the American economy being on the verge of collapse in 1929, the
Philadelphia Mint was still churning out Indian Head gold $2.50
quarter eagles, $5 half eagles and $20 doubles eagles.
Bonhams' Sept. 14
auction in Los Angeles of 384 lots of coins and medals includes an
example of the half eagle and double eagle from 1929, the New York
Stock Market crashed.
sale also includes a number of early United States gold coins. Also
among the highlights is a circa 1856 San Francisco Committee of Vigilance medal
struck in silver.
17 percent buyer's fee will be added to the final closing hammer price
of each lot won.
Indian Head half eagle
its reported mintage of 662,000 1929 Indian Head half eagles struck at
the Philadelphia Mint does not suggest a rarity, the
Gold Reserve Act of 1934 made most private ownership of gold illegal —
citizens could keep up to $100 face value in gold coins and coins with
numismatic value were exempt. The majority of the 1929 mintage, like
many other gold issues, was either not released or was turned in to
the Treasury and subsequently melted.
known examples of the 1929 half eagle are found in Mint State condition.
example offered in the Bonhams auction is graded MS-62 by Professional Coin Grading
Service. The coin carries a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 to $30,000.
Saint-Gaudens double eagle
Philadelphia Mint recorded output totaling 1,779,500 coins for the
1929 Saint-Gaudens double eagle. The facility's production in 1929,
1931, 1932, and 1933 was not required in commerce, and very few exited
the Mint for passage into general circulation. Most of the production
went to Treasury vaults for storage.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's gold recall executive order in 1933, in an
effort to reverse the nation's economic woes, included provisions for
the U.S. Mint to not release any more gold coins into circulation and
to destroy the gold issues stored in government vaults or any that
were returned to federal control.
scholars are generally agreed that much of the original mintage of
1929 double eagles was destroyed as a result of this presidential
order," according to the auction lot description.
gem Uncirculated, the 1929 double eagle in the Bonhams sale carries an
estimate of $70,000 to $80,000.
1795 Capped Bust $10 eagle
nation's first chief engraver at the United States Mint, Robert Scot,
designed and sculptured the Capped Bust, Small Eagle gold $10 eagle.
reported mintage of 5,583 coins included reverse varieties with either
9 leaves or 13 leaves below the eagle. The Bonhams sale includes the
13 Leaves variety.
coin offered in the Bonhams auction is the BD-1 variety (as attributed
by John Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass Jr. in Early U.S. Gold Coin
Varieties: A Study of Die States, 1795-1834). Bass concluded
that the BD-1 was the first of the 12 1795 Small Eagle varieties that
were struck using an eventual eight obverse and eight reverse dies.
the reported mintage, 5,083 are estimated to be of the 13 Leaves Below
Eagle variety and approximately 500 are of the 9 Leaves Below Eagle
design, according to Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth in Encyclopedia of
U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1933.
1795 Capped Bust, Small Eagle, 13 Leaves $10 coin in the Bonhams sale
is identified as being certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as
Uncirculated Details, Improperly Cleaned. The coin has an estimate of
$55,000 to $65,000.
by an authentication letter from the American Numismatic Association
Authentication Bureau, the About Uncirculated silver medal is one of
fewer than 20 examples known. It measures 37.1 millimeters in diameter
and weighs 26.219 grams.
San Francisco Committee of Vigilance was founded in 1851 and revived
five years later in response to rampant crime and corruption among the
ranks of city government. The committee boasted a membership of some
700, operating separately from the duly established municipal entity.
medal — with Lady Justice without blindfold on the obverse and the
All-Seeing Eye with rays at center on the reverse — was executed by
the San Francisco concern of Vachon & Giron. The firm's V&G
hallmark appears on the left of the base on which Lady Justice stands.
the All-Seeing Eye motif is adapted from
Freemasonry, "in its 1856 vigilante context, [it] conveyed
surveillance as a means of social discipline, not the Masonic meaning
of scientific and aesthetic knowledge," according to the auction
to the auction lot description, "As a result of their actions,
these militias subsequently hanged eight people and forced several
elected officials to resign."
medal, graded About Uncirculated, carries an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
more information on the sale, visit the Bonhams website.
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