Important News! CoinLink has merged..... Visit our NEW Site

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

Category: New Discoveries

Coin Discovery: New Variety Discovered -1878 Vam 852010

A New die marriage for the 1878 Morgan Dollar had been discovered by Kenneth Robb,  a collector whose primary interest center around Vam varieties for the popular Morgan Silver Dollar series.

When a Morgan or Peace Dollar is attributed with a VAM number, this means it is one of the recognized varieties that are listed in the Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars.

This book was written by Leroy Van Allen & George Mallis — their initials make up the abbreviation VAM.

Each different date/mint combination has it’s own set of varieties and VAM numbers.  VAM-4 would be the 4th listed variety for that specific date/mint.  A VAM-4 for one date/mint will not be the same for a different date/mint.

Each of these VAMs has its own rarity & interest factor.  A rare variety with a high interest factor will be quite valuable — a common, low-interest variety may not have any premium at all.  The rarity and interest factors are listed in the encyclopedia, but prices are not.

Vam collectors are passionate about their specialty, and this is the first new discovery of a new die marrige for a 1878 with B1 reverse that has been reported in the past 45 years.

First posted on the Coin Community message boards on October 21st, and then on the Vamword website several hours later, the  coin initially had collectors stumped in trying to reconcile the die charactoristics with the then known Vam Varieties. It was suggested by several collectors that the coin be sent to Vam expert Leroy Van Allen for inspection and attribution.

On October 26th, the following news reportedly arrived from Mr. Van Allen:

In late October 2010, Kenneth Robb sent a nice condition PL 1878 P with B1 type reverse that had the II/I 6 obverse of VAM 80. However, he pointed out that the reverse die didn’t match the reverse die cracks of VAM 80 and also didn’t have the die chips on the eagle’s right wing. Furthermore, the reverse die didn’t seem to match any of the known B1 reverse listings. (more…)

New Coin Discovery: 1856-O Double Eagle Discovered in Ohio to Be Offered At Long Beach

This recently discovered coin made front-page news in the July 26, 2010 Coin World, with a headline proclaiming “1856-O gold double eagle surfaces in Ohio.” The double-decker headline added, “Rarest New Orleans Mint gold coin in family holdings.” Numismatic researcher John W. McCloskey relates in detail how this rare coin–one of about 20 to 30 1856-O twenties known–was turned over to him for evaluation as part of a “small accumulation of gold coins held by a family in Ohio for nearly 100 years.” The coin has now been authenticated, encapsulated, and certified XF45+ by NGC.

Gold coin specialist Doug Winter calls the 1856-O double eagle issue “the rarest New Orleans double eagle and the rarest gold coin struck at the New Orleans mint.”

The Discovery

McCloskey’s Coin World article describes how an Ohio resident asked him to evaluate the family holdings:

“He indicated that ownership of the coins could be traced back to James Bullock, a gentleman who owned a farm near the city of Livermore, KY., during the early years of the 20th century.

“When Bullock died on June 26, 1923, his estate included a collection of gold coins that were passed down to his heirs as treasured family heirlooms. These coins have passed through three generations of family descendents over the years since his death and are now spread out among several family members.”

The Realization

The Coin World story relates the owner’s gradual realization of how fabulous and rare the 1856-O twenty is:

“After my evaluation session with the new owner I went home and checked the June 2010 issue of Coin World’s Coin Values and realized that I had just stumbled upon a great rarity that was completely unknown to the numismatic community. I then called the owner and told him that the 1856-O double eagle was listed at $220,000 in an Extremely Fine grade and that the piece might bring considerably more than that at auction considering its beautiful original surfaces and minimal field marks. I don’t think that the family really believed my estimate of the coin’s value but it began to sink in after I showed them the price listing in my copy of Coin Values.”

The Authentication

McCloskey goes into great depth over how, after they realized that “we had a treasure on our hands,” he studied the present piece under a microscope and identified various surface diagnostics that helped in its authentication as a genuine 1856-O double eagle. His descriptions of those obverse and reverse criteria, as quoted from Coin World, follow: (more…)

Ancient Coins: Gold Octodrachm (Mnaieion) Coin Minted in Alexandria by Ptolemy V in 191 BCE Found In Israel

As recently reported in Art Daily and E-Sylum,  an extremely rare  ancient gold coin was uncovered recently in the excavations of the University of Michigan and University of Minnesota at Tell Kedesh in Israel near its Lebanese border.

The coin is 2,200 years old and was minted in Alexandria, Egypt in 191 BCE by Ptolemy V and bears the name of the wife of Ptolemy II, Arsinoe. The Israel Antiquities Authority says the coin is the heaviest and has the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel. The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams.

The denomination is called a mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.

According to Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is an amazing numismatic find. The coin is beautiful and in excellent preservation. It is the heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel. The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams. In Ariel’s words, “This extraordinary coin was apparently not in popular or commercial use, but had a symbolic function. The coin may have had a ceremonial function related to a festival in honor of Queen Arsinoë, who was deified in her lifetime. The denomination is called a mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.

The obverse (‘head’) of the coin depicts Arsinoë II Philadelphus. The reverse (‘tail’) depicts two overlapping cornucopias (horns-of-plenty) decorated with fillets. The meaning of the word Philadelphus is brotherly love. Arsinoë II, daughter of Ptolemy I Soter, was married at age 15 to one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Lysimachus, king of Thrace. After Lysimachus’ death she married her brother, Ptolemy II, who established a cult in her honor. This mnaieion from Tel Kedesh attests to the staying power of the cult, since the coin was minted a full 80 years after the queen’s death.

According to Ariel, “It is rare to find Ptolemaic coins in Israel dating after the country came under Seleucid rule in 200 BCE. The only other gold Ptolemaic coin from an excavation in Israel (from `Akko) dates from the period of Ptolemaic hegemony, in the third century BCE, and weighs less than two grams.”

Ariel notes that although the inscription on the coin identifies the queen as Arsinoë Philadelphus, “it is plausible that the second-century BCE mnaieia actually depict cryptic portraits of the reigning queens. Consequently, the queen represented on the Tell Kedesh mnaieion may actually be Cleopatra I, daughter of Antiochus III, whose marriage to Ptolemy V in 193 sealed the formal end of the Fifth Syrian War.”

Some three years ago an Alexandrine hoard of Ptolemaic gold coins appeared on the world antiquities market. That hoard, however, contained no coins of Ptolemy V, so the extreme rarity of the mnaieion from Tell Kedesh remains unimpaired.

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…)

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…)

Walton 1913 Liberty Nickel stars in TV show “Accidental Fortune” on The Learning Channel

The headline-making authentication of the long-missing Walton specimen 1913 Liberty Head nickel by a team from Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in 2003 is the subject of an episode in a new program, Accidental Fortune, to be shown on The Learning Channel (TLC) on Sunday, May 2, 2010.

Viewers should check their local listings for the time the program is scheduled to be shown in their community.

The segment will feature interviews with Paul Montgomery, who offered a minimum $1 million reward for the coin in 2003 on behalf of a division of PCGS’s parent company Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT), and Ryan Givens, nephew of George O. Walton who had an appraisal business based in North Carolina.

Walton was killed in a 1962 car crash and the 1913 Liberty Head nickel was among the many coins recovered from the wreck. When Walton’s estate was settled among his heirs, Givens’ mother – Walton’s sister – received the coin.

Givens lives in the Virginia house where his mother unsuspectingly kept the famous coin in a closet for 41 years after she was incorrectly told in 1962 that it was a fake.

When he made the reward offer, Montgomery, President of the Professional Numismatists Guild, was President of Bowers and Merena Galleries, then owned by Collectors Universe.

The reward was a publicity stunt created by public relations consultant and former American Numismatic Association Governor, Donn Pearlman, as a tie-in to the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 2003. The show was to feature a display with four of the five known 1913 Liberty nickels, the first time they were to be together since the set of five was broken up in 1942.

Givens, his sister Cheryl Myers and her husband, Gary, brought their inherited coin to the ANA’s 2003 Baltimore convention where it was first examined by Montgomery, Mark Borckardt and John Dannreuther. Hours later they joined a team of PCGS experts led by PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe President, David Hall, who examined the coin along with the four other specimens in a secret, midnight authentication meeting held in the security room of the Baltimore Convention Center. They unanimously concurred that the Walton coin was genuine and, indeed, the long-unaccounted-for specimen. (more…)

Finest Known 1829 Half Dime Variety Discovered by NGC

Posted by David W. Lange, Research Director on NGC

ngc_1829_hcA recent grading submission to NGC included a mix of miscellaneous gold and silver coins, one of which was an 1829 half dime for which the submitter requested VarietyPlus attribution. It took just a moment or two to identify its obverse by the distinctly repunched top to numeral 1 in its date. Obverse 4 in Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837, by Russell J. Logan and John W. McCloskey, this die is known in various states and paired with no less than six reverse dies. Only a couple minutes more were spent in determining which die pairing was involved, as the reverse die bears distinctive pitting on the underside of the banner carrying the Latin motto—LM-18 it is. That’s where things got really fun.

The vast majority of half dime attributions made at NGC turn out to be common varieties. This is true because submitters tend to seek attribution for high grade coins alone, the ones most likely to be of common varieties (when rare varieties are knowingly submitted they often fail to qualify for numeric grading, and coins given Details Grading alone don’t appear in our census). As this coin had already been graded MS-64 by the first NGC grader who had seen it, I was expecting yet another type coin issue. Instead, I was pleased at just how scarce this variety is in high grades. The Logan/McCloskey reference implies that the finest known is an About Uncirculated coin seen in a 1991 auction. Since their book was published more than ten years ago, could it be possible that this information was obsolete?

I then started reading backwards in past issues of The John Reich Journal until I found what I was seeking—the most recent survey of notable half dime collections (May 2008). Here was confirmation of this R-5 variety’s rarity in high grades—the best coins known among the top collections were three entries grading AU-58. As soon as this newly discovered specimen was finalized and encapsulated by NGC as MS-64, I notified the delighted owner, who was unaware of its significance until then and wishes to remain anonymous.

This coin is well struck from a slightly earlier die state than that of the plate coin in Logan/McCloskey. The die crack that connects stars 3-4 to the rim at two places is less developed, though all other features are similar to the plate coin. It has light, milky toning overall, with flecks of gold within the reverse legend and steel gray toning on both rims.

Newly Found 1792 Washington Pattern Cent to be Offered for Sale

Throughout the 1860s and 1870s numismatics and coin collecting grew into a popular hobby for many people of means, and Washington pieces ascended to be one of the most popular areas in the American numismatic community. Tokens, medals, and other pieces bearing the portrait of Washington, some made in England and France and America, were avidly sought. A Description of the Medals of Washington, by James Ross Snowden, director of the mint, was published in 1861 and described the Mint Collection. In 1885 the monumental work, The Medallic Portraits of Washington, by W. S. Baker, was published in Philadelphia. In 1985, this volume was completely updated and revised by Russell Rulau and Dr. George Fuld.

From the mid-19th century to the present, Washington pieces have formed an important specialty in American Numismatics. Indeed, no major reference book is complete without mention of them, and no collection can be called comprehensive without containing examples of Washington coins and medals.

Thenicely detailed example shown here is going to be offered for sale by Heritage as par of their Long Beach Auction next month. It has smooth chestnut-brown surfaces that are free of porosity or corrosion. However, several scratches and scrapes occur on each side, including a number of rim imperfections. At the same time, it is more desirable than the Garrett-Roper coin that is well worn, or the Robison example that is holed and plugged. The finest known is the Norweb coin (Stack’s, 11/2006), that sold for $253,000.

The prior provenance is unknown, but it is from an old-time numismatic holding and has been off the market for decades, and is a new specimen to the current numismatic generation. Despite its obvious imperfections, the present specimen of the Hancock Washington pattern is extremely important and highly desirable.

Bootstrap Error Lincoln Cents In Circulation

By Richard Giedroyc of HCC, Inc.

There are many minor error coins that can be found in circulation, but there are few error coins on which the error is both graphically visible and available in significant enough quantities to grab the interest of collectors as being a major variety.

There may be such a major variety now appearing in circulation, this being a 2009-P Bootstrap Lincoln cent. This appears to be a major variety of the Formative Years Lincoln cent, the second of four circulating commemorative cents to be issued during the year. Significant numbers of cents with a prominent die crack graphically visible without magnification extending from Lincoln’s left boot through the second U in PLURIBUS at six o’clock on the reverse of the Formative Years cent recently appeared at random in 2009-P Uncirculated cent rolls. The die crack is similar to a bootstrap, thus gaining the nickname for the variety.

The die crack error was first discovered in a roll of Lincoln cents examined by Jason Rodgers of HCC Inc., a rare coin company based in Holland, Ohio (a suburb of Toledo). Rodgers wasn’t particularly impressed by the first example discovered, but when several Bootstrap cents began appearing sporadically within other rolls Rodgers began to pay closer attention.

Jason Rodgers - HCCRodgers said his sample of more than 300 error coins was too small to conclude if the die crack is not progressive or not, although the die crack does not appear to become worse on later strike coins from the Bootstrap die. A progressive die crack would indicate the coins are late die state coinage originating from a deteriorating die. Error coins that as a group do not show a die progression suggest the coins originated from a die produced with a crack that was in the die when the die was first used.

This could put this error in league with the 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln cent and the 1937-D Three Legged Buffalo nickel, each of which are error coins produced from a single faulty die the mint failed to detect prior to commencing production with that die rather than from a deteriorating die or from a faulty hub.

No guess of the number produced will be available for some time, but considering the die crack is consistent and appears to come from a single reverse die the life expectancy of that working die can be estimated.

Colombian Pillar Dollar Discovery

Until three years ago, no one even knew that the 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillar Dollar existed. That changed quickly, however, when an amazing stash of 14 coins was found during the bulldozing of a parking lot in Bogota that was being razed for a new building. Buried beneath the dirt and the decades was the old foundations of the Nuestra Senora del Pilar church.

The church, which existed from 1770 until 1948 when it was set ablaze during riots, was also a convent and school for girls. The church was eventually torn down and the area turned into a parking lot. When construction began on a new building three years ago and crews started digging, a small group of coins turned up — including the 14 1770 Nuevo Reino Pillars.

Now, of the two that aren’t already in private hands, or held by private institutions, the most pristine will be a featured lot in Heritage’s May 31 Long Beach World Coin Auction. It is estimated at $60,000-$80,000. It is officially listed as a Carlos III Pillar 8 Reales 1770NR-VJ, KM39 (Date Unlisted), Calico 1000, Cayon Unlisted, MS64 NGC.

The amazing thing about this Pillar Dollar is that we can actually trace it to the very day and place of its minting. The entire history of this coin, and the reason for which it was created, is right on its face

Few world crowns demand as much numismatic interest as the Columnarios, or Pillar Dollars, that were struck from 1732 to 1773 in numerous Spanish mint houses throughout the Americas. By the second half of the 18th century, the Pillar Dollar had truly become “world currency,” finding wide use both in Europe, the United States (where it was legal tender) and the Far East.


Newly discovered Serial # 1 Bicentennial $2 Star Note at CSNS Auction

Gift from grandmother to grandson could bring $20,000+

DALLAS, TX – The only serial #1 star note from the Bicentennial $2 series known to exist in private hands will be offered by Heritage Currency Auctions of America in its Central States auction, May 1, at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Downtown Convention Center.

The newly surfaced note had been hidden away by its owner since 1976, when it was obtained – along with the serial #2 San Francisco District $2 star, which accompanies it in this sale – by the consignor’s grandmother from a Bank of America branch in Oakland, Calif. She went in with the express purpose of obtaining a couple of the newly issued $2 Bicentennial notes for her grandson’s budding coin and currency collection.

The notes were placed in an envelope and forgotten until more than three decades later when that same grandson, for whom they were purchased in the first place, discovered the envelope. Now these pristine notes are going to be offered to the general public and the level of curiosity from the collecting world is expected to be high.

Each of the two notes has one light storage fold, acquired over the years, a minor exception in both instances. Otherwise each note is as pristine and undisturbed as the day they were pulled from the pack of bills at the Bank of America in the Bay area. Each piece is graded Choice About Uncirculated 58 EPQ (Exceptional Paper Quality) by PMG. The pre-sale estimate for the serial number 1 example is $20,000-$30,000 – which could prove to be quite conservative – as only one collector in the world will be able to boast of owning a serial number 1 Bicentennial star deuce when the hammer falls on this lot.

To see the rest of the lots in this auction, read detailed descriptions and download enlargeable hi-res images, go online to

Newly uncovered 1915 $5 note at Heritage CSNS

Exciting paper money discovery features unknown stamped signature pairing

1915 $5 Fed Reserve Note FR-788a

The interests of rare U.S. currency collectors, and numismatists across the spectrum, have been piqued by Heritage Auction Galleries with the announcement of the discovery of a previously unseen significant rarity in the form of a 1915 $5 Federal Reserve Bank Note type. The newly listed Fr. 788a $5 1915 FRBN will serve as one of the anchors of Heritage’s 2009 CSNS Signature CAA Auction, in Cincinnati, May 1.

The Houston B. Teehee/John Burke signature combination on the note features the previously unknown stamped signature pairing of M.W. Bell as Secretary and Joseph A. McCord as governor.

“This is the first note ever reported with that combination,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage, “and the fact that a new Friedberg number has been created adds to the overall appeal of this note, which is already a beauty without the added value of this ‘new’ pairing.”

DGS Slabs Barbieri Cache of “Smoking Liberty” Seated Quarters

DGSVirginia Beach, VA. – In July of 2008 Ken Potter wrote an extensive and lavishly illustrated article reporting on the discovery of a most interesting and eye catching die variety found on an 1857 Liberty Seated Quarter dollar. It has since been embraced by the numismatic community and dubbed the “Smoking Liberty” variety.

Potter reported the variety was first spotted by collector John O’Hare who showed it to friend and fellow collector, Saverio Barbieri, in the early part of 2000. So smitten by the variety was Barbieri he began an eight-year search for more specimens. After searching an estimated 30,000+ Liberty Seated quarters of that date on eBay and shows across the country Barbieri found a total of 28 specimens bringing the known population to 29 pieces. O’Hare still has his “discovery piece” he first shared with Barbieri.

Since publication of the seemingly rare die variety Mike Ellis, senior grader and variety specialist at Dominion Grading Service (DGS) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, found one in a client’s submission which was encapsulated by DGS as a lightly cleaned AU55 making it the first “Smoking Liberty” encapsulated as such. It brought the number of known, slabbed examples to three, the first two being unattributed examples in NGC MS-64 and NGC MS-61.

Both NGC and ANACS have since declined to attribute the coin in their holders, citing the new variety as being too much of an unknown.

This is a common reaction to new varieties submitted to major grading services as they opt for more information to come to light before proceeding. Barbieri asked PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG at the recently concluded FUN show in Orlando, Florida again if they were ready to attribute this really fun variety on the holder. Again they reported they were not yet ready to do so. (more…)

PCGS Certifies ANS’ Unique 1793 Wreath Large Cent

 unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) - Photos courtesy of James NeiswinterThe unique 1793 Wreath U.S. large cent variety (Sheldon NC-5, Crosby 10-F) in the collection of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) has been authenticated and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PCGS AU-58. The coin has a distinguished pedigree dating back to 1881, but this was the first time it has been formally certified by a third-party grading service.

“PCGS experts examined this amazing coin and encapsulated it at the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention in Orlando, Florida, on dealer set-up day, January 7, 2009. It was truly awe-inspiring to see it in person,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

After certification by PCGS, the coin was placed on display at the FUN convention booth of early American copper specialists, Chris McCawley and Bob Grellman, alongside selected highlights from the large cent collection of Daniel W. Holmes, Jr., an ANS Trustee. It was the first time the coin has been publicly seen outside New York City since it was donated to ANS 63 years ago.

“The Trustees of the Society have loaned this coin to fellow Trustee Dan Holmes. We are very excited to have for the first time a display of a complete set of all large cent varieties. We hope many people see this exceptional display,” said Dr. Ute Wartenberg Kagan, ANS Executive Director.

The Holmes Collection will be offered in a series of auctions by McCawley and Grellman through Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in Beverly Hills, California, beginning September 6, 2009.

“Many of the most important pieces in the Holmes collection have been certified and graded by PCGS, and are labeled with the Holmes pedigree on each holder,” said Larry Goldberg.

The 1793 Wreath cent with the vine and bars edge was delivered by armored car service from ANS in New York City to Orlando on Wednesday, January 7, where Grellman took possession and brought it to Willis for certification and grading by PCGS. (more…)

Israeli Archaeologists Find 7th Century Gold Coin Hoard

The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday — the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.

The coins were minted during the early 7th century.

“This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem — certainly the largest and most important of its period,” said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday.

One of the customs of the holiday is to give “gelt,” or coins, to children, and the archaeologists are referring to the find as “Hanukkah money.”

Nadine Ross, a British archaeological volunteer, happened onto the coins during the dig just below the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

“To be honest, I just thought, ‘Thank God I didn’t throw it in the rubbish bucket,’ ” said Ross, who had taken four weeks off from her engineering job in England to work at the site. “I was just glad I sort of spotted it before I disturbed it too much.” (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…)


Bowers and Merena Auctions, America’s leading rare coin and currency auction house, wraps up 2008 with their final auction of the year, the Official Auction of the Baltimore Coin and Currency Convention held November 18-22, 2008, at the Baltimore Convention Center. The auction realized a total of $6,280,880.

1795 S-79 Reeded Edge Liberty Cap CentThe undisputed highlight of the auction was an exciting new discovery coin, lot 1143, an exceedingly rare 1795 S-79 Reeded Edge Liberty Cap Cent, one of just six pieces known to exist and the only example certified by PCGS or NGC. This 1795 S-79, Rarity-7+, Reeded Edge, graded Good-4 by PCGS and mounted in a special PCGS holder that allows easy viewing of the edge, was the subject of very lively floor bidding that brought it to the impressive realized price of $402,500. “The sale of this lot was really one of my favorite auction moments of the year,” said Steve Deeds, president of Bowers and Merena. “We opened bidding at $70,000 and the floor just took off. It stalled a bit at about $180,000, and then just kept going, and finished with the room erupting in applause – it really was exciting to be there and watch it happen. Everyone involved, including the buyer and consignor, are very pleased with the result, and this is a coin that won’t soon be forgotten.”

Top honors also go to lot 1704, a 1920-D Buffalo Nickel graded MS-67* by NGC that realized $138,000, from the Yankee Collection of Buffalo Nickels. NGC Census shows a population of just two with none finer either with or without a * designation, and PCGS has yet to certify a single example higher than MS-66. Also noteworthy is lot 1137, a 1793 Wreath Cent, S-8, Rarity-3- with Vine and Bars Edge graded MS-63 BN by PCGS, and also possessing the CAC designation, which realized an extraordinary $115,000. (more…)

PMG Discovers New Friedberg Variety

New Friedberg 817b Discovery Note Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) is thrilled to announce that it has discovered a new variety of the 1915 10 Dollar Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Note, which has been given the Friedberg number 817b. The Friedberg number refers to Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg’s Paper Money of the United States, the authoritative reference of US currency. The discovery note features hand-signed signatures rather than the engraved or stamped signatures seen on previously known varieties and is graded About Uncirculated 58 EPQ. It will be included in an upcoming Heritage Auction Galleries sale.

Chad Hawk, a grader at PMG, discovered the note. Chad commented, “This discovery is very special to me. I’ve been blessed to see some of the world’s finest notes, but this will stick with me forever.”

On its potential impact, Chad noted, “This discovery is important because it will encourage collectors to keep looking, because discovery notes are out there, waiting to be discovered. If more notes of this type surface, we may be able to find out why they began signing and hand-stamping the signatures in the first place. As Federal Reserve Bank Notes were among the first transitions from Nationals to Federal Reserve Notes, this discovery could help us understand more about the transition from signed notes to engraved plates.”

Federal Reserve Bank Notes came into existence with the creation of the Federal Reserve System. Two separate issues were issued: the series of 1915 and the series of 1918, and they are avidly collected and studied. The 1915 10 Dollar Notes from the Kansas City issuing bank carried the signatures of Teehee & Burke (Register and Treasurer of the US) and Cross & Miller (Cashier and Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City).

Read The Full Story Here

Unusual Items: First Bicentennial Ike Dollar “Waffle” Coin Found

Eisenhower Waffle CoinThe first known 1976 Bicentennial design Eisenhower dollar “waffle coin” has been reported by Brian Hendelson, President of Waffle Coin Co. of Bridgewater, New Jersey. It was discovered during the continuing examination of Mint-canceled coins obtained by Classic Coin in 2003, each with the distinctive corrugated, waffle-like pattern left by the Mint’s cancellation process,

“It is a Variety Two, dual-dated 1776-1976 Philadelphia Mint Ike dollar, and the first Bicentennial Ike discovered as a Mint-cancelled coin. I got pretty excited when I realized what I was holding,” said Hendelson. “It’s the only one I’ve ever found.”

“The mint takes in coins for exchange that are also waffle canceled. This is, thus far, the only Bicentennial dollar we are aware of that has gone through this cancellation process,” said Dave Camire, NGC mint error consultant and President of Numismatic Conservation Services.

Hendelson also discovered a small quantity of 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollar waffle coins. The SBA dollars now are individually certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Global Certification Services.

The Mint uses coin-canceling machines manufactured in The Netherlands to cancel rejected coins and blanks (planchets) prior to sending them to be melted. Rollers on the machine crush and crumple the coins giving them surfaces that resemble a breakfast waffle. Waffle coins are not Mint errors; however, they are Mint products, rejected and canceled at the Mint because of some type of production problem with the specific coin.

”Because they’re a product of the United States Mint, the waffle coins have become a popular collectible. Some people are trying to assemble waffle type sets of the available State Quarters,” said Hendelson.

For additional information, contact Waffle Coin Co., at (908)725-4377 or online at

PCGS Certifies Hoard of Rare Half Eagles

-Santa Ana, California) – A hoard of Indian Head $5 gold pieces found in an unclaimed bank safe deposit box in Florida has been certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). Nearly half of the 262 coins graded mint state, including dozens of rare date 1911-S and 1916-S Half Eagles.

“This is an incredible discovery. They came completely out of the woodwork,” said Lexington, Kentucky and Sarasota, Florida dealer, Jeff Garrett, who jointly purchased the coins with dealer Marc Earle of Saint Petersburg, Florida from a government sale of unclaimed items. They then sold all of them to Bill Gale of New York Mint in Edina, Minnesota.

“This is one of the more unusual hoards I’ve seen in my career,” stated PCGS Founder, David Hall. “There was a group of 1910-D $5 Indians that appeared in the 1970s, but that was over 30 years ago. This is the only large group of mint state San Francisco Mint $5 Indians I’ve ever heard of. By far, the S-mint issue are the rarest $5 Indians to find in mint state.”

The bank safe deposit box containing the rare collection of San Francisco Mint coins and the other gold pieces reportedly had been unclaimed by someone from Venezuela for years and considered abandoned property. PCGS has placed a special “Golden Gate Collection” description on the encapsulation insert label for the coins it certified from this group.

PCGS Senior Grader and Vice President/Director of Business Development, Miles Standish, recalled his initial reaction when he began to examine the individual coins: “My first thought was, ‘This is a fresh and original coin.’ “And then I thought, ‘Wow! There’s a whole hoard of them for me to look at!’ These are really nice looking San Francisco gold coins.” (more…)

Rare Lafayette Dollar Variety in DLRC Auctions this Week

Duvall 4-E Variety is Just the Second Reported Specimen

Lafayette Dolar Duvall 4-E VarietyDLRC Auctions is proud to offer this week the second known example of the rare Duvall 4-E variety of the Lafayette dollar. This variety was thought to be unique until the discovery of this coin, which has been graded AU58 Cleaned by Dominion Grading Service (DGS).

According to John Feigenbaum, President of David Lawrence Rare Coins, the coin has “the initial appearance of a mint state coin but the luster is almost too nice and lacks the frosty surfaces of a true mint state. The coin has virtually no wear and has been very lightly cleaned to show evidence of wipe lines upon close examination in proper lighting. The only significant mark on either side of the coin is a 3 mm scratch on Washington’s cheek. Without the mishandling, this coin might have otherwise graded MS63.”

The consignor took advantage of DLRC’s relationship with DGS to initially have the coin graded, and then offered for immediate auction at DLRC Auctions. According to Vice President Win Callender, this relationship offers clients “the best of both worlds” as a truly efficient means for collectors to sell their (previously) uncertified coins.

Bidding Closes on Monday Evening

This rare variety is offered at lot #1425 in DLRC Auctions Monday Night sale which closes at 8 pm, October 6. Lot bids and details can be found at this link: Lot 1425 1900 $1 DGS AU58 Lafayette – Duvall 4-E. There are also 1980 more lots in Auction #289 with offerings from Colonial Coins through California Gold, and everything in between.

The Duvall 4-E Variety

The Duvall 4-E variety is distinctive because of the unique positioning of the olive branch on the reverse. The right side of the branch terminates over the numeral 9 of 1900. All other known varieties see this branch end over the right side of the first 0 in 1900. Prior to the appearance of this coin, the existence of Duvall 4-E was thought to be unique.

The only other known Lafayette dollar of this die variety was sold in August 2007 by Heritage Numismatic Auctions as part of their Signature ANA Auction. (Lot 2090). It was graded MS60 by ANACS and realized $18,400 to a phone bidder. According to the Heritage lot description, that coin was “well struck with dusky chestnut, aqua, and plum-mauve patina. Both sides unusually free from marks, particularly on the portraits.” Based on the description of marks, these are clearly not the same coin.

Auction of 18th century gold coin expected to smash record

As CoinLink reported on September 19th, NGC had Certified a Unique Russian 1755 Pattern 20 Rouble. That same coin is going to be sold in London Next month. Below is an article written in the Wealth Bulletin previewing that sale.

“The coin world’s answer to Damien Hirst’s art sale at Sotheby’s is set to take place on November 6, when a rare 1755 Russian 20-rouble gold coin goes up for auction at London’s Cavendish Hotel.

The coin was once owned by Grand Duke Georgii Mikhailovich, a 19th century member of the Russian royal family. It is being sold by St James’s Auctions, in association with coin dealer AH Baldwin & Sons.

Baldwin managing director Ian Goldbart said he expects the item to beat the record price for a non-US coin, currently held by a Polish 100 ducat, which fetched $1.48m early this year.

Goldbart said that the soaring price of precious metals is a factor behind a surge in demand for gold coins this year, on the back of growing demand for bullion. The price of gold, currently $879 an ounce has soared following the collapse of investment bank Lehman.

Gold exchange-traded funds have enjoyed record demand, although discriminating wealthy investors, nervous of the covenant of banking custodians, are increasingly keen to put bullion in their own vaults.

But Goldbart said that the key factor behind demand for coins was their scarcity: “Coins of the quality of the Russian 20-rouble almost never become available,” he said. “The coin last changed hands in 1950.” He said rare coins have only recently started to rise in value, adding: “Unlike Hirst’s art, they aren’t increasing in number.”

No reserve price is being quoted for the 20-rouble coin, but Goldbart said it could fetch between $2m and $3m, due to the item’s rarity.”

NCS Certifies Newly Discovered Specimen of the Rare Starred Reverse Cent

Starred Reverse Cent Among the most famous and popular of early federal coins is the 1794 cent variety featuring a circle of 94 tiny stars around its reverse border. Though partially hidden by the denticles which overlap them, these stars have captured the imaginations of coin collectors since this variety was discovered in 1876 by legendary dealer Henry Chapman. Since that time about 40 examples have come to light, the finest of these overall being the one plated in William C. Noyes’ book United States Large Cents 1793-1814. It is more worn than the newly discovered coin, but its surfaces are problem-free.

The previously unknown specimen illustrated here is by far sharper than the Noyes plate coin, having full details and essentially no wear but with corroded surfaces. The latter feature disqualifies it for NGC certification, but NCS was pleased to assign it a details grade of AU and provide a VarietyPlus® attribution of S-48 from the Sheldon cataloging system.

The NCS-certified cent reportedly was retrieved from a coin album and was unknown to the large cent collecting fraternity. The few individuals outside of NGC/NCS who have seen the coin or photos of it are in agreement that this is the sharpest example known of this rare and fabled variety. Its submitter has chosen to remain anonymous at this time, but he is delighted with the service he received from NCS and its representatives.



1851 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold PieceIRVINE, Calif. Bowers and Merena Auctions hosted their Beverly Hills Rarities Sale on Saturday, September 13, 2008, at The Tower Beverly Hills. The 933-lot auction of high-end rarities realized a total of $3,317,135.

The spotlight of the auction was on the new discovery 1851 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold piece of the Reeded Edge, 880 THOUS (K-5, Rarity-5) variety graded MS-65 * by NGC that realized $460,000 after an excited round of bidding. Prior to the auction, NGC chairman Mark Salzburg called it “the most memorable coin I have graded all year.” It is the only Humbert gold coin of any denomination with an NGC grade of MS-65 *, and no Humbert gold coins of any denomination or variety have been graded finer than MS-65 at either PCGS or NGC.

“A new discovery piece the caliber of this Humbert is so special and rare that I can think of only a very few in this league that I have come across in my 40-year span in the business,” said Steve Deeds, president. “It is very exciting to be able to present a coin like this to the world of collectors who will appreciate it for its history and value to the numismatic community. This is a showcase piece for its new owner and one that will be remembered for years to come.”

Also at the top of the list is an impressive near-Mint preservation 1859-O Liberty Double Eagle, Winter Variety One, the only known dies, from the Centennial Collection and graded AU-58 by NGC that realized $97,750. The 1859-O is a leading rarity in the New Orleans Mint Double Eagle series. A mere 75-85 pieces are believed extant in all grades – a total that confirms the 1859-O as rarer than all other O-mint coins of this denomination with the exception of the 1854-O, 1855-O, and 1856-O. The ‘59-O is equally as elusive as the lower-mintage ‘79-O of the Type III design.

Following close behind the 1859-O is an 1854 Liberty Double Eagle, Large Date in NGC MS-64, also from the Centennial Collection, that realized $96,600. An elusive variety in all grades, this extraordinary representative is among the finest known with a combined PCGS and NGC Population of just 3, and none are finer at either service. (more…)

DGS Authenticates & Grades Rare Lafayette Dollar Variety

Duvall 4-E Variety is Just the Second Reported Specimen

Rare Lafayette Dollar Variety Duvall 4?EVirginia Beach, VA. The graders at Dominion Grading Service are excited to announce that they have certified the second known example of this very rare variety. The Duvall 4-E variety was thought to be unique until the discovery of this coin, which has been graded AU58 Cleaned by DGS.

According to John Feigenbaum, President of DGS, the coin has “the initial appearance of a mint state coin but the luster is almost too nice and lacks the frosty surfaces of a true mint state. The coin has virtually no wear and has been very lightly cleaned to show evidence of wipe lines upon close examination in proper lighting. The only significant mark on either side of the coin is a 3 mm scratch on Washington’s cheek. Without the mishandling, this coin might have otherwise graded MS63.”

Feigenbaum continued to say that “this coin is the perfect example of the kind of collector rarity that we pride ourselves at DGS. Because the coin is lightly cleaned, some of the other grading services wouldn’t even examine the coin for variety. At DGS, we appreciate that many great coins may not be pristine, but still benefit from certification. Our affiliation with David Lawrence Rare Coins and DLRC Auctions also gives clients the opportunity to submit the coins and then bring them directly to market. In the case of the 4-E, the client intends to do just that. No other leading firm can offer that full-service experience in house.”Detail of Reverse Position of Olive Branch

The Duvall 4-E Variety

The Duvall 4-E variety is distinctive because of the unique positioning of the olive branch on the reverse. The right side of the branch terminates over the numeral 9 of 1900. All other known varieties see this branch end over the right side of the first 0 in 1900. Prior to the appearance of this coin, the existence of Duvall 4-E was thought to be unique.

The only other known Lafayette dollar of this die variety was sold in August 2007 by Heritage Numismatic Auctions as part of their Signature ANA Auction. (Lot 2090). It was graded MS60 by ANACS and realized $18,400 to a phone bidder. According to the Heritage lot description, that coin was “well struck with dusky chestnut, aqua, and plum-mauve patina. Both sides unusually free from marks, particularly on the portraits.” Based on the description of marks, these are clearly not the same coin. (more…)

eBay seller lists 1873-S No-Arrows half dollar

The following Article appeared in the August The E-Gobrecht Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 8

With an minimum opening bid of $500,000, Paul Bosco, a New York dealer with tables at the 2008 ANA Convention, offered the “1873S No Arrows Discovery Coin,” item number 300245146593 with a closing date of August 4, 2008.

He described the coin as such: “I suggest you use your computer’s imaging programs to enlarge the pictures. They are rather convincing. Mintage 5000, but it has always been believed that no specimens are known. The 1873S Dollar –mintage 700– has the same status. In 1873 the weight of silver fractional coins was increased and the silver dollar was suspended, as well as the half dime. In the case of halves, the increase was from 12.44 grams to 12.50. Arrows were placed next to the date, distinguishing coins with the same date (and mint mark) but different weight standard.

It seems that some of the No Arrows coins were melted, not released. The 1873CC Quarter is known in only a few examples. It is difficult to say, whether or not the all examples of very rare 1873 No Arrows coins were assay specimens. At least one quarter is well used. The phrasing in the Red Book implicitly acknowledges the possibility that at least some examples were released to circulation. The notion that all were melted down is not, as far as I know, supported by documentation, but by the circumstantial evidence, i.e. the nonexistence of any examples. Until now.

The 1933 $20 piece was not released and it IS documented that the considerable mintage was entirely melted. However, examples certainly do exist.

This discovery coin — I have no memory of where I got it — shows extensive fire damage, as if it survived the melting pot. However, it could just as easily have been saved by a mint employee, who subsequently — and some would say ironically– had a fire in his home. It is not possible to say if the coin is in fact Uncirculated with “environmental damage”. Also, the weight and specific gravity would notmeaningful, as corrosion and damage products would increase the weight and decrease the density. Of course, no die diagnostics are known for the date/mint/variety.

I will bring the coin to the ANA convention in Baltimore, where I have two tables. As I will be there, I may not be able to respond to questions. Free postage on this lot. I may even pay for your flight to New York to pick it up.”

[Editor’s comments: This coin is not authenticated and John Dannreuther (PCGS Director of Research) and I, Bill Bugert, attempted to see and scrutinize this discovery coin at Paul Bosco’s ANA table. Paul told us the coin was out with his photographer and he didn’t know when he would get it back. It received no eBay bids as of this newsletter’s publication.]

Newly Discovered 1831 Quarter Eagle Struck on a Dime Planchet

1831 $2 1/2 Quarter Eagle Struck on a Dime PlanchetIn the earliest years of the Mint, dime and quarter eagle reverse dies were used on each denomination–apparently a conscious decision. The planchet sizes were close, 19 mm for the dimes and 20 mm for the quarter eagles.

The diameter of each denomination was later reduced when new machinery was introduced. The dime’s diameter was reduced to 18.5 mm beginning in 1809, and the quarter eagle to 18.2 mm in 1829.

It is not a stretch to imagine the Mint striking a batch of dimes with a few unstruck planchets remaining in the hopper, then striking a run of quarter eagles, a couple of which were struck on leftover dime planchets. Only 0.3 mm separated the size of the two planchets, an imperceptible difference to the casual inspector.

What happened next is fairly obvious: nothing. This piece entered the channels of commerce and circulated as a dime for many years. Only recently and after 54 points of wear did someone notice that the design was inconsistent with that of an 1831 dime. This piece was found in a bag of silver in North Texas, in May of this year.

It is always interesting to scan the “Found in Rolls” column in Coin World. Foreign coins, tokens, silver coins are constantly found in rolls. But an 1831 quarter eagle struck on a dime planchet in a bag of silver?

This is the second example of this off-metal striking that is known. The other piece is high-grade and has a distinguished pedigree including Brand, Opezzo, Farouk, Judd, and Sloss. It has been off the market since 1974, when it was traded privately, then it was withdrawn from the 1979 ANA Sale. Over the years that piece has been listed and delisted as a possible pattern. (more…)

Unique Serial Number 1 Black Charter Note Discovered

This spectacular serial number 1 Black Charter Note represents a true miracle of survival.

Red Oak, IA - $5 Original Black Charter NumberDiscovered earlier this year, it is the only serial number 1 Black Charter Note from any bank to survive, and is one of only three Original Series Black Charter Notes known to exist (Fr. 399).

It is the “A” position note from the first sheet of fives sent to the Red Oak, Iowa bank in 1873, and, as Peter Huntoon noted in his Bank Note Reporter story earlier this year, had obviously been saved by one of the signers.

Nothing is known of the note’s pedigree since the day it left the bank in late 1873 until it walked into a small Iowa coin shop earlier this year. The note quickly changed hands and the second dealer sent it to PMG for grading because of its attractive appearance.

Only when the note came back from PMG with the attendant fanfare did the second dealer realize that this was not only a serial number 1 example but was the only serial number 1 Black Charter example ever to be recorded.

Fortunately for collectors, it is a lovely as well as unique note, with great color, signatures, and eye appeal, fully, in our opinion, meriting its PMG assigned grade of Very Fine 25.

The Note will be auctioned by Heritage in the upcoming Long Beach Currency Sale in September as Lot 3502.