A rarity from California?s golden past helped Stack?s realize a hammer price of nearly $7.9 million in its Gala May Auction.
Garnering $140,000, an 1854-S gold $2.50, graded fine by the cataloger, led the pack in the sale, which took place May 23-25.
Included in the sale was Part XIV of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, highlighted by Bett?s medals from early American history.
The 1854-S $2.50 was called ?an incredibly rare coin that is seldom offered and exudes the historic Gold Rush era,? by the cataloger.
Only 246 quarter eagles were produced that year, ? ... and wi th a survival rate of approximately 5 percent, that leaves us with about a dozen coins to represent this first year of issue. That is simply amazing ? a mere dozen or so surviving coins to represent the entire issue for the year. Obviously, these are infrequently offered and hotly contested when they do cross the auction block,? writes the cataloger.
Another six-figure U.S. coin in the sale was a 1797 $2.50 gold piece, graded choice about uncirculated by the cataloger, that was hammered at $130,000.
?By any measure, this is one of the few survivors known of this issue,? writes the cataloger. ?A paltry 427 pieces were struck for the entire year, of which perhaps 30-40 survive. Only about 30 specimens are believed to survive according to the soon to be published Bass-Dannreuther reference. The present example is a high-end coin behind 4-6 that currently qualify in uncirculated grades, with perhaps a dozen examples that are approximately the equal to the present coin.?
Alone, the Ford sale realized $2,368,395. The paper money portion of the auction collected $547,492. A May 24 evening session brought in $2.7 million, followed by two sessions on May 25 that totaled $2,274,953. The May 25 sessions featured the Phoenix Collection of U.S. commemorative coins and Part III of the Northern Bay Collection.
A silver 1781 Libertas Americana, 1781 medal, with Liberty facing left after Benjamin Franklin?s design, brought in $110,000.
Realizing $85,000 was a 1904 proof set, including the cent through double eagle, each choice to very choice brilliant proof, according to the cataloger.
?An impressive complete set for the collector, rarely offered as most original sets were broken up decades ago.? writes the cataloger.
An 1868 B.2. Seated Liberty silver dollar, graded Gem Brilliant Proof by the cataloger, fetched $62,500. The cataloger noted, ? ... the glorious two-tone Deep Cameo contrast between the devices and watery mirror fields. A thoroughly satisfying Gem Proof which will dazzle any collector who views its many charms. Certainly one of the finer examples from the paltry mintage of 600 pieces.?
Bringing in $60,000 was a 1795 Three Leaves Below Eagle silver dollar, graded brilliant uncirculated by the cataloger.
To learn more about the sale, visit www.stacks.com. To contact Stack?s, call (212) 582-2580, or fax (212) 245-5018 or (212) 582-1946, or write to Stack?s, 123 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019-2280.