By Ron Guth …..
Disclaimer: The author is an independent reporter. He has no affiliation with Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers and he has received no compensation from them (or anyone else) for this analysis.
From June 2 to June 5, 2019, Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers (Goldbergs) conducted a sale of rare coins in Beverly Hills, California just prior to the Long Beach Expo. Included in the sale were 1,356 lots of U.S. coins and related items, including inventory from the Fullerton Coin Shop and coins from the Dr. Carl Ermshar, Jr. collection (some of which had been off the market for 40 or more years). The following commentary focuses on the five United States coins that realized the highest prices in that sale. Also included is supplemental information and analysis. The prices listed below are from the Goldbergs website as of June 9, 2019, and they include a buyer’s premium of 20%.
Lot 750 – sold for $444,000
This is an outstanding example of a rare 1792 issue, described by some as a pattern and by others as a regular issue. It is one of six demonstrably different 1792 half dismes at the PCGS MS64 level, all of which are considered Condition Census level quality. The obverse centering is spot on; the reverse centering is off slightly towards five o’clock, but the strike is excellent and the coin appears to be almost entirely free of adjustment marks.
The sale price of $444,000 is above average for a PCGS MS64. The price was slightly higher than the $440,625 realized by the PCGS MS64 Pogue example in 2015, but short of the $528,750 realized by the PCGS MS64 Liberty Collection example in 2013. Also, this was not the first appearance of this coin – it sold in Bowers & Merena’s ANA sale of 2003 for $230,000.
Lot 901 – sold for $156,000
This example garnered considerable attention because it is one of the nicest examples of the BB-18 variety (sixth finest by my reckoning) and it has been off the market since 1977. In my opinion, this coin was a bargain since two PCGS MS64 examples of this variety have sold for $218,500 in 2009 and $282,000 in 2015 (that one brought more because it had a silver plug and the Pogue provenance). I know of no BB-18’s from MS60 to MS62, or any other MS63’s, making this the most affordable Mint State example of the variety.
Lot 762 – sold for $60,000
1959-D 1C Wheat Ears Reverse, Raw MS60+BN
This is a controversial coin that could turn out to be a bargain if (and it’s a big IF) it could be matched up with known dies (some 1959-D obverse and presumably a 1958-D wheat ear reverse – either one would be a big help). If PCGS or NGC, who have rendered “no decision” opinions in the past, could be convinced that this is a U.S. Mint product, then it could become one of the most valuable of all Lincoln cents. The Goldbergs tried selling this coin before in their February 2003 auction, where it realized $48,300.
Lot 45 – sold for $46,800
1793 1C Wreath, Vine and Bars Edge, S-10, PCGS AU55 CAC
For over 40 years, this coin has remained hidden away in Dr. Ermshar’s collection. Before that, it was owned by such famous Large Cent collectors as Homer Downing, Dr. William Sheldon, “Ted” Naftzger, and others. As one of the top examples of the variety, this one brought a fair price. Apart from Alan Weinberg’s PCGS MS65BN (sold in January 2019) and Tom Reynold’s PCGS MS64BN (sold in January 2016), this is the best example of the variety to sell at auction since 2014.
Lot 1224 – sold for $42,000
1898 $10 PCGS PR64+DCAM CAC
Though not in the Condition Census for this date, this was a fresh appearance of a coin that had been off the market since 1978.
The following coins were among several that might have made the Five Big Ones list had they sold
Lot 1 – (1652) New England Shilling, PCGS XF45 CAC
This was the Kendall Foundation example that sold to Don Willis in 2015 for $152,750, then resold in Heritage’s 2017 ANA sale for $164,500.
Lot 1171 – 1879 $4 Coiled Hair, Judd 1638, Pollock 1838, Gold, Reeded Edge, PCGS PR64CAM
In May 2013, Stack’s Bowers sold this coin for $646,250
For more information about the rest of the coins in this auction, visit here.
* * *
Ron Guth is an award-winning writer and researcher and an expert on United States numismatics. He can be reached at [email protected].