US Coins

Heritage’s FUN sale to be held in Dallas after convention

Coin shows are opening back up and Florida United Numismatists is planning its 15th Annual Summer Fun Convention at the Orange County Convention Center from July 8 to 10. However, Heritage’s accompanying Summer FUN auction will be held at its Dallas headquarters July 13 to 15 rather than at the actual convention.

A top lot in the sale that’s a bit of a “frequent flyer” at the auctioneer’s podium is listed by Heritage as the eighth finest of just 10 Proof 1884 Trade dollars struck. Graded Proof 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service it was once in the collection of Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb.

The coin was offered at Heritage’s January 2017 FUN auction where it realized $423,000 and at the firm’s August 2019 ANA sale where it sold for $336,000. Another example graded Proof 63+ Cameo by PCGS with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, listed as the seventh finest in the Heritage condition census, sold for $480,000 the past April as part of Heritage’s continued offerings of the Bob R. Simpson Collection.

Some have thought the Proof 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars were part of a clandestine production, but Heritage writes, “Archival research proves that the 1884 Trade dollar was struck officially, under the supervision of Mint officials.”

A feature article by Roger W. Burdette in the March 2021 monthly issue of Coin World asked whether the Proof 1884 and 1885 Trade dollars were possibly struck as medals. Burdette finished his article by acknowledging that discoveries await in U.S. Mint archives and other holdings to help tell the full story of these final Trade dollars, concluding, “Where these will take our investigation is unknown, but it is likely to be interesting and surprising.”

The offered Trade dollar displays a sharp strike. Heritage observes, “The surfaces are lightly to moderately toned in silver-gray shades that allow appreciation of the reflective qualities at most angles. Scattered hairlines account for the PR63 designation, but there are no individually bothersome contact marks. A small toning spot in the obverse field below Liberty’s outstretched arm, as well as a lint mark (as struck) in the field after the date, are worthwhile pedigree markers.”

Beyond the Norweb family, the coin also spent time in the collection of Egypt’s King Farouk in the mid-20th century.

1861-O gold double eagle

Another featured highlight is an 1861-O Coronet double eagle graded Extremely Fine 45 by PCGS that is popular as a Civil War issue struck during the year where the New Orleans Mint fell from Union control to the State of Louisiana and then to the Confederacy.

Just one die pair struck all known examples, and the mintage of 17,741 is usually divided as follows: 5,000 under federal control, 9,750 under the State of Louisiana and 2,991 under the Confederacy.

Expert Doug Winter’s 2020 update of his book Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint theorized, after looking through hundreds of auction catalogs, that coins with a strong date and an obverse die crack were made by the Confederacy. Heritage adds, “Under Winter’s theory, the present Choice XF example would fall under those pieces likely struck by the Union or the State of Louisiana, since the date numerals are weak at the bottom and the radial die crack toward Liberty’s chin from the dentils near star 2 is absent.” The firm praised the remaining luster in the fields and its “rich sun-gold color.”

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