Morgan dollars, Stella patterns highlight Bonhams December auction

Offering includes complete set of Morgan dollars in one lot
By , Coin World
Published : 11/24/15
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Bonhams will host one of the final coin auctions in 2015 with its Dec. 14 auction in New York City of coins, medals and paper money. The sale boasts a wide range of coins from ancient to modern. 

Consistent with the firm’s top numismatic offerings of the past few years, Stella $4 pattern pieces are some of the top lots, as are high-end collectible Morgan dollars and Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagles. 

Morgan dollars

The sale includes five uncertified 1889-CC Morgan dollars as single lots. The first of these, lot 131, is graded by the firm as Brilliant Uncirculated, prooflike, and is described as follows: “Uncommonly well preserved, this minimally abraded example is free of individually distracting bagmarks. Both sides present a pleasing pastel-gold appearance with reflective fields supporting sharply impressed devices. The latter features are very softly frosted in texture with the result that modest cameo contrast is evident at a few angles. For future identification, a circular toning spot is in the upper left obverse field and an ‘S-shaped’ (as struck) lintmark is below Liberty’s ear.” It is estimated at $20,000 to $25,000.

The 1889-CC Morgan dollar is considered the rarest Carson City Mint Morgan dollar with a low mintage of just 350,000 pieces. 

Most today survive in circulated grades and the description puts the issue in its historical context: “The election of Benjamin Harrison as President in 1888 was a boon to the powerful Silver Lobby. A pro-silver Republican, Harrison allowed the Carson City Mint to resume coinage operations in 1889. Although the facility officially reopened its doors on July 1 of that year, the first Morgan dollars were not delivered until October.” 

The next lot in the sale is another 1889-CC Morgan dollar, this one graded Choice Uncirculated, toned, that carries the same estimate. It too is uncertified, described by Bonhams as having, “thin, satiny mint luster,” noting “some deep, even gray-golden toning over each side, perhaps a bit lighter on the reverse. The striking details are well above average, especially at the central regions, and there are no reportable abrasions on either side.”

For those looking for an instant set of Morgan dollars, the auction offers a set of Morgan dollars from 1878 to 1921, sold as a set in four red Capital Plastic holders. The coins have been each graded by Bonhams in the catalog, with common issues such as the 1879-S in solid Mint State grades like MS-64 prooflike, and with rarities like the 1893-S Morgan dollar grading About Uncirculated, cleaned. On this series key, the description notes: “The surfaces reveal light polishing on the highpoints as the telltale sign of a past cleaning, although this is not terribly obvious. Scattered signs of contact, including tiny marks and other abrasions appear on Liberty’s cheek and in other areas although, again, they are inconspicuous.”

The 1889-CC Morgan dollar is graded by Bonhams as MS-63 and has “frosty silver-white surfaces that are gently enhanced with traces of natural patina.” 

The set will be sold in its entirety as a single lot. One coin in the set is particularly interesting: an 1892-S Morgan dollar with an added San Francisco Mint mark. The lot description concludes, “We recommend a personal examination as there is no return privilege.” The lot is estimated at $80,000 to $100,000. 

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