The Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) is one of the most active and important numismatic organizations in the United States, and its annual convention is one of the top numismatic events of any year. This is why Heritage Auctions was proud once again to be the official auctioneer for the 79th CSNS Convention. The auction took place April 25 through 29 in Schaumburg, Illinois, with Heritage’s famous Platinum Night taking place on Thursday, April 26.
Several important collections were on sale at this year’s show, including the Barry F. Smith Collection, the Star Mountain Collection, the Estate of S. Gus and Louise Alexander, the Collection of William Rau, the McCoy Family Collection of U.S. Early Gold, the David Sunshine Collection, the Laguna Collection, Gotham City Collection, the David Baptista Collection, the Estate of Terry Brand, Part VIII, the Ostrow Error Collection, and the Maumee Valley Collection–though not all of the sought-after coins offered at Central States came from any of the above.
The following are the top five auction results from Heritage’s Central States 79th Anniversary Convention Sales:
1.) Proof 1836 Classic Head Quarter Eagle
- 1836 Classic Head Quarter Eagle, PR65+ Deep Cameo
- Only Collectible Example With the Second Head of 1837, JD-1
- Ex: Parmelee, Mills, Woodin, Eliasberg
The 1836 Classic Head quarter eagle is very rare in proof format. NGC and PCGS have combined to certify a number of coins in a variety of grades and die varieties, but the population data is likely skewed by resubmissions and crossovers. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at just four to six examples in all grades.
“An estimated seven examples of the 1836 Classic Head quarter eagle are presumed to exist in various grades,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “The proof offered in our Platinum Night Auction claims the most illustrious pedigree of any other known specimens, with ownership tied to famous numismatists Lorin G. Parmelee, John Mills, William H. Woodin and Louis Eliasberg, Sr., among others.”
Sold for: $396,000.00 USD (all prices incl. Buyer’s Premium)
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2.) 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 Round Commemorative Gold
There was much fanfare associated with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, and no small portion of it was geared toward the commemorative coins issued in conjunction with the event. Famous sculptor Robert Aitken was charged with preparing designs for a large 50 dollar gold coin that would contain nearly two and a half troy ounces of gold and be issued in two different varieties — one round, and the other octagonal, both modeled after the U.S. Assay Office ingots struck in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. For numismatists, this was the first time that the United States Mint struck gold pieces of this size and denomination for regular distribution, and for art admirers, these coins represented a unique, glittering souvenir designed by the same sculptor whose non-numismatic works could be seen elsewhere on the fair grounds.
In mid-1915, the San Francisco Mint struck 1,500 Octagonal and 1,500 Round $50 gold pieces, which were transferred to famed numismatist Farran Zerbe for distribution. However, only 645 Octagonal and 483 Round coins were sold. The remainders were melted at the Mint on October 30, 1916.
As is expected given its smaller distribution total, the Round Pan-Pac $50 is scarcer than the Octagonal variant. Most pieces grade MS62 to MS64, with Gems rarely seen. This is the first PCGS-graded Premium Gem to appear in a Heritage auction; it is also the first CAC-approved coin that Heritage has handled in this grade.
Sold for: $336,000.00 USD
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3.) 1854-S Quarter Eagle
- 1854-S Quarter Eagle, VF35
- Ex: Davis-Graves, Norweb, Richmond
The 1854-S quarter eagle is among the most memorable U.S. coin issues of all time. Only 246 examples were produced in the first year of operations at the San Francisco Mint, and it appears that all of them quietly slipped into circulation. Legendary Fort Worth, Texas, coin dealer B. Max Mehl discovered the first reported specimen in 1910 through his “extensive advertising”, a piece he apparently sold privately to prominent Wisconsin collector H.O. Granberg.
The Mint opened on April 3, 1854, in a renovated building formerly occupied by Moffat and Co., striking its first gold coin, an 1854-S proof double eagle now in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian. It is a mystery why San Francisco struck so few quarter eagles during the year.
Sold for: $264,000.00 USD
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4.) Proof 1883 Liberty Head $20 Double Eagle
- 1883 Liberty Double Eagle, PR64 Deep Cameo
- Proof-Only Issue, 92 Pieces Struck
- Classic Gold Rarity, Ex: J.F. Bell
The 1883 Liberty double eagle is a classic rarity in the American gold series, from a small proof-only mintage of 92 pieces. Only the wealthiest 19th century collectors could afford to collect double eagles, so most of those coins were never distributed. Unsold specimens were melted for recoinage after the close of the year. Today, PCGS and NGC have combined to certify 26 surviving proofs, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers. Two coins are included in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and another specimen resides in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. PCGS CoinFacts estimates no more than 20-25 examples survive today in all grades.
This particular PR64 Deep Cameo in its first auction appearance since 1963.
Sold for: $204,000.00 USD
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5.) Matte Proof 1911 Saint-Gaudens Indian Head $10 Eagle
- 1911 Ten Dollar Indian, PR67
- Rare Matte Proof Issue
- Only 95 Examples Struck
The present PR67 PCGS-certified 1911 eagle is one of only seven in this top grade at PCGS (one of those having the Plus designation in addition); there are none finer (1/18). The proof mintage for the issue was only 95 pieces, but a sizeable minority of those likely survive in pristine condition to this day. Besides its status among the finest for the 1911 issue, this piece is also among the few finest for the entire Saint-Gaudens type.
Sold for: $192,000.00 USD