Heritage Auctions just concluded its July 11-14 Summer FUN Signature Auction held in conjunction with the summer Florida United Numismatists (FUN) convention and reports sales realized in excess of $5.8 million.
The hugely popular copper 1943 cent that was anticipated to be the top lot lived up to its expectation, bringing in $186,000. You may recall we featured this Lot in our Fun Show auction preview on page 32 of the July 16 issue of Numismatic News.
In 1943, the United States Mint changed the composition of the cent from the usual 95% copper alloy to zinc-plated steel. These steel cents were made by the hundreds of millions and, despite the fact that they are much different in color than other cents, carry very little value today. However, a few older blank planchets made their way into coining presses, and the resulting 1943-dated bronze coins, technically error pieces that were struck on the wrong planchet, are highly sought-after today. This auction featured one such piece, minted in Philadelphia and graded XF45 by PCGS. Likely fewer than twenty of these Philadelphia 1943 bronze cents are known today.
This auction contained several high quality early half eagles, led by an 1804 piece with a Small 8 over a large 8 in the date. Graded MS-63 by PCGS, this piece was exceeded in numerical grade by only four pieces at both major grading services combined. When we published our auction preview in the July 16 issue, the current online bid for this lot stood at $20,001. It sold for $54,000. A previous example sold by Heritage at a January 12, 2014, Fun Show Auction, also in MS-63 sold for $32,900, showing an increased interest in this coin.
An 1811 half eagle, graded MS64 by PCGS, is unsurpassed in numerical grade and brought $40,800. Its brightly frosted yellow-gold surfaces showcase bold detail on the obverse and a softer strike on the reverse. With only two varieties for the year, the 1811 BD-2, Small 5 half eagle is easily distinguished from its BD-1, Tall 5 counterpart, though both were struck from the same obverse die. There are none finer in MS-64, which made this early half eagle a prize for its new owner.
Something we haven’t seen in awhile is a1776 Continental Dollar struck in pewter. EG FECIT is present on only one die variety of the Continental Dollar, Newman 3-D. Elisha Gallaudet (circa-1728 to 1779) was for many years regarded as the name behind the mysterious inscription, since he was the engraver for the sixth-dollar Continental currency notes of Feb. 17, 1776. But little is confirmed about any Continental dollar variety, except that the design first appears in print (although with German legends) in a 1783 almanac, according to Heritage’s listing for this lot. This lightly circulated steel-gray example is struck from rotated dies, and exhibits the usually seen circular crack spanning the centers of most of the reverse rings. Census is 1 in 55, with nine finer. The final selling price was $39,600.
Shifting to a bit higher denomination, an 1891 $20 in AU-53 PCGS was up for bid. This particular coin is a rarity among Type Three Twenties. PCGS estimates that only about 100 examples of this issue survive from the mintage of 1,390 coins. Almost none of these are in Mint State, and PCGS reports just 43 coins overall. Heritage describes this About Uncirculated example as sharp with only light high-point wear. The fields are deeply prooflike, although the open areas have light chatter from a brief time in circulation. Rich peach-gold color takes on a more olive-gold hue when the reflective fields are tilted away from a light. Eye appeal is outstanding.
The 1891 is one of the last ultra-low-mintage Philadelphia issues in this series. It is many times scarcer than the Carson City issue, whose mintage is 5,000 coins. San Francisco struck more than 1.2 million double eagles in 1891. The rare Philadelphia coin is a key date among Type Three double eagles. Population: 4 in 53, 27 finer. At the end of the auction, the final price for this coin was $36,000.
Sticking with the Double Eagle, an example from 1929 topped the leaderboard, bringing the consignor a solid $36,000. According to the lot description at ha.com, recent research by Roger Burdette in the reference work Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, suggests that about 350 1929 double eagles survive. Most of the nearly 1.8 million-coin mintage never left Mint custody and was melted down in the 1930s. Burdette records the transfer of 1,000 coins to the Treasury, which was one source of coins paid out to individual collectors and other requestors. Some coins were also released through the Philadelphia Mint Cashier.
As with the other late-series Saints, the 1929 was not recognized as a rarity until the Gold Recall of 1933, when collectors realized how few coins had escaped the Mint. Most survivors are in Mint State, as the issue never circulated to a meaningful extent, and the typical grades of coins offered at auction are MS63 and MS64. Although finer pieces exist for the patient and well-heeled collector, attractive mid-level pieces are ideal for most collecting purposes.
Additional highlights of this auction included an 1894 $2 ½ PR Deer Cameo PCGS. JD-1, which sold for $34,800. An 1852 Humbert Fifty Dollar, Reeded Edge, 887 Thous., AU-50 NGC. K-11 which we featured in our July 16 FUN Auction preview report sold for $33,600. You may recall this particular coin, as it was issued by the U.S Assay Office and is octagonal in shape. An 1836 $1 Judd-60 Original, Medal Alignment in PR-63 NGC made the leaderboard, selling for $32,468. Another $20, this one a 1924-D in MS-64+ PCGS CAC, sold for $31,200. All prices include a 20% Buyer's Premium.
Full results from the July 11-14, 2019 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction can be found at www.ha.com.