One of just 15 known examples of a silver dollar often called the
“King of American Coins” sold for $2.64 million at Heritage’s June 14
Long Beach auction. The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Draped Bust dollar
graded Proof 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service is one of just
eight Class I dollars, sometimes called “Diplomatic Presentation Strikings.”
It previously sold for $3,877,500 in an August 2013 Heritage auction
in Chicago, and it brought $3,737,500 back at a 2008 Heritage sale.
Several other high-profile rarities also sold for less than prior
prices, showing that the air at the very top of the market might be a
bit thin at the moment.
Two pre-Long Beach Expo sales showed the continuing demand for early
U.S. issues. On June 10 at Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers’ sale, a
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle silver half dollar graded About
Uncirculated 55 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized $150,000.
On June 11 at a Bonhams’ sale in Los Angeles a 1792 Roman Head
“cent” token graded Proof 65 red and brown by PCGS with a green
Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker brought $108,000. It was previously
offered at Heritage’s November 2014 auction of the Eric P. Newman
Collection, Part V, where it was photographed prior to slabbing and
George Washington objected to his depiction on a coin, but an early
version of the Mint Act called for “an impression or representation of
the head of the president of the United States.” This was later
changed to call for one “emblematic of liberty.” The celebrated Roman
Head token was produced in England by the Birmingham Mint.
Inside Coin World: Mint’s heritage assets are
slowly coming to light Some of the U.S. Mint’s
greatest treasures, its “heritage assets,” are slowly coming out of
the vaults and into the open for collectors to marvel over.
Walter Breen suggested the Roman themed depiction, “was to portray
Washington on a coin as a degenerate, effeminate Roman emperor,” but
others look to contemporary sculpture that celebrated Washington by
presenting him in a classical tradition. Today around 20 are known and
even well-worn ones are expensive, such as a Very Good example that
brought $18,000 at a Heritage auction earlier this year.
Another Washington issue from 1792 from Newman’s vast holdings is
set to be the star of Heritage’s summer ANA auctions in Philadelphia.
Heritage will offer a unique 1792 Washington gold piece in its Aug. 16
Platinum Night auction. Newman believed that it was struck for
Washington as a pattern for a gold $10 eagle and was carried by George
Washington, and research points to it being produced in Massachusetts,
rather than England as traditionally thought.
Newman purchased the coin privately in 1942 and it last sold at
auction in 1890, so identifying comparables for pricing is a challenge.
Fighting for top billing at the 2018 ANA auctions is Stack’s Bowers
Galleries, who is offering the finest-graded 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent
piece, graded PCGS Proof 66 with a green CAC sticker, at its Aug. 15
Rarities Night auction.
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