Skip to main content

Dynamic numismatic duo make history with gold

A rare 1854-S $5 gold piece that was sold Aug. 16 for $2.16 million by Heritage Auctions was purchased by John Brush and John Albanese.

Brush is president of David Lawrence Rare Coins of Virginia Beach, Va.

Albanese is the founder and president of Certified Acceptance Corporation of Far Hills, N.J.

They report that they sold the coin less than 30 minutes after they had bought it for an undisclosed price to an unnamed buyer.

Brush said he was pleased with the purchase for two reasons.

“This is a bucket-list coin that is certainly among the top five gold coin rarities in American numismatics,” he said.

As the second reason, Brush said, “We had previously submitted a slightly higher offer to purchase the coin directly before it was submitted to auction, but in the end, we were able to purchase the coin a few months later for a slightly better price.”

Great rarity – lower price? What coin collector could argue with that combination?

The 1854-S gold $5 has a great backstory reported online in April and earning it the front page of Numismatic News.

This particular 1854-S gold $5 is only the fourth one known.

For years, the census of three pieces seemed rock solid.

It certainly caused the original owner and those he consulted to think his example was a fake.

It wasn’t.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation was able to give the owner the good news.

This third-party grading service called it genuine in XF-45 condition.

The special NGC label proclaims it “Discovery of a Lifetime.”

It certainly is.

Albanese was also pleased with his good fortune.

“This is the first real opportunity that I’ve had to acquire this historic item. It fell into our laps at what we thought was an absolute bargain for the price, and to partner with David Lawrence Rare Coins on it was simply icing on the cake,” Albanese said.

History has been made by these two dealers – all in the span of half an hour.

That is not easy to do.

Congratulations to both.

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."