US Coins

Shipwrecked 1865 Coronet $20 hits big price tag: Market Analysis

California’s Long Beach Expo and Whitman’s Baltimore Expo are both thrice-yearly shows held on opposite coasts that attract many of the same dealers. This year’s final Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Expo (using its full name) took place Sept. 17 to 19 and featured official auctions by Heritage and pre-show auctions by Bonhams and Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers. Here are three impressive gold coins, each a highlight for the firm offering it. The Long Beach Expo returns to the Long Beach Convention Center Feb. 4 to 6, 2016. 

The Coin
1865-S Coronet gold $20 Double Eagle, MS-65

The Price 

The Story
Coronet double eagles recovered from shipwrecks are highly collectible, and though many have been restored within acceptable conservation standards, collectors often value examples from a prominent shipwreck at higher levels than nonshipwreck coins. 

At Bonhams’ Sept. 14 coins and medals auction in Los Angeles, the firm sold an 1865-S Coronet $20 double eagle recovered from the SS Brother Jonathan and graded Mint State 65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., for $24,570. Many of the 1,207 coins recovered from the wreck were of this date and the recovery of the coins from this and the SS Republic a decade later made the issue more available, though the publicity of the treasure also increased demand. 

The auction lot description states: “A magnificent coin, it has softly frosted mint luster [on] each side and shows a lively interplay of peach colored orange-gold and bright, reddish-pink patina.”


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