Two key rarities of American numismatics, the 1913 Liberty Head nickel and a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece, will highlight a Heritage Signature Auction to be conducted Jan. 6-10 in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando.
Both rarities will be featured in the Jan. 7 Platinum Night offerings.
The nickel is the Olsen specimen, which also was once owned by Texas numismatist Reed Hawn.
“The 1913-dated Liberty nickels are among the greatest mysteries of American coinage,” said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auction Galleries.
The Platinum Night auction catalog devotes 20 pages to the story of the nickel and who owned the five known pieces.
Holding a grade of Proof-64 from Numismatic Guaranty Corp., the 1913 nickel also has a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker on the holder.
Other owners of the coin include Col. E.H.R. Green, who owned all five 1913 Liberty nickels, as did the numismatist-scholar Eric P. Newman. King Farouk of Egypt held the Olsen specimen for several years in the 1940s, and from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, it belonged to Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers before Hawn bought it.
The 1927-D gold $20 is not nearly as famous as the nickel, but perhaps with the 11 pages of description and history, Heritage will begin to change that.
Graded MS-66 by the Professional Coin Grading service, the 1927-D $20 comes from the Ralph P. Muller Collection. It is tied for the title of second finest known example.
“That coin should pass the million-dollar mark without hesitation,” Rohan said.
Heritage noted that though 180,000 of the coins were struck, only a handful remain today.
“One of the first things collectors of Saint-Gaudens double eagles will learn is that the mintages for later dates are basically meaningless,” said Rohan. “The real question is not how many were made, but how many survived. In the case of the 1927-D, our research has identified only 13 distinct examples.”
Collectors who filled Whitman cent albums will likely feel a wave of nostalgia whether bidding or not on a PCGS AU-58 1943 Lincoln cent made of bronze rather than the zinc-coated steel alloy that was standard for that year.
There are fewer than 20 known examples of the 1943 cents in bronze. This specimen has been in a private collection for over half a century.
Other pieces to be sold by Heritage that appeal to the imagination include three mammoth Territorial gold bars recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Central America, which sank in 1857 off the East Coast. They weigh more than 100 troy ounces each.
Two examples of the 1870-CC gold $20 will go on the block. One is NGC XF-40. The other is XF-45.
Collectors of modern clad coinage will note that two proof 1968 Roosevelt dimes without the “S” mintmark will be sold toward the end of Platinum Night.
One is a PCGS Proof-68 that ties for the finest known of this particular error coin. The other is a PCGS Proof-67.
In 1968, proof set production began after a three-year gap in production. Characterizing the new proofs was the addition of the “S” mintmark on all of the coins to indicate they were minted in San Francisco. Prior to this year, standard proof issues were struck by the Philadelphia Mint.
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