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Texas collector buys rare 1804 coins

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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When an 1804 $10 gold piece that sold for $5 million three years ago changes hands today, the odds are its price is higher.

We can’t know for sure, though, as Legend Numismatics not only bought the coin from an unnamed collection and placed it with Texas Collector Bob R. Simpson, it did not disclose the price.

Also sold to Simpson was a silver proof pattern version of the 1804 $10 that Legend purchased from Steven L. Contursi of Rare Coin Wholesalers.

What we do know is that Legend’s Laura Sperber thinks both coins are pretty cool and collectors will have the opportunity to see them both Aug. 10-14 at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Boston.

“It’s beyond incredible to see these two coins side by side. A silver proof 1804 $10 redefines ‘coolness’ in my book, and I’ve handled an awful lot of world-class rarities.  The gold 1804 $10 is so sharply struck it looks like a medal, and it’s one of the most beautiful coins I have ever seen,” said Sperber.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. graded both coins and will showcase them at the firm’s booth in Boston.

The gold piece was graded Proof-65 Utra Cameo and the silver pattern, Judd-34, was graded Proof-64.

David W. Lange, NGC research director, notes that both pieces are listed in Judd’s United States Pattern Coins, 10th edition, and the book’s rarity scale gives the gold $10 an R8 designation, meaning there are two or three known, while the H7 designation indicates that four to six of the silver pieces exist.

“Mr. Simpson’s pattern collection is unparalleled. These two coins now are part of an unprecedented collection that includes such famous rarities as the Amazonian set, a marvelous example of the 1792 silver-center cent (Judd-1) and two quintuple Stellas.

Sperber says Simpson’s Bickford $10 patterns set will be displayed as one of the highlights in the Museum Showcase area at the ANA convention.

Legend said the pieces were struck in 1834 or 1835. The gold $10 was intended for inclusion in diplomatic presentation sets of the kind that also included 1804 silver dollars.

“The preparation of diplomatic presentation sets of United States coins circa 1834-1835 prompted the minting of this proof-only edition.  As no $10 pieces had been issued since 1804, the Mint director requested and received several proof examples from dies back-dated to 1804 but prepared for this occasion using technology of the 1830s,” said Lange.

Simpson has now placed his name on a pedigree that includes Waldo Newcomer, former U.S. Treasury Secretary William H. Woodin and Col. E.H.R. Green.

Though the seller of the gold $10 was unnamed, Legend acknowledges the assistance of John Albanese of Certified Acceptance Corporation in the transaction.

Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., can be reached by telephone at (800) 743-2646, or by e-mail at Legend@LegendCoin.com.


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