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Gold glistens at Kagin’s

Leading the bidding Sept. 15 at Kagin’s Auctions was this proof 1860 $5 gold piece. It fetched $138,032.50.

Over $3.8 million was realized by Kagin’s Auctions Sept. 15 sale held in conjunction with the Santa Clara, Calif., Expo.

The 500-lot auction saw a record price set for a gold $5 dated 1860 and graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service as a PR65+ CAM. It brought $138,062.50.

This was the Harry Bass/Theodore Ullmer specimen recognized as the finest of just six specimens known.

“Not every lot was a record,” said Don Kagin, president of Kagin’s Auctions.

“As a matter of fact there were several bargains in this unreserved auction. But almost every featured series registered a record for the coin or the grade!”

The biggest highlights were among California gold issues.

A record was reached by the Louis Eliasberg Sr. example of the 1849 $16 Moffat & Company ingot graded PCGS AU-50.

Issued during the California Gold Rush in May 1849 just prior to the minting of gold coins by the venerable private minter, there are only 20 specimens known, including at least five impounded according to the cataloger. The last example sold at auction graded NGC AU-58 and brought $199,750 in 2014.

In the Kagin sale, this piece soared past that figure to bring $240,875.

A Moffat & Co. gold bar sold for $240,875.

A complete set of all nine varieties of $50 gold pieces listed in the reference work, Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, by Donald H. Kagin, Ph.D., were sold individually.

These “slugs” were struck at the newly formed United States Assay Office in San Francisco under contract with Moffat & Co. by U.S. Assayer Augustus Humbert. There was fierce bidding for all nine lots, especially the $50 1852 K-13 .887 THOUS. Graded NGC MS-62 CAC, this specimen brought a record $276,125, Kagin said.

Bid to $276,125 was this 1852 gold slug with “Augustus Humbert, United States Assayer of Gold, California” around the rim and .887 THOUS fineness.

The Xan Chamberlain #1 Registry set of Walking Liberty Halves comprising a number of varieties included a 1946 Doubled-Die Obverse FS-101 PCGS 65 CAC, which brought over double estimate for a record $1,645.

A special Hobo Nickel section was highlighted by a classic George Washington “Bo” Hughes carving of a man with a full beard and a bow on a long brim hat. This record-setting piece was knocked down at $4,465.

“The fact that the sale realized over 20 percent higher than pre-auction estimates might seem counter-intuitive when you realize that this auction was entirely unreserved. But that feature, among others, seems to have encouraged unusually high dealer and bargain hunter participation,” Kagin said.

All prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. Prices realized can be seen online at www.Kagin’s.com.


This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.


More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2018 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.

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