Undated Liberty gold dollar realizes $12,000+: Market Analysis

The first of three columns from our Steve Roach regarding some recent California auctions
By , Coin World
Published : 09/29/15
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California’s Long Beach Expo and Whitman’s Baltimore Expo are both thrice-yearly shows held on opposite coasts that attract many of the same dealers. This year’s final Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Expo (using its full name) took place Sept. 17 to 19 and featured official auctions by Heritage and pre-show auctions by Bonhams and Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers. Here are three impressive gold coins, each a highlight for the firm offering it. The Long Beach Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center Feb. 4 to 6, 2016. 

The Coin
Undated (1853) Liberty California gold dollar, octagonal, NGC MS-64

The Price 
$12,925

The Story 
California small-denomination gold coins represent a unique collecting area where examples can start for just a few hundred dollars and move to the five-figure range for ones that combine rarity and exceptional condition. At Heritage’s Sept. 17 to 20 Long Beach Expo U.S. coin auctions, this undated octagonal gold dollar graded MS-64 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $12,925. The obverse features a bust of Liberty similar to contemporary Coronet $20 double eagles, and the eagle on the reverse is similar to the one on U.S. Assay Office Humbert slugs, which were widely accepted in the western states at the time. 

Classified as Breen-Gillio 501 in the reference book to the series, it is the only octagonal gold dollar variety that bears no date (though it is attributed to 1853) and was struck by Frontier, Deviercy & Co. It is one of the finest known survivors of this scarce issue.

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