February Heritage U.S. Coin Auction Surpasses $16.5 Million
1879 Stella Flowing Hair sold for $184,500 to lead Heritage Auctions Long Beach Expo Signature® U.S. Coin Auctions at $16,503,414. The event attracted 3,560 bidders from around the world and generated perfect sell-through rates of 100% in value and lots sold.
the 1879 Floating Hair Stella, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR65 Cameo NGC who won the event’s highest prize was one of the two Flowing Hair stars at the top of the final results. Another one 1879 Floating Hair Stella, Judd-1635, Pollock-1833, JD-1, R.3, PR65 NGC won an auction of $174,000.
Stellas were originally minted as a coin exchangeable with five European currencies. Two varieties were created: one with coiled hair and another—like the first two batches of this sale—with flowing hair.
The event continued an extraordinary start to 2022 for Heritage’s U.S. Coins Department: the U.S. Coins Auction in January FUN US Coins Signature® Auctions soared to $65,422,650 in total sales, part of the combined $74 million for the event.
“Rare-date gold coins have soared in this auction, leading the way with high prices,” said Heritage Auctions President Greg Rohan. “It is clear that rare date and record quality coins are attracting increased interest from collectors, with auction prices to prove it.”
Also reaching $174,000 were a 1795 Bust Capped Right Eagle, MS61 And one 1862 Liberty Double Eagle, MS63+★. The latter more than doubled previous high of $78,000which was set at the Heritage Auction in August 2020.
The 1795 capped bust right eagle dates from the first year the United States Mint minted gold coins; the half eagles were struck first, followed by a delivery of 1,097 Capped Bust Right Eagles. This example depicts the 13-leaf variety BD-5, the last variety struck. It comes from an existing population of only 35-45 pieces.
The 1862 Liberty Double Eagle, MS63+★ is the Philadelphia Mint’s most elusive Type One Liberty double eagle except for the unsalvageable 1861 Reverse Pack, and copies of all grades remain rare. Eight were recovered from the wreckage of the SS Republicand another in the treasury of the SS Brother Jonathan, but no great treasure has been discovered; the surviving population in all grades has been estimated at 150-200 specimens, most in the XF-AU range. This specimen is the second-best certified example from both major grading services, thanks to its Plus and Star designations.
Three coins – a 1932 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS65, an 1884-S Morgan Dollar, MS64+ and an 1886-O Morgan Dollar, MS65 – fetched auctions of $156,000.
the 1932 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS65 is one of the rarest late saints, often in high demand at auction. The extant population was estimated at 75-95.
the 1884-S Dollar Morgan, MS64+ is undeniably rare: most of the 3.2 million strike dollars of 1884 produced by the San Francisco mint have been put into circulation.
Most of the coins held by the government were probably melted down in 1918, under the provisions of the Pittman Act, meaning that relatively few were saved. Uncirculated coins are coveted, and for good reason: NGC and PCGS have teamed up to certify only 25 examples in MS64 (two in 64+), with only six finer examples.
the 1886-O Morgan Dollar, MS65 PCGS, one of only three noted by PCGS in MS65 (one in 65+), comes from a problem that was not well done. An estimated 2–4 million coins were put into circulation; the majority of the minting was preserved in government warehouses and most of these coins were probably melted down in 1918, under the provisions of the Pittman Act. The 1886-O was not well represented in 1960s Treasury releases, alerting collectors and dealers to its elusive high quality nature for the first time. Third party grading has established the 1886-O as a top condition rarity in the series for the past 35 years.
Other auction records include:
A 1883 Morgan Dollar, MS68, with a stunning obverse tone, got 23 bids before closing at $34,800 – the only example from that date to bring more was a graduated “plus” example. This piece set a new standard for a 68 without the “plus” note.
Also reaching $78,000 was one of the most intriguing pieces of the sale, a 2001-D Lincoln Cent—Muled with a Roosevelt Dime Reverse—MS65 Red PCGS. A mule is a coin minted with mismatched dies. In the long history of the United States Mint, only a few dozen mules are known, and most are unique. Of all the mule possibilities in American numismatics, the most likely to occur is the Lincoln cent/Roosevelt dime mule, largely because the diameters of the cent (19 mm) and dime (18 mm) are similar, and each type is from a high mintage. . Heritage Auctions experts know five of these pieces; the example offered here is the second known 2001-D cent/dime mule.
Another error piece that gave an outstanding result was a 1977-D Dollar Eisenhower, MS63, which drew 21 bids before closing at $26,400. A dressed Eisenhower dollar should weigh 22.7 grams, but this example tips the scales at 24.9. It has been reported that approximately 15 coins – including this one – are known to have been minted on planchettes intended for 40% silver San Francisco Bicentennial Ike Dollars.
Other highlights included, but were not limited to:
$150,000: one “1802/1” Quarter eagle, MS64+
$150,000: 1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar, MS65
$144,000: 1876 Three Dollar, PR65 Ultra Cameo
$22,800: One dollar 1901-O, colored MS67+ (only one thinner graduated)
Full results are available at HA.com/1342.
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