Colonial issues and gold ingots also among highlights in August 15-20 event
The finer of just two known examples of a “mourning medal” created after the death of President George Washington will become a prize in a new collection when it is sold through Heritage Auctions at their ANA US Coins Signature Auction August 15-20.
“This auction will be chock-full of exceptional gold rarities, as well as colonial issues and one of the most extensive selections of gold ingots ever to reach the auction block,” says Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “And those who are part of the surging interest in historic Gold Rush private issues will want to dip their pans in the auction waters for some of the rare Territorial gold issues that will be offered.”
The (1800) Washington Funeral Medal, Skull and Crossbones, Gold, Baker-165, GW-71A, MS63 NGC comes from the Del Mar Collection, a curated assemblage that has contributed nearly 30 lots to the auction. This coin is the finer of just two known examples; this gold variety has appeared in two of the great collections — Garrett and Norweb — of the 20th century, and while a third example has been rumored, it has not been seen. Numismatist Neil Musante identified the various obverse and reverse dies for Jacob Perkins’ funeral medals; for the Skull and Crossbones design, he recorded the 2-A.2 die pair as GW-71A, the only variety struck in gold.
An 1854-S Liberty Quarter Eagle, VF30 NGC is one of the rarest of all gold coins ever issued, one of just 246 examples struck from the initial San Francisco Mint. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving poplation at just 11-12 examples in all grades, one of which is housed permanently in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. The microscopic population of 1854-S quarter eagles slipped into circulation at the time of issue, and no high-quality examples were saved by contemporary collectors, making it unknown today in Mint State.
A 1790 Standish Barry Threepence, AU58 NGC, from the James E. Blake Collection of United States Colonial Coins & Tokens, is an ultra-rare Colonial, one of 20 to 30 extant — most of which exhibit far more wear than this magnificent example. The Standish Barry threepence is the last in a series of unrelated Maryland silver coinage issues, following the Lord Baltimore (1659) and John Chalmers (1783) pieces.
The auction includes an impressive selection of shillings — among them a (1652) New England Shilling, XF40 and a 1652 Willow Tree Shilling, XF40 PCGS, each of which comes from the James E. Blake Collection. The 1652 New England Shilling is a recently discovered specimen. The NE coinage, consisting of shillings, sixpence and threepence, was the first group of coins produced in Colonial America and hold a special fascination of historically minded collectors. The 1652 Willow Tree Shilling is the finest known Salmon 3-D example, and is the 1914 ANS Exhibition plate coin for the variety, then on loan from Carl Wurtzbach.
From the Duquesne Collection, Part V, comes an 1858 Liberty Half Eagle, PR67 Ultra Cameo that is the finest known specimen of only five examples traced. This beautiful coin has been a highlight of some top U.S. gold collections, including Ed Trompeter’s collection of Proof gold and the world-renowned Eliasberg Collection.
Almost as scarce is a gorgeous 1859 Liberty Eagle, PR64 Deep Cameo that is one of just nine examples traced. The 1859 Proof Liberty eagle is exceptionally rare, with a mintage of just 80 pieces. Records show all were distributed, purchased for face value, but many were spent or lost. John Dannreuther estimates that no more than 10 remain in all grades; of those, three are out of public reach, secure in institutional collections at the Smithsonian, the American Numismatic Society, and the Royal Mint Museum.
Another collection with lots featured in the auction is The Bender Family Collection, Part V. Among the highlights of the collection are a pair of half dimes: an 1868-S Half Dime, MS65 — a rare Gem-level offering from a collectible San Francisco issue that is one of just 14 examples graded in 65+ — and an 1872 Seated Half Dime, MS66+, which is a beautiful example of the penultimate Philadelphia issue in the Seated half dime series.
A 2013 Casascius 1 Bitcoin (BTC), Brass, Loaded (Unredeemed), Firstbits 13CAvTVR, Series 2, MS67 PCGS arrives from The Archipelago Collection. Casascius physical bitcoins were the brainchild of Mike Caldwell, who created them — the first pieces were produced in 2011 — as a physical way to own and store actual bitcoin. Known as Series 1, these initial coins had a spelling error — CASACIUS (missing the second S) — in the hologram. The error was corrected the same year, and all subsequent issues were produced with the corrected CASASCIUS spelling — these pieces are designated Series 2, and comprise all 1 BTC coins produced and loaded through 2014. The offered coin is a high-grade example of the 2013 1 BTC Casascious issue, originally loaded April 26, 2013, with 1 BTC, but two subsequent transactions occurred on July 10, 2017, for 0.00000001 BTC each, giving this coin an active value of 1.00000002 BTC, per the public address data. According to Elias Ahonen in his Encyclopedia of Physical Bitcoins and Crypto-Currencies (2016), revised edition, a total of 8,352 Casascius bitcoins bearing the 2013 date were loaded in 2013 and early 2014, more than one-third of which have since been redeemed. This piece is the final lot of the Archipelago Collection, the culmination of the consignor’s decades-long pursuit to collect a representative coin of every country from 1600 to present.
Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/1364.