US Coins

Stickney Class I 1804 Draped Bust dollar brings $3,360,000

A Proof 65 Class I 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar brought $3,360,000 while a CAC-stickered 1894-S Barber dime realized $1,440,000, showing the resilience of the high-end of the rare coin market on Dec. 17

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

One of just 15-known examples of the 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar sold for $3,360,000 on Dec. 17, leading bidding at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ offering of Part II of the Larry H. Miller collection in Newport Beach, California. Bidding opened at $2.6 million, followed by a bid of $2.7, with a phone bid of $2.8 million capturing the prize. A 20 percent buyer’s premium is added to bid for the price realized.

Graded Proof 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service, it is among the finest-known of the “King of American Coins: and represents the Class I type, struck around 1834, as opposed to Class II and III examples that were struck several decades later to satisfy collector interest. Known as the Stickney Specimen after its initial known owner Matthew A. Stickney of Salem, Massachusetts, it spent much of the 20th century in the collection of the Eliasberg family, selling at Bowers and Merena’s 1997 auction of selections of the Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection for $1,815 million. A comparably graded example known as the Deter Specimen  failed to sell at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ sale of the Bruce Morelan collection in October on an estimate of $4,000,000 to $4,400,000 after realizing $3.29 million at a Stack’s Bowers and Sotheby’s D. Brent Pogue auction in 2017. 

Another magnificent coin with an Eliasberg pedigree offered was an 1894-S Barber dime graded Proof 65 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. It is nearly equal in fame to the 1804 dollar, with a mintage of just 24 coins, of which nine are confirmed today. They were produced at the San Francisco Mint to coin remaining silver from melted coins of older designs.

The cataloger adds that the 24 1894-S Barber dimes were struck on June 9, 1894, with three going to assay and others “unceremoniously placed into a bag of earlier dated dimes and released into circulation,” with the diminutive mintage listed. It has historically been considered a Branch Mint Proof issue, despite little evidence that examples were struck from polished dies on polished planchets, and this is the third-finest-known, identified by a lint mark in the obverse field between Liberty’s chin and neck. It last appeared at auction in Stack’s 65th Anniversary Sale in October 2000 where it sold for $431,250.

On Dec. 17 it realized $1,440,000.

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