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All Posts Tagged With: "Norweb"

Coin Profile: Norweb Specimen of the 1796 15 Stars Small Eagle Half Dollar Highlights B&M Sale in Baltimore

A Prooflike NGC MS-63; Tied for Condition Census #3

The Half Dollars that the United States Mint delivered in 1797 differed from the previous issues for this denomination from 1794 and 1795. For in late 1796 Mint personnel adopted Robert Scot’s Draped Bust, Small Eagle design that had already been used in the production of 1795-dated Silver Dollars for use on the Half Dollar. The delivery of 1797 amounted to a mere 3,918 pieces, the first 934 or so examples having been struck from one of two 1796-dated obverse dies.

Surprisingly for a denomination that otherwise proved extremely popular with contemporary bullion depositors, no more Half Dollars were ordered until 1801, at which time the Large Eagle variant of the Draped Bust type became current. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dollar, therefore, became an instant numismatic rarity–a two-year type with a combined mintage of just 3,918 pieces. Survivors of both dates are very scarce-to-rare in all grades, and they never fail to cause a stir among advanced collectors whenever the coins make an appearance at auction.

The 1796-dated Half Dollar delivery was achieved through the use of two obverse dies and a single reverse die in two marriages. O-101 is easy to distinguish from O-102 as the former variety exhibits only 15 stars at the obverse border. There are fewer than 100 different examples of the O-101 die marriage believed extant, an estimate that allows us to further estimate the mintage for this variety at just 569 pieces. The phenomenal Choice Unc that we offer here traces its pedigree to the fabulous Norweb Collection–as well as other important numismatic cabinets–and it is tied for Condition Census #3 for the die marriage with only two other MS-63s of which we are aware:

1. Ex: Benjamin H. Collins (1/1896); J.M. Clapp; John H. Clapp; Clapp estate (1942); Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.; The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection (Bowers and Merena, 8/1997), lot 1673; Denver, CO Signature & Platinum Night Auction (Heritage, 8/2006), lot 5222. PCGS MS-63.

2. Ex: Four Landmark Collections Sale (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 1990; The Allison Park Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 8/2004), lot 418; Long Beach Signature Auction (Heritage, 6/2005), lot 6209; The Southwest Collection (Heritage, 2/2008), lot 528. NGC MS-63.

3 – Ex: Waldo C. Newcomer; Colonel E.H.R. Green; The T. James Clarke Collection (New Netherlands’ 47th Sale, 4/1956), lot 1195; The Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 11/1988), lot 3024; The Dennis Irving Long Collection (Bowers and Merena, 1/1990), lot 256; 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack’s, 10/2000), lot 876; The Frog Run Farm Collection Sale (American Numismatic Rarities, 11-12/2004), lot 1236. NGC MS-63, the present example.

This coin is fully prooflike in finish and, in fact, the coin was cataloged as a “Proof” in New Netherlands’ 1956 sale of the T. James Clarke Collection. Numismatic scholarship having advanced considerably since the 1950s, we now know that this coin does not qualify as a proof in the strictest sense of the term. On the other hand, the fields are so well mirrored, the strike is so superior for a product of the early United States Mint and the surfaces have been so carefully preserved that we find it likely that this coin was specially prepared for presentation or other important purposes. (more…)

Heritage CSNS Coin and Currency Auctions Tops $25 Million

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rare Gold Highlights Platinum Night at Central States Auction

A 1921 double eagle, graded MS63 by PCGS and pedigreed to the famous Norweb Collection, is the signature rarity of the upcoming Heritage Auction Galleries U.S. Coin Auction, with floor sessions held April 28 – 30 in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society’s annual convention in Milwaukee, WI.

The Norweb 1921 double eagle, is an incredible coin in its own right but greatly aided by its pedigree. In our most recent auction in Fort Worth, the glamorous Norweb pedigree helped propel a 1911-D quarter eagle to the top of the Prices Realized chart, and the Norweb name is sure to aid this double eagle as well.

As with many later dates in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series, the 1921 was never released to circulation in significant numbers, making it scarce today. The Norweb 1921 double eagle is the most important coin in The Carter Family Collection, which contains a broad range of rarities. Additional highlights include lot 2352, a 1920-S double eagle graded MS64 by PCGS, and lot 2370, a 1932 double eagle graded MS66 by PCGS.

Another marquee coin among the Platinum Night gold is Lot 2234, an 1879 Flowing Hair Stella in gold, graded PR66 by NGC. The unusual denomination of four dollars has made this pattern a longstanding favorite, accorded a place of honor alongside regular-issue coins in many collections and numismatic publications.

In minor coinage, two prominent Featured Collections cater to different tastes: The Boca Collection, Part II is a continuation of the collection first offered in January 2010, containing a wide selection of proof coins to be sold individually. Important selections include Lot 2406, a Snow-9 1856 Flying Eagle cent pattern PR63 NGC, and Lot 2714, an 1895 Morgan dollar PR64 Cameo NGC.

Copper and silver coins offer plenty of choices outside of the Featured Collections as well. Lot 2033, a matte proof 1909 VDB Lincoln cent graded PR64 Red and Brown by PCGS, has great appeal for 20th century copper specialists. (more…)

The Norweb 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle To be Sold by Heritage

The 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a premier rarity in the series, ranking as the third rarest regular issue, behind only the famous and ultra-rare 1933 and 1927-D emissions. Considered as a condition rarity, the 1921 moves into second place in the rankings, surpassing even the fabled 1927-D. The date joined the elite group of coins that have sold at auction for more than $1 million in 2005, when the finest known specimen realized $1,092,500 as lot 6644 of the Phillip H. Morse Collection (Heritage, 11/2005).

Any offering of a 1921 double eagle is noteworthy, but the opportunity to acquire a Choice specimen of this prized issue, with a pedigree to one of the most famous collections of all time, is truly a landmark in numismatic history.

Numismatists of the 1940s were mystified by the rarity of the 1921 Saint-Gaudens double eagle and many other issues in the series, because mint records reported substantial mintages for most dates (528,500 pieces in the case of the 1921). Of course we understand today that the great majority of them were destroyed in the Gold Recall of the 1930s.

While some dates found refuge in European banks and were later repatriated to augment the meager supply of coins in this country, this has not been the case with the 1921 twenty. The only reference to any examples of this date returning from European holdings is found in Breen’s Encyclopedia, where he speculates about five pieces that may have surfaced since 1981 and about a half-dozen examples David Akers mentioned from his days at Paramount (possibly the same coins).

When describing the 1921 double eagle in our recent FUN Signature Auction (Heritage, 1/2010), lot 2315, we published the following information about the actual number of 1921 double eagles officially released:

“In an interesting and remarkable letter first published in the June 2006 American Numismatic Rarities auction catalog, Dr. Charles W. Green writes to Louis Eliasberg in February 1947. Dr. Green had inquired of Mint officials about the availability of Saint-Gaudens twenties, realizing at an early date how rare certain issues were relative to their mintage. Mint officials told Dr. Green ‘the true record would be, not the number struck, but the number ‘put out’; that is actually issued from the producing mints, all the rest having gone to the melt and of course very possibly some of those put out went to the melt also.’ He listed several rarities, among which was the 1921: ‘Of the 1921 Philadelphia double eagle, only 25 coins were put out. So there we have a perfect record of rarity. The rest went to the melt.’ It is natural to assume that with certain rarities more pieces were rescued prior to melting by Treasury Department or Mint employees.” (more…)

The Norweb-Bass MS66 1911-D Quarter Eagle

The Norweb Collection was a legend while still owned by its namesake family, and while two decades have passed since the three auctions that dispersed most of it, time has only added to its importance to collectors.

Quality and rarity are the chief watchwords; no discussion of early copper, colonials, proof silver, or early and Southern-Western gold would be complete without acknowledging the Norweb influence and legacy. Rarities such as a Gem Proof 1829 Small Planchet half eagle and an 1885 Trade dollar stand out in the auction, as does the famed 1861 Paquet double eagle.

Similarly, Harry W. Bass, Jr. built his knowledge and his collection into formidable forces whose effects on current and future numismatists continue to unfold. While his study of early gold coinage is first to come to mind (especially to those who peruse the early gold listings in this catalog, which are attributed by Bass-Dannreuther numbers), though as with the Norwebs, he also had extensive holdings in Charlotte and Dahlonega gold, as well as classic proof gold.

With all of the emphasis on the two collections’ 18th and 19th century rarities, a number of important later pieces in both collections have gone under the radar of many enthusiasts. Doubtless the Norwebs’ 20th century holdings would be better-remembered if their 1913 Liberty nickel had been sold at auction and not turned over to the Smithsonian, for example. Similarly, the detailed note-taking of Bass did not extend to 20th century issues, which were less interesting to a student of die varieties than their forebears.

Yet both collections contained a number of important 20th century coins, both recognized at the time of auction and unheralded but now appreciated. The 1911-D quarter eagle Heritage is offering in their 2010 March Fort Worth, TX Signature ANA US Coin Auction was one of the former, a coin that attained considerable individual fame with its modern-era debut at the Norweb auction; it had been sold to the Norwebs by B. Max Mehl, likely in the late 1930s. It was graded MS64 by the auctioneers, who then went on to say, “We have never seen a finer specimen.” (more…)

The Basis for Collecting and Appreciating Naturally Toned Coins, Part 2

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

In Part 1, I discussed the fact that almost all sophisticated collectors of U.S. coins have a very strong preference for natural toning, as opposed to coins that have been artificially toned, doctored, or dipped in brightening chemical solutions. As more and more rare coins are becoming subject to such deliberate, artificial modifications, this issue is crucial and needs to be urgently addressed. Although the two leading grading services have, since 2007, been rejecting a larger percentage of submitted ‘doctored’ coins, too many still become graded and encapsulated. Collectors will benefit by learning about such matters. Here in part 2, I focus on the connection between natural toning and the greatest collections, I emphasize the tradition of strongly preferring naturally toning, and I point out that naturally toned, 19th century coins are often not expensive.

Vermuele_93S_Morgan_pvgsHolderIn many instances over the years, I have mentioned the importance of naturally toned coins in the all-time greatest collections. I never claimed that my thoughts on this matter were path-breaking. Quite the contrary, I always believed that most sophisticated and knowledgeable collectors, plus advanced dealer-experts, agree that, usually, the naturalness and originality of the coins is a substantial and very important factor in determining the greatness and importance of a collection of U.S. coins.

Of course, there are other factors, such as completeness and the rarity of the coins included. Yes, collections that do not score at the highest levels in the originality category can still be excellent, such as the Harry Bass and Ed Trompeter collections. Undoubtedly, however, these collections would have been even better had more of the rare coins included been characterized by natural toning and/or original surfaces.

Certainly, natural toning and original surfaces are not the only factors to take into consideration when analyzing an individual coin. A coin may have natural toning and still have many problems. Natural toning has, though, been regarded as an extremely important factor throughout the history of coin collecting in the U.S.

Over the last half century, the Eliasberg, Norweb, Pittman, and Garrett collections are the four greatest to be auctioned. Numerous coins in these collections can be definitively traced to specific auctions that were conducted prior to 1915. Records exist of auction purchases by the Norweb and Garrett families. Moreover, most of the gem quality, 19th century silver and gold U.S. coins in the Eliasberg collection were earlier in the Clapp collection, which largely documented by the elder John Clapp. In addition to acquiring coins directly from the U.S. Mints, Clapp purchased coins at auction, possibly through or with the assistance of an agent. These had original (or at least mostly original) surfaces. Clearly, he avoided coins that were brightened with acids or artificially colored.
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