US Coins

Fun auction surprises in Scotsman’s July 28 Summer Sale

Scotsman’s July 28 Summer Sale at the Saint Charles Convention Center in metropolitan Saint Louis is full of surprises including two magnificent Proof gold pieces.

An 1872 Coronet $5 half eagle graded Proof 65 Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service carries a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker and a top estimate of $125,000. John Dannreuther estimates that around a dozen have survived from the initial mintage of just 30 Proof strikes, produced on Feb. 3, 1872, and demand is enhanced by the modest mintage of just 1,600 circulation strikes at the Philadelphia Mint that year. The offered coin sits at the top of the roster of known examples in Dannreuther’s book United States Proof Coins, Volume IV, Gold.

Scotsman’s cataloger reports, “A case can be made that reflectivity slightly exceeds expectations of the designation, but the cataloger has verified the depth of the mirrors will not permit upgrade in that regard. That said, one scrutinizes the surface carefully and wonders why the numeric grade could not be a little higher as no abrasions of any kind, and only light, trivial hairlines flutter here and there under a lamp.”

Coming from the same collection is a PCGS Proof 63 Cameo 1875 Coronet $20 double eagle, also with a green CAC sticker. The small mintage of just 20 was produced on Feb. 13 and Dannreuther estimates that just nine to 11 survive. He wrote, “All 1875 Proof coinage is regal. The magic 1875 date makes numismatists’ knees weak,” given the general rarity of accompanying circulation strikes for gold denominations this year, excluding the twenty.

The offered example is representative of the high-quality seen on the issue, with deep frost, a bold strike and deeply mirrored fields. Scotsman writes that considering the low mintage, “One would expect dies of such limited use to produce cameo examples, and a single glance is all that’s required to affirm the vast contrast on both sides.” It carries a top estimate of $150,000.

Teddy bears & a gold set

Certainly, one of the most charming lots in the sale is a pair of 1908 Indian Head cents, each housed in bear-shaped advertising encasements for Kolb’s Bakeries in Philadelphia. The duo is graded Mint State 64 and MS-65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and while Scotsman classifies each as red brown, it explains, “NGC grades the complete item and not just the coin, hence the lack of color designation” in the NGC grade.

The friendly bear’s belly reads BEAR US IN MIND and the reverse advertises TEDDY BEAR BREAD. These used to be very scarce, with just a dozen reported known in 2005, but several accumulations of these encasements have recently come to market, making this charming example of one of the most popular types of encased coins more available. This duo carries a top estimate of $700.

Those looking for a more “normal” Indian Head cent can find a 1908 cent graded MS-65+ red by PCGS with a top estimate of $750. “A very good strike doesn’t quite meet perfection, but all four diamonds still show,” the cataloger observes, while, “two minor nicks on the portrait are scarcely worth mentioning.” The penultimate date in the series is by no means rare, but those with original Mint red color are coveted.

Finally, collectors seeking an instant set that recalls collecting decades ago, prior to the widespread third-party grading and encapsulation of coins, might gravitate toward an eight-coin U.S. gold type set in a Capital Plastics holder with a gold prospector theme. Scotsman asks, “How can you not love a set like this?” and grades the eight coins — including Coronet $2.50, $5, $10 and $20 pieces and Indian Head $2.50, $5 and $10 pieces, along with a 1914-S Saint-Gaudens double eagle as About Uncirculated to Mint State. It has a top estimate of $8,000.

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments