By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
On December 13 and 14, Heritage Auctions will conduct their last U.S. Coins Signature Auction of the 2018 calendar year. The sale features 2,964 lots, including early U.S. gold, type coins, numerous CAC-approved coins certified by NGC and PCGS, and a complete set of silver commemorative coins.
We have combed through the catalog and present you the following Lots You Need to Know.
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The fruits of President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Pet Crime” were realized by more than the two coins that sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was able to finish before his death. With the exception of Victor David Brenner’s one cent design, every U.S. denomination struck contemporaneously with the new $10 and $20 gold pieces in 1907 would be replaced by elegant and highly sculptural designs that, altogether, stand as the high watermark of American numismatic artistry.
For us though, the $10 Indian is the most elegant of all of these “Golden Age” designs. Despite what a handful of naysayers have said over the years, the $10 Indian is iconic because of the cleanness of the sculpt and the sweeping Indian headdress, which in the front cuts a straight line down to the bridge of Liberty’s nose and from this front point swoops around the back of the head before the tips of the features disappear into the field. African-American model Harriet (Hettie) Anderson serves as the basis of Miss Liberty. She served as the model on Saint-Gaudens’ $20 design as well.
This piece is one of 17 examples graded MS-66 by PCGS, with eight pieces graded finer. The high-water mark for the issue in this grade is $135,125 USD, a price set in October 2017 when Legend Rare Coin Auctions sold the Crow River Collection (PCGS #7 All-Time Finest). That example was CAC-approved.
The only detracting feature we notice is a mint-made angular depression near the rim on the reverse at the eight o’clock position. This is a feature not present in other examples that we have handled.
Current Bid: $80,000
The 1899 quarter eagle has a reputation for being the highest quality Proof of the type. As an issue, the 1899 comes well-struck, as one would expect for a Proof issue, and most come with thick cameo frost.
The present example is graded PF-69 Ultra Cameo by NGC and is the finest graded at both services.
150 quarter eagle Proofs were struck in 1899. By modern standards, this mintage is minuscule, but for the period, this is a fairly typical mintage. Perhaps two thirds of this mintage remain; most gradable examples are near gem or better.
In March 2018, Stack’s Bowers offered an 1899 quarter eagle graded PR-68 DCAM by PCGS. That example brought $45,600. The present example is graded one point finer and is, to our eyes, the better of the two examples.
Current Bid: $60,000
A complete basic set of Morgan dollar Proof issues (excluding elusive Branch Mint Proofs) consists of 27 coins. The two types of 1878 (the Eight and Seven Tail Feathers varieties) start off the series and it continues each year through 1904. At that point, the Morgan dollar took a 17-year hiatus, only to be brought back for a one-year return engagement in 1921. The Philadelphia Mint did not coin “official” Proofs in this year and the so-called Chapman and Zerbe Proofs of 1921 are clouded in controversy and not generally considered part of the basic set.
The general consensus is that the 1895 Morgan dollar is the “King” of the series. This is a misplaced moniker, as the 1895 Proof is usually used as a stand-in for an 1895 business strike issue that never existed. In reality, in Mint State the 1893-S is many degrees rarer and priced accordingly.
The 1895 had a mintage of 880 pieces. Most survive, and many gems exist. By comparison, the 1880 had a mintage of 1,355 pieces and is one of just five issues to have a mintage over 1,000. The 475-coin difference is little more than a rounding error compared to modern Proof mintages, but this number is all that is required to discount the 1880 and render it a “type” coin in the series.
A more accurate read of the issue’s true scarcity would have to take into account its quality example survival rate relative to other issues. Here, we see fewer than 100 examples in Gem Proof grades and only a handful that would earn cameo or better designations.
This piece is graded Proof 67 Ultra Cameo by NGC. It is the finest Ultra Cameo ever certified and the only one at either service that graded Gem or better (although finer examples do exist without the designation).
Current Bid: $60,000
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December 13-14 2018 US Coins Signature Auction – Beverly Hills #1282
Signature Floor Session 1 (Lots 3001-3529)
12:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, December 13, 2018 (10:00 AM Pacific Time) Internet
Signature Floor Session 2 (Lots 3530-4106)
4:30 PM Central Time, Thursday, December 13, 2018 (2:30 PM Pacific Time) Internet Pre-
Signature Floor Session 3 (Lots 4107-4384)
9:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, December 13, 2018 (7:00 PM Pacific Time) Internet Pre-
Signature Internet Session – No Floor or Phone Bidding 4 (Lots 7001-8587)
11:00 AM Central Time, Friday, December 14, 2018