By Lianna Spurrier for CoinWeek …..
Legend Rare Coin Auctions will hold their 33rd Regency Auction on June 27 in Las Vegas. It will feature a selection of US coins, including pieces from the Hunter Collection of early silver coins and the Hickory Ridge Collection of Peace dollars.
Regency Auctions are held five times a year at PCGS Members Only shows. They aim to feature 500 or fewer high value, high-quality coins, typically graded by PCGS.
This sale will open with a selection from the Hunter Collection, a group of Draped and Capped Bust silver coins. Ranging from half dimes to half dollars, there are 39 lots from this collection. Some highlights of these include a 1796 LIKERTY half dime in MS63, which will open the auction, and an 1820 Large 0 Capped Bust quarter in MS65+.
The other featured grouping, the Hickory Ridge Collection, offers up 26 peace dollars. Together, these coins rank #14 on the PCGS Set Registry and have an average grade slightly higher than MS65. This is a must-see catalog for the peace dollar collector.
The rest of the sale consists of a large range of US denominations, including a good selection of gold and a few classic commemoratives. The main focus seems to be on 18th- and 19th-century coins, though there are plenty of early 20th-century examples. There are no budget lots in this auction; the lowest estimate is $375 to $450 USD on a 1941-D MS67+ FB Mercury dime, all the way up to a $400,000 estimate on a 1921 MS64 $20 double eagle. In between these two extremes, however, are quite a few interesting pieces.
Lot 41 – 1797 1 Above 1 Half Cent, AU55 BN CAC
This interesting half cent variety is very easy to pick out, with an extra 1 boldly struck above the date. One can only imagine what was going through the mind of whoever created this die! Only 200 are estimated to survive, and this example is a lovely dark mahogany.
This piece was struck near the end of the dies’ lifespan after they had begun to rust. As a result, some areas are raised due to pitting in the dies. The detail right around the bridge of Lady Liberty’s nose looks particularly weak, but the coin is otherwise very attractive. It has a nice even color and appears to retain some luster, which helps accent the design.
The reverse does have some light spots, but the auction listing doesn’t make it clear if these are scuffs on the holder or marks on the coin itself.
It’s graded AU55 by PCGS with a CAC sticker. Only two others exist in this grade according to PCGS, with 13 graded higher. NGC also has three graded AU55, with only five higher. This particular coin last sold in July of 2018 for $13,513 and is now estimated between $12,000 and $13,500.
Lot 135 – 1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel, MS64+ CAC
This coin seems to be an experiment in how much photography will impact the outcome of an auction. In the main images of the Regency catalog, this coin appears to be vibrantly purple, blue, and orange on both sides. A look at the third image – included online but not in the print catalog – shows this coin in its holder and reveals that the toning is actually much more subtle when viewed head-on.
A spot on the Indian’s neck, attributed to a planchet flaw, makes this coin easy to identify. As a result, it’s plain to see that this coin last sold in February of this year. The main images from this sale show primarily yellow toning with only the faintest hint of purple near the rim on either side. It sold for $99,000.
A few years earlier, in 2016, this coin also appeared for auction. In these photos, the toning appears significantly more even than the others and is predominantly yellow, with no purple or blue noticeable. In this case, it sold for $111,625.
Both of these auctions took place after the coin received the CAC sticker it currently sports. Before receiving that honor, in an older PCGS holder of the same grade, it was sold in 2011. These pictures show the least noticeable toning, with pale tones of yellow, orange, and blue visible on both sides. Here it sold for $161,000, the highest of these auctions.
None of these photos would immediately strike the viewer as the same coin, though it is undoubtedly an attractive piece in all of them. It will be interesting to see what difference the deeply toned images have on its final sale value.
Lot 323 – 1795 Silver Plug Flowing Hair Dollar, AU50
This high-grade early dollar is the result of a bit of interesting mint history. Having silver planchets of the correct weight was very important, and each blank was weighed before the design was struck. Overweight planchets were simply filed down, but what about underweight planchets?
It was time-consuming and expensive to melt and reroll the blank, so they would instead drill a hole in the center and insert a slightly larger silver plug. When the design was struck it flattened the plug, resulting in a relatively normal looking coin of the correct weight.
However, it’s still easy to pick these varieties out by common discoloration of the plug. This is thought to be caused by a differing silver purity.
This example shows light, even wear on a boldly struck coin, streaked with “olive, russet, and tan patina.” There is a planchet flaw at the bottom of the reverse, but it doesn’t interfere with the design.
This same piece was sold by Legend in 2017 for $38,400, and they now estimate it between $35,000 and $40,000. PCGS lists a total of four in this grade with 10 higher.
Lot 508 – 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific Octagonal, MS63
The Panama-Pacific Exposition was held in San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and commemorative coins were sold as souvenirs. They made a variety of denominations – a half dollar, a gold dollar, a quarter eagle, a round $50 piece, and an octagonal $50 piece. By far the most eye-catching of the series for its unusual shape, only 645 of the octagonal $50 pieces were minted.
Since these were not circulating coins, most examples are still found in Mint State, though the soft metal lends itself to nicks and scrapes. As a result, MS63 is the most common grade, like this example.
This coin has no distracting marks or scratches, resulting in a very attractive example. A consistently sought-after coin, this piece is expected to bring between $62,500 and $70,000. The last three auctions for equivalent examples have sold for slightly over $70,000, meaning this may be a slightly conservative estimate.
Every auction has to have one, right? At least one lot that makes you raise your eyebrows and say, “I’m sorry… what now?”
In this case, allow me to point out Lot 427, a Susan B. Anthony dollar. In an auction filled with almost entirely pre-1965 coins, I was certainly surprised to see one of these unpopular issues from 1979.
This particular coin is a 1979-P Wide Rim in MS67, the rarest coin of the brief series. Only one is graded higher by NGC or PCGS, but there are a total of 74 coins graded MS67 between them. The current estimate is between $2,600 and $3,000, which is on par with auction records for PCGS-graded coins. Interestingly, NGC-graded examples of this issue in MS67 have commanded significantly lower auction prices, around $800 to $900.
All 514 lots are now open for bidding online at legendauctions.com, and there are plenty of other gems among the offerings. Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency 33 auction itself will be held on June 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at The Cosmopolitan hotel, beginning at 4:30 PM PT.