Three of the world’s most valuable rare coins were acquired within a 24-hour time span, in two different auction locations, by Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections Coin Auctions of Irvine, Calif. The three numismatic treasures were purchased for a combined total of $21.5 million on behalf of collectors, and now two of those coins may be exhibited alongside the fabled 1933 double eagle, also acquired by a GreatCollections client for a record-smashing $18.9 million earlier this year.
“I was able to bid in person on the 1794 and 1804 dollars and an 1861 Paquet double eagle, along with several other important coins at two different auctions for a combined total of $24 million in winning bids," said Russell. "That’s even after my original flight from California to Texas was canceled. It is extremely fulfilling to help collectors with their passion, as it's my passion as well."
Russell was the top bidder for the top three most valuable coins sold in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association’s 2021 World’s Fair of Money® by Stack’s Bowers Galleries on Aug. 17 in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Heritage Auctions on Aug. 18 in Dallas, Texas. They are:
- 1804 Class I Original Draped Bust dollar, PCGS Proof-68, from Stack’s Bowers, the finest known of its kind. It was presented as a diplomatic gift on behalf of President Andrew Jackson to the Sultan of Muscat in 1835 and most recently was in the Pogue family collection. Winning bid: $7,680,000, making it the fifth most valuable U.S. coin ever sold.
- 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagle, PCGS MS-67 with CAC approval, from Heritage, the finer of only two known examples and formerly in the collections of Virgil Brand, King Farouk of Egypt, and Ambassador & Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, among others. Winning bid: $7,200,000 is the sixth highest price ever for a U.S. coin.
- 1794 Flowing Hair dollar, PCGS MS-66+ with CAC approval, also sold by Heritage and previously in the collections of Lord St. Oswald, Jimmy Hayes, D. Brent Pogue, and Bob R. Simpson, among others. Winning bid: $6,600,000 is the highest price ever paid at auction for a Mint State 1794 dollar.
“While we have managed to broker many rarities quietly in private transactions over the years, it was quite a coincidence that three of the major rarities we hoped to acquire were auctioned in a 24-hour period,” said Russell. “For the 1794 dollar, we represented a serious collector with a long history in coins. For the 1804 dollar, we represented a relatively new client to GreatCollections who contacted us after reading about the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle. We also acquired two rare gold patterns for a 45+ year veteran collector who recognized the ‘once in a lifetime”’ opportunity to add them to his collection."
Russell exhibited the 1933 double eagle at the recent 2021 Chicago World’s Fair of Money. He said the exposure gained from that display introduced a new group of collectors to GreatCollections over the past month.
‘We are discussing with the new owners of the 1804 and 1794 dollars about displaying the pair at an upcoming coin show so that other collectors can see them in person," he said. "Perhaps we'll even be able to display the 1933 Saint again. It would be a ‘mic drop’ presentation to have three of the most famous U.S. rarities on display at a single show."
Who are the new owners of these coins?
"Many bidders like to remain anonymous, especially high-profile collectors or celebrities," said Russell. "They trust us to secure ultra-rarities. I personally place the bids as if I was buying them for my own collection. Sometimes, they are on the phone with me so I can explain the bidding in real time; others just want to receive a text message saying, 'We won.'"
“For August, our sales figures are expected to exceed $40 million, a new company record for a single month,” he said.
For additional information, contact GreatCollections at (949) 679-4180 or visit online at www.GreatCollections.com.