US Coins

Summer auction action heads to Anaheim

The American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money is headed to Anaheim, Calif., for Aug. 9 to 13. Both Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Heritage Auctions will be official auctioneers for the massive coin show and while neither firm has announced a singular “wow-level” rarity, the diversity of offerings is staggering.

Among the Stack’s Bowers highlights is an 1851 Seated Liberty silver dollar restrike that was overstruck on a New Orleans Mint Seated Liberty dollar, graded Proof 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker.

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The firm also will present the Bull Run Collection, a group that has been off the market for decades in old green-label PCGS holders. Among its high points is the single highest graded 1882 Coronet gold $10 eagle, graded PCGS Mint State 66, CAC, and an 1860 Coronet gold $20 double eagle graded PCGS MS-65, CAC, formerly in the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., the finest known example. An 1875 Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle is one of a reported mintage of 20 pieces. Graded PCGS Proof 65, CAC, it was formerly in the collection of Ed Trompeter.

What is Heritage selling?

Heritage will be selling two noteworthy pattern pieces from 1792 in its auction.

A 1792 Silver Center cent, listed as Judd 1 in J. Hewitt Judd’s book on patterns, is graded Specimen 35 by PCGS and is one of perhaps 14 known today. Heritage writes, “Most numismatists believe it was the first coin actually produced inside the walls of the first U.S. Mint, although a few other patterns were struck earlier, before the Mint was actually ready for coinage operations.”

The silver plug was intended to increase the intrinsic value of the coin, without making the cent unnecessarily bulky. The solution of inserting a silver center within a copper planchet proved impractical, but the patterns are reminders of the ambition and innovation inside the early Philadelphia Mint.

The offered coin was allegedly found in a pub in the 1960s and has been off the market since 1998.

Another key 1792 pattern in Heritage’s ANA auction is a Birch cent, Judd 5, graded MS-61 brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. One of just two known, it was offered last year by Heritage at its sale of the Donald G. Partrick Collection at the 2015 January Florida United Numismatists show where it realized $564,000. The other known example is graded NGC Fair 2.

The Mysterious William Russell Birch

While popularly named after its engraver, Birch’s identity remains a mystery. Heritage writes, “A long-standing speculation, and a natural guess, has been the miniature painter and enamellist William Russell Birch (1755–1834),” although other researchers have come to different, plausible conclusions, which are explained in the lot description.

Both firms will also be offering choice U.S. and world paper money, and world and ancient coins, in separate ANA sessions held during and immediately after the show.

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