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Gold coins lead auction

A wide range of U.S. coins and paper money, and a tremendous variety of world coins and medals, will be offered in the May 27-30 auction conducted by the firm of Ira and Larry Goldberg.

A wide range of U.S. coins and paper money, and a tremendous variety of world coins and medals, will be offered in the May 27-30 auction conducted by the firm of Ira and Larry Goldberg.


Highlight pieces include an 1879 Coiled Hair $4 gold piece and an 1808 gold $2.50.

Goldbergs? sale will be held at the firm?s offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., in days prior to the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Expo.

The Robert Hesselgesser collection of English coins will be featured. The Alan Levin collection of ancients includes an extensive offering of coins relating to the history of Jewish people. The offering of the Dr. Jacob Turner collection of European coins is a major event. Noteworthy Latin American and Asian coins are also parts of the Goldbergs auction extravaganza.

While there has been much fanfare regarding the world coins, the Goldbergs will also be selling rare U.S. coins, including a substantial offering of U.S. Bust gold coinage.

Leading the pack is a 1797 Small Eagle $10 that is the only example of this date that has been graded MS-63 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. The Professional Coin Grading Service has graded one such eagle as MS-62 and none higher. Neither service has ever assigned a grade higher than MS-63 to a 1797 Small Eagle $10. It might be the finest known example of this date.

Although no pedigree information is provided in the Goldberg catalog, I have identified this 1797 Small Eagle eagle as being formerly in the Amon Carter collection, which was auctioned in 1984. In August 2006, American Numismatic Rarities sold the Bass 1797 Small Eagle, NGC MS-62, for $276,000, a record for the date. As the only NGC-graded MS-63, this Carter piece has a higher market value. The Goldbergs estimate it to be worth ?$450,000-$500,000.?

The next lot is a 1799 $10, Large Eagle reverse with small obverse stars. It is PCGS graded AU-58. There will be offered four 1801 eagles: a PCGS MS-64 example, two that are graded MS-61 by NGC, and one that is PCGS AU-55. The last early eagle in the sale is an 1803, PCGS AU-58.

Among early half eagles ($5 gold coins), there are two 1798 coins with the Large Eagle reverse. The first, with 13 reverse stars, is NGC graded MS-62. The second, with 14 stars, is NGC graded AU-53. There are also two 1800 half eagles, of different die varieties, NGC MS-61 and PCGS AU-55. An 1802/1 is PCGS graded MS-63, an 1805 PCGS MS-61, and an 1806 (pointed 6) PCGS MS-63. Another 1806, round 6 variety, is NGC graded MS-64 and is probably in the top twenty for the date. A third 1806 half eagle, also ?Round 6? variety, is NGC graded MS-62.

There are four Capped Draped Bust half eagles in this sale. On this type, 1807-1812, the bust of Liberty is facing to the observer?s left. On the earlier Capped Bust type, 1795-1807, she is facing to the right.

An 1807 Capped Draped Bust half eagle, is NGC graded MS-64. It is a much rarer date than the PCGS and NGC population reports suggest. An 1810, PCGS AU-53, is estimated to realize $6,000-$6,500. Additionally, an 1811 half eagle is NGC graded MS-64, and an 1812, PCGS MS-64.

Bust quarter eagles ($2.50 gold coins) are much rarer, as type coins, than Bust half eagles. The offering of Bust quarter eagles in this auction is solid.
An 1802 is PCGS graded MS-61. There are three 1807s, one PCGS MS-63 and two that are NGC graded MS-61. This 1807 date is rarer than most experts realize, and this MS-63 example may be among the top dozen known.

The Capped Draped Bust quarter eagle of 1808 is a one-year type coin. It is very similar to the half eagles that were minted from 1807 to 1812. Quarter eagles, however, were not minted again until the introduction of the Capped Head type in 1821.

Quarter eagles of 1808 are probably the second rarest gold type coins, behind 1796 no stars quarter eagles. There are probably only 95-115 1808 quarter eagles in existence, certainly fewer than 140!

The Goldbergs will offer an 1808 that is NGC graded MS-63. PCGS reports grading one MS-65 and zero 64s. NGC reports one 64 and none higher. These two services together have graded six or so 63s. As the one in the Goldbergs sale is not the Oliver Jung 1808 nor is it the Freedom Collection 1808, it proves that there are at least three different certified MS-63 grade coins of this date. Where did it come from?

In this auction, there are U.S. gold coins from all time periods, including two 1854-D $3 gold pieces. As the only $3 coin minted in Dahlonega, Ga., it is the second most famous date of the $3 gold type. As I showed in my recent article on, there are at least four dates in the series that are rarer. Even so, there is an especially strong demand for 1854-D $3s. The Goldbergs will put an NGC AU-55 1854-D on the block and an NGC AU-53 1854-D that was earlier in the epic collection of John J. Pittman.

Curiously, there are 13 silver dollars in this sale from the year 1795! The star of this group is the Eliasberg 1795 Flowing Hair dollar, of the variety with two leaves. It is graded NGC MS-63. Long before it was sold in the Eliasberg 1997 sale, it was in the collections of John Clapp and George Earle. The auction firm estimates that it will realize more than $125,000.

There are four others with two leaves. A PCGS AU-55 1795 Flowing Hair dollar is estimated to realized ?$20,000-$23,000, and an NGC EF-45 example, $12,000-$14,000. Further, Hesselgesser consigned three 1795 Flowing Hair dollars, two PCGS graded two-leaves coins, AU-55 and EF-45, plus a three-leaves piece, PCGS AU-50.

There are six more 1795 Flowing Hair dollars, with three leaves. Two are NGC AU-53, one NGC EF-45, an NGC VF-35, a PCGS Fine-12 and one uncertified coin that has technical problems. Moreover, there are two 1795 Draped Bust silver dollars, one PCGS graded EF-40 and one PCGS VF-20. Die variety information for these and many other silver dollars can be found in the catalog.

The most curious American numismatic item in the auction is a 1911-dated, one-sided pattern with an Indian Head obverse that is like that of the Buffalo nickel. It is struck in some sort of white metal. It is an electrotype that was made at the U.S. Mint, graded PCGS MS-63.

There is no point in trying to provide a summary of all of the numismatic items in this auction. In addition to many more U.S. coins, the coinage of a sizeable portion of the history of the world is represented.