US Coins

19th century coinage standouts at Legend Regency 60 sale

Mid-19th century issues are among the coins to be offered at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency Auction 60 on July 27.

Carrying a top estimate of $150,000 is an 1857-S Coronet $5 half eagle graded Mint State 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that was recovered from the SS Central America shipwreck.

It is the second-finest example known, and before the discovery of the shipwreck the date was virtually unknown in Mint State grades.

Most of the gold coins found at the shipwreck were 1857-S Coronet $20 double eagles, with smaller denomination gold coins found in lesser quantities. Legend speculates that smaller denomination gold coins were likely not stored in the cargo hold as the double eagles and gold bars were, but rather, in the pockets of passengers and crew.

Still, for a sense of how transformative the entire discovery has been to population reports, back in 1995 an 1857-S $5 coin graded MS-61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. was considered possibly the finest-known, and major collectors were happy to have an example approaching About Uncirculated.

This one returns to the auction block after relatively recently realizing $146,875 in an April 2022 Legend auction.

The auction house writes in its current offering, “We would not be shocked if this monster GEM was to bring even more in this market,” preemptively telling the future winning bidder, “You now own one of the greatest gold coins off the greatest shipwreck recovery in American history.”

‘GEM AU’ Carson City dime

An 1874-CC Seated Liberty, Arrows at Date dime graded AU-55 by PCGS and carrying a green CAC sticker is another prize in the auction, with a top estimate of $125,000. It was previously offered at a 2009 Stack’s auction, realizing $97,750, and that description stated it had been discovered in Europe.

It ranks among the finest of the 10,817 dimes struck at the Carson City Mint that year. Most entered circulation and the offered dime has a touch of friction on the high points and the fields, as the grade indicates, but also has luster in the protected areas.

Recognizing its quality, Legend calls it “GEM AU.”

The firm comments, “It is quite interesting to contemplate how this coin struck in the wild west made its way to Europe, and then [was] saved for over 130 years before coming back to the United States in 2008.”

Rusty Goe wrote in The Confident Carson City Collector, Volume I that the Carson City Mint focused its production on Trade dollars in 1874, leaving smaller denominations with low mintages. He estimates that perhaps 40 to 60 examples of this dime survive in all grades.

Goe writes that the offered dime is, “by far the finest circulated specimen known.”

The arrows at the date alerted the public to new specifications in the metal content of the issue, and Goe calls it the key to the collectible Carson City Mint dime series, excluding the unique 1873-CC Seated Liberty, No Arrows dime.

Fresh coin shop discovery

Legend has a knack for selling beautifully toned silver dollars, and this 1876-S Trade dollar graded MS-66 by PCGS is a particularly beautiful example from the year of America’s centennial. It is tied with one other example as the finest-certified at PCGS.

Legend says that its current offering is its first “in modern times” since being purchased at a coin shop where it was offered uncertified. “Clearly it sat in an old album for many years before being offered for sale, and it acquired beautiful rainbow toning around the peripheries on both sides,” Legend points out, adding, “Bold, brilliantly lustrous, and crisply struck from an exacting blow from the dies, this coin has an AMAZING eye appeal.”

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments