By Lianna Spurrier for CoinWeek …..
In conjunction with the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Chicago, Heritage will be holding an auction from August 13-20 featuring a wide array of US coins, colonials, patterns, and world coins. It will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, with viewing from August 11-17.
Primarily focused on US coinage, this auction will include the esteemed Castle Collection of Flying Eagle and Indian Head cents, alongside countless other rarities.
1877 Indian Head Cent MS66RD, CAC, Photo Seal
This beauty is just one plus shy of being the highest graded. Only six others are graded MS66RD by PCGS with one MS66+, and there are no full red examples over MS65 graded by NGC. This is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of this key date Indian Head cent in existence.
Although the reported mintage of cents in 1877 was over 800,000, it’s generally believed that this number is incorrect. All known examples were struck from the same reverse die, and dies had an average lifespan of 200,000 coins. They don’t show any significant die deterioration, which would have been rampant had 800,000 actually been struck from one die. If this theory is correct, then the 1877 has a smaller mintage than the 1909-S, making it the rarest of the series.
Due to frequent overgrading, it’s commonly believed that 1877 Indian Head cents were weakly struck, but this piece is evidence to the contrary. With bright, original red surfaces, and certified by both CAC and Photo Seal, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a nicer specimen.
This particular specimen sold in 2007 for $149,500 USD and comes from the Castle Collection. This set contains some of the highest-grade Indians in existence which will be up for sale alongside this beauty, including an 1873 doubled Liberty in MS65RB and an 1899 in MS68, which is believed to be the only MS68 Indian Head cent in existence. Population reports include a second, also from 1899, and it’s generally thought that this is a duplicate.
The ninth finest known, the 1856-O is one of two “Holy Grails” of New Orleans gold issues. There was a recorded mintage of 2,250 coins, but only 25 are currently known, ranging from one SP63 example down to VF20.
The rarity of this date didn’t become known until the 1930s when they first began appearing in auctions. In a 1935 auction of a hoard of gold coins discovered by two boys, the one 1856-O in the group sold for $119, compared to an average around $35 for other $20 gold pieces.
Today, the one SP63 example is one of the elite group of coins to break the $1 million mark, selling for $1,237,500 in 2009. It hasn’t appeared at auction since. In fact, the last auction for any 1856-O in a higher grade than this piece was an AU55 example sold in 2016, though another AU50 piece sold in 2018.
This particular example spent decades in a bank vault in Texas and was first sold at public auction as part of the Dallas Bank Collection in 2001. It last sold in 2006 for $345,000, the highest price realized for any of the five known examples in AU50.
For those with shallower pockets, there’s a second 1856-O $20 Liberty Head up for sale that should command a lower price – this piece is in an AU Details holder due to an old cleaning and light scratches. It isn’t quite as well struck as the straight graded example, but is still a very pleasing example and is the 14th finest known. It was previously part of the John Jay Pittman collection.
This Mormon gold is one of the nine finest NGC-graded examples in existence. A PCGS-graded MS61 example of the same type is also being offered in the sale, providing two opportunities to obtain a fascinating piece of history.
Mormon gold coins were first minted in 1849, struck in the home of Dr. William Sharp. They quickly came to be disliked by anyone outside the Mormon community because they contained less gold than their federal counterparts. They were typically accepted 10%-25% below face value, and many were melted. They stopped production of the initial series in 1850.
In 1860, after 10 years without minting any new pieces, they tried again. This time, they did meet the weight and gold purity standards of federal coinage but the damage had been done; they were still disliked and accepted only at a discount. Between 1860 and 1861, a recorded 472 $5 gold pieces were minted, all dated 1860, before the series ended permanently.
The obverse features one of the first appearances of the Deseret alphabet, a system created in between 1847 and 1854 at the request of Brigham Young with the intention of making it easier for foreigners to learn English. It’s a phonetic alphabet with consistent pronunciations for each letter. It didn’t catch on and all but disappeared upon Young’s death in 1877.
Of NGC-graded specimens, this is one of only six in MS62, topped by three in MS63, making it one of the finest examples known. The last auction appearance of one in this grade was in January, and it sold for $90,000.
1999 Susan B. Anthony Dollar Struck on a Sacagawea Planchet MS64
Here’s one you may not have seen before: a Susan B. Anthony dollar struck on a blank Sacagawea planchet. It was not struck over an already-minted Sacagawea dollar, as the description specifically points out, but on a blank planchet.
The obverse looks like a fairly standard Susan B. Anthony in MS64, just in the wrong color. But the reverse makes it clear that something’s off. The area around the eagle’s feet is almost smooth, leaving only outlines of the talons and the branch they hold.
This area is a common weakness on standard-issue Susan B. Anthonys, with drastically varying amounts of detail even on MS examples. On some, the talons can only be described as blobs, while others feature sharp detail and anatomically correct talons. This piece, however, takes “blobby” to a new level.
Overall, it’s a gorgeous piece with smooth surfaces and no distracting marks. It even lacks the spots commonly seen on Sacagawea dollars. A coin with the same error in MS66 was sold in 2005 for $12,650, and it had the same weakness around the talons.
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Proxy bidding will begin on Thursday, July 25, and the preview is live on Heritage’s website.