The auctions associated with the Florida United
Numismatists show in Orlando, Jan. 8 to 11, are massive events for
the rare coin market.
Night auction is set for Jan. 7, and features many singular
rarities, although none with the broad, mainstream recognition of
January 2014’s headliners: a 1787 Brasher doubloon that sold for
nearly $4.6 million and a 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece that realized $3,290,000.
Coin World is profiling a few of the Platinum Night FUN auction highlights.
Gold $5 highlights
The 1795 Capped Bust $5 half eagle in the Platinum Night auction is
the single-finest certified 18th century gold $5 piece; it is graded
Corp. MS-66 ★. Heritage writes that it is “arguably the most
historically important regular issue United States gold coin” in that
the variety is widely recognized as the first variety of the first
gold coin issued by the Philadelphia Mint. It was delivered in a batch
of 744 examples on July 31, 1795, and production of 1795 $10 eagles
would follow, with the first delivery taking place on Sept. 22, 1795.
An estimated 40 to 50 examples of the variety exist in all grades.
Heritage explains that the piece comes from a middle die state that
shows evidence of heavy die rust at the lower left obverse and several
In describing the exceptional quality, Heritage notes fully
prooflike fields on both sides, adding, “brilliant lemon-yellow mint
color with a hint of pale orange that is visible when the coin is
tilted under strong light. A razor-sharp strike boldly defines all the
design elements, and the surfaces are pristine and nearly flawless.”
Promoting its appeal outside of the traditional audience of early
gold collectors, Heritage concludes, “The unsurpassed desirability and
historical importance of this magnificent example can also be easily
understood and appreciated by virtually anyone outside of numismatic circles.”
While U.S. Mint
records indicate that 34,651 Capped Head $5 half eagles were struck in
1821, the survival rate is miniscule with just 15 examples known in
all grades, split between two different die varieties with two known
Proof examples. Much of the U.S. gold coinage of this era found its
way in the melting pot, victim of the shifting value of gold in the
international market during this time period.
Research also indicates that the recorded 1821 mintage of the Capped
Head half eagle may include many coins dated 1820, as the Mint often
used dies from previous years.
Heritage suggests that the present coin, graded MS-63+ by Professional Coin Grading
Service and of the BD-1 variety, may have been offered at B. Max
Mehl’s June 1946 auction of the William Cutler Atwater Collection, as
the coin in that collection was described as a “Beautiful uncirculated
specimen” with “considerable brilliancy” and “a tiny short hair-line
scratch on the right obverse” (as seen on the present example).
Heritage describes the present example as possessing “an
irresistible combination of high technical grade, intense historic
interest, and outstanding visual appeal,” noting that the finest known
survivor (graded MS-66) has been off the market for the past three decades.
The piece offered at FUN was formerly in the collection of Amon
Carter Sr. and Amon Carter Jr. and sold in 1984 at Stack’s
auction of the Amon Carter Family Collection. It set a record for the
issue when it appeared at an Ira and
Larry Goldberg Auctioneers sale last year, where it sold for $540,500.
Read about more highlights of the Heritage FUN auctions:
Chain cent once part of 'finest U.S. coin collection of all time'
on the block at Heritage FUN auction
Seated Liberty dime among Heritage FUN auction highlights
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