included a rare Maryland Colonial Allegorical note that sold for $6,325 and three scarce Darwin, Calif., obsoletes that sold for more than $4,600 each.

High denomination Small Size Federal Reserve Notes led the prices realized results for Session Two, with a Fr. 2221-K $5000 1934 LGS Federal Reserve Note. PMG Very Fine 30 bringing $63,250 and a Fr. 2231-K $10000 1934 Federal Reserve Note PCGS Apparent Very Fine 25 realizing $57,500.

The highest price realized in the auction came near the end of Session Three when a Walla Walla, Washington Territory – $5 1875 Fr. 403 The First NB Ch. # 2380 PMG Very Fine 25 crossed the auction block and was sold for $161,000. The Serial Number One Flagstaff, AZ – $5 1902 Plain Back Fr. 606 The First NB Ch. # (P)11120 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ realized $69,000.

Original 1867 Rays Gem Cameo Proof Shield Nickel to be offered at Heritage’s Summer FUN Coin Auction

The 1867 Rays Shield nickel business strikes are conditionally rare coins in the highest Mint State grades, but they are generally obtainable for a price. The 1867 Rays Shield nickel proof coins, however, are celebrated rarities, well-known to series specialists and advanced numismatists.

John Dannreuther, director of research at PCGS, has delved extensively into the die diagnostics and Mint history surrounding the 1867 With Rays and No Rays proof issues–and reissues. Much of what follows is from the summation in the Bowers Shield and Liberty Head nickels Guide Book and from Dannreuther’s PCGS article, published in the June 2007 PCGS Rare Coin Market Report and reprinted on www.shieldnickels.net, titled “Third Obverse Die Identified for Proof 1867 Rays Nickel.”

Three Different Obverse Dies Used

Dannreuther has established that three different obverse dies were used for the 1867 Rays proofs, which were restruck at various times, all paired with a single reverse die that was lapped on each reuse. The first obverse used, Dannreuther-1, shows the characteristics below:

–The left base of the 1 in the date is over the right side of a dentil.

Dannreuther writes concerning the first use of this obverse that it likely was used to produce 10 to 15 1867 With Rays proofs earlier than previously believed. Earlier research by R.W. Julian had indicated that, when the order was given on January 21, 1867, to suspend coinage of the With Rays design, chief coiner Archibald Louden Snowden had so far supposedly “refused” to make any 1867 With Rays proofs for sets. However, Dannreuther believes that is likely untrue since, based on the die emission sequence and die state information he has established, Dannreuther-1 is the earliest known stage of this obverse die. Dannreuther writes:

“Most likely, the 25 Proofs reported delivered on February 5, 1867 are the ones with the Pattern reverse, as determined by specialist Douglas Kurz. These No Rays Pattern reverse Proofs have a very slightly different (but later) stage of State a, indicating that some With Rays proofs were probably struck in January or early February right before the No Rays Proofs with the Judd-507 Pattern reverse.”

The appearance of “hollow” leaves, a lump or dot at the lower-left forepart of the fletchings, the absence of visible recutting on the 7, etc. would indicate later die states and presumably coincide with a lesser degree of the marked field-device contrast also evident on this coin.
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Coin Profile: The Farouk-Norweb 1915 No S Panama-Pacific Half Dollar in Gold

One of Only Two Known

Heritage will be offering one of only two known 1915 P50C Panama-Pacific Half Dollars struck in Gold (Judd-1960 PR64 NGC) during the Boston ANA Signature Sale in August Lot # 13007.

The design is the same as the regular-issue 1915-S Panama-Pacific commemorative half, but lacking the normal S mintmark. Struck in gold with a reeded edge. Other S-less Panama-Pacific half dollar patterns are also known in silver and copper. These extremely rare patterns were clearly clandestine strikes, produced at the Philadelphia Mint before mintmark punches were applied to the working dies. There are two known examples of the gold half dollar, both struck on cut-down, struck Saint-Gaudens double eagle coins. Similar examples are known of the 1915 Panama-Pacific gold dollar and of the round and octagonal fifty dollar pieces, all lacking the S mintmark. The website USPatterns.com comments of the pieces, “These could be die trials but it seems that they were really struck for profit.”

Pollock comments in his United States Patterns and Related Issues:

“Farran Zerbe, who was involved in the coining and distribution of the Panama-Pacific commemoratives in California, has been quoted by Walter Breen as saying that specimens ‘may have been struck as trial pieces at the Philadelphia Mint by the instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury, who was a coin collector.’ The Secretary of the Treasury at the time was W.G. McAdoo of New York, a name familiar to students of U.S. paper money.”

Anthony Swiatek, in his Commemorative Coins of the United States (2001), writes much more unequivocally concerning the 1915 Pan-Pac half dollar, “Extremely rare trial pieces, made at the Philadelphia Mint, were struck without the S Mint mark. Two were created in gold, six in silver and four in copper for Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo–a coin collector!”

Further along, Pollock records his notes on the present specimen:

“Careful examination of the Farouk-Norweb coin [the present coin, listed as No. 2 in the Census below] reveals planchet file marks and traces of an undertype, indicating that the half dollar dies were impressed on a cut-down $20 gold coin, which had been filed to remove high-relief details. This piece is remarkably thick: 2.4 mm at the edge versus 2.1 mm for a regular-issue Panama-Pacific half dollar.

“The characteristics of the coin suggest that it was made clandestinely. Since the piece is overstruck instead of being made using a new planchet of normal thickness, it can be inferred that there was a desire on the part of the manufacturer that no mention of the piece be made in the bullion account books, and thus it may have been produced secretly at the Mint in the same manner as the 1913 Liberty nickel or the Class III 1804 dollar. The only other known example of the variety [listed as No. 1 below] is reportedly also struck over a cut-down $20 gold piece.” (more…)

Legendary $20 Gold 1882 Double Eagle Coin To Be Offered by Heritage at Summer Fun Auction

The 1882 double eagle is so rare that even the Smithsonian Institution, keeper of the National Numismatic Collection, lacks an example of this issue.

While there are numerous double eagle issues from the late 1870s through early 1890s that boast extraordinarily low mintages, the 1882 is the absolute lowest-mintage of them all, at 571 coins. Any representative of this issue, in any grade, is an extraordinary rarity.

The next-lowest mintage of the denomination in the 1880s is the 1885, produced to the extent of 751 coins–an increase of over 30% in comparison to the 1882. In fact, the 1882 double eagle has the lowest mintage of any circulation strike in the double eagle series, save for the 1861-P Paquet Reverse.

The 1882 double eagle is not only an issue with a remarkably low mintage to begin with, but its rarity is compounded because so few were saved. The handful of contemporary collectors who specialized in gold–and they were few and far between–preferred proof examples, which could be had from the Mint for a modest premium.

The reasons for the minuscule mintage are complicated. Mint officials had adopted a new policy to stimulate national demand for half eagles and eagles, according to Rusty Goe in The Mint on Carson Street.

“… double eagle output was decreased on a national scale as the Treasury implemented its new policy of expanding the distribution of $5 and $10 gold pieces. It was the Treasury’s conviction that if more gold coins in denominations less than twenty dollars were in reserve at Mint offices around the country, depositors would accept these coins in payment in lieu of waiting for additional double eagles to be struck.”

At any rate, the nation’s operating mints had other troubles, as they shouldered the enormous burden of Morgan silver dollar production in 1882, amounting to more than 27.5 million pieces at four facilities.

By contrast, only three mints struck double eagles at all, as New Orleans’ last twenty was the 1879-O. In 1882 San Francisco struck 1.13 million twenties, with nearly 40,000 in Carson City–and the legendary low mintage of 571 double eagles in Philadelphia.


This coin will be offered at  Heritage’s Official Summer Fun Sale in Orlando, Fl as Lot # 1464

Population: 2 in 53, 7 finer (6/10)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: 1794 Silver Dollar, 1795 Reeded Edge Large Cent, and selected coins in the Summer FUN Auction

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #6

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Herein, I discuss an assortment of rarities ‘in the news,’ the NGC graded “MS-64” 1794 dollar, a newly re-emergent 1795 Reeded Edge Cent, an 1882 $20 gold coin, 1865 $2½ coins, and 1865 quarters. The 1795 Reeded Edge Cent is certainly much rarer than most collectors realize and many have forgotten that the finest known Holmes-Naftzger 1795 Reeded Edge set an auction record for a copper coin or pattern, and is the only copper to sell for more than $1 million at auction. Another representative of this issue was just encapsulated by the NGC.

Today’s primary item is the ‘news’ that the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 dollar has been consigned to the B&M pre-ANA Boston auction. Additionally, I will discuss a few coins that will be sold as part of an upcoming Heritage auction, which will be held in conjunction with the Summer FUN Convention in Orlando, July 8th to 10th. Though it would make far more sense to hold it in Fort Lauderdale or in West Palm Beach, where it has been since its inception in 2007, I expect the Summer FUN Convention to be a success.

My comments about a handful of coins are not meant to constitute an analysis of this sizeable Heritage auction, which includes desirable U.S. coins of almost all types. The offerings are particularly strong in so-called small denomination coins, Indian Cents, Lincoln Cents, Two Cent pieces, Three Cent Silvers, Three Cent Nickels, and Five Cent Nickels. Further, this auction contains a large number of early 20th century gold commemoratives. Additionally, there are numerous better-date gold coins of several denominations. Also, the Kallenberg collection of Proof Washington Quarters is the first “All-time Finest” in the PCGS registry in the category of a “Basic Set” that covers Proofs from 1936 to the present.

II. Boyd-Cardinal 1794 Silver Dollar

I have been informed by Martin Logies that the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation has consigned the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 dollar to the B&M August auction. This coin is graded “MS-64” by the NGC. When it was last auctioned, on June 30, 2005, it was so graded. This coin is widely regarded as the fourth or fifth finest 1794 silver dollar.

Logies is the director of the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation. Recently, in May, he was prominent ‘in the news’ when this foundation acquired the finest known 1794 dollar from Steve Contursi for a reported price of “$7,850,000”! The Carter-Contursi-Cardinal 1794 is certified as Specimen-66 by the PCGS. It was specially prepared. (more…)

Heritage adds CAC Population Data to Rare Coin Auction Archives

A very quick way to measure a coin’s rarity is to look at how many coins of a particular date have been graded by the major grading services. Three figures are key as a rule of thumb in determining rarity:

  • The population of a coin in a particular grade, which shows how difficult the coin might be to replace exactly
  • The population of a coin in all higher grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to upgrade
  • The population of a coin in all grades, which shows how difficult a coin might be to find at all.

The first two figures above are often written in shorthand. For example, a coin with a population of 100/4 has 100 known in the same grade and four known in higher grades. A coin with a population of 1/0 is the finest known to the grading service that certified it.

One of the features that has long been available on the Heritage Web site listings and archives HA.com/Coins are population reports. PCGS and NGC keep track of every coin they grade, and Heritage is generous enough to post this information, in condensed form, on the web page for every US coin.

Now, Heritage has added the CAC population data to it’s population listings.

As an example, the table you see here covers an 1911-D $20 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle, graded MS65 (in this case by NGC). Under the header “Population”, you can see that the PCGS Population Report shows 1731 1911-D $20 Saints with an MS65 grade, NGC Census figures show 1831 similar coins and CAC has stickered 130.
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Heritage June Long Beach Auction realizes more than $9.88 million

Rare Morgan dollars, gold lead the way with strong prices and competitive bidding

[CoinLink News] – More than 4,250 bidders lined up to take part in the offerings of Heritage’s June 3-6 Long Beach Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, sending a remarkable 1866 $1 Motto PR67 Cameo NGC, CAC to the top of the pile with a $69,000 final price in an auction that saw solid bidding across the board, the continuance of gold as the hottest sector of the market, and a total of more than $9.88 million. All prices include 15% Buyer’s Premium.

“Even without the presence of six and seven figure coins we still saw totals approaching the $10 million mark and a more than 95% sell-through rate by lot totals,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “The enthusiasm in the current numismatic marketplace is there at all levels, and it helped make this a strong overall event.”

An important 1944-D Lincoln Cent Error struck on a Steel Planchet, AU55 NGC, 2.8 gm., coming to auction from The Brenda John Collection, caught the attention of collectors of both error rarities and Lincoln cents, and subsequently roared to a $60,375 final price, while an astounding 1891-O Morgan Dollar MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike, from the PCGS Tour – one of only two MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike examples known to PCGS, with none finer – was much in demand with collectors before finally coming to a stop at $57,500.

A stunning 1892-O $1 MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike PCGS, also from the PCGS Tour, continued the stream of superb Morgan Dollars in the auction, as this example proved one of the most popular in the whole of the Long Beach auction with a price realized of $57,500.

“For the knowledgeable Morgan dollar collector, the simple existence of this Deep Mirror Prooflike Gem is astounding,” said Rohan. “The 1892-O is one of the rarest of the Morgan dollars in prooflike condition. The price realized proves how much collectors value that rarity.”

The top gold highlight of the auction was an important 1796 $10 AU53 NGC, Breen-6832, Taraszka-6, BD-1, R.4, which realized $57,500. There is no accurate census of 1796 eagles that survive, although it is fair to say that the majority are in grades below AU, making this coin a special specimen indeed. (more…)

Original 1867 Rays Proof Shield Nickel to be offered by Heritage at Summer FUN Coin Show

The 1867 Rays Shield nickel business strikes are conditionally rare coins in the highest Mint State grades, but they are generally obtainable for a price. The 1867 Rays Shield nickel proof coins, however, are celebrated rarities, well-known to series specialists and advanced numismatists. Heritage will be offering a cameo Gem example in the upcoming 2010 July Orlando, FL (Summer FUN) Signature US Coin Auction #1142, taking place July 8-11.

John Dannreuther, director of research at PCGS, has delved extensively into the die diagnostics and Mint history surrounding the 1867 With Rays and No Rays proof issues — and reissues. Much of what follows is from the summation in the Bowers Shield and Liberty Head nickels Guide Book and from Dannreuther’s PCGS article, published in the June 2007 PCGS Rare Coin Market Report and reprinted on www.shieldnickels.net, titled “Third Obverse Die Identified for Proof 1867 Rays Nickel.

Dannreuther has established that three different obverse dies were used for the 1867 Rays proofs, which were restruck at various times, all paired with a single reverse die that was lapped on each reuse. The first obverse used, Dannreuther-1, shows the left base of the 1 in the date over the right side of a dentil. The earliest state of this die, as on the present coin, shows numerous markers, including:

  • All leaves are complete; none are “hollow.”
  • The 7 in the date is clearly recut and has not yet faded.
  • No die polish is evident in the lower vertical shield stripes.
  • All berries are complete and attached, with those at the inner right recut. The lowest inner-right berry shows a tiny die polish line to the adjacent leaf.
  • A die line runs from the seventh horizontal stripe, angling down through several stripes. A curly die line from the 10th horizontal stripe runs down through the left side of the shield, ending in the circle or ball ornament (a.k.a. terminal volute).
  • The left fletchings are detached at the lower right (lower front) portion (where they join the shield), but the detached part has not yet degenerated into a small lump or dot as on later die states.

The appearance of “hollow” leaves, a lump or dot at the lower-left forepart of the fletchings, the absence of visible recutting on the 7, etc. would indicate later die states and presumably coincide with a lesser degree of the marked field-device contrast also evident on this coin. The Reverse A, also from the earliest die state, displays:

  • A slightly weak center ray below the second T of STATES.
  • Full, rounded dentils from 3-5 o’clock, with no space between them. (more…)

Fascinating Collection of Colonial “US Regulated” Gold Coins to be Sold by Heritage in Boston

EDITORS NOTE: Below is the full text of a Press Release from Heritage Galleries promoting the upcoming  Boston ANA sale of the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.  However what struck us the most was “What a Cool Collecting Theme !”  We often get so wrapped up in High Grade US coins, and the plethora of Modern issues that we overlook the incredible variety of ways one can collect coins, if you have a bit of imagination and think more “outside the box”. Our hat is off to Mr. Roehrs for helping to expand our somewhat myopic view of the numismatic landscape.

[ CoinLink News ] We are proud to present the intriguing Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold, including 73 different examples, at the Official World Coin Auction of the Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money, August 8-16, 2010.

One of the most fascinating and important episodes in America’s coinage history occurred in the early national period. Ephraim Brasher’s “EB” counterstamp, so well known thanks to the famous Brasher doubloons, was part of a much wider process in Confederation-era New York. Various jewelers were authorized to weigh and correct coin weights to ensure that the important trade with West Indies used foreign gold coins at their full value.

Thus, we find the counterstamps of Regulators Ephraim Brasher, John Burger, Joseph Richardson, Robert Cruikshank, Myer Myers, and Daniel Van Voorhis, on host coins from several countries, especially punches applied to gold plugs inserted to raise weight/gold content, including Brazil, Portugal, and England. Plus, this collection will include newly discovered goldsmiths whose products will be offered publicly for the first time.

This ingenious solution, using well-known goldsmiths to mark or plug coins, became widespread throughout the West Indies and it has been within collections of that specialty that many of these important American artifacts have long hid from view. The usual rules of numismatic value do not apply to these “Regulated” coins. Their enhanced value is created by actions that would reduce the value of other coins, such as drilling, plugging, and counterstamping. Indeed, these dynamic processes enrich their history and value, then the history of any individual regulated coin is further amended by actions taking place after regulation.

Regulated gold coins were typically found only in the most advanced collections formed in the early 20th century (and often very few examples) such as Garrett, Eliasberg, Ten Eyck, Ford, Roper, Brand, Jackman, and Newcomer. The few surviving examples often come with impressive pedigrees.

This catalog, with new research on smiths, weight standards, and provenance, will become a textbook in a field that has suffered from a lack of information. Reserve your copy now, and plan to participate in one of the most important specialized offerings of early American coins ever held.
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Over 3400 Lots at Heritage’s Memphis International Paper Money Show Currency Auction

[ CoinLink News ] The Official Currency Auction of the 2010 Memphis International Paper Money Show in Memphis will be conducted by Heritage Auctions June 17-21. The auction will include three floor sessions and an online session. Lot viewing will be conducted at the Cook Convention Center, East Hall, 225 N. Main Street in Memphis, and the floor sessions will be held at the Memphis Marriott Downtown, Heritage Ballroom, 250 North Main Street.

Session One will begin on Thursday evening, June 17, at 6 p.m. CST, and includes World Currency, Canadian Currency, Miscellaneous, Continental Currency, Colonials, Fractional Currency, Obsoletes, Confederate Notes, and Military Payment Certificates.

Heritage Currency Auctions is pleased to present a large selection of World notes as part of Session One. Eighty one countries will be represented by the 226 lots being offered. Featured lots include: Australia Commonwealth of Australia £10 ND (1927) Pick 18b R55 PMG Choice About Unc 58, Hawaii Republic of Hawaii Silver Certificate of Deposit $10 1895 (1897) Pick 12a PCGS Fine 12, and a Palestine £10 Palestine Currency Board 1929 Pick 9b PMG Choice Very Fine 35. The Canadian offerings include a BC-19 $1000 1935 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ and a Halifax, NS- The Bank of Nova Scotia $100 1929 Ch # 550-28-40 PMG Very Fine 20.

Additional Session One highlights include: an extremely rare “Independence” Sword in Hand Note

Massachusetts November 17, 1776 36s PMG Choice Very Fine 35; a Maryland July 26, 1775 $1 1/3 PMG Choice Fine 15 Allegorical Note; fourteen group lots of Obsoletes from the Bank of the State of South Carolina, among them Charleston, SC- Bank of the State of South Carolina Fractional Notes, Including Several Unlisted Varieties; a Confederate T6 $50 1861 PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ; a rare Ball 277 Cr. 137 $5000 1863 Four Per Cent Call Certificate PMG Very Fine 20; and Military Payment Certificate Series 661 $10 PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ.

Small Size Notes, Error Notes, and Large Size Notes will be featured during Session Two beginning on Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m. CST. Among the Small Size selections are newly discovered $5,000 and $10,000 Federal Reserve Notes from the Dallas district Fr. 2221-K $5000 1934 LGS FRN Note PMG Very Fine 30 and Fr. 2231-K $10000 1934 FRN PCGS Apparent Very Fine 25, and a gorgeous Fr. 2407 $500 1928 Gold Certificate PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ. A number of outstanding Error Notes will be presented, including the “King of Errors,” a Fr. 964/Fr. 904 $20/$10 1914 Double Denomination FRN PCGS About New 50, and a Skaneateles, NY – $10 1929 Ty. 1 The NB of Skaneateles Ch. # 5360 with a rare inverted overprint of the black ink portion. Large Size offerings include a Fr. 1072a $100 1914 Red Seal FRN PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ that is tied for finest known and the  Ten Note Federal Reserve Proof Presentation Set Number 1 that was presented by Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo on December 21, 1914. (more…)

Cristiano Bierrenbach and David Michaels Take New Positions at Heritage Auction Galleries

Cristiano Bierrenbach promoted to Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage

Heritage Auction Galleries (HA.com) has announced the promotion of Cristiano Bierrenbach to the position of Vice President of International Numismatics.

“In the short time Cris has been with Heritage, he has become instrumental to the impressive growth enjoyed by our World Coin category,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Cris will continue to drive our World Coin category growth here in the U.S. while working to expand our role into a leadership position in markets abroad.”

Bierrenbach started at Heritage in January 2008 and his impact on the business was almost immediate. That same year, the NYINC auction totaled $4.3 million. Within one year, at the January 2009 NYINC show, the auction total had almost doubled to $7.2 million. By January of this year, 2010, the NYINC auction total was more than $11.5 million.

“Besides driving the amazing growth of the category overall at Heritage, Cris also started monthly World Coin Internet Auctions at Heritage,” said Rohan, “which have performed very well. He also has increased house purchases, brokered the successful auction partnership with the Chicago International Coin Fair and increased the number of floor sessions in the NYINC auction from three to four.”

“”I’ve been a coin guy most of my life and absolutely love what I do,” said Bierrenbach, “this makes my job a whole lot of fun. I’m also incredibly lucky to be working alongside Warren Tucker, who besides of being a walking numismatic encyclopedia, has become a close friend.”

Besides overseeing Heritage’s multiple live and Internet world coin auctions, Bierrenbach’s duties include working with collectors and dealers on strategies for marketing their numismatic holdings, overseeing production of catalogs, including description of world coin lots, photography and provenance, managing the customer client database, working with potential bidders, advising them on upcoming sales, evaluating and estimating world coin collections, buying, selling and brokering world coins and collections by private treaty, promoting growth strategies and fomenting new venues and channels for consignments and marketing Heritage in international markets. (more…)

Buffalo Nickels And Lincoln Cents Lead Heritage Long Beach Rare Coin Auction

A dazzling array of Buffalo nickels and Lincoln cents from The Brenda John Collection anchor the upcoming Heritage Auctions U.S. Coin Auction, with floor sessions held June 3-4 in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin Expo in Long Beach, CA. With incredible rarities in incredible grades, no Buffalo nickel or Lincoln cent collector will want to miss this auction.

Many famous varieties are represented in The Brenda John Collection. Among the Buffalo nickels is the dramatic 1916 Doubled Die Obverse graded an astounding MS64 by NGC. On this coin, the date is boldly doubled, so much so that many early descriptions called it the 1916/1916. But the variety was not discovered until well after its release, and the survival of Mint State coins is a matter of chance. This MS64 example is one of the ‘best of the best.’

Similarly important is a 1918/7-D nickel graded MS65 by NGC. Gem examples of this bold and popular overdate are extremely rare, and there are none in higher grades.

Among the very popular Lincoln cents is an off-metal error, a 1944-D cent struck on a steel planchet from 1943 graded AU55 by NGC, with another rare and impressive selection being a 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent graded MS64 Red and Brown by PCGS.

Important condition rarities in the collection include a 1909 VDB cent graded PR65 Red by PCGS, a 1917-S nickel graded MS67 by NGC, the sole finest coin known to NGC or PCGS, and Lot 420, a 1926-S nickel graded an astounding MS66 by NGC.

Silver and gold collectors will find plenty of desirable coins to bid on as well. High on the list is a trio of Morgan dollars that traveled as part of the legendary PCGS Tour: an 1891-O dollar graded MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike by PCGS with CAC attestation, an 1892-O dollar graded MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike by PCGS, and an 1894 dollar graded MS65 by PCGS with CAC attestation. The PCGS Tour brought together some of the most amazing Morgan dollars known at the time. While nearly two decades have passed since then, some of these Morgan dollars remain the best of their kind. The New Orleans Morgan dollars, in particular, are nearly unknown in Deep Mirror Prooflike.

Collectors of earlier U.S. silver are sure to be delighted a legendary Judd-7 1792 half disme graded Good 6 by PCGS. The 1792 half dismes appear on the borderlands between patterns and money. They were struck late in the year, after the Mint Act was passed but before the Philadelphia Mint building was in operation. While they have been collected as patterns in the past, the wear on many pieces like this lot would indicate that they served as money.

Among the gold coin highlights a 1908 Indian quarter eagle graded MS67 by PCGS. It is one of just two 1908 Indian quarter eagles so graded by PCGS, and one of just four MS67 coins certified by that firm in the entire series. (more…)

1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel Part of the Brenda John Collection to be offered at Heritage’s Long Beach Coin Auction

In a March 15, 2005, Numismatic News column, Paul M. Green described the 1916 Doubled Die nickel “as perhaps the greatest and least known rarity of the 20th century. It is ironic, because the logical assumption would be that any coin of the 20th century is well known and appreciated.”

Knowledge of the variety became widespread only in 1976; even today, many otherwise knowledgeable numismatists fail to realize how rare the issue is–in all grades, but particularly in Mint State.

Although some regular 1916 Buffalo nickels are known to show strike doubling on the date, they are easily distinguished from the unusual Doubled Die coins, which show prominent but incomplete (at the bottom) digits from a first strike of a working hub, well southeast of the subsequent strike. Other obverse features are doubled–the chin, throat, and lips.

The feathers at the back of the head are plainly doubled at their bottoms, including the tiny partial feather closest to the neck. The butterfly-shaped attachment of the feather quills to the hair is plainly doubled on both sides. Traces of doubling are visible as well along the forward edge of the profile.

The finest certified are a number of near-Gems at both services, including two MS64 PCGS pieces that Heritage has handled in the last few years. (PCGS has certified only those two pieces in MS64.)

The 1916 Doubled Die invites a comparison with another popular Buffalo nickel variety, the 1918/7-D. NGC has certified three Gems of the 1918/7-D Buffalo, and 22 examples of that variety in MS64. Even if one deletes one-third of those coins as duplicates, it still leaves almost four times as many 1918/7-D Buffalos at the near-Gem level compared to the 1916 Doubled Die.

The obverse of this impressively lustrous near-Gem has gold-orange peripheral toning that yields to light nickel-gray in the centers. The reverse is more richly patinated in stark blue and green-gold hues. Both sides show a slight degree of central striking softness, but the crucial date area is crisp with strong impressions from both date hubs. Wispy abrasions on the major devices and in the fields account for the technical grade, though the eye appeal is more evocative of an even finer designation. Census: 6 in 64, 0 finer (4/10).

From The Brenda John Collection. Lot 391 of the Long Beach Signature Sale

1914 Richmond Federal Rerserve Proof Banknote Set to be Sold.

Heritage Auction Galleries will offer the 1914 Federal Reserve Proofs Presentation Set Number 1 in its upcoming Signature® Currency Auction, held in conjunction with the Memphis International Paper Money Show, June 17-19. It is estimated at $60,000+.

The set consists of 10 pieces: a Richmond district front of each of the five denominations along with a back for each of the five denominations. The notes have all been certified and encapsulated by PMG. The card that accompanied the set when it was presented to the Honorable Joseph E. Ralph, Director of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing, by Treasury Secretary McAdoo on December 21, 1914 is also contained with the lot.

Additionally, a copy of a letter dated Oct. 28, 1914 is included. The letter from Director Ralph informed McAdoo that the first Federal Reserve Notes would bear the “Richmond Federal Reserve District” seal.

“On Dec. 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act, which transformed the American monetary system and is now about to celebrate its 100th birthday,” said Allen Mincho, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage. “Soon after that signing Joseph E. Ralph, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, was assigned the task of designing and producing the new Federal Reserve Notes.”

During the next year, various prototype designs were produced until a standardized design was finalized in the fall of 1914. As a part of the design process, a small quantify of Proof examples were produced. These Proofs were printed from the actual currency plates on to card stock, with the Treasury seal and the all zero serial numbers glued on by hand by the pressman. On the back of each Proof the official “Proofing Room” number was imprinted in light blue ink.

Gene Hessler, in his book U.S. Essay, Proof & Specimen Notes, states that the 1916 “Annual Report of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing” notes that only two complete sets of Proofs were produced, although it is likely that either two more sets were unofficially created or that other Proofs were combined to make at least two more sets, as four complete sets are said to exist today.

Neither the Smithsonian nor any of the Federal Reserve Bank branches, or their headquarters in Washington, D.C., contains any items comparable to this first presentation set in their collections.

Heritage Currency Auctions is currently accepting consignments for the ANA Boston Signature Currency Auction that will be held August 11-13, 2010 in Boston, MA. The consignment deadline is June 18, 2010. Please call 800-872-6467, ext. 1001 for more information.

Heritage CSNS Coin and Currency Auctions Tops $25 Million

Gold remains dominant in surging rare coin market; 1921 Saint-Gaudens, Ex: Norweb, leads all lots with $218,500

With the final tallies for Heritage’s April 28 to May 3 Milwaukee Central States Numismatic and Currency auctions in at more than $20 million jointly – $16.9 million in rare U.S. Coins and $3.1 million in rare currency – the totals of the two auctions, in combination with the previous week’s Chicago International Coin Fair World Coin auction – a $5.2 million event – made for a 10 day stretch that totaled more than $25 million in total for the company. All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

“We continue to see great prices across all categories, with gold simply dominating,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “The economy is definitely improved, so we saw less volume as collectors don’t absolutely need to sell. That said, however, the market continues to climb past the previous record 2007-2008 levels on many coins.”

The rare U.S. coins portion of CSNS saw a superb 89% of lots sold by value and 92% by total number of lots, contested by just more than 7,250 bidders, while the rare currency sessions saw a highly respectable 86% of lots sell by value and 94% by total lots, with 1,915 bidders vying for the offerings.

The top lot in CSNS was the Select 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle MS63 PCGS, Ex: Norweb, an historic absolute and condition rarity with few peers in the world of numismatics, which brought $218,500

“We continue to see great prices across all categories, with gold simply dominating,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage.

“Gold currently rules, and the king is Saint-Gaudens,” said Rohan, “and the 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a premier rarity in the series, ranking as the third rarest regular issue, behind only the famous and ultra-rare 1933 and 1927-D examples. The price that this very smart collector paid for this amazing and famous coin is money very well spent.” (more…)