New Orleans Mint coins top Heritage's June Long Beach Expo auction

McClure consignment drives attention, top moderns continue to thrive
By , Coin World
Published : 06/24/16
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Two coins from the New Orleans Mint topped bidding at Heritage’s June 8 to 12 auctions held as part of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Expo. 

Heritage’s U.S. Coins auctions totaled $13.11 million, with its tokens and medals auction held June 10 to 12 adding $856,950. 

The top lot at the June Long Beach auction was an 1856-O Coronet $20 double eagle graded About Uncirculated 55 by Professional Coin Grading Service that realized $364,250. One of roughly two dozen examples known today from a mintage of 2,250 pieces, it is often considered, along with the 1854-O Coronet double eagle, to be the rarest regular issue coin struck at the New Orleans Mint. 

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But for a single Specimen example, all of the 1856-O double eagles entered circulation, leaving most known in Extremely Fine to AU grades. The present example had been off the market for years, before emerging at Heritage’s 2015 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money auction where — then-graded AU-55 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. — it sold for $340,750. 

Previously it had sold at Stack’s 1971 ANA auction for $5,250, graded by Stack’s (in an era before third-party grading) as “About Uncirculated, with considerable mint lustre still adhering.” 

A different example also graded AU-55 by PCGS sold for $387,750 several months ago at Heritage’s April Central States Numismatic Society convention. 

Another New Orleans Mint standout was an 1895-O Morgan dollar graded Mint State 65+ by NGC, with a green Certified Acceptance Sticker, that brought $258,500. 

It came from the collection of the Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure and had been off the market for generations. The McClure consignment formed the core of Heritage’s Long Beach offerings and the more than 3,000 coins collected by Rev. McClure between the 1860s and 1930s formed a rare time capsule collection. 

Heritage’s senior numismatist Mark Borckardt wrote in his introduction to the McClure Collection, “His collection was housed in a cabinet with several individual trays. Following his death, those trays were tucked away in a bank vault, and remained there for more than 50 years before they were consigned to Heritage Auctions.” 

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