quintuplestellasimpson

By CoinWeek Staff Reports …..
 

On Thursday, May 19 at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino, Legend Rare Coin Auctions conducted the 17th in its ongoing series of Regency Auctions. The sale was held in conjunction with the PCGS Member’s Only Show. To attend the show in person, one has to be a PCGS Collectors Club member (click here to join) or a PCGS Dealer. However, interested bidders do not have to be PCGS Collectors Club Members or PCGS Dealers to bid online. All one has to do is register.

Coming in just short of Legend Rare Coin Auction’s self-imposed limit of 500 lots, Regency XVII boasted 470 lots (numerically 472; lots 351 and 408 were pulled). It was a diverse offering, with coins predominantly coming from the 19th and 20th centuries. Fifty-eight of them were Morgan dollars, which has been a strong suit for Legend coming off of the sale of the Coronet and David Hall Collections.

By CoinWeek’s count, 308 of the 470 lots offered in the Regency XVII sale were CAC-approved (65.5%). The sale realized an 84.2% sale-through rate, realizing US$4,716,961 against a pre-sale estimate of $4,015,800.

While cents, toned Morgan dollars and Seated halves were solid performers, the sale was buoyed by a strong price for the auction’s headline coin: a rarely-seen 1879 Quintuple Stella $20 pattern, consigned to Legend Rare Coin Auctions by Texas collector Bob Simpson of Simpson Collection fame.

The piece brought $1.88 million dollars, tying it with the price realized by Stack’s Bowers on August 8, 2014, when they auctioned the T. Harrison Garrett Class III 1804 dollar (NGC PR65) at their Rarities Night session, held in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) World’s Fair of Money.

This was the highest price ever brought for a coin offered at a Legend Rare Coin Auctions Regency sale. Heritage Auctions was the buyer.

The 1879 Quintuple Stella $20 was an experimental pattern struck in an alloy of 30 grams of gold, 1.5 grams of silver, and 2.5 grams of copper. This curious metal composition differs from the circulating coin gold standard of .900; the coin itself was struck as a proof of concept in case Congress decided to enter into the European-led Latin Monetary Union. The U.S. didn’t and the coin series never entered into circulation. Today, the Quintuple Stella’s little sisters–the long and short hair $4 Stellas–are popularly collected patterns.

Interestingly, Simpson, like famed “super” collectors Ed Trompeter and Virgil Brand, owned multiple examples of this metric novelty. Simpson retains a piece that has been judged half a point finer by PCGS. To date, five examples are known.

In the Condition Census on PCGS Coinfacts, the present example is described as being the better of the two examples that Ed Trompeter owned. It sold in February 1992 through Superior Galleries for $187,000 ($318,900 adjusted for inflation)[1].

The coin was then sold as Gem Brilliant Proof with “…strong contrast between the frosted devices (especially Liberty’s head) and the reflective fields”[1]. Some time afterwards, however, PCGS reviewed the piece and graded it PR63[2].

Regardless, the coin is now in a PCGS PR64DCAM holder. Its deep cameo contrast, especially on the obverse, is readily apparent. At half a point finer is the example that Simpson keeps in his multi-million dollar collection–which, at the moment, may be the most valuable collection currently assembled.

Notes

[1] The Ed Trompeter Collection, Part 1 – February 25, 1992. Superior Galleries. 158.

[2] http://www.pcgscoinfacts.com/Coin/Detail/62022?utm_source=coinweek. Accessed 5/20/16.
 


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