Important News! CoinLink has merged..... Visit our NEW Site www.CoinWeek.com

BREAKING NEWS:....... Vist Our NEW Site at CoinWeek.com

Category: Colonials

W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials leads Heritage COINFEST Auction

Oct. 28-31 auction in Stamford, CT features one of the most important offerings of early American coinage in decades

DALLAS, TX — Locked in a Pennsylvania vault for 43 years, one of the most comprehensive collections of colonial and early American coins ever to reach public auction, The W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials, is the principle highlight of the upcoming Heritage Auctions Rare U.S. Coin auction, Oct. 28–31 in conjunction with COINFEST in Stamford, CT.

Mr. Keller apparently stopped actively collecting around 1966, with intermittent purchases through the early 1970s, and stored his collection in a bank vault where it was discovered nearly a 40 years later by his surprised family after he died last year, who knew that Mr. Keller was a collector, but had no idea of the depth, or value, of his collection.

“This is Heritage’s first official auction with Coinfest, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “Fittingly enough, our debut at this New England venue is filled with a variety of colonial and early American coins, including dozens of different Connecticut coppers struck shortly after independence.”

One of those Connecticut coppers is a 1785 African Head Connecticut copper, the extremely rare Miller 4.2-F.6 variety, graded VF30 by NGC. It is estimated at $40,000+, but could go significantly higher.

“There are two varieties of the African Head Connecticut copper, one relatively common, the other extremely rare,” said Rohan. “This piece is one of the rare variety, one of just two or three known. Its appearance at COINFEST is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Keller bought most of his collection  from leading dealers and auctioneers in the 1950s and 1960s, and this African Head copper has been in Keller’s collection, and thus off the market, since 1966.”

Another anchor consignment of the auction is The Diotte Collection, which spans U.S. Mint history from some of the earliest issues to noted modern rarities. Its chief highlight is a 1797 half dollar, O-102 variety, graded Fine Details by NCS. It is estimated at $50,000+.

“The half dollars of 1796-1797 are among the most prized U.S. type coins regardless of grade,” said Rohan. “Just four varieties were struck between the two years, all of them are very scarce to very rare, and the 1797 O-102 variety is the most elusive of them all.”

In addition to colonials, pattern coinage is among the strengths of this auction. In a relatively small but impressive selection, the most prominent piece is an 1879 “Washlady” dollar struck in silver, Judd-1603 variety, graded PR66+ by NGC. It is estimated at $50,000+.

“This design’s nickname was originally an insult,” said Rohan. “In 1891, just a dozen years after this pattern was struck, David Proskey called it the ‘Washlady,’ a negative reference to how Liberty’s hair appeared. Today, however, the ‘Washlady’ is considered one of the most beautiful patterns ever produced, and the very rare examples struck in silver are especially sought-after.”

The 20th century has its share of highlights as well, led by a 1909 half eagle, graded PR67 by NGC. Like other gold proofs of that year, it has a distinct semi-bright finish sometimes called “Roman gold,” which tried to find a balance between the mirrored proofs of the 19th century and the dull-finished matte proofs that were popular in Europe but had received a disastrous reception among U.S. coin collectors. The “Roman gold” experiment failed, but survivors from the issue’s mintage of 78 half eagles are popular with modern numismatists. It is estimated at $55,000+.

A more conventional mirrored proof offered is a 1904 double eagle graded PR65 Cameo by PCGS. Just 98 proof $20s were struck in 1904, and most of them lack the contrast that was often seen on pre-1902 specimens. Thanks to its Cameo status and solid all-around preservation, it is one of the most important representatives of its issue. It is estimated at $60,000+. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Eliasberg 1795 Eagle, Gem Oak Tree Shilling and 1806 quarter of the rarest variety!

News and Analysis:  scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community, #16

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

Yes, there are more rarities, available in Boston this month, which should be discussed. In my columns over the last two to three months, I have covered many important rarities that sold or appeared in Boston, especially coins in the Heritage, B&M and Stack’s auctions. In my column just two weeks ago, I discussed rarities that were ‘on the floor’ at the ANA Convention in Boston, which was held from Aug. 10th to 15th. Even so, three additional coins are each extremely important in their own different and very distinctive ways.

Perhaps few collectors would be enthusiastic about all three of these, though I find all three to be intriguing. These are an Eliasberg 1795 Eagle ($10 gold coin), the gem quality Earle-Boyd-Manley Oak Tree Shilling (of colonial Massachusetts), and an 1806 quarter in Very Good condition that sold for $18,666! An expected retail price for a VG grade 1806 quarter would be in a range from $600 to $900.

I. Eliasberg 1795 $10 Gold Coin

To the best of my recollection at this moment, this Eliasberg 1795 Eagle is the second best 1795 Eagle that I have ever seen, and it has more eye appeal than the first best. Gold coins were first struck at the U.S. Mint in 1795. As the 1796 and 1797 dates, of the Bust – Small Eagle type, are much rarer, the 1795 Eagle is one of the most popular of all U.S. gold coin issues. Plus, the Eagle ($10 gold coin) was the largest denomination of all U.S. coins until 1850, and zero business strike Eagles were struck between 1804 and 1838. (Please see my columns of Aug. 18 and July 28th for comments on a Proof 1804 Eagle.) As 1795 Eagles were the first U.S. $10 coins and are of a scarce design type, collectors tend to be extremely enthusiastic about them.

Louis Eliasberg, Sr. formed the all-time greatest collection of U.S. coins. After his death, one of his sons consigned his U.S. gold coins to Bowers & Ruddy, which auctioned them in New York in Oct. 1982. This coin, which is thought to be the finest of Eliasberg’s 1795 Eagles, was later graded by the NGC as “MS-65.” At the ANA Convention in Boston, it was in Kevin Lipton’s display case. Kevin’s asking price is “$1 million”!

It was Kris Oyster who drew my attention to this 1795 Eagle. “It is just a magnificent coin, a lustrous gem,” Oyster says. “It is the best 1795 Eagle that I have ever seen. It has bold detail, frosty devices, and fantastic appeal. I [Oyster] was struck by it.” Oyster is the managing director of numismatics for DGSE, which operates stores in Texas and elsewhere. In 2007, DGSE acquired Superior Galleries, a name that is well known to coin collectors.

I (this writer) also like this 1795 Eagle, which has a terrific overall look. It is very brilliant, with strong cartwheel luster. Its soft grass green tint is particularly appealing. There are a significant number of contact marks and hairlines, most of which are not noticeable without a magnifying glass. My hunch is that it is the fourth or fifth finest known.

Originally, I had planned to compile a condition ranking for 1795 Eagles. This project, however, will have to be postponed. I wish to be contacted by those who have examined 1795 Eagles that grade MS-64 or higher. The two that the PCGS and the three that the NGC has graded MS-65 probably amount to just two to four different coins.

My guess is that the Garrett coin, the coin in the leading collection of pre-1840 gold, and the coin that is PCGS graded MS-66 are all the same 1795 Eagle. John Albanese reports that “Dave Akers submitted a beautiful 1795 Eagle” to the NGC “in the late 1980s.” I (this writer) suggest that it is the coin that the PCGS later graded MS-66. “It is just amazing,” Albanese exclaims. “We [at the NGC] were talking about for months afterwards.”

Saul Teichman attended the auctions of the Eliasberg and Garrett collections. He states that the “Garrett 1795 eagle was an awesome coin” that is (or was) similar in quality to a few superb pre-1840 Half Eagles in the Eliasberg collection, which Teichman found to be spectacular. “The Eliasberg 1795 Eagles did not strike me as being in that class. They were nice pieces but not like the Garrett coin,” Teichman relates. (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!

Colonial Coins – The Connecticut Coppers

By Thomas K. DeLorey – Courtesy of Harlan J Berk

For a small State, Connecticut has played a large role in the field of colonial American numismatics. Besides being known for its wealth of pre- and post- Revolutionary paper issues, its most famous coins are the Higley Coppers of 1737-39 and the Connecticut Coppers of 1785-89.

Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

The Higley coppers were issued by Dr. Samuel Higley and his heirs, using virtually pure copper from a mine they owned near Granby, CT. Higley’s first token issue bore the picture of a deer with the inscription THE. VALVE. OF. THREE. PENCE. on one side, with three crowned hammers, the date 1737 and the inscription CONNECTICVT on the other. It is arguable as to which side should be considered the obverse, but common usage calls the side with the deer the obverse.

The next issue used the same obverse plus a similar reverse with I AM GOOD COPPER replacing CONNECTICVT. Perhaps someone objected to the use of the name of the state on an unauthorized private token. Someone certainly objected to the value Higley placed on the piece, which was no heavier than an English half pence of the period and sometimes lighter, and his third issue saw the deer side changed to VALVE. ME. AS. YOU. PLEASE. A second die saw VALVE spelled as VALUE. Both include the Roman numeral III beneath the deer, thereby hinting at the value that Higley hoped they would pass at.

Higley died in 1737 while escorting a load of his copper to England, and the mine was taken over by his brother, John. John was presumably responsible for a fourth issue that paired the Deer/III obverse with an undated reverse that bore a hatchet with the inscription J. CUT. MY. WAY. THROUGH., and a similar issue that bore the date 1739 below the hatchet. A sixth issue paired the undated hatchet die with an obverse that bore a 12-spoked wheel and the inscription THE. WHEELE. GOES. ROUND., but it is not known if this issue predates or postdates the 1739 issue.

All of the Higley pieces are very rare today, according to legend because they were popular among goldsmiths as a source for pure copper suitable for alloying gold. For an interesting but probably apocryphal legend regarding the supposed reason why Higley valued his tokens at three pence, see “The Early Coins of America” by Sylvester S. Crosby (1875 and reprints). (more…)

Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Coin and Currency Auction To be Highlight of New Whitman Coin Show

Stacks Philadelphia Americana Sale, Part I, will be featuring American currency (Part II, with coins, medals, and tokens is in a separate catalogue). On September 23 and 24 all eyes in the world of paper money will be focused on one of the greatest sales ever held by Stack’s.

stacks_americana_mass_schilThis is the inaugural show held by Whitman in Philadelphia. As of today, the September gathering is already a success! Or at least there is every indication of such. A “sold out” notice has been posted by one recommended hotel near the Convention Center, and rooms are going fast at the others. Word has spread, and it seems that this paper money sale will be a gathering of eagles-with just about everyone in this specialty in attendance, or represented by an agent, or bidding in real time on the Internet.

Beyond Part I and Part II of the Americana Sale, Stack’s expect that the exposition itself will be a great drawing card. Hundreds of dealers will be on hand, and some great programs will be presented. Among these will be Dave Bowers’ telling of “Famous Numismatists I Have Met-from B. Max Mehl to Date.” You are cordially invited to attend. Similar to the spectacularly successful Whitman shows in Baltimore, the Philadelphia event is very conveniently located. Draw a 500-mile circle around the city and you will probably encompass 70% or more of the numismatists in America.

PART 1 – CURRENCY

Great Collectors, Great Collections

Beginning the sale is the Chester L. Krause Collection of Wisconsin Obsolete Currency, Part I. Chet, as he is known, founded Numismatic News in 1952. In time, his business acumen, energy, and enthusiasm combined to grow what became Krause Publications, with dozens of different magazines, reference books, and price guides, all based in Iola, Wisconsin. Several important texts bear his name on the cover, including the Standard Catalog of World Coins, used all over the globe, and, relevant to our present offering, Wisconsin Obsolete Bank Notes and Scrip. (more…)

Bowers and Merena’s Upcoming Philadelphia Coin Auction Highlights 1652 Willow Tree Shilling

Auction Spotlights Remarkable 1652 Massachusetts Bay Colony Willow Tree Shilling

bm_willow_tree_090209Bowers and Merena Auctions will bring nearly 1,500 lots of fine coins to Philadelphia, Pa.., for the Official Pre-show Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Philadelphia Expo set for September 21-22, 2009. The auction will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and begins with lot viewing Monday, September 21, and Tuesday, September 22, followed by the two-session auction on Tuesday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT.

“Bowers and Merena has had the privilege for many years to present the Official Baltimore Auction with Whitman, so we are very pleased for this opportunity to work with them in Philadelphia as the Official Pre-show Auctioneer,” said Steve Deeds, president of Bowers and Merena. “Whitman produces excellent coin shows. And Philadelphia is rich in history and tradition, really two of the cornerstones of numismatics.”

The auction will present an important selection of rare Colonial and Early Federal Era coinage. Of special note is lot 10, a remarkable 1652 Massachusetts Bay Colony Willow Tree Shilling, the Clark-Wurtzbach-Wiseman Specimen of this extremely rare type and the finest certified by PCGS at AU-58. Limited press runs combined with a high rate of attrition explain the extreme rarity of Willow Tree Shillings in numismatic circles. “This particular example is superior to most and represents an important find for the specialist,” said Deeds. “For the type, it is hard to imagine a more visually appealing, technically sound, and desirable representative of this rare and historic issue from the earliest era of coinage operations in Colonial America, and Philadelphia is a very fitting venue to present it at auction.”

Another Colonial Era highlight is lot 44, a historic 1776 Continental Dollar, a beautiful, high-grade pewter striking of the EG FECIT variety in PCGS MS-64 with the CAC designation. PCGS Population is 10 and only four are finer in
MS-65.The Continental Currency pieces (or Dollars) are among the most historically significant and important coins ever struck within the borders of what is now the United States of America. W-8460 as represented in this lot is easily attributable by the addition of the inscription EG FECIT on the band below the central-obverse device.
(more…)

Stack’s Discovers New Wood’s Hibernia Obverse

1722 Wood's Hibernia Halfpenny die varietyA small grouping of miscellaneous early U.S. federal and colonial coinage consigned to Stack’s has yielded a heretofore unknown 1722 Wood’s Hibernia Halfpenny die variety. This discovery is only the second such new variety uncovered since the 2007 release of Sydney F. Martin’s landmark reference on the Wood’s Hibernia series entitled The Hibernia Coinage of William Wood (1722-1724). Martin’s research on this series is amazingly extensive, and has opened up a wealth of previously unpublished information to the numismatic community.

This new discovery couples Martin’s C.1 reverse with a previously unlisted obverse. The new obverse (which Martin has given the designation 4.105) most closely resembles obverses 4.1, 4.71, 4.81, and 4.87, however the positioning of the lettering and stops in the legend in relation to key areas of the bust of George I clearly differentiate this new die.

The coin in question is graded Extremely Fine-40 by Stack’s and will be offered in the upcoming January 13-14, 2009 Americana Public Auction Sale. This marvelous auction will contain a number of highly important consignments including The Brian Danforth Collection of Rosa Americana, Wood’s Hibernia, Saint Patrick, and other Colonial Coinages, The John W. Adams Collection of Medallic Distinctions Awarded to North American First Peoples, U.S. Medals from the Western Reserve Historical Society, Selections from the Estate of Michael K. Ringo, A Comprehensive Collection of Connecticut Coppers from a Northeastern Collector, The Don Dorward Collection of U.S. Coins, and The Brejente Collection of U.S. Medals, and The White Oak Collection, to mention only a selection of the top consignors. Also included in this marvelous sale are offerings of early glassware and silver, an important collection of Feuchtwanger’s Hard Times Era Tokens, over 500 lots of additional medals and tokens, as well as many other wonderful consignments of U.S. federal and colonial coinage.

It is also interesting to note that although the consignor of this esteemed coin has been a customer of Stack’s for decades and had a keen affinity for early U.S. federal and colonial coinage (particularly Draped Bust and Flowing Hair Silver Dollars including a 1794 Silver Dollar offered in an earlier Stack’s auction), the Wood’s piece in question is the only such coin of that series contained in his collection. (more…)