US Coins

1854 Coronet double eagle from SS Central America sells for $70K

An 1854-S Coronet $20 double eagle from the SS Central America shipwreck sold for $70,500 at Stack’s Bowers’ Aug. 6 ANA auction.

Image courtesy Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Sept. 8 issue.

Breaking down the massive series of auctions by Heritage and Stack’s Bowers at the recent American Numismatic Association convention is a massive undertaking. This week, gold coin specialist Doug Winter helps by sharing his notes on three coins that he viewed and bid on in the auctions.

Doug’s most notable purchase was an 1861 Coronet, Paquet Reverse gold $20 double eagle that brought $1.645 million at Heritage’s Aug. 7, 2014, auction. But of course not all of his bids were for seven-figure rarities.

RELATED: More than $50 million in U.S. coins sold during Heritage, Stack's Bowers auctions at ANA convention

He explained his process for evaluating major auctions, which he tries to do before a show starts. “For me this means the following: my special coin lamp, music played loud over headphones, no distractions and plenty of time to take notes on the coins I’m most interested in,” he said. “I can’t do this at a coin show as, by then, my nerves are frazzled and I can’t properly concentrate. And when I don’t pay full attention, I make mistakes. In my level of dealing, a small mistake can equate to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, so I want to be cautious, careful and critical.”

Here’s an analysis of one of the three coins: 

Less expensive than expected

This 1854-S Coronet $20 double eagle graded Mint State 64 by PCGS brought $70,500 on Aug. 6 as part of Stack’s Bowers’ offering of the Gilded Age Collection. 

At a 2006 Heritage auction it was housed in a Numismatic Guaranty Corp. holder and brought $46,000. The coin is from the SS Central America shipwreck and Doug commented that it took him longer to like the Central America coins than many in the field, but with time, he’s come to appreciate these coins. 

He mentioned several factors working for this coin. First, the issue is a condition rarity in the series. Second, it’s desirable as the first double eagle from the San Francisco Mint and third, Doug described the coin itself as “outstanding” and finer than others in higher numerical grades that have come up at auction. 

He noted, “I decided that I would bid up to $80,000 hammer on this coin and I might even stretch a bit if I had to. The coin, it turned out, was reserved by the consignor at $57,500. This meant that a $60,000 bid was required for a potential sale. The auctioneer opened the lot, I bid and in a matter of seconds, it was hammered to me at $60,000, meaning I purchased it all in at $70,500.”

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Sept. 8 Market Analysis: 

Keep up with all news and insights:

Community Comments