This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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A collection of colonial and state coinage assembled by Pennsylvanian W. Philip Keller that had lain dormant in a bank vault for 43 years will highlight an auction conducted Oct. 28-31 by Heritage Auctions in Stamford, Conn., at the Coinfest show.
Heritage said the collection was found by the family after Keller died last year and it was apparently mostly assembled prior to 1966.
A highlight of the collection is a 1785 African Head Connecticut copper, the Miller 4.2-F.6 variety. It is graded VF-30 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and is expected to bring at least $40,000.
“There are two varieties of the African Head Connecticut copper, one relatively common, the other extremely rare,” said Greg Rohan, Heritage president.
“This piece is one of the rare variety, one of just two or three known,” Rohan pointed out.
He said Keller bought most of his collection from leading dealers and auctioneers in the 1950s and 1960s.
Bids of $80,000 or more each are expected to take a round 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 commemorative gold piece graded MS-64 by NGC with CAC sticker and an octagonal version graded MS-64 by the Professional Coin Grading Service with CAC sticker.
Among regular gold coinage, a PCGS Proof-65 Cameo 1904 double eagle carries an estimate of $60,000+.
Other highlights in the sale include a 1797 half dollar, O-102, graded “Fine Details” by Numismatic Conservation Services that is forecast to bring $50,000 or more and a similar price is expected for an 1879 pattern “Washlady” dollar struck in silver and graded Proof-66+ by NGC. It is Judd-1603.
“This design’s nickname was originally an insult,” said Rohan. “In 1891, just a dozen years after this pattern was struck, David Proskey called it the ‘Washlady,’ a negative reference to how Liberty’s hair appeared.”
An 1878-S Trade dollar graded NGC MS-67 is expected to fetch $45,000+.
For more information about the auction, visit the firm’s website at HA.com.