Gold rarities were the highlights as Heritage's June 6-9 Signature Auction, held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo. The auction raised close to $8.4 million for its consignors. All prices realized include a 20% Buyer's premium.
A 1797/5 half eagle with the large eagle reverse brought $192,000 when the hammer fell in the Premier Session on June 6. This coin represents the sole collectible variety of the three existing Large Eagle varieties, making it a top target for collectors of the type or of the series, and its PCGS-certified MS61 grade. Only a single coin exceeded it at the major grading services combined, reflects the high quality available with this coin.
Readers may recall from our May 7, 2019 issue of Numismatic News that a similar specimen was sold at the Spring 2019 Baltimore – Session 2 – Rarities night by Stack’s Bowers. That specimen was graded MS-61 by NGC and sold for $180,000.
A proof 1875 quarter eagle represents an issue with a proof mintage of a mere twenty coins to go along with a tiny circulation strike mintage of 400 pieces. Certified Proof-65+ Deep Cameo by PCGS, it is exceeded in numerical grade by a PR66+ Deep Cameo and a PR66 Cameo at PCGS, and two PR66 Cameos, one with ★ designation, at NGC. It sold for $108,000.
The top lot in the auction was a Very Large Size gold ingot issued by Justh and Hunter out of their Marysville (CA) office, at 266.97 ounces. It is the third largest Marysville ingot recovered from the S. S. Central America shipwreck. This offering from The Marcello Collection, Part VII realized $420,000.
Heritage will be auctioning two additional gold ingots from the S.S. Central America later this summer. A 159.23-ounce ingot will be part of Heritage’s ANA World’S Fair of Money U.S. Coins Signature Auction held August 13-20 in Chicago. During their Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction September 4-9, a 176.25 ingot, this one from Henry Hentsch is set to be auctioned.
Top honors among non-gold coins went to the finest certified 1787 Immunis Columbia copper, encapsulated as MS66 Brown by PCGS. This is a piece that has puzzled numismatists for decades. In The Early Coins of America, Sylvester Sage Crosby states these pieces were originally believed to be manufactured in England. However, Crosby's study of the punches used for the dies and the overall workmanship convinced him they were closely related to contemporary issues, like the Liber Natus Liberatem Defendo, Non Vi Virtute Vici, and the George Clinton cent, which he believed were made in this country, possibly as patterns for a proposed state or federal coinage. Walter Breen followed this line of reasoning in his Encyclopedia, where he suggested the coins were struck as patterns at Rahway, New Jersey, from dies engraved by Thomas Atlee. More theories exist, but the mystery continues on. This piece sold for $78,000.
Additional highlights of this auction included a 1908 Indian Head Half Eagle ($5) PR67 NGC, which sold for $66,000. This was the first year that Bela Lyon Pratt’s exciting incuse Indian design debuted on the half eagle.
A Carson City issued 1889-CC $1 MS62 Prooflike PCGS which is surprisingly scarce and had a limited mintage of just 350,000 brought $60,000 at the auction.
With very few known to be this rare, an 1813 $5 MS64+ PCGS. CAC sold for $54,000. According to Heritage Auction’s website, for much of the reign of Reich's Capped Bust Left design from 1813 to 1834, the bullion weight of half eagles exceeded the coins' face value, resulting in rampant hoarding and melting of the coins. Throughout the 1820s, half eagles were rare or nonexistent in circulation. The destruction of U.S. gold coinage during this period for gold profit is responsible for the rarity of most Capped Bust Left half eagles today. Thus the importance of the 1813 issue to type collectors -- other dates just are not available, or they are prohibitively expensive.
An 1839-D $2 1/2 MS62 PCGS. Winter 1-A, struck at the Dahlonega Mint, sold for $50,400. Make from all locally mined ore, the 1839-D did not incorporate the Liberty Head design from Christian Gobrecht, designating it then as the one-year Classic Head type.
Another lot selling for $50,400 was an 1834 Capped Half Eagle ($5) With Motto, Plain 4, MS61 NGC. Survivorship of this variety is estimated at 30-40, with 50,141 of the 1834 plain minted.
For full auction results visit www.ha.com.