US Coins

Example of Whitman's No. 1 American medal brings $5,640

Bringing $188,000, an 1879 Flowing Hair gold $4 Stella pattern piece in its original box, a coin that had been off the market since the 1950s and was subsequently graded Proof 65+ by Professional Coin Grading Service, was a top lot at the auctions held before and immediately after the Nov. 5 to 8 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

As in all large auctions, while six-figure rarities may dominate headlines, sales like the one just concluded offer many fascinating pieces that sell at much lower price points.

Here is one of three that caught my eye. 

The Coin

1781 Libertas Americana medal, Extremely Fine, Surfaces Smoothed

The Price


The Story

Among American medals, certainly one of the most famous is the Libertas Americana medal designed by Augustin Dupré. As the lot description recorded, “Ranked #1 in Whitman’s 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens book, this piece is on every collector’s list of most desired medals.”

This example was graded by Stack’s Bowers as having Extremely Fine details with pleasing chocolate brown surfaces. It adds, “At first glance it appears essentially problem free, but on closer examination, it is apparent that the fields have been burnished, or smoothed, and there is slight evidence of chasing within some of the legends and around the major design elements.”

These problems made the medal more affordable than one without such impairments and the $5,640 it brought was less than half of what an example without smoothing might realize.

Community Comments