By CoinWeek …..
On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Legend Rare Coin Auctions will conduct the 30th in its series of Regency Auction sales. The series, which has been built on the premise that auctions featuring only curated, high-quality coins provide discriminating clients a better way to build collections, has taken off and landed the company a solid clientele comprising of some of the hobby’s most prominent collectors.
Having reviewed virtually every major U.S. coin auction throughout the year, it is unusual to find a lot offering that promises the collectors the opportunity to find a piece or two to upgrade even the most well-crafted collection. Coming off of the heels of Legend Rare Coin Auction’s impressive Regency 29 Sale, this offering does not disappoint. Included within this 491-lot lineup of conditional rarities and potential Set Registry upgrades are dozens of truly remarkable “finest-of-their-issue” specimens in popular series, such as Morgan dollars, Walking Liberty and Franklin halves, 19th-century type coins, and 20th-century gold.
The live auction will take place at the Beverly Hills Marriot, starting at 4:30 pm Pacific (7:30 pm Eastern). You can watch the auction and bid online by registering on the Legend Rare Coin Auctions website.
Here are a few of the sale’s most noteworthy highlights.
We can’t get enough of this 1909-S Indian Head cent. It really has it all. PCGS grades the coin MS66+RD and it carries a CAC green sticker. There is only the faintest hint of spotting on the coin and its surfaces are blazing red and completely free of hits or any other distracting feature.
The 1909-S is usually overshadowed by the 1909-S and 1909-S VDB Lincoln cents. In some regards, this is fair as the Lincoln cent’s collecting base is peerless in all of American numismatics. However, the Indian series, which was struck from 1859 to 1909, features one of the most beautiful portraits to ever grace a U.S. coin and this is the finest example of this semi-key date that we have ever seen.
Pre-Sale Estimate: $20,000+; Current Bid: $20,000
Modern coins seldom get fair coverage when it comes to auctions that contain so many important and interesting vintage coins, but in this Legend sale, a 1966 Washington quarter graded MS68 by PCGS stands out.
Not only is the toning of this coin PQ for the clad series, the exquisite surfaces on this coin are highly unusual for Washington quarters of any vintage.
The United States Mint did not produce Mint Sets in the years 1965 through 1967, but instead offered collectors Special Mint Sets that included Prooflike coins that were not struck at the same quality as pre-’64 Proofs. These coins do not resemble Mint State coins at all and it is not unusual to find one graded at the SP68 level. Such coins might bring a $75 or $80 at auction.
This coin is a true Mint State business strike that was recovered from a roll or bag of quarters fresh from the mint and likely stored in a coin album for years. Scrapes on Washington’s cheek and forehead that are usually found on this issue are not present, nor are there hits on the eagle’s wings or chest.
It is hard to imagine ever seeing a 1966 quarter with higher eye appeal than this one and though the price realized is likely to surpass the pre-sale estimate of $12,000, we find this particular coin to be a bargain. For all the modern coin naysayers, we posit a familiar expression: “Find another one.”
Pre-Sale Estimate: $12,000+; Current Bid: $9,750
This 1896-O half dollar is the undisputed finest of its issue and has a long pedigree dating back to collector John Martin Clapp, who purchased the coin directly from the New Orleans Mint in August 1896. From that point on, the coin has been lovingly cared for and survives to this day in superb gem MS67 condition (CAC-approved).
In Mint State, the 1896-O is the rarest coin in the Barber half dollar series. PCGS reports a population of fewer than 30 grading events for Mint State 1896-O half dollars, while NGC reports a population of just 20. Redundancy among both services accounting for crossovers and upgrades is likely; it’s possible that fewer than 40 Mint State survivors actually exist.
The holder specifies that this coin was once in the famous collection of Louis Eliasberg, Sr. Eliasberg acquired the coin when he purchased the Clapp Collection. The Clapp Collection was the most important collection of U.S. coins ever assembled up to that point and instrumental in allowing Eliasberg to build his famous set. Any Barber half dollar collector looking to achieve legendary status will find no opportunity to best this coin.
At the Eliasberg sale of 1997, Bowers and Merena sold this specimen for $44,000. More recently, in 2015, it appeared at Heritage Auctions’ ANA US Coins Signature sale, where it brought $88,125.
After eight bids (at the time of publication) it is clear that this coin will surpass that amount.
Pre-Sale Estimate: $90,000+; Current Bid: $77,500
This 1882 Morgan dollar might not have caught the eye of a number of Morgan dollar Proof specialists when it came up for sale at Heritage Auctions’ 2018 Central States US Coins Signature sale. A large part of the blame can be laid at the feet of the catalog photography, which painted the coin as dingy and overly dark with run-of-the-mill toning. Then the coin was housed in a third-generation NGC holder (graded between 1988 and late ’89) and certified Proof 67 with CAC approval. When the auction ended, after 10 bids, the coin brought $31,200. Credit goes to the winning bidder as the coin has crossed over to PCGS and is now in a Proof 68 holder and once again CAC-approved.
Under proper lighting, the coin reveals vivid rainbow toning and deep frost. For reasons that escape us, the coin has not earned a CAMEO designation despite the fact that all of the devices appear to have heavy frost. One shouldn’t have to dip out a 19th-century Proof coin in order to correctly denote that which is plainly visible.
At the current grade, the piece is a POP 5 coin at PCGS and one of three at this level with CAC approval.
Pre-Sale Estimate: $28,000+; Current Bid: $25,000
Ship of Gold Collection, Lots 380-385
We got our first look at the second tranche of SS Central America coins at the “Ship of Gold” exhibit at the February 2018 Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo. The coins, which had remained undisturbed at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for more than 150 years, were a numismatic time capsule that offered collectors a fresh look at the gold issues of the San Francisco Mint of the mid-1850s.
The new haul included more than 3,100 gold coins, including many smaller denomination coins as well as coins of tremendous import due to their high state of preservation and condition rarity.
In Regency Auction 29, Legend offered 16 pieces from SS Central America. In this sale, Legend offers six additional pieces: A choice MS63 1857-S $3 gold coin, two 1857-S $5 gold coins in MS64 and one in MS65, a condition census quality 1853/2 $10 in MS61, and a condition census quality 1854 Kellog $20 in MS62+ CAC.
The SS Central America coins have historically beat the market value for the same issue without the pedigree.
Proof coinage underwent a number of transitions in the early 20th century. The U.S. Mint experimented with Roman and Sandblast finishes before reverting back to the glossy brilliant style that most collectors are well familiar with. While Roman and Matte finish Proof coins are beautiful in their own way, collectors at the time found them uninteresting.
Saint Gaudens Proofs struck in 1909 and 1910 were struck with the Roman finish. The coins were produced using the hydraulic medal press and early strikes carried a satin finish. This example displays the full effect of this finish and is graded Proof 66+ by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. It has also earned a CAC green sticker.
Total mintage of 1910 Proofs is 167 pieces, paltry by today’s standards, but the highest of the series. Numerous cataloguers and series specialists have pointed out over the years that this mintage belies the true scarcity of the issue and it is assumed a significant number of the coins reported as struck were melted down at some point.
Historical auction data recalls a handful of examples selling in the Proof 66 and Proof 67 range. Legend Rare Coin Auctions puts their pre-sale estimate at a strong $165,000 to $175,000, citing Collectors Universe’s price guide value. In 2015, Heritage Auctions sold an NGC Proof 67 for $141,000, while more recently Stack’s Bowers sold an NGC Proof 66+ (likely not the same coin) for $102,000. That coin did not carry a CAC sticker. Regardless of the final hammer price, this is a very pleasing coin.
Pre-Sale Estimate: $165,000-$175,000+; Current Bid: N/A
The Maybach Collection of Buffalo Nickels, Lots 41-105
- Lot 61: 1918-S PCGS MS65 CAC, Ex: McCarroll Collection
- Lot 77: 1925-S PCGS MS65 CAC
- Lot 80: 1926-S PCGS MS65 CAC
The Star City CAC Morgan Dollar Collection, Lots 241-357
Quality gem Morgan dollar set that focuses on brilliant examples. Many PQ Morgan dollars with expected bids in the $300-$2,000 range. Certainly a selection worthy of consideration for any collector of Morgan dollars, regardless of budget. The collection includes type coins, semi-keys, and keys.
- Lot 299: 1889-CC PCGS MS62 CAC (editor: How is this not in an MS63 holder?)
- Lot 306: 1890-S PCGS M66 CAC
- Lot 334: 1899-O Micro O PCGS MS64+ CAC