The convention might be canceled, but Heritage Auctions’ presentation of nearly 3,000 lots of U.S. coins is right on schedule for the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) auctions on April 23-24 and 26. Heritage is hosting the sales at its Dallas headquarters and online at HA.com.
CSNS organizers canceled what would have been the convention’s 81st-anniversary event because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic sweeping across the nation. Heritage is the convention’s official auctioneer.
“CSNS is one of the highlight auction events our clients look forward to every year,” said Jim Halperin, co-founder of Heritage Auctions. “We worked with convention organizers to make sure the truly stellar offerings are still offered despite the cancellation.”
A selection of scarce gold may claim top-lot honors among the sales. An 1858 Liberty eagle, one of the most historic U.S. gold coins ever minted, is the only specimen known outside of museums. Experts agree that no more than four to six 1858 proof Liberty eagles were produced, like the coin offered here, graded PR-64 Ultra Cameo NGC., CAC. JD-1, High R.7, is one of four examples that have been reliably reported. Three of those coins are included in institutional collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Society and the Connecticut State Library.
A 1933 Indian eagle, MS-65 NGC, is a world-class rarity. Of the 312,500 such coins minted, nearly all of the original production was melted shortly after the coins were manufactured, due to the Gold Recall of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 1933 eagles are the only U.S. gold coins bearing that date that are legal to own. All known examples of the coin are uncirculated – but Gem examples such as the present specimen are among the scarcest American gold coins ever minted, according to Heritage.
Carson City gold coins are perennial favorites among collectors, and this year’s CSNS auction offers a 1870-CC double eagle graded VF-30 – the premier Carson City gold rarity, the firm says. The coin’s history is rooted in the great California Gold Rush and remains notable for the lowest production total overall, with only 3,789 pieces. The entirety of this small figure was soon dispersed into local commerce, where it was left to slowly fade away from loss and widespread circulation. As a result, the few surviving representatives exhibit light to moderate wear and are plagued by heavy abrasions. Apparently, no examples were retained by contemporary collectors and those pieces that still exist likely survived only by chance or as part of small gold hoards.
An 1863 $3 gold piece, graded MS-68, is among the finest certified. Only 5,000 business-strike $3 gold pieces were struck during the height of the U.S. Civil War in 1863. The coins were delivered in a single batch and few were saved by contemporary collectors, who preferred proofs to circulation strikes for numismatic purposes. As might be expected, the issue is scarce in all grades today, and Mint State examples are rare.
Collectors of early copper will be delighted to see the finest certified example of the 1811 Classic Head half cent, graded PCGS MS-66 Red and Brown. It is a low-mintage key in the popular series with only a handful of high-quality examples to have survived over the years. An appearance of a Mint State specimen is a notable event for early copper collectors. The present coin is the only 1811 half cent certified with the Red and Brown designation and the single-finest example certified by CAC. Another early copper rarity, a 1793 Chain cent, graded AU-55, is a historic specimen that holds the honor of being not only the first issue of its denomination but is also the first regular-issue coin ever struck within the confines of the Philadelphia mint.
Other auction highlights include:
• A key proof-only issue of an 1895 Morgan dollar, graded PR-62. The lack of any 1895 Philadelphia circulation strikes puts the proofs under tremendous pressure from set completionists, who require a P-mint 1895, proof or not.
• Formerly of the Eric P. Newman Collection is an MS-64 specimen of the 1776 Continental dollar. Historically and visually one of the most recognizable symbols of colonial America, the Continental dollar has a vexingly obscure past, yet it has been a fixture in the most prominent collections in numismatics since the earliest days of the hobby.
• A 21.36 ounce Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot, salvaged from the S.S. Central America. Among the 343 recovered ingots from Kellogg & Humbert, there is also a wide variation in punch alignment. “This is a perfectly punched ingot, and would be a premium piece for any collection,” according to Heritage.