The Bob Simpson Collection, as offered by Heritage Auctions, features so many amazing pattern rarities that it is hard to choose a few favorites.
However, one 1852 gold annular pattern coin from the upcoming February Long Beach Auction #1327 really stands out due to the large hole in the center of the coin–this design is basically made mostly of air rather than metal.
Cataloged as Judd 135 in the standard pattern reference, the 1852 Gold Half Dollar Annular Pattern is a truly eye-catching coin. It comes from a time period when the United States Mint was testing out different ways to reduce the weight of coins that were struck and also accomplish the goal of using gold instead of silver for many coin designs. Given the Gold Rush of 1849, gold was suddenly in huge supply in the United States, and the Mint was getting creative about how to use it.
Another reason for the use of larger, holed coins was that the public complained about the tiny gold dollars of the period (similar to today’s dimes). The idea was that a larger coin with a hole in the middle might be able to be used, but this concept fizzled out and never made it to wide production.
Similar coins have sold for around $50,000 USD in the past, so expect significant bidding activity when this coin comes up for auction in February.