Colorful Morgan dollar, rare patterns in Regency sale
- Published: Jul 1, 2017, 4 AM
Legend Rare Coin Auctions is set to offer its Regency Auction XXII in Las Vegas on July 13 as part of the Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show.
The auction is anchored by several collections. From the Glacier Rams Collection — a Top-10 Basic U.S. Coin Designs set in the PCGS Registry — comes a group of handsome U.S. type coins including a deeply mirrored 1879 Seated Liberty half dollar graded PCGS Proof 66+ Cameo with a green sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp.
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The unnamed collector started collecting coins in his boyhood, starting with his “penny board” sets of Lincoln and Indian Head cents, and in the 1970s he attended coin shows and was inspired by publications like Q. David Bowers’ Rare Coin Review, published by Bowers & Merena Galleries. He built a complete set of Proof and Mint State copper-nickel 3-cent coins — which he perceived as being undervalued — and this set was sold in 1975. Collections of Morgan and Peace dollars, along with world coins, followed. The catalog explains that the collector took inspiration for his collection’s name from the bighorn mountain sheep (Rams) and glaciers (Glacier National Park) that are symbolic of his home.
Many of the auction’s highlights come from a collection called “The 1994 Collection,” which the cataloger writes is one of Legend Numismatics’ “all-time favorite collections,” adding, “The collector was handling some ‘investment’ funds and gave Legend Numismatics a free hand to cherry pick from the very best coins of that time that were available on the market. This group of ‘wonder’ coins was hand selected by the principals of Legend Numismatics back in 1993/1994.”
The owner died earlier this year, but Legend remarks, “His memory will live on with the world knowing about his great collection of coins. Even though these have been off the market only 23 years, the quality and freshness are unrivaled.”
Among these is an impressive pair of Proof Seated Liberty 20-cent pieces. An 1877 20-cent coin graded PCGS Proof 66 and bearing a CAC sticker comes from a low mintage of just 350 pieces of which this is among the finest. In its typical excited style, Legend adds, “Out of this world mirrors are so deep and so flashy you can see them from across the street! WOW! Even using a strong glass to look for tiny imperfections-yields ZERO.”
Joining it is an 1878 Seated Liberty 20-cent piece graded PCGS Proof 67 Cameo in which Legend states, “Ultra-deep and nearly full high voltage search light type mirrors beam from all over. You just about need Ray Bans to view this monster. Besides the out of this world flash, the mirrors are also ultra clean, have remarkable clarity, and are as good as you will ever see.” The color is also impressive, with blue, pale purple and russet on both sides. It too is among the finest of its small mintage of 600 pieces and Legend addressed the absence of a CAC sticker, writing, “CAC showed no mercy by not beaning it (we totally disagree).”
Unravel the mystery of die trails: Another column in the July 17 Coin World takes a look at some ‘heavy hitting’ double die discoveries
Also included is an 1846 Seated Liberty dollar in PCGS MS-64+ with a CAC sticker that is perhaps one small reverse mark away from being graded MS-65, with Legend noting, “We unhesitatingly pronounce this coin the greatest MS64-and MS64+ in existence!”
Perhaps most exciting is a 1909 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle graded PCGS Proof 66 and bearing a CAC sticker, a rare Roman Finish Proof that is one of just 67 pieces in the recorded mintage. Some examples likely entered circulation, and because the Roman Finish used in 1909 looks somewhat similar to circulation strikes — it certainly is not flashy like the Proof style used on its Coronet type predecessor — some Matte and Roman Finish Proof gold coins of the era may be still waiting to be rediscovered. Few remain in top grades, and any offering of a high end Proof Saint-Gaudens double eagle is impressive.
The 1994 Collection also includes a nice set of Matte Proof Lincoln cents that will first be offered individually and then offered as a single lot.
Toned Morgan dollars
Regency XXII will include the last of five installments of the Northern Lights Collection of toned Morgan dollars. Legend states, “Mother Nature clearly did her best magic on so many of these coins,” concluding, “Northern Lights has become synonymous with the ‘Best of the Best.’ ”
One of the prettiest, considered one of the finest toned Morgan dollars, is an 1881-S dollar graded PCGS MS-67 with a CAC sticker. Legend opines, “This coin would make a Peacock go nuts during mating seasons when their colors are out.” It explains, “Both sides emit a full booming luster over semi-prooflike surfaces. The obverse has out of this world original shades of neon-like gold, amber/royal blue/violet/purple/magenta/pearl green colors,” concluding, “The colors on this coin are so wild it belongs in a museum.” It has an estimate of $7,000 and up, but Legend suspects that it may approach another prime example of a toned 1882-S dollar that sold for more than $20,000.
One of the more unusual offerings in the sale is a pattern half dollar for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco struck in copper at the Philadelphia Mint, and therefore without the S Mint mark (the actual commemorative coins sold to collectors were struck at the San Francisco Mint and thus bear the S Mint mark). Legend explains, “As the dies were finished, some impressions were made in copper prior to the addition of the mintmark. Some believe that this was done for the benefit of Treasury Secretary William McAdoo who was a coin collector himself.” The hobby consensus is that these were struck clandestinely as fantasy pieces rather than being genuine die trials, and gold examples exist as well.
The offered example — listed as Judd 1962 in United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd — is the finest graded example of the pattern. At PCGS Proof 67 red and brown, it is finer than the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Proof 66+ ? red and brown example that realized $199,750 at Heritage’s April 2013 offering of the Eric P. Newman Collection. Another example, graded NGC Proof 66 red and brown, sold for $111,625 at Heritage’s January 2015 Florida United Numismatists auction.
With the Newman coin now in the collection of Texas businessman Bob Simpson, the offered example is firmly the finest available example and Legend concludes, “We expect that when this coin crosses the block, there will be much bidding activity coming from ... advanced commemorative collectors, students of pattern coinage, and simply connoisseurs of rarity.”
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