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Top 5 US Coins that Sold in the Heritage Long Beach Auction

The following are the Top 5 US Coins that sold in Heritage’s Signature Sale in Long Beach September 18, 2015………

LOT #3798  1792 Copper Disme, Judd-10

Sold: $211,500

ha_lb15_copper_disme_11792 P10C Disme, Judd-10, Pollock-11, XF40 PCGS Secure. Ex: Wurtzbach, Donald G. Partrick Collection. 57.0 grains. This was the 1914 ANS Exhibition Plate Coin.

Along with technical aspects of coinage, the Mint in 1792 experimented with visual representations of Liberty. Three distinct styles emerge. The Birch cents and the half disme present Liberty with loose and curly hair, while the Eagle-on-Globe quarters depict a neatly coifed and braided Liberty. Finally, the Silver Center cents, Fusible Alloy cents, and dismes adorn Liberty’s head with straighter, flowing hair. All three approaches find similarities within contemporary art. The Liberty of the Eagle-on-Globe quarter compares favorably to that of Samuel Jennings’ 1792 painting “Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences,” today reposing in the reading room of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Liberty is virginal, slender, and personifies the association between learning and liberty. The painting is somewhat evocative of the motto LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY as books, scientific instruments, and symbols of artistic endeavor are placed at Liberty’s feet, squarely within her dominion.

The Birch cents and the half disme reflect the fashion sensibility of the 1790s, a decade shifting in the direction of informality. “Hedgehog hair” is especially apparent on the G?W.PT. Birch cent (Judd-6), while the other Birch cents, and the half disme, present Liberty surrounded with free flowing and curled hair. The informality did not reflect any less preparation. Diderot’s Encyclopedia, well known among numismatists for its description of coining machinery, even included a plate depicting the construction of coiffure. The similarity of Liberty on the half disme and Birch pieces has led many writers to assume a common engraver. This is a plausible conjecture, but further evidence eludes researchers.

The Silver Center and Fusible Alloy cents, with the disme, present Liberty with straighter, flowing hair. The most obvious design source is Augustin Dupré’s Libertas Americana medal, conceived and produced under the direction of Benjamin Franklin beginning in 1782. The Libertas medal was distributed throughout Europe and the United States and reproduced in various media. By 1792, the image was well known. The Libertas portrait faces west (signifying the New World), with the hair extended in the opposite direction. Franklin included an “Explication” with each medal, which indicated that the streaming hair was intended to convey the idea of “Liberty in action.” The Libertas medal exhibits substantial texture in the hair not replicated in the American coinage, a reminder that the best engravers still resided in the Old World. Certain design elements of the 1792 disme carried forward to the 1793 half cent, including the left-facing Liberty with hair flowing to the right, Liberty’s apple cheek, and recessed eye.


LOT #4304 – 1877 $50 Fifty Dollar, Judd-1549 Gilt

Sold: $176,250

ha_lb15_1877_union_21877 $50 Fifty Dollar, Judd-1549 Gilt, Pollock-1722, Low R.7, PR63+ NGC. In their 1913 pattern reference, Edgar Adams and William Woodin wrote:

“1877. In this year was struck at the mint two of the rarest and most interesting pattern coins of the whole series. They were of a denomination higher than any coin of regular issue, being of fifty dollars value, and are regarded by all collectors as the most desirable coins ever issued at the United States Mint.”

The fifty dollar patterns, named half unions, were struck in both Large and Small Head varieties, both types using a common reverse. One specimen of each design was struck in gold (Judd-1546 and Judd-1548) and a small number of copper examples of each design were also produced (Judd-1547 and Judd-1549). Some of the copper coins, including the present Small Head Judd-1549 specimen, were gilt, but it is not clear if this was done at the Mint or later.

The idea for the $100 union and $50 half union gold coinage originated during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. By the time the San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, most of the familiar Assay Office fifty dollar slugs (struck with semi-official status in 1851 and 1852) had either been exported to pay off large transactions or turned in to be melted for smaller denomination coins that were more convenient for everyday purchases. Since paper money was nonexistent in the California economy during the Gold Rush era, the need for larger denomination gold coins was keenly felt by merchants and bankers who conducted large transactions in the course of their business. These businessmen petitioned Senator William Gwin and Secretary of the Treasury James Guthrie to authorize the striking of fifty dollar gold coins of the same shape and fineness as the United States double eagle.

The early history of the present coin is unknown, but it appeared in lot 2587 of the Royal Sale (B. Max Mehl, 3/1948), where it was part of the consignment of Dr. Christian Allenburger, of Columbus, Nebraska:

The coin was purchased for the fabulous collection of King Farouk of Egypt. When his government was overthrown in a military coup in the early 1950s, his collections were sold in a series of auctions that were a sensation at the time and still resonate today. Lot 2019 of the Palace Collections of Egypt (Sotheby’s, 2/1954) contained both this coin and an example of Judd-1547, the Large Head half union in copper. The lot sold to U.S. collector Robert Schermerhorn, one of the few Americans to attend the sale in Cairo. This piece was later offered in lot 1352 of the 1979 ANA Auction by one of our predecessor companies, New England Rare Coin Auctions, passing through a few unknown intermediaries to our present consignor.


LOT #4015 -1799 Silver Dollar 7×6 Stars

Sold: $152,750

ha_lb15_1799_sd_31799 $1 7×6 Stars, B-12, BB-160, R.3, MS65 NGC. The true rarity of Gem Uncirculated Heraldic Eagle dollars is often underestimated by even experienced collectors and series specialists, a function of the larger mintages and the longer duration of the series. Surprisingly, the “survival rate” of Gem or finer Heraldic Eagle dollars is significantly less than that of either the Flowing Hair or Small Eagle types in terms of Gem or finer coins.

We seldom have the opportunity to offer an MS65 Large Eagle dollar with the Mint-fresh appeal and pinpoint-sharp strike possessed this amazing B-12b, BB-160 “No Berries” example. At the same time, we can safely say we have never offered a Gem early dollar with the combination of terminal die state plus evidence of special handling that separates it from other Gem Large Eagle examples, regardless of date or variety. Not only is this splendid coin struck from the latest state of the obverse die known, it is double struck over a previous impression of the same variety, with the evidence of the initial striking clearly discernible on both sides of the coin.

Operators of the screw press must have had a problem with the original strike, and rescued the misstruck planchet to feed it once again into the coin press. The coiners appear to have taken special care with the second strike, because the impression is remarkably full, despite the terminal state of the obverse die, with die cracks so advanced that all of the diagnostics of Bowers Die State IV are present, with multiple additional cracks as well.

The present coin has not been seen at public auction since May 1976, where it appeared in the Pine Tree Auction Galleries, Inc. as lot 314 of the John Carter Brown Library Collection. Unique in its double-struck, terminal die state condition and tied for finest of its variety — available at public auction for the first time in nearly 40 years


LOT #4182 – 1875 $5 Half Eagle PR64 Cameo NGC

Sold: $141,000

Only Nine Proofs Believed Known in Private Hands

ha_lb15_1875_5_41875 $5 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1875 half eagle is one of the classic gold rarities of the 19th century. The Philadelphia Mint struck only a token quantity of 200 circulation strikes that year, along with a paltry 20 proofs. Of the regular issue, fewer than 10 coins are believed to survive, and of the proof issue, only a dozen specimens are known to us, including two pieces in the Smithsonian Institution and a third in the ANS; neither museum collection contains an example of the circulation issue.

An extensive study of auction records and known private sales produces pedigrees for what we believe to be just nine different proofs still in private collections, including the present coin. We have been unable to record specific provenance for this coin prior to its current appearance, although it likely traces its origin to one or more of the auctions listed below under Additional Appearances. Since 1993, our auction archives show previous offerings of only three of these proofs, while the more actively traded circulation issue has appeared in our auctions six times during the same period. Although the circulation issue is more highly heralded, its proof counterpart is equally as rare on the market, and as can be seen by the current coin, usually possesses significantly higher aesthetic merit.

LOT #3708 – 1905 1C Indian Cent — Struck on a Quarter Eagle Planchet

Sold: $105.750

ha_lb15_1905_goldcent_51905 1C Indian Cent — Struck on a Quarter Eagle Planchet — MS64 PCGS. Weight: 64.5 grains, the standard weight of a quarter eagle. Exactly five Indian cents are known on gold planchets, according to information available to us. Among them are three dated 1900, this piece dated 1905, and an example dated 1906. The Judd pattern reference lists 1900 and 1907 gold cents in the section on mint errors. However, Andrew W. Pollock, III, listed the 1900 gold Indian cents as P-1990 in the regular pattern section of his reference. Pollock writes: “Listed in Judd as a mint error, but it is difficult to imagine that a Mint employee would be so careless as to feed gold planchets into a coinage press fitted with one-cent piece dies.” Pollock suggests that these pieces may have been deliberately struck for one or more collectors.

You can view the prices realized from the 2015 September Heritage signature sale in Long Beach by following the link Here


Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctionshttps://www.ha.com/
Heritage Auction Galleries is one of the world's largest collectibles auctioneers. Besides offering rare and valuable U.S. and world coins and currency, Heritage offers ancient coins, exonumia, antiques, comic books, sports memorabilia, and many other collectibles. The firm is based in Dallas, Texas.

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