Pioneer gold coins in Heritage auction are old friends to dealer Donald Kagin

Buyer finds familiar pieces in Riverboat Collection
Published : 05/02/14
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The April 24 sale by Heritage Auctions of the Riverboat Collection of pioneer gold coins was like old-home week for California numismatist Donald H. Kagin.

The collection sold during Heritage’s Platinum Night session conducted in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society’s 75th Anniversary Convention in Schaumburg, Ill. Kagin, a pioneer gold specialist, has owned or handled several of the coins he re-acquired as many as four times each in his 40-year career.

Kagin is owner of Kagin’s in Tiburon, Calif. He is also author of the 1981 reference Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States and is planning on publishing a second edition of the tome, for release in 2015, incorporating color images of the coins from the Riverboat Collection.

The collection, comprising 62 pioneer gold coins and one gold pattern, brought total prices realized of $10,489,762. All were sold without reserves, and the prices realized include the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.

Massachusetts dealer Stuart Levine assisted the unidentified consignor of the Riverboat Collection in assembling the collection over some 25 years.

Levine said the cataloging by Heritage includes extensive pedigree information that will aid pioneer gold enthusiasts and researchers in the future.

Heritage senior cataloger Mark Borckardt notes that 33 of the 63 lots offered established new auction records. Two of the coins for which new auction records were established have not been seen at auction since March 1, 1980, when they were sold by Bowers & Ruddy as part of the esteemed Garrett Collection.

Although some of the pioneer gold coins have not been offered at auction in decades, they may have traded hands one or more times in private transactions since  their previous public offering.

According to the firm’s April 30 press release, its April 24 Platinum Night brought more than $30 million and in total, the U.S. coin auctions at CSNS realized more than $46.7 million. 

Kagin’s highlight purchases

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