1907 Ultra High Relief $20 Realizes Astounding $3.6 Million in Paramount Collection Sale

Rare and spectacular vintage US gold coins certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) achieved extraordinary results in a Heritage Auctions sale of US coins from the Paramount Collection, held February 24, 2021.

The top lot was a 1907 Ultra High Relief, Lettered Edge $20 graded NGC PF 68 (lot 3802) that realized an astounding $3.6 million. The result set records as the highest price ever paid for an NGC-certified double eagle at auction and the highest price ever paid for any double eagle sold by Heritage Auctions.

As much a sculptural work as a coin, these initial specimens of the inaugural Saint-Gaudens double eagle reign as some of the most prized artifacts in all of US coinage. Only about 20 of the 1907 Ultra High Relief (sometimes referred to as “Extremely High Relief”) Saints are known, a format that is stunning but impractical for the mass production of coins.

Sharing the spotlight was another extremely rare vintage US gold coin, an 1880 Coiled Hair Stella graded NGC PF 67 Cameo (lot 3754), that realized $1.86 million. These $4 gold coins were meant to compete in international trade with European coins of similar worth, but only a few hundred patterns were struck before the experiment was canceled. Versions exist dated 1879 and 1880, with the Liberty head on the obverse sporting either coiled hair or flowing hair. The 1880 Coiled Hair is the rarest with only nine known to exist.

Since the start of the year, there have already been four NGC-certified vintage US coins to sell for more than $1 million each at auction – an incredible statistic that reflects the trust that collectors and dealers place in NGC’s expert and impartial grading. As the coin market soars to new highs, NGC-certified coins stand at the forefront.

“The rarity, quality and diversity of the Paramount Collection is unparalleled,” commented Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman and Grading Finalizer. “I am thrilled by the exceptional results for the Paramount Collection coins following NGC certification, and I cannot wait to see the world coins cross the auction block next month.”

Strong results for NGC-certified coins will continue when Heritage Auctions offers the world coins from the Paramount Collection at a sale scheduled for March 25-27, 2021. The auction is led by a 1937 Great Britain Edward VIII Gold Pattern 5 Sovereign that is likely to set a new benchmark for British numismatics.

“Heritage Auctions is proud to offer many of the greatest rarities in US and world numismatics,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions. “NGC certification gives our bidders confidence as they consider the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities presented by the Paramount Collection.”

Another five US vintage coins from the Paramount Collection realized at least $100,000 in the US coins sale.

They were led by a 1796 No Stars $2.50 graded NGC MS 62 (lot 3735) that realized $276,000. This is one of the finest of about 100 certified examples of the nation’s inaugural quarter eagle. Stars were later added to the obverse design of this coin, which initially had low mintages since it was not commonly used in commerce.

Another Stella, an 1879 Flowing Hair version graded NGC PF 65 Cameo (lot 3753), realized $168,000.

Competition is fierce whenever any Stella comes to auction, especially for a high-grade example such as this one.

One of the great silver rarities, an 1895 Morgan Dollar graded NGC PF 67 Ultra Cameo (lot 3722), realized $150,000. The grade of this particular example places it near the top of the population for this key date.

Other NGC-certified highlights of the Paramount Collection in this sale included:

 

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