US Coins

What's for sale at Kagin's first auction since 1988?

Donald H. Kagin wanted to make sure the Kagin’s Auctions March 9 and 10 National Money Show sale in Orlando, Fla., is as exciting as the firm’s last American Numismatic Association auction, which was for the 1983 summer convention.

Kagin’s decided to draw interest to the 2017 sale by conducting a competitive design contest to select an illustration for the cover of the auction catalog. So impressed was the design contest jury that not only was a front cover design picked, but the runner-up design was chosen for the catalog’s back cover.

In addition, Don Kagin said, he also wanted an auction to offer coin lots without reserves to generate more attention. While some may have thought consignors would balk at the notion of not being able to buy back coins that didn’t meet minimum reserves, the stipulation didn’t hinder securing consignments, he told Coin World.

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Featured consignments for the auction include the Dr. Christopher Allan Collection of Bechtler Gold Coins, with 35 of the 37 known varieties offered, including two unique patterns and the only known double-struck Bechtler piece; the Steve Brewer Flying Eagle Pattern Collection; and the Dr. William Christie Collection of Bust half dollars, early U.S. dollars and U.S. type coins, assembled over six decades.

Among the auction’s individual highlights for the roughly 1,000-lot sale are the finest known example of a Chapman Proof restrike of Christian Bechtler gold pioneer $5 coin, a Proof 1881 Trade dollar, an 1876-CC Seated Liberty dime, a 1792 half disme, and an 1849 Norris, Gregg & Norris pioneer gold $5 coin.

Chapman Restrike

The Chapman restrike of the C. Bechtler pioneer gold $5 piece, Kagin 31 as attributed in Donald H. Kagin’s Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, is graded Proof 65+ Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service. The coin also features the green sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp. for quality.

Undated but believed to have been struck circa 1922, the plain edge piece was struck from the original dies at the Philadelphia Mint under commission from Philadelphia dealer Henry Chapman. According to the auction lot description, Chapman is believed to have had made no more than a dozen examples of each of the 20th century versions of the A. Bechtler and C. Bechtler gold $5 pieces.

The piece being offered is described as follows:

“Obverse: CAROLINA GOLD at rim from 8 to 4 o’clock around, 141.G: at center, 20. below, small CARATS. curves below. Die break from 6:00 to A in CARATS.

“Reverse: C. BECHTLER. RUTHERFORD. and star around, 5 at center, DOLLARS. curves below.

“Die Alignment: 180 degrees, coin turn.” (Coin turn means the obverse and reverse designs are 180 degrees from one another when rotated on its axis.)

The Bechtler family struck gold coins at their private mint in Rutherfordton, N.C., during the 1830s and 1840s from locally mined gold.

Proof 1881 Trade dollar

PCGS graded the 1881 Trade dollar in Kagin’s sale as Proof 66 Deep Cameo. The Proof coin production at the Philadelphia Mint of 960 1881 Trade dollars is 1,000 coins fewer than were produced for the previous year’s issue.

The 1,987 Proof Trade dollars struck in 1880 was a record-high Proof mintage for the series.

1876-CC Seated Liberty dime

Graded PCGS Specimen 66, the 1876-CC Seated Liberty dime, struck at the Carson City Mint, is one of only two such dimes struck at the Branch Mint in Nevada dated 1876 to be certified by PCGS. The coin is also stickered by CAC. The coin is attributed as the Fortin-121b die variety, as attributed by Gerry Fortin at The Fortin-121b variety dimes are considered by numismatic experts to be presentation pieces.

The auction lot description suggests “the devices appear to have been acid treated to impart a cameo finish, obliterating some of the die irregularities seen on F-121a. The dies also have been re-lapped at a slightly different angle and polished. The most noticeable feature of this die state is a substantial die chip or irregularity that is plainly visible on Liberty’s right leg at the knee.”

The auction cataloger notes the 1876-CC dime offered is considered twice as rare as the 1894-S Barber dime, for which fewer that half the known 24 examples struck at the San Francisco Mint remain extant.

1792 half disme

The PCGS About Uncirculated 50 1792 half disme in the auction was last sold in Superior Galleries’ Feb. 5, 2006, Pre-Long Beach Sale where it realized $126,500.

The coin offered is one of 1,500 such pieces struck from 75 Spanish silver dollars deposited by Thomas Jefferson on July 11, 1792, according to the auction lot description.

Of that production, fewer than 400 examples survive, mostly in low circulated grades. Just over 100 examples combined are certified by PCGS and Numismatic Guaranty Corp.

Until recently, according to the auction lot description, the 1792 half disme was considered a coinage pattern — attributed as Judd 7 in United States Patterns and Related Issues by J. Hewitt Judd, edited by Q. David Bowers.

The pattern designation was bestowed due to a comment made by Adam Eckfeldt, future chief coiner, some 40 years after their issuance.

However, “as these were struck in quantity and distributed as currency, there is no academic reason to call the 1792 half-dime a pattern coinage,” according to the auction lot description.

As much as 90 percentage of the surviving pieces are struck on planchets that have roller marks. These lines, which resemble adjustment marks, are from the crude rolling out of the silver bars made from Jefferson’s melted foreign silver coins.

The 1792 half disme offered in the Kagin’s sale is one of a few examples missing these marks. This issue is also normally found with one die off-center. The present example is an exception as well, according to the auction lot description.

Norris, Gregg & Norris

The 1849 Norris, Gregg & Norris pioneer gold $5 coins are considered by many specialists to be the first of the California Gold Rush issues, struck in the San Francisco area “during the first few months of the ‘49ers phenomenon.”

Thomas Norris, Charles Gregg, and Hiram Norris left their New York City surroundings for the California gold fields early in 1849. By May 1849, the business partners were producing gold coins in Benicia City, though no example of that issue is known.

The 1849 Norris, Gregg & Norris gold $5 coin offered in the auction is graded PCGS Mint State 62.

Bidder benefits

Kagin’s Auctions introduces with the ANA National Money Show Sale what it calls its Auctions Loyalty Program.

All successful purchasers shall be entitled to a credit against any future purchases in a Kagin’s auction in the amount of 1 percent of the total purchase prices paid by them (hammer plus buyer’s commission — taxes or other charges not included), such credit to extend to the next two Kagin’s auctions, or a period of one year, whichever is longer.

Other auction benefits:

??Auction catalogs free to ANA members.

??ANA virtual memberships to all consignors and successful bidders.

Kagin’s Auctions has also partnered with a half dozen numismatic organizations to offer free memberships to successful bidders in the March sale:

??The ANA — Free virtual one-year memberships for anyone not currently an ANA member. And free online Life Time membership for anyone purchasing $250,000 or more.

??The John Reich Collectors Society — Successful purchasers of early U.S. coinage up to Seated Liberty coins will be eligible for a free one-year membership.

??The Barber Coin Collectors’ Society — Successful purchasers of Barber coinage will be eligible for a one-year online membership.

??The Liberty Seated Collectors Club — Successful purchasers of Seated Liberty coins will be eligible for a one-year online membership.

??The Society of Paper Money Collectors — All paper money purchasers will be eligible for a one-year online membership.

??The Society of Private and Pioneer Numismatists — Successful pioneer gold and pattern buyers will receive a one-year membership. 

As part of its furtherance of numismatic education, Kagin’s Auctions has also partnered with:

??Whitman Publishing — Every successful purchaser will be eligible to receive a new 2018 “Mega Red Book.”

??Numismatic Guaranty Corp. — The firm, with its affiliates, is the official ANA grading and conservation company. They are providing links in the Kagin’s catalog to Coin Explorer for all applicable lots in the online catalog. In addition the firm will provide any successful purchaser with a complimentary Early Bird or World Standard grading submission.

??Professional Coin Grading Service — PCGS is providing links to its PCGS Price Guide for virtually all lots in this catalog. In addition all consignors will be able to get their coins graded in this and future Kagin’s Auctions.

??The Professional Numismatists Guild — A number of members specialize in representing collectors in grading, pricing and strategically bidding at rare coin auctions like Kagin’s Auctions for a “de minimis” fee of 5 percent. The PNG is a 62-year-old society of professional coin dealers who meet strict professional experience, ethical, financial, and consumer recourse (compulsory arbitration) requirements to protect and educate the consumer, and ensure positive outcomes for buyers and sellers alike. 

??Pioneer gold buyers — Successful purchasers of any pioneer gold coins will be eligible for an autographed copy of Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States.

??California small-denomination gold buyers — Purchasers of $10,000 or more of California gold will receive a Walter Breen-Ronald J. Gillio book, second edition, California Pioneer Fractional Gold.

??Flying Eagle and Indian Head cent buyers — Purchasers of any Flying Eagle pattern or coin will be eligible for The Flying Eagle & Indian Cent Attribution Guide two-volume set by Richard Snow.

Catalog designs

A Draped Bust rendition of Liberty by graphic artist and illustrator Chris T. Costello, an artist with the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program, has been selected as the cover design for Kagin’s auction catalog for the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in Orlando.

Donald H. Kagin, president of Kagin’s, will present Costello with a check for $5,000 for his winning “Liberty Alive” design just before the 6 p.m. March 9 opening session of the auction.

Costello was inspired by Kagin’s 1983 ANA auction catalog cover which features the “Lady Liberty” Peace dollar design rendered by world-renowned artist Peter Max.

The contest judges were so impressed by the runner-up design submitted by artist Sandra Deiana that she will be awarded a $500 prize for her efforts.

Deiana’s digitally created collage of pieces from the Dr. Chris Allan Collection of Bechtler Gold Coins will be featured on the auction catalog’s back cover.

Deiana is a 26-year-old student at the School of Art of Medal Making, a unique program of the Italian Mint in Rome. She has won design competitions including for a Proof silver €10 coin celebrating the Irish architect and designer Eileen Gray — the first time Ireland has celebrated a woman on one of its coins. 

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