Proof 1859 Coronet eagle tops set bidding

Eleven coins in 1859 Proof set realize $636,413
Published : 03/11/13
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Eleven coins from a set of Proof 1859 United States coins donated that year by Baltimore professor John Alexander to the Royal Mint Museum in London were auctioned March 6 and brought the U.S. equivalent of $636,413.

The prices realized from the sale conducted by Morton & Eden Ltd., in association with Sotheby’s, include a 20 percent buyer’s fee.

Topping the sale was the 1859 Coronet gold $10 eagle, graded Proof 65 Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service. The coin brought £204,000 ($308,636 based on an exchange rate of $1.51 per British pound). The coin is one of an estimated eight to 12 pieces extant from 80 reported to have been struck.

The coin was purchased by Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles for an unidentified client, according to Morton & Eden.

The remaining 10 Proof coins, from cent to gold $5 half eagle, were won by Gallery Precious of Tokyo, according to Morton & Eden.

The prices realized for the 10 coins are:

➤ 1859 Indian Head cent, PCGS Proof 65, $3,994 (£2,640).

➤ 1859 silver 3-cent coin, PCGS Proof 63, $871 (£576).

➤ 1859 Seated Liberty half dime, PCGS Proof 64, $2,542 (£1,680).

➤ 1859 Seated Liberty dime, PCGS Proof 65, $2,904 (£1,920).

➤ 1859 Seated Liberty quarter dollar, PCGS Proof 64, $3,994 (£2,640).

➤ 1859 Seated Liberty half dollar, PCGS Proof 64, $4,720 (£3,120).

➤ 1859 Seated Liberty dollar, PCGS Proof 64, $11,800 (£7,800).

➤ 1859 Indian Head gold dollar, PCGS Proof 64 Cameo, $27,232 (£18,000).

➤ 1859 Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle, PCGS Proof 65 Cameo, $111,956 (£74,400).

➤ 1859 Coronet $5 half eagle, PCGS Proof 65+ Cameo, $159,764 (£105,600).

Alexander, a proponent of a uniform world currency, was about to become the director of the Philadelphia Mint at the time of his death in 1867. Alexander, whose proposals for the “Unification of Coinage” were first considered by Congress in 1855, had been appointed in 1857 as the U.S. delegate to the British Commission on Decimalized Coinage.

Alexander’s 1859 donation to the Royal Mint Museum did not include examples of the Proof 1859 Coronet $20 double eagle.

The museum retains 12 coins from the original 24-coin donation; the retained coins include a Proof 1859 Indian Head gold $3 coin. A second Proof 1859 gold $3 coin was recorded as part of the collection until October 1933, according to Royal Mint Museum officials.

The museum’s trustees approved deaccessioning the 11 coins to help finance future acquisitions for the museum’s collection. ■

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