US Coins

Legend’s Regency sale offers ‘finest-known’ coins

Several classic U.S. coins that are the finest-known examples will highlight the Regency Auction XXI by Legend Rare Coin Auctions, set for May 18 at Harrah’s Hotel in New Orleans.

Among the most impressive is an 1853-C Coronet gold $5 half eagle graded Mint State 64 by Professional Coin Grading Service, with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, that carries an estimate of $60,000 to $70,000. Legend promotes it as “a true prize for any advanced gold coin collector, whether you collect gold type, No Motto half eagles, Charlotte gold, or just like to put away really sexy coins, this near-GEM is for you!” 

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The majority of the issue’s mintage of 65,571 coins enjoyed heavy circulation, and while it is one of the more frequently encountered Charlotte Mint Coronet gold half eagles, its population thins substantially at the About Uncirculated level. The offered coin is the sole CAC-approved example of four submissions graded MS-64, split between PCGS and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. 

Legend considers the example it will offer in New Orleans “far and away the FINEST KNOWN,” adding, “Close inspection does reveal a few tiny lines, but you do need a very strong glass to locate them, and none distract from the overall amazing look.”

The Charlotte Mint began striking coins dated 1838 after the Mint was opened to facilitate the production of gold coins from the newly mined gold from North Carolina and surrounding states. 

Charlotte Mint coins are often collected alongside coins struck at the Dahlonega Mint, as both facilities enjoyed relatively modest production levels and widespread local circulation. Often less-than-ideal production standards at the two Mints mean many “C” and “D” Mint gold coins of the era are typically poorly struck. The Charlotte Mint would stop producing coins in 1861 when the Mint was seized by the Confederacy, with the final Charlotte issues being struck under the supervision of the Confederacy. 

A small planchet flake out of the field just left of the eagle’s left (facing) leg is seen, but otherwise the surfaces are clean and not heavily abraded. It was previously part of the collection assembled by Harry Bass and sold at Bowers and Merena’s 1999 Bass II auction, where it realized $35,650. Five years later it brought $33,350 at Heritage’s 2004 Florida United Numismatists auction. More recently it sold at Legend’s Regency Auction VI in December 2013 where it realized $64,625, though Legend puts that price in context when it writes, “This coin has been off the market for a few years, we suspect the price realized in December 2013 will be an ancient memory.” 

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Another finest-known piece in the auction is an 1871-S Coronet gold $5 half eagle graded MS-63+ by PCGS, also with a green CAC sticker. It is the finest by a substantial margin, with the next-finest examples grading MS-61, including one MS-61 coin that sold for $25,850 at Heritage’s March 2014 auction of the Donald E. Bently Collection. 

On this offered MS-63+ example, Legend’s description exclaims, “A bold radiant luster screams from across the room! Blistering satin sheen does display some light reflectivity,” concluding, “A coin like this appeals to lots of different collectors: rare date gold, trophy collectors, and $5 Liberty specialists.” It had previously sold at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ August 2014 Chicago American Numismatic Association auction where — then graded MS-63+ by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and bearing a green CAC sticker — it realized $35,250. That offering’s description concluded, “If you have an interest in the present piece you should bid liberally, as it will most assuredly be some time before a comparable specimen comes up for public auction.” In its current May 18 offering it carries an estimate of $50,000 to $55,000.

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