5 unique and iconic American coins you can’t own


Through Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……

As many numismatists know, several extremely rare United States The coins are worth millions of dollars each and can only belong to a small handful of collectors at a time. These include famous trophy pieces such as the 1913 Liberty nickel, the 10 barber cents 1894-S, and the 1804 Dollar Bust Draped Class I. Even the iconic 1933 Saint Gaudens $ 20 double eagle, whose possession is illegal, donates a specimen that has been legally monetized by the US government and currently resides in a private collection.

Yet there are a small number of unique pieces that are stored in public collections and museums, leaving them unavailable for private property. What parts are they? Where can we see them in person? Here’s a look at five of the most iconic unique pieces you can’t own.

1866 No Motto Quartier de la Liberté seated

Seated Liberty Quarter enthusiasts spend years, even decades, searching for a few extremely rare and few dates. These include one of the earliest evidence and the almost elusive 1873-CC without arrows, of which the latter has only five known specimens, each worth a six-figure sum.

Then there is the unique 1866 No Motto Quartier Liberté Assis. He formerly resided in the cabinet of Egypt king Farouk before falling into the hands of Willis du Pont, who purchased the coin in 1961 for the princely sum of $ 24,500.

M. du Pont, a descendant of the rich Delaware family whose name is synonymous with American industry, kept the piece in their collection until a terrible evening in 1967 when their Miami the house was broken into. The thieves, robbing Du Pont and his family at gunpoint, stole more than 7,000 coins, stole a large collection of diamonds and jewelry, and used Du Pont’s red Cadillac as a getaway car. Over the years, many pieces stolen from the collection, then valued at $ 1.5 million, returned to the market. Among these is the 1866 No Motto Seated Liberty Quarter, a piece of unknown origin that was never recorded in the Currency of the United States Director’s report.

The play reappeared in 1999 at a Los Angeles coin store more than 30 years after the rarity of the Pont manor nearly 3,000 miles disappeared. The coin was quickly returned to the family, and the No Motto neighborhood from 1866 was eventually loaned to the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for display. In 2015, the piece was given to National Numismatic Collection from Smithsonian Institution. And this is where the coin is sure to stay in perpetuity.

1866 Half dollar Liberty seated without currency

It’s no coincidence that the second coin listed in this article shares a very similar story to the first. It is because the 1866 No motto Liberty Seated half dollar, also a unique piece of unknown origin, also belonged to Willis du Pont and was stolen from him in the same 1967 armed robbery that claimed the 1866 No Motto SLQ and thousands of his other collector’s pieces. And like its 1866 quarterback counterpart, the 1866 No Motto half-dollar appeared in a Los Angeles coin store in 1999, some 32 years after the Pont Mansion coin disappeared.

The 1866 No Motto half dollar is one of those coins whose mysterious background, like that of the equivalent of a quarter dollar, has long intrigued the numismatic community. Some believe that the 1866 half dollar may have been minted illegally in 1868 on the instructions of the Director of the United States Mint. Henri linderman to give to a collector of 19th century motifs Robert coulton davis. Whether the half dollar, the No Motto Quarter of 1866, and the two known No Motto Liberty Seated dollars of 1866 (one of which also belonged to du Pont) were really minted under such dubious auspices, it remains to be proven. But the mystique and the incredible rarity of these pieces are indisputable.

The 1866 No Motto Seated Liberty half-dollar was on display at the ANA for several years after its reappearance in 1999. However, the du Pont family ultimately donated the coin, along with their 1866-free neighborhood and from their 1866 Seated Freedom Dollar without Currency, to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection. This leaves no 1866 No Motto half-dollar in private hands. However, one of the two known No Motto dollars from 1866 is still theoretically available to collectors, should it ever hit the market.

1804 Dollar Bust Draped Class II

1804 Class II single dollar. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution
1804 Class II single dollar. Image credit: Smithsonian Institution

the 1804 Dollar Bust Draped Class II? Indeed, there is not “the” dollar 1804, but rather three types of 1804 dollars. Of the total of $ 15 known for 1804, eight are original mintings produced around 1834-1835; these are known as Class I dollars. Seven repeats were made from around 1858, one of these coins having a plain edge, known as the Class II coin; the remaining six restarts with lettered edges are doubled Class III specimens.

As with so many ultra-rarities, there is a plethora of unanswered questions regarding the Class II dollar. It is believed that because the reverse side of Class II and Class III dollars are essentially the same, the edge lettering known on Class III dollars was in fact applied after the coins were struck. This means that there may have been more Class II dollars today, except for the fact that edge lettering was subsequently stamped around the edges of some of these dollars originally at smooth edges. Interestingly, the only known Class II dollar was minted on a Swiss shooting thaler from 1857, a commemorative coin minted for a traditional shooting festival held in the canton of Bern.

The 1804 Class II Draped Bust Dollar is in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Thus, the coin cannot belong to private collectors. The value of such a unique coin is incalculable, but the other 1,804 dollars have been traded regularly for millions of dollars in recent years, implying that the elusive Class II dollar would also fetch a seven-figure price tag, if not more. .

1870-S $ 3 Princess

the 1870-S $ 3 Princess is one of those coins that collectors today cannot own, but a few have. And, as with any large rare coin, there is a certain degree of mystery behind this coin struck in the San Francisco Currency.

Numismatic experts can only explain one 1870-S Princess, but many believe a second was struck and is in the cornerstone of the San Francisco Mint. The building, which was constructed in 1869 and served as currency until 1937, is affectionately known as “The Lady of Granite”. It was also one of the few buildings to survive the devastating 1906 earthquake that rocked San Francisco.

Unique $ 20 1849 <a class=gold coin. Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution” width=”700″ height=”354″ data-srcset=”https://coinweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1849twenty.jpg 700w, https://coinweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1849twenty-275×139.jpg 275w, https://coinweek.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1849twenty-696×352.jpg 696w” sizes=”(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px”/>
Unique $ 20 1849 gold coin. Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution

Even assuming there is a second 1870-S princess, locked in a metal box within the massive walls of the old mint, the only example we can see is impounded at the ANA Money Museum in Colorado springs, Colorado. This piece was traded among some of the hobby’s most elite collectors before finding a home in the museum. The piece originally came from the collection of William H. Woodin, who served as United States Secretary of the Treasury. When the coin was sold from his collection in 1911, it came with a note stating that the 1870-S $ 3 Princess was a duplicate of the coin contained in the cornerstone of the San Francisco Mint.

The coin went through a series of hands, and at one point it even ended up in a jewelry setting. Then, in 1944, Arthur “Art” Kagin of Hollinbeck Coin Company listed the piece as VF and offered it for $ 8,500 to Louis eliasberg, the great 20th century Baltimore numismatist who built the most comprehensive collection of American coins known at the time. At this point, Eliasberg initially declined the opportunity to own the unique piece, citing other pieces that he then focused on acquiring.

After declining further offers to purchase the coin, Eliasberg eventually purchased the 1870-S for $ 3 for $ 16,000, thus completing his collection of princesses to $ 3. His monumental collection went on sale after Eliasberg’s death in 1976. A few years later, in 1982, the Eliasberg 1870-S $ 3 Princess was sold to the oil magnate, philanthropist and coin collector. Harry W. Bass, Jr. for $ 687,500 and later became a centerpiece at the Silver Museum. And if no one has the opportunity to buy the coin, everyone has the opportunity to see it.

1849 Liberty Head $ 20 Double Eagle

The fifth piece on this list of rarities that you cannot own is the 1849 Liberty Head $ 20 double eagle. It is a room that even Louis Eliasberg had to bypass. The coin, technically classified as a motif, ushered in the first United States federal coin with a face value greater than $ 10.

The one-of-a-kind 1849 Liberty Head double eagle was theorized by many as the most valuable American coin ever minted. A few years ago a rare coins dealer Kevin Lipton estimated the value of the 1849 Liberty Head coin at $ 20 to be between $ 10 million and $ 20 million. To be sure, such talk is nothing more than speculative, as the 1849 Double Eagle securely resides in the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection and is not for sale.

Yet if the $ 20 Liberty Head Double Eagle from 1849 sold and only did so at an intermediate figure based on Lipton’s estimate – say, $ 15 million – it would easily eclipse the price of the larger coin. expensive never sold to this day. This claim goes to a certified PCGS 1794 Floating Haired Dollar rating SP66, which made $ 10,016,875 at a 2013 Stack arbors auction.


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