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Bidders chase gold at Kagin's Auction

It did not bring the highest price realized in Kagin’s million dollar auction Sept. 21, but an Emperor Norton I 50-cent bond sold for $12,600.

The piece of paper issued by a San Francisco eccentric who proclaimed himself emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico was graded PMG VF-30.

It is dated August 1, 1878, and is one of fewer than 40 known.

Read its story in my Sept. 6 blog.

Bidders were more focused on gold than historical paper.

Top lot in the sale was an 85.35-ounce gold bar from Kellogg & Humbert Assayers that had been recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Central America.

Including a 20-percent buyer’s fee, the bar sold for $186,000.

“I am very pleased not only with the prices realized from this boutique auction but from the gratified responses we received from our consignors and successful clients,” said Donald Kagin, Ph.D., Kagin’s Auctions president.

He said total prices realized were almost 20 percent higher than expectations.

Mormon gold coins attracted strong interest.

An 1849 $2.50 in Numismatic Guaranty Corporation AU58 brought $63,000.

Right behind was a $60,000 price for an 1849 $5 in Professional Coin Grading Service AU58.

Achieving $55,200 was an 1850 $5 in NGC AU58.

Kagin also called attention to an 1884-S Morgan silver dollar.

In AU, it catalogs for $290, but in PCGS MS62, the price realized was $22,800.

Federal copper coins were highlighted by an 1841 large cent, N-1, graded PCGS PR65 RB.

It sold for $16,200.

Paper highlights in The LDS Mormon collection included the finer of just two certified uncut/unsigned sheets of $1-1-2-3 from the Kirtland Safety Society Bank.

It graded PMG AU50 EPQ.

Selling price was $11,125.

Popular Kirtland $5 and $10 notes signed by both the prophet Joseph Smith and countersigned by leader Brigham Young brought $6,600 and $7,200 in PMG VF25 and VF30, respectively, Kagin said.

For a copy of the catalog, go to the firm's website.

For a complete listing of prices realized for the Santa Clara Expo Coin and Stamp Show West Coast Sale, contact, or telephone 888-8KAGINS (852-4467).

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."