By James McCartney – Senior Numismatist, Stack’s Bowers ……
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is excited to present a physical Lealana Bitcoin to the passionate communities of cryptocurrency and numismatic enthusiasts as Lot 4151 in their November 2021 Showcase Auction. This physical Lealana Bitcoin represents a historic revolution in commerce, similar to the first gold coinage issued by King Croesus circa 500 BCE and the first U.S. coins to be struck by steam press in 1836. It is the physical manifestation of an entirely digital concept, offering a fusion of numismatic utility and financial technology. It will be the very first piece of physical cryptocurrency offered in a major live auction.
It features an intrinsic face value, or “peel value”, of 0.1 bitcoin (BTC), equivalent to roughly $5,400 USD at the time of cataloging (October 2021). The value of this piece was buyer-funded and remains unredeemed, further increasing the desirability. Issued on a 25 mm planchet of 0.25 ounces of .999 fine silver and minted by Northwest Territorial Mint, the obverse features a holographic sticker with the serial number at left and the public address visible through a rectangular window. On the reverse is the Bitcoin currency symbol at center surrounded by a legend listing the denomination, composition, and the Hawaiian phrase “IKAIKA I HELU NUI” that translates as “Strength in Numbers”. Also included with this physical Lealana Bitcoin is a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and an encased Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) message.
First introduced as Lealana Litecoin, the Lealana series was released to collectors and investors in June 2013 as a counterpart to the Casascius physical bitcoins introduced in 2011. It was invented and issued by Noah Luis of Honolulu, Hawaii, who is perhaps better recognized within the crypto community by his internet handle “smoothie”. These physical Lealana Bitcoins were produced in both brass and silver compositions and issued in a range of denominations from 0.1 BTC to 1 BTC, corresponding to those of the Casascius series. Only 2,000 Lealana 0.1 Bitcoins were issued in silver, and this buyer-funded example with a black address is a great rarity, one of only 10 issued. It is considered part of the limited Series 1 Lealana coins, offered before the address color was changed to green in May 2014 to comply with regulations.
We expect considerable excitement and fierce bidding among both collectors and investors when this piece crosses the auction block in our November sale. For questions about this piece or to consign your physical bitcoins and other cryptocurrency to a future sale, please contact Stack’s Bowers Galleries at [email protected] or call 800-566-2580.