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Record price set by rare 1856-O gold $20

The rarest New Orleans double eagle, the 1856-O, realized $1,437,500 May 29 at Heritage Auction Galleries Signature Sale® held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectibles Expo.

Overall, the auction, which included U.S. and world coinage, brought the firm $17.7 million.

Called Specimen-63 by the Professional  Coin Grading Service, the coin is the finest surviving example of the 1856-O, Heritage said.

All prices reported here include a 15 percent buyer’s fee.

“Only 19 coins have ever sold at auction for more than this one,” said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auction Galleries “and none of those were struck in New Orleans.”

The cataloger noted that Heritage has sold the 1856-O twice before, bringing $310,500 in 2002 and $542,800 in 2004.

Another highlight of the sale, an extremely rare 1836 Gobrecht silver dollar with the name below the base, Judd-63 Restrike, Pollock-63, R.8, and grading Proof-62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $149,500.
It is one of only three known and was part of the Frank M. Stirling Collection

A copper 1876 Trade dollar pattern, Judd-1476, Pollock-1629, R.8, NGC Proof-65 Red Cameo brought $126,500. The firm called it “undoubtedly the finest existing 1876 copper Trade dollar.”

Bringing the same price as the Trade dollar pattern was a 1942 Lincoln cent aluminum pattern, Judd-2079, Pollock-2076, R.8, PCGS Proof-66.

The catalog said this patter is one of the most fascinating experimental pieces to enter the market in several years.

A copper pattern 1878 Morgan silver dollar, Judd-1553, Pollock-1730, grading NGC Proof-64 Red and Brown also went on the block from Stirling Collection and brought $109,250.

Heritage believes “this pattern is almost certainly unique, as the only known record of an example dates to the King Farouk Sale in February 1954, where lot 1989 was described as ‘1878, a similar pattern in copper, A.W. 1561 A. Extremely Fine, prettily toned and probably unique.’ Unfortunately, like so many of the King Farouk coins, that lot was unplated in the catalog. While the grade of Extremely Fine and the description of ‘prettily toned’ seem counterintuitive, many of the Farouk patterns were conservatively graded Extremely Fine, while today they are known to be considerably nicer.”

Bringing $103,500 was an 1866-S No Motto Liberty Head gold double eagle grading PCGS AU-58.

IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse design in that year, but this gold $20 was struck before the modified reverse design reached San Francisco from Philadelphia, Mint, which did the die work.

An 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, R.3, PCGS Proof-61 Cameo, brought $92,000.

 A top copper coin in the sale was a 1796 half cent, No Pole variety, and it was described as Scratched, Burnished – NCS. Fine Details. It brought $74,750.

Only around 20 examples are known. This piece probably ranks about 10th finest, according to Heritage.

For more information visit the Heritage Web site at www.HA.com.

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