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

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

All Posts Tagged With: "Heritage"

Coin Profiles: Unique 1834 Original Half Dollar O-104, Ex: Brand, Norweb

1834 Capped Bust Half Dollar PR65 NGC. O-104, Unique as a Proof.

Only a few proof 1834 half dollars are known, mostly restrikes from the dies used to produce the Crushed Lettered Edge coins. In the catalog of the George “Buddy” Byers Collection (Stack’s, 10/2006), the cataloger enumerated these Overton varieties used to produce the Crushed Lettered Edge restrikes, of which at least 10 pieces survive in all: O-101, O-103, O-104, O-106, O-114, and O-122.

The cataloger also included five Overton varieties known for the 1834 proof half dollars, each unique original coins, that were not CLE restrikes. Those varieties include: O-101 (Large Date, Large Letters, ex: Floyd Starr), O-103 (Large Date, Large Letters; in the King of Siam set), O-104 (the present piece, from the Norweb Collection), O-106 (Large Date, Small Letters; the Byers coin), and O-114 (Small Date, Small Letters; Bowers and Merena, 8/1991, lot 2268). Each one of those unique proof original half dollars is much, much rarer than the 1834 Crushed Lettered Edge restrikes.

The present coin is one of those original pieces, unique as far as we can determine. The catalogers in the Norweb Collection sale described it in this way:

“1834 O-104. Large Date, Small Letters. Proof-64/65. A glittering gem specimen with full Proof surface on all areas, including within the shield stripes on the reverse. This piece is breathtakingly beautiful and is toned a delicate blend of muted rainbow colors, ranging from magenta at the center, to electric and gunmetal blue, to gold at the borders.

“Perhaps unique as a die variety; Walter Breen did not know of other examples, but he was aware of this one, as he participated in the sale of it to Mrs. Norweb. “Here is a superb gem coin, a half dollar for the ages.”

Technical Description: Large Date, Small Letters. The 4 in the date is tall and recut, with the 18 wider than 834. The 4 is higher. The Overton reference describes the date “with an open 3 and extra tall tapered 1” a half-millimeter from the drapery, “the closest of any large date 1834.” On the reverse the top of the C in the denomination is close to the olive stem. The I is centered left of the crossbar of the T. This die lacks the die lump normally seen on business strikes under TE, providing evidence that this proof was struck first. The thin left stand of the M is joined at its base to the center stand. (more…)

Historic proof sets and ‘Stella’ pattern coins present momentous opportunities for collectors at FUN

1834 and 1846 proof sets from private collection released as part of Heritage’s Jan. 6 FUN Platinum Night offerings in Tampa, FL

Two rare early proof sets and a remarkable set of six pattern coins associated with the famous “Stella” coinage experiment are important collective highlights of Heritage’s Tampa FUN Platinum Night U.S. Coin Auction, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

“All three of these sets have remained intact from the time of issue,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “It’s amazing to be able to see an 1834 proof set all at once, or the three coins of an 1846 proof gold set, or a six-coin set of Stella patterns. We understand that many collectors are interested in particular coins rather than sets, so we’ve chosen to offer the pieces from these sets as individual lots. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if a single buyer were to keep one of the sets together.”

The earliest set is an 1834 eight-piece proof set, half cent through half eagle, with grades ranging from PR63 to PR65 NGC. While this proof set does not include the denominations included in diplomatic presentation sets of that year – namely the legendary 1804-dated silver dollar and gold eagle – it does include eight denominations, all extremely rare: the half cent, large cent, half dime, dime, quarter, half dollar, quarter eagle, and half eagle.

“Perhaps four or five of these non-diplomatic sets were issued,” said Rohan. “All the rest were broken up long ago. Depending on who buys these coins, this may literally be the last chance for collectors to bid on one of the non-diplomatic sets while it’s still intact.”

The second set, smaller but just as important in its own fashion, is a three-piece gold proof set from 1846. It contains the three gold denominations struck that year, the quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle, and each coin is graded PR64 Cameo by NGC. The three-coin gold set was part of a larger 10-coin complete proof set that was last offered as part of the legendary John Jay Pittman Collection. The coins trace their origin all the way back to an 1892 sale by Ed Frossard.

“Today’s collectors have a chance to make these incredibly rare 1846 gold coins part of their collections,” said Rohan. “The half eagle, for example, is the only proof specimen not in a museum collection. We hope the winning bidders enjoy the same pride of ownership that Pittman displayed.”

Chronologically last, but of similarly momentous importance, is a set of five pattern pieces dated 1879 and 1880 and related to the famous proposed international trade coin, the four dollar or “Stella.” The first five coins, all very rare or extremely rare, were made of copper and later gilt. They grade PR62 to PR64 and include a Judd-1636 1879 Flowing Hair four dollar, a Judd-1639 1879 Coiled Hair four dollar, a Judd-1658 1880 Flowing Hair four dollar, a Judd-1661 1880 Coiled Hair four dollar, and the legendary Judd-1644 1879 quintuple stella – a trade-coin spin on the existing double eagle. (more…)

Coin Profile 1804 Bust Quarter, Single Finest Certified B-1, Ex: Colonel Green

Colonel Edward Howland Robinson Green (better known as Col. E.H.R. Green or, more simply, Col. Green), was the son of Henrietta Howland Robinson Green, née Henrietta Howland Robinson (1834-1916). She, too, is known more simply as Hetty Green, and even more familiarly as the “Witch of Wall Street.” Hetty Green was connected on the Howland side of her family to one of the great merchant families of New England. She grew up in a Quaker household, noted for its austerity.

Upon their deaths in 1865, her father and maternal aunt willed to her a total of about $10 million. Even after her 1867 marriage to Edward H. Green, she kept her finances separate, managing them herself with single-minded monomania. Her father and grandfather had educated her in finance from early childhood, and she dedicated herself to expanding that fortune. As her wealth increased, she continued to live with her son and daughter in modest surroundings, avoiding all social contacts or displays of wealth. In time she became a major force on Wall Street, despite which she often appeared in public in shabby garb and sought medical treatment for herself at charity clinics. She left an estate valued at more than $100 million when she died in 1916, reputedly the world’s richest woman.

“Extremely rare grade and one of two finest known of just three, possibly four known in full Mint State. Certainly the most famous specimen and long thought to be clearly the finest.”

The most often-repeated story concerning her penury is that concerning her son Edward, whom she refused to take for medical treatment, resulting in the need for his leg to be amputated. Col. Green was born the year following Hetty’s marriage to Edward Green, during his parents’ tour of Europe.

By age 25, Col. Green had been admitted to the bar and become president of the Texas Midland Railroad (his mother Hetty had owned many railroad stocks during her lifetime). He was active in Texas Republican politics, served as chairman of the Texas Republican State Committee, and was a director of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. In order to maintain a Texas residence, he kept a suit of clothes and one of his wooden legs in a “fine residence” in Terrell, Texas. He died at age 68 in Lake Placid, New York.

At the time of his death–with a total estate valued at more than $40 million–his coin collection was valued at an estimated $5 million, along with a stamp collection worth $3.5 million. Green’s numismatic holdings included at least seven different 1838-O half dollars, a Brasher doubloon, all five of the 1913 Liberty nickels, and a staggering hoard of 1796 quarters, said to number more than 200 pieces. (more…)

Heritage’s World and Ancient Coin Auction in NYC

International numismatic treasures highlighted by rare German, Polish and South American coins, as well as the largest gold coin in the world, a Chinese 321+ ounce Beijing Olympics gold 100,000 Yuan

DALLAS, TX – As the profile of Heritage Auctions’ World & Ancient Coins category has continued to skyrocket over the last few years, each consecutive offering has raised the bar significantly. With the Jan. 3-4 New York Signature? World & Ancient Coin Auction at the Waldorf Astoria, coinciding with the New York International Coin Show (NYINC), Heritage has not only assembled its largest World Coin auction to date, it has also once again raised the bar in terms of absolute quality.

“With more than 5,000 total lots in this auction we have literally scoured the planet for the best possible international numismatic offerings,” said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage. “The incredible scope of countries represented, and the depth to which the collections go is so advanced that putting this catalog together was like a getting a graduate degree in world numismatics at a crash course pace.”

More than 240 consignors have placed coins in the auction, most of which will be on display for lot viewing, Dec. 29 and 30, at Heritage’s jewelbox New York space at 445 Park Avenue (at 57th). To further entice International coin collectors, Heritage will have highlights from the upcoming auction the Norman Jacobs Collection of Korean and Japanese Coins, the most important collection of its kind, on display at the NYINC, January 6-9, at the Waldorf-Astoria.

A Polish Sigismund III gold 10 Dukats 1588, Fr-83, XF45 NGC represents one of the superb early highlights of the auction. This exceedingly rare type, with its clean lines and striking imagery is appealing as much for its numismatic value as for its artistic value, and is sure to be the subject of spirited bidding. It carries an estimate of $175,000+. (more…)

The Jim O’Neal Collection of $5 Indians readies for auction in Heritage FUN U.S. Coin event

Finest known 1909-O half eagle headlines the Jan. 6 Platinum Night auction of this PCGS Registry Set All-Time Finest in Tampa, FL

DALLAS, TX — The finest collectible 1909-O Indian half eagle, MS66 PCGS, the Mitchelson-Clapp-Eliasberg-Price example – designated by legendary numismatist David Akers as “The Coin” – will provide some New Year’s fireworks on Thursday, Jan 6, 2011, when it comes up for auction as part of Heritage’s Tampa FUN Platinum Night U.S. Coin Auction. This magnificent coin is the principal highlight of The Jim O’Neal Collection of $5 Indians, the #1 All-Time Finest set of its kind graded by PCGS.

“This is the fourth major collection from Mr. O’Neal that Heritage has had the distinct pleasure to handle, starting with his U.S. currency collection in 2005,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “ His incredible $5 Indian Registry Set stands alone in terms of quality, and the advance buzz from collectors is considerable, to say the least. A high grade mint state set of $5 Indians is easily the most daunting challenge facing collectors of 20th Century gold.

The O’Neal specimen of the 1909-O Indian half eagle, the only Indian Head gold coin ever minted in New Orleans and the rarest issue in the set, has an unimpeachable provenance from J.C. Mitchelson to John H. Clapp, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., Dr. Thaine B. Price before reaching O’Neal. The Clapp Notebook recording acquisitions of coins in that collection indicates that Mitchelson sold the coin to Clapp in June 1909. That means that Mitchelson almost certainly ordered the coin directly from the Mint and, given that it is well-known that the 1909-O half eagles were coined in February or March 1909, this piece may well have been among the first coins minted.

Going one year earlier, among the most luminous of the O’Neal coins is a 1908-S half eagle MS68, PCGS, the single highest PCGS-graded mint state $5 Indian of any date. While specific information about this coin’s origin dates back only five years, it may date back to a small hoard of high-quality pieces once owned by legendary businessman and collector Virgil Brand.

The finest certified example of a 1911-D half eagle, MS65+ PCGS, CAC, one of several famous gold issues bearing that date and mintmark, continues the top offerings of the collection.

“It’s rare to find a 1911-D half eagle with a smooth surface, period,” said Rohan, “let alone one as gorgeous, glossy and appealing as this particular example. It’s the #1 coin of its kind for good reason and we anticipate spirited competition to take it home in Tampa.”

A stunning 1913-S half eagle, MS66 PCGS, the finest known example certified by PCGS and likely the finest of its kind – certainly, in the absolute sense, one of the great condition rarities of the series – rounds out the top offerings in The O’Neal Collection. The coin’s provenance, which includes a long stay in the famous Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection, indicates that this example has only been offered publicly on two previous occasions, in 1998 and 1999.

The Finest New Orleans Double Eagle Gold Coin to be Sold at FUN

The upcoming 2011 January Tampa FUN Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction features what is probably the finest New Orleans twenty of any date. Easily the finest known 1852-O double eagle, this Gem has been off the market since the early 1970s, when our consignor purchased it through a private treaty transaction with Stack’s.

This coin has long been unavailable for study by most modern researchers, although Doug Winter was aware of it when he wrote the first edition of New Orleans Mint Gold Coins: 1839-1909 in 1992. At that time, Winter considered the specimen in the Dallas Bank Collection the finest known 1852-O, with this coin listed in the number two spot. Like the present coin, the Dallas Bank specimen had only been examined by a few specialists during the 1990s.

After the collection was sold in 2001, Winter had the opportunity to view the coin, and he determined that the present specimen is actually superior to the Dallas Bank example. Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage Auction Galleries, had the opportunity to study this coin many years ago, and he always believed it was special. Halperin states that this coin is “By far the best condition New Orleans twenty I have ever seen.” Discounting the SP63 PCGS 1856-O double eagle, a coin that many consider a full proof, no other New Orl eans Mint twenty has been certified in any grade above MS63 by NGC or PCGS.

In 1852 the New Orleans Mint produced a generous mintage of 190,000 Liberty Head double eagles, largely due to the influx of gold from the California gold fields. Because of its substantial mintage, the 1852-O is one of the more available Type One double eagles from the New Orleans Mint. Winter estimates a surviving population of 900-1100 pieces in all grades. Most examples seen are in lower circulated grades, and the issue becomes scarce in AU55 and quite rare in Mint State. Due to the availability of the 1852-O in AU, the date is always in demand from mintmark type collectors, seeking a high grade example for their collections.

Of course, the Miller collection coin is in a class of its own as a condition rarity. No 1852-O double eagle of comparable quality has been offered at auction since the Dallas Bank specimen came on the market, nearly a decade ago. In 2006, a PCGS graded MS62 specimen realized $48,875 as lot 5580 of the Denver Signature Auction in 2006, but even that coin clearly lacked the quality of this magnificent Gem, which grades a full three points higher.

As the finest known specimen of the date, with claims to the title of finest New Orleans business strike double eagle, it might be fair to compare this coin to the finest known specimens of other issues offered at auction recently. Considered as a date, the 1852-O is not in the same rarity category as the 1856-O, the classic rarity of the series, but the rarity of the 1852-O in MS65 is just as great as the rarity of the 1856-O in SP63. (more…)

1861 $10 Demand Note, only known, to headline Heritage FUN Auction in Tampa

First Heritage Currency auction of 2011, Jan. 6-8, at Tampa FUN Convention

Heritage Auctions, the official auctioneer of the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show, will present a substantial number of rare and exceptional notes as part of its Signature® Currency Auction. The auction will consist of three floor sessions, held Jan. 6-8, 2011 in Tampa, FL and one online-only session that will take place Jan. 10, 2011 in Dallas, TX.

Among the scarce items is a newly discovered Fr. 10a $10 1861 Demand Note, the only known example. The recently released 19th edition of Paper Money of the United States listed examples of that Friedberg number as “unknown.” Clerks signed the notes on behalf of the Treasurer of the United States and the secretary of the Treasury and included the handwritten notation “for the.” The process proved to be too cumbersome and the plates were changed to include that wording. All of the handwritten “for the” examples are rare today, with a St. Louis example unknown until now.

A number of exceptional Large Size Legal Tender notes are being offered, including a Fr. 127 $20 1869 Legal Tender graded by PCGS as Gem New 65PPQ. That note is among a large number of outstanding notes being offered as part of The Menlo Park Collection. A Fr. 1072a $100 1914 Red Seal Federal Reserve Note graded PCGS Gem New 65PPQ is also being auctioned as part of the collection.

Also among the Legal Tender offerings is a Fr. 158 $50 1880 Legal Tender graded by PCGS Choice About New 55. A rare note, it is one of only nine examples known. The $50 is new to the census and is being offered publicly for the first time.

Several exceedingly rare replacement notes will be presented, including a Fr. 303* $10 1908 Silver Certificate, one of only three replacement notes known for the type, graded Very Good 10 Net by PMG. The note is new to the census and is being offered to the collecting community for the first time. (more…)

1879 ‘Washlady’ dollar brings $161,000 to lead $9.42 million Heritage COINFEST auction

Rare U.S. Coins continue to provide for steady, even stellar prices in a crawling national economy, as evidenced by Heritage’s $9.42 million COINFEST Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, held Oct. 27-30 at the Marriot Hotel & Spa in Stamford, CT, and by the auction’s top lot, a magnificent 1879 Washlady dollar, which brought $161,000.

“These results are 20% percent higher than our pre-sale projections,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “The market for rare coins is, simply put, very strong. The best examples continue to command top prices and the top collectors are more than happy to acquire these examples.”

More than 4,380 bidders participated in the auction, both live on the auction room floor and via Heritage LIVE!™, the company’s proprietary live internet auction platform. The auction boasts a sell-through rate of 92% by value and 97% by number of lots.

Recent Heritage coin auctions have mostly seen examples of rare gold coinage taking the top slot, but the stunning 1879 $1 Washlady Dollar, Judd-1603, Pollock-1798, High R.6, PR66+ NGC, the finest known specimen, handily took top honors, finishing at $161,000 after a fierce bidding between advanced collectors. Between 12 and 15 examples are believed known of the Washlady dollar in both copper and silver. There is also one example known in white metal.

“In the late 19th century this design was not well received by dealers and collectors, and was apparently given the nickname of ‘Washlady’ by David Proskey around April 1891 at the Doughty Sale,” said Rohan. “The name stuck, but today the Washlady design is considered one of the most beautiful ever produced by the Mint.”

The equally rare and collector-coveted 1785 COPPER Connecticut Copper, African Head VF30 NGC. M. 4.2-F.6, W-2360, R.8., from The W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials, took the second spot on the auction podium in Stamford, realizing $115,000, while a famous 1882 $20 AU53 PCGS, one of only 571 pieces struck – a coin so rare that even the Smithsonian Institution, keeper of the National Numismatic Collection, lacks an example of the issue – piqued the interest of numerous collectors of important gold with a final price realized of $80,500.

“While there are numerous double eagle issues from the late 1870s through early 1890s that boast extraordinarily low mintages,” said Rohan, “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.”

A remarkable 1904 $20 PR65 Cameo PCGS was close behind the 1882 example with a final price of $74,750, a mark that was equaled in the auction by the finest known 1879 $1 Metric Dollar, Judd-1622, Pollock-1818, Low R.7, PR68 Cameo NGC, a highly desirable coin of great beauty and peculiar metallic composition (silver, copper, aluminum, and white metal) that drew considerable enthusiasm from collectors at the auction.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

1896 $10 PR66 PCGS. CAC. Ex: Trompeter: Realized: $63,250.

1861-O $20 AU53 PCGS. CAC: Realized: $54,625.

1796 50C 16 Stars Fine 12 PCGS Secure. O-102, High R.5: Realized: $52,900.

1909 $5 PR67 NGC. Roman Finish. Only two graded higher: Realized: $51,750.

1907 $20 Liberty PR64 Cameo PCGS: Realized: $43,125.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Heritage’s Upcoming Long Beach Coin Auction Highlights

The recently discovered Bullock specimen of the 1856-O double eagle, graded XF45+ by NGC, has already generating buzz in the numismatic community as the principal draw at the upcoming Heritage Auction’s U.S. Coin Auction, to be held Sept. 23-26 in Long Beach, CA.

The Bullock 1856-O double eagle is an incredible coin with an even more incredible story. After it was pulled from circulation by James Bullock, a Kentucky farmer, it spent more than 80 years in an Ohio family’s holdings. It was utterly unknown to collectors until John W. McCloskey was asked to examine it earlier this year. McCloskey went through an extensive verification process to reassure himself that this was a genuine 1856-O double eagle, the rarest and most famous gold coin struck at New Orleans. Fewer than two dozen examples are available to collectors, even after the discovery of the Bullock specimen. It is estimated at $300,000+. This is the first time it will be offered at auction.

Another golden treasure from the Old West is expected to bring $60,000+ and is the most important coin in The Dr. Mani and Kay Ehteshami Collection: The Single finest 1891-CC eagle.

“Even in the 21st century, the allure of the Old West remains powerful, and coins from the Carson City Mint are among the most evocative of that time,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “The Carson City Mint started striking coins in 1870, just six years after Nevada achieved statehood. It was effectively a frontier operation, and keeping it open was a constant struggle. Its minting operations were shut down from 1885 to 1889 and closed for good in 1893.”

The Carson City Mint struck silver and gold coinage. It is most famous for its largest coins, such as silver dollars and ten dollar and twenty dollar gold pieces, otherwise known as “eagles” and “double eagles.”

“Carson City had its highest production of $10 gold pieces in 1891, when just more than 100,000 pieces were struck,” said Rohan. “It never had a six-figure mintage for that denomination before or after. Many examples have survived, including a number of Mint State coins, but at MS65, the Ehteshami example is the best-preserved of all.”

Not only is the Ehteshami example the single finest example of the 1891-CC $10 issue, it is one of just three Carson City $10 coins graded MS65 or better, regardless of date. The others are dated 1874-CC and 1882-CC. While a high mintage or survival rate can create a supply of Mint State coins, the existence of a superior Mint State coin, such as an MS65, is far more random. The rough conditions of Carson City at the time make such a coin’s existence all the more remarkable.

“Careful preservation and the purest chance made the Ehteshami example what it is, and the world of Carson City coin collecting is the better for it,” said Rohan. “Our cataloger called it ‘the 1891-CC eagle that all others wish they could be.’ More than that, it is the 1891-CC eagle that all Carson City collectors wish they could own, but there can be only one winning bidder.” (more…)

1934 New York $5000 bill brings $103,500 in Heritage Boston ANA Auction

Heritage Auction Galleries’ Signature® Currency Auction, held Aug. 11-15, including the non-floor session held on Aug. 15, contributed more than $3 million to the $46+ million total realization of Heritage’s official ANA World’s Fair of Money auction in Boston, MA.

Highlights from Session One included a possibly unique complete uncut sheet of 16 red and black Continental Currency January 14, 1779 Extremely Fine-About New, which realized $28,750. An outstanding New York November 1, 1709 (Lyon Dollars) 2 Ounces 15 Pennyweights or 4 Lyon Dollars PCGS Choice About New 55PPQ sold for $23,000, while a number of Mormon-related pieces had strong showings, including a rare countersigned Kirtland, OH- The Kirtland Safety Society Bank $2 March 9, 1837 G4 Wolka 1424-06 Nyholm 31 Rust 5 grading PCGS Apparent Very Fine 30, which brought $20,700.

National bank notes were offered during Session Two, where a Boston note brought the highest price – realizing $20,700 – a new to the census Boston, MA – $50 1875 Fr. 444a The State NB Ch. # 1028 PCGS Apparent Very Fine 20.

Also in the session two Territorial notes drew strong prices: a Roff, IT – $10 1882 Brown Back Fr. 490 The First NB Ch. # (W)5417 PMG Very Fine 25, unique as a Territorial from the bank, sold for $16,100, while an Enid, OT – $5 1902 Red Seal Fr. 588 The Enid NB Ch. # (W)8231 PMG Choice Fine 15, one of two known, also realized $16,100.

The highest price realized for a single note in the auction came in Session Three when the Fr. 2221-B $5000 1934 Federal Reserve Note PCGS Very Choice New 64PPQ crossed the auction to the tune of $103,500.

Another highly anticipated piece of currency was the “King of Errors” double denomination Fr. 2071-K $20/$10 1974 Federal Reserve Note PMG Choice Uncirculated 63, which soared to $32,200. Among the Large Size highlights was the Fr. 1217 $500 1922 Gold Certificate PMG About Uncirculated 55 EPQ, a spectacular note that sold for $66,125.

All prices realized include 15% Buyer’s Premium.

Over $22 Million in Coins Changes Hands in Boston Platinum Night Auction

The results are in from Platinum Night at the Boston Worlds’ Fair of Money! Nearly $22.4 million of high quality rare coins changed in our Platinum Night festivities, with strong bidding being seen throughout.

Overall, Heritage’s three Boston auctions are expected to realize over $40 million for thier happy consignors. (They may change this number; and actually wind up at $43-45mm total because they’re at $39.4mm now)

Leading the way in Platinum Night was the Eliasberg specimen of the 1851 Humbert $50 Lettered Edge slug, a coin that appeared on the catalog cover when that legendary collection was auctioned in 1996. Graded MS63, this standout coin, which sold for $40,700 in 1996, realized $546,250 in Platinum Night.

Two significant 20th century pattern gold rarities from The Jarosi Collection also lit up the podium in Boston. A Panama-Pacific Half Dollar struck in gold without a mintmark (3742), one of two known, sold for $460,000, with a unique 1907 Plain Edge Indian eagle with wire rim (3561) bringing in $359,375.

Additional highlights included:
* New England Shilling AU50 PCGS. CAC. From Dwight Manley’s NE Silver Collection. Sold for: $416,875.
* 1931 $20 MS67 PCGS. From The Dr. Brandon Smith Collection. Sold for: $322,000.
* 1796 25C MS65 PCGS. Ex: Norweb. Sold for: $322,000.
* 1797 50C AU58 PCGS. CAC. O-101a. From The Dr. and Mrs. Claude Davis Collection. Sold for: $253,000.
* 1652 Willow Tree Shilling VF35 PCGS. CAC. From Dwight Manley’s NE Silver Collection. Sold for: $230,000.
* 1797 $5 Small Eagle, 15 Stars MS60 NGC. Sold for: $218,500.
* 1817/4 50C VF20 PCGS. O-102a. From The Witham Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars. Sold for: $184,000.
* 1836 Gobrecht Dollar struck in copper, Name Below Base, Judd-59 Restrike, PR64 Brown NGC. Sold for: $184,000.
* 1876 $20 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. From The Bob Simpson Collection. Sold for: $184,000.
* 1796 $2 1/2 No Stars AU58 PCGS. From The Dr. and Mrs. Claude Davis Collection. Sold for: $161,000.
* 1652 Oak Tree Shilling MS66 PCGS. CAC. From Dwight Manley’s NE Silver Collection. Sold for: $161,000.
* 1920-S $20 MS64+ PCGS Secure. CAC. From The Bob Simpson Collection. Sold for: $161,000.

More reviews and analysis of all the Heritage Auctions will be posted next week on CoinLink

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…)

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 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!

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.
(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.
(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…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Southern California Auctions and Market Realities

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #4

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

While both the Goldbergs and Heritage auctions contained a significant number of appealing coins that attracted collectors, both firms had much more exciting offerings in their respective Southern California auctions in the Springs of 2007, 2008 and 2009. Moreover, as John Albanese has emphasized, much of the demand in current coin markets is for Eagles ($10 coins) and Double Eagles ($20 gold coins).

Albanese is the founder of the CAC, and was the sole founder of the NGC. He finds that, this year, there has been “less demand for silver coins dating after 1837.” From my (this writer’s) perspective, demand for rare silver coins has fallen since the January 2010 FUN Convention, though will probably rise again soon.

There will be more exciting offerings of rare silver coins, in Boston in August, than there have been from February to June. Exciting offerings may spark collectors. Plus, relative prices for Eagles and Double Eagles will not increase, forever. Collectors will tend to gravitate towards other areas.

For decades, Jim McGuigan has been a specialist in U.S. coins dating from 1793 to the late 1830s. Jim finds that “things really slowed down after Sept. 2008.” This year, McGuigan says, there has “not been a lot of good pre-1840 stuff coming up at auction; when a good coin does come up, it usually does pretty well. 1793 half cents and large cents are as strong as ever. 1794 to 1796 [dated] coins are still pretty good” in terms of demand, McGuigan observes. The market for early coins that are not very rare is weak. “Randall Hoard large cents,” for example, “are easy to buy,” Jim points out. These are high grade, often appealing uncirculated, large cents, dating mostly from 1818 to 1820.

Demand is not great for Liberty Seated coins and Barber coins, I conclude. Matt Kleinsteuber, of NFCcoins, asserts that “this [Spring] was not a good time to auction” a collection of “gem Buffalo Nickels.” Matt twice put forth a similar point to me before the Heritage Long Beach auction.

Trading volume in common gold coins continues to be large. High End gold rarities, which are not necessarily expensive, are extremely difficult to find. (Please refer to my article on the Widening Gap for a definition of ‘high end.’)

Below, I discuss an 1854-O Double Eagle that sold at the Long Beach (CA) Expo. I devote considerable space to Dan Holmes’ Middle Dates as numerous collectors have expressed interest in reading about this event. Even collectors who do not collect large cents like to read about a comprehensive and famous collection that was built over many years by a dedicated coin enthusiast.

I talk about coins in the Goldbergs and Heritage Southern California auctions that I find to be newsworthy. Sometimes, coins are mentioned as examples to illustrate larger points. It is never possible for me to discuss all the very interesting or otherwise newsworthy coins in a major auction. (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.
(more…)

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…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Upcoming LB Auctions, PCGS Secure Plus & NGC Metallurgic Analysis

Coin Rarities & Related Topics #2News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Today’s Theme

Welcome to the second installment of my column. Today’s primary topic is upcoming auctions. A secondary topic is the new policies of the PCGS and the NGC, which I will discuss often in the future. Below, I will put forth a proposal regarding the NGC’s new metallurgic testing program. For an explanation of the purpose and scope of my weekly column, please see last week’s installment.

Yes, I said last week that this year’s Spring auction offerings, in total, pale in contrast to those in the Springs of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 or 2009. Even so, there are some noteworthy coins being auctioned. Besides, most collector-buyers will hone in on coins of interest to them, without considering market phenomena as a whole. Additionally, prices realized will shed light upon market conditions. I will focus here on the upcoming auctions in Southern California.

At the Beverly Hills Crowne Plaza hotel, in late May and early June, the Goldbergs will auction the Daniel Holmes collection of Middle Date large cents, plus assorted U.S. and World rarities. On May 30, the firm of Bonhams will conduct a coin auction in Los Angeles. The star of the Bonhams event is a 1795 Eagle ($10 gold coin) of the very rare variety with just nine leaves on the branch. (For some explanation, please see my Feb. 2007 article on 1795 Eagles.) In conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo, Heritage will auction a wide variety of numismatic items.

II. Dan Holmes’ Middle Dates

On May 30, the firm of Ira & Larry Goldberg will auction the Dan Holmes collection of U.S. cents that date from 1816 to 1839. The specialty firm of McCawley & Grellman handled the cataloguing. Previously, I reported on Holmes’ Early Date cents, which were auctioned in Sept. 2009. Furthermore, I wrote a series articles about the sale of the late Ted Naftzger’s Middle Dates on Feb. 1, 2009 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Naftzger’s collection of large cents, early dates, middle dates and late dates, is the best of all-time, in almost all categories. No one is expecting Holmes or anyone else to come close to equaling Naftzger’s collecting achievements, which required many decades, intense concentration and some luck.

Holmes’ Middle Date collection includes some exceptional representatives of ‘better dates’ and relatively rarer varieties. In my view, it is a little disappointing. I was expecting it to be of higher quality overall, or, at least, contain better representatives of some of the scarcer dates. Further, I was hoping for some more and better quality Proofs. Indisputably, however, Holmes has one of the five best, currently intact collections of Middle Date large cents, maybe one of the top three. I predict intense bidding competition for the rarer varieties.

Curiously, there are more than a thousand large cent collectors who focus upon die varieties. There are more than twenty-five thousand, though, who collect ‘by date,’ including readily apparent varieties that are collected ‘as if’ these are separate and distinct dates. Holmes has impressive representatives of some of the scarcest dates of the Middle Date type. The 1823, 1823/2 and 1839/6 are probably the only Middle ‘dates’ that are rare, or almost so, though not one of these ‘dates’ is extremely rare. While the “1826/5” may possibly be rare, it is debatable as to whether it is really an overdate. Even if it is so, the difference in the date, versus an 1826 Normal Date issue, is just too subtle to be collected as if it is a distinct date. In my view, even if the 1826/5 is a true overdate, it is just a die variety.

The 1821 large cent issue is very rare in grades of AU-50 or higher. Holmes has five 1821s. The finest he has of the first die variety is PCGS graded AU-58, and is graded AU-50 by Chris McCawley & Bob Grellman, the cataloguers. Holmes’ best representative of the second die variety of this year in large cents is PCGS graded MS-63. McCawley & Grellman grade it as “MS-60+,” which means MS-61 or -62 in standard terms. This 1821 cent was earlier in the Wes Rasmussen collection that Heritage auctioned in Fort Lauderdale in Jan. 2005. (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.