Leads Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part IV Past $20.7 Million
Event raises total from four Bass events to more than $83 million earmarked for Dallas-based non-profits
A 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, PR69 and an 1829 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, PR66+ Cameo sold for a combined $8.16 million USD to lead The Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection, Part IV US Coins Signature Auction to $20,739,900.
The event was presented by Heritage Auctions and was the fourth and final installment of the collection offered through Heritage, and brought the combined total to $83.66 million; as with the earlier installments, proceeds from this event will benefit dozens of Dallas-based non-profits supported by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, with a particular emphasis on early childhood education and literacy in Dallas.
“The coin world has long known the value of Harry W. Bass Jr.’s breathtaking collection, and we were honored to have been chosen to bring it to auction for the first time,” said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “It has surpassed every expectation, and we’re grateful not only to the Harry W. Bass Foundation for selecting Heritage but to our client-collectors who recognized the significance of the collection and, in the process, helped raise more than $83 million to benefit nonprofits in Heritage’s backyard. We will be forever proud of our association with this historic collection and the impact it will have long after the final hammer fell.”
The 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle, which last crossed the auction block in 1982, drew the event’s top result when it sold for $4.32 million after 73 bids. Once held in the private collection of Washington, D.C. collector John H. Clapp until his death in 1940, it was sold along with the rest of Clapp’s collection to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., in 1942 for more than $100,000 in what was, at the time, one of the largest recorded numismatic transactions. Eliasberg kept it until his death in 1976, after which it was sold to Bass in 1982 for $242,000.
The 1829 Capped Head Left half eagle generated a similar bidding frenzy, drawing 66 bids before it ended at $3.84 million, far exceeding the previous record of $352,000 that was set when Bass purchased this coin in 1987. Previously the only Proof 1829 Small Date half eagle in private hands, it represents the first and rarest date of a new design type for the half eagle that was struck from 1829 through 1834. PCGS CoinFacts estimates that just eight or nine business-strike examples are known, and PCGS Founder John Dannreuther has confirmed the existence of two proof specimens, with one of those included in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
A third coin reached seven figures when a 1798 Capped Bust Right Half Eagle, with the Small Eagle Reverse AU53, one of only six or seven remaining examples, brought a record winning bid of $1.98 million. The previous record for the 1798 Small Eagle variety was $1,175,000. Two of the surviving examples are included in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.
A flurry of 74 bids poured in for an 1828/7 Half Eagle, BD-1, MS64 until it ended at $528,000. An exceptional example of a prominent rarity in the early U.S. gold series, this coin is another that is tied for the finest grade: this example is one of just four traced examples of BD-1, one of which is housed in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
A 1799 $10 Large Obverse Stars, BD-10, R.3, MS66 PCGS, tied for the finest-known of the variety, drew a result worthy of its magnificent pedigree when it sold for $432,000. This beautiful example is one of just three early eagles that PCGS has certified MS66; the third is a 1795 Small Eagle 10 dollar gold piece that PCGS grades MS66+.
The only known Proof of an 1838 Quarter Eagle, PR64 Cameo reeled in an extraordinary 87 bids before closing at $396,000, establishing a record price in its first auction appearance. Its existence was unconfirmed until 30 years ago, when Bass acquired this example from Ron Karp of New York Gold Mart via his agent, Michael G. Brownlee, who operated Goliad Corporation. The National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution has an exceptional 1838 quarter eagle that grades MS68, per Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, but there is no Proof example in that collection.
The finest known 1823 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, MS66+ prompted 91 bids on its way to $384,000, topping the record of $336,000 set at Heritage Auctions in January 2023. This example serves as the Bass-Dannreuther plate coin, and is recognized as easily the finest example of not only the 1823 date, but one of the half dozen finest of the entire Capped Head, Large Diameter type dated 1813 through 1829.
Three coins — a 1797 BD-1 Small Eagle 10 dollar gold piece, MS62; an 1819 BD-1 Half Eagle, MS65; and an 1877 Half Union in Copper — each reached $360,000, setting a new auction record for the copper half union.
Complete results can be found at HA.com/1363.