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New record set for 1841-O

A leading Florida Gulf Coast dealer paid $4,000 for a Very Fine condition 1841-O $10 gold piece Aug. 24 at the Sunday Palm Beach Coin Club show in the Knights of Columbus Hall in West Palm Beach, Fla. It was a new price record for this coin in VF.

The 1841-O is a most unusual $10 Coronet Head gold piece. Only 2,500 pieces were minted as an experiment and all paid into circulation. Thus, none are known in any degree of Uncirculated condition. Most known copies (only 47 pieces examined by the grading services) are in Fine, VF, or Extremely Fine condition.

The experiment failed. The 1841 South was still in depression from the Hard Times that begun in 1837. The coins piled up in commercial banks and from there back to the New Orleans Mint for melting. It is not possible to complete a collection of Coronet Liberty head $10 coins without the scarce 1841-O.

Despite its scarcity, it is hardly known among collectors and dealers. The buyer, most likely acting for a client, purchased the coin from me. I had purchased it in 1971 but seldom mentioned its existence, even to my closest friends.

For the first time in almost 70 years of collecting, I manned a bourse table on my own. The years 1985-93 where I acted as a broker for England’s Pobjoy Mint do not really count, as I sold items I had no ownership in.

I was greatly flattered by some of the collectors and dealers at the one-day show, who referred  to me as a “living legend.” My son, Russ, and daughter, Roberta, who assisted me at the table, seemed embarrassed by the heavy flattery.

A Japan Yoshihito 1914 silver yen in BU brought $200, while BU examples of Ansei and Bunsei era silver Bu and Shu coins fetched $90 each. The latter, small rectangular pieces, were probably worth hundreds of dollars, but the buyer, a psychiatrist, offered enough to snag these scarce pieces.

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