Depending on the bidding, the Heritage Auction Galleries U.S. coin sale April 16-18 at the Central States Numismatic Society convention may be remembered to the ages for just one lot: an 1804 dollar.
The firm will offer the Class I 1804 dollar from the Queller family collection of silver dollars.
A total of 15 1804 dollars are known. Eight of those are called Class I, meaning they were the original strikes in 1834-1835 for presentation proof sets. Heritage catalogers said three of those eight reside in museum collections, leaving five Class I 1804 dollars in private collections.
Minimum bid is $2.4 million, or $2.76 million with buyer?s fee.
Beyond this 800-pound gorilla in the sale, Heritage offers other silver dollars from the Queller family collection.
?The Queller family collection of silver dollars, 1794-1935 is the star, said Heritage?s President Greg Rohan. ?Only a very select few numismatists are ever lucky enough to actually own the singularly important 1804 dollar, and David Queller added to that his 1794 $1 (graded NGC AU-58); 1802 $1 (PCGS Proof-65 Cameo); 1870-S $1 (NGC XF-40); and 1853 $1 Restrike (NGC Proof-65).
Rohan added: ?In addition to the Queller collection, we have tens of millions of dollars of numismatic rarities available from more than 400 consignors. This has the promise to be the largest Central States auction that Heritage has ever presented. I will mention the wide range of rarities included, from Colonial through double eagles.?
Among further rarities to cross the block is an 1838-O half dollar struck to commemorate the opening of the New Orleans Mint.
Fewer than a dozen 1838-O halves are known of 20 or so examples struck, all made to commemorate the opening of the U.S. Mint in New Orleans.
This one, from the Yoder family collection, is graded PCGS Proof-45.
?These 1838-dated coins were actually minted early in 1839 in New Orleans, from one of the two die pairs received from Philadelphia,? Rohan said.
Also, one of only three known Woodrow Wilson gold dollars struck in 1920 is being offered, graded NGC MS-62. The piece was struck to commemorate the July 16, 1920, opening of the Manila Mint, the only U.S. branch mint to ever operate outside of the continental United States.
?The Wilson dollar,? said Heritage specialist Harvey Gamer, ?was designed by George Morgan, who was the Mint?s chief engraver in 1920. ...
The obverse (front) of the coin depicts a vibrant left-facing bust of President Wilson, who at the time was devastated by a stroke. The reverse (back) design features Juno Moneta kneeling with a youth, with elements borrowed from the reverse of the 1915-S Panama-Pacific commemorative half dollar.
?Befitting its special presentation status, this gold piece was struck at least three times ? the evidence of the additional strikes is faintly visible on the date and other legends,? Gamer said.
Gamer noted that a reference on the topic says five gold examples were struck. Heritage offered a different gold Wilson dollar in its February 2008 Medals and Tokens auction, as Lot 81185.
Further sale highlights include the follwing:
? 1792 half disme, PCGS AU-55.
? 1804 quarter, NGC MS-65, ex Col. Edward Howland Robinson Green.
? 1796 half dollar, 15 stars, PCGS AU-58.
? 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollar NGC Specimen-64, ex James A. Stack collection, Lot 494, sold by Stack?s in March 1975.
? 1892-O half dollar, NGC Specimen-66*.
? 1838 Gobrecht silver dollar, name omitted, Die Alignment IV, Judd-84 Restrike, Pollock-93, NGC Proof-65 NGC.
? 1893-S Morgan dollar, NGC MS-67.
? 1798 quarter eagle, close date, four berries, NGC MS-64.
? 1879 $4 Flowing Hair ?Stella? pattern, NGC Proof-65.
? 1879 $4 Flowing Hair ?Stella? pattern, PCGS Proof-64 Cameo.
? 1795 half eagle, NGC MS-63 Prooflike, sometimes called a small date variety, ex Harry W. Bass Jr. sale by Bowers and Merena in October 1999, Lot 715.
? 1795 half eagle, small eagle, NGC MS-64.
? 1820 half eagle, curl 2, large letters, PCGS MS-65; catalogers call this the finest known business strike of the BD-7 variety.
? 1899 proof half eagle, NGC Proof-68 Ultra Cameo.
? 1915-S half eagle, NGC MS-65.
? 1871-CC double eagle, NGC MS-64; catalogers called this the finest known 1871-CC Liberty double eagle, citing specialist David Akers.
? 1868 double eagle, NGC Proof-66 Cameo; catalogers said 25 proofs were struck, about 10-12 believed to survive.
? 1921 double eagle, PCGS MS-62.
? 1932 double eagle, PCGS MS-66, ex Phillip H. Morse collection sold by
Heritage in November 2005, Lot 6714.
The last time a Class I 1804 dollar was auctioned was 2000 when the Dexter-Dunham example sold for $1,840,000, catalogers said.
Catalogers added that in 1999 the Sultan of Muscat-Brand-Childs Class I 1804 dollar, the finest known, graded Proof-68 by Professional Coin Grading Service, brought $4,140,000, a record price exceeded only by the 1933 double eagle that sold in 2002 for $7,590,020.
The Queller piece is graded Proof-62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
Heritage catalogers wrote: ?The Mickley-Hawn-Queller piece, as the pedigree on the NGC holder states, is superior to the Mint Cabinet specimen and the Cohen coin, but does not rate as highly as the Sultan of Muscat, King of Siam, Stickney, Dexter, or Parmelee examples. While this specimen is not the finest known 1804 dollar, the Class I issue is so rare and famous that the relative ranking of a particular survivor diminishes in importance.?
Here is the pedigree supplied in the Heritage sale catalog: Ex Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt; unknown intermediaries; Henry C. Young, a teller at the Bank of Pennsylvania (circa 1850); Joseph J. Mickley (circa 1858); Joseph J. Mickley Collection (W. Elliot Woodward, October 1867), Lot 1676, $750; William A. Lilliendahl; Edward Cogan; William Sumner Appleton (circa 1868); Appleton estate; Massachusetts Historical Society (1905); Property of the Massachusetts Historical Society (Stack?s, October 1970), Lot 625, $77,500; Chicago collection; Reed Hawn, via Stack?s (1974); Reed Hawn collection (Stack?s, October 1993), Lot 735, $475,000; David Queller; Queller family collection.
Heritage is also conducting a paper money auction at Central States, highlighted by the extensive collection of Tom Flynn.
For a sale catalog, please call (800) 872-6467, ext. 1150, or visit www.HA.com/Catalog.
For more information about Heritage auctions, or for prices realized, along with color photos of lots, visit www.HA.com.