18th Century Coins
1703 The Treasure of the Flota de Indias
2016 SOLD for £ 275K before fees
When war comes, these operations become even more hazardous. In 1702 an Anglo-Dutch fleet rushes to the bay of Vigo in Galicia where sailors are beginning to unload the boats. From a naval point of view the Anglo-Dutch victory was complete, but the bloody battle left many casualties on both sides.
The winners came a little too late: a part of the treasure was already in a safe place. However they manage to seize a significant weight of silver and a small weight of gold. The claim of King Philip V remains of course ignored by the English who transform the metals in coins.
Gold is very rare in England and depends on such opportunities. The coin of 5 guineas issued in 1703 is the highest denomination in the Vigo variety. It was produced in a very limited quantity. It shows the bust of Queen Anne accompanied by the word Vigo.
At that time the coins are milled, which leads to variations even for small quantities. For this operation, a difference between the two variants is the distance between the shoulder of the Queen and the inscription Vigo.
On February 9 in London, St. James's sells an example of the rarer variety. It is in remarkable condition for a coin of that time, graded AU55 (Almost Uncirculated) by PCGS with a sharp strike and a beautiful gold color. It is estimated £ 300K, lot 73. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
Another example, graded MS62 by PCGS, was sold for $ 1.08M including premium by Baldwin's of St. James, successor to St James's, on January 13, 2019, lot 69.
1703 Queen Anne after Vigo
2016 SOLD for £ 280K including premium
Gold is rare in England. In 1703 the metal seized in Vigo is used to mint coins with the effigy of Queen Anne. The largest denomination is the five guineas, a superb achievement weighing more than 40 grams. Its total population is estimated at 20 units in two variants differentiated by the position of the word VIGO centered under the bust or offset under the shoulder. The VIGO beneath shoulder is the rarer.
On February 9, 2016, St. James's sold for £ 275K before fees an example in very good condition of the VIGO beneath shoulder, graded AU55 by PCGS.
Another coin VIGO beneath shoulder has just been resurfaced by an individual from a "pirate treasure" that had been constituted for him many years ago by his grandfather who had been a lover of travels and coins. It is estimated in excess of £ 200K for sale by Boningtons in Epping (Essex) on November 16, lot 116.
1714 Royal Escudos from Mexico
2020 SOLD for € 240K before fees
Eleven boats were lost in the 1715 sinking. The freight was partially saved and the pirates extensively dug it. By searching with propellers in the sands off Florida, the treasure hunters are still making important discoveries.
The gold coins were the escudos. The American strikes were carried out in Mexico, Peru and Colombia. The largest denomination was the royal coin of 8 escudos, weighing around 27 g. This presentation coin is extremely rare.
The sale by Aureo y Calico in Barcelona on March 12 includes two Felipe V 8 escudos Tipo Real from Mexico in very fine condition, coming from the Tesoro de La Florida. They are estimated € 300K each. The specimen at lot 239 is dated 1711 and the other at lot 240 is dated 1714. The links go to the catalog shared by the NumisBids bidding platform.
The figures are of the design used since Charles V : on one side the Habsburg shield of arms, on the other side a cross within a four-lobed flower. This picture will soon be obsoleted by Philip V. The inscriptions are 'Philippus V Dei G Hispaniarum and Indiarum Rex'. By comparing the two coins, we see that their design has been reworked in the meantime, significantly improving the readability of text and figures.
RESULTS before fees :
1711, SOLD for € 215K
1714, SOLD for € 240K
SUBASTA SELECCIÓN— AUREO & Calicó (@aureocalico) February 28, 2020
12/03/2020, 16h - 239
FELIPE V (1700-1746)
1711. México. J. 8 escudos. Procedente del tesoro de La Florida. Bellísima. Brillo original. Extraordinariamente rara. Sólo hemos tenido este ejemplar. 26,73 g. S/C.
Salida 150.000€ pic.twitter.com/J1DyGI6zWL
SUBASTA SELECCIÓN— AUREO & Calicó (@aureocalico) February 28, 2020
12/03/2020, 16h - 240
1714. México. J. 8 escudos. Procedente del tesoro de La Florida. Bellísima. Pleno brillo original. Extraordinariamente rara. Sólo hemos tenido otra en la Colección Caballero de las Yndias. 27,04 g. S/C.
Salida 150.000€ pic.twitter.com/dvAcL04vbi
1776 the pewter dollar
2012 sold for $ 550k including premium by heritage
2018 sold for $ 440k including premium
During the Independence War the Continental Congress releases paper money. The dollar becomes the new unit that will put an end to the disparities within the thirteen colonies. The total amount authorized by the Congress is $ 241,552,780.
The coins inscribed Continental Currency on one side and American Congress on the other side are dated 1776. Everything is simple : they are the first metal dollars. They are rather uncommon but with several variants of dies.
Well no ! This emission did not reveal its mysteries. The numismatists of the eighteenth century considered it as a fantasy and their long forgotten arguments are admissible.
Americans like to record their decisions with the greatest precision, as evidenced for the paper money at the same time. The Continental dollar is not referred anywhere before an almanac published in Germany for 1784.
This surprising fact leads to resurface some intriguing observations.
It was easy to print paper to circulate a currency that was not based on a wealth. It was indeed illusory to set up in parallel a metal coinage for the same use. Moreover the production of the Continental dollar was made in three material variants, silver, brass and pewter, without an apparent consideration to the price of these metals.
The American origin of this model was even questioned by the ancient numismatists. One of the causes of the breakdown of the paper money is the British counterfeit. Metallic coins could be at best a medal of remembrance, at worst one of the British attempts to discredit the ability of the colonies to manage their finances.
The silver Continental Dollar is highly rare. Two of them were sold for $ 1.53M each including premium by Heritage in January 2015.
On June 14 in Long Beach, Heritage sells as lot 3768 a Continental dollar in pewter, previously sold for $ 550K including premium by the same auction house in January 2012. This piece graded MS67 by NGC is the best surviving specimen from all categories. Please watch the video shared by Heritage.
1783 The Nova Constellatio Project
2014 SOLD 700 K$ including premium
The Congress had yet to address other emergencies, but a senior official decided to make things happen. With government approval, Gouverneur Morris, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance, conceived an entirely new monetary system and had prepared a few prototypes in 1783, in silver for high denominations and in copper for smaller.
The project is named Nova Constellatio and the proposed monetary base is the mill or unit. The system is decimal, which is a remarkable achievement for the time. Multiples also receive a name. 100 units are a bit or a cent, 500 units a quint and 1000 units a mark.
The project is not accepted, due to the opposition of Jefferson who understood that this system with an exchange rate of 1440 units per Spanish dollar could disturb the American users.
The Nova Constellatio project was therefore not followed and also did not reach its second target of accelerating the founding of the federal mint. Its pattern coins were made in very small quantities and the survivors are extremely rare. However, they are the very first US federal coins.
On April 25, 2013, a quint graded AU53 by PCGS was sold for $ 1.18 million including premium by Heritage.
On May 16 in New York, Heritage sells a bit of 100 units, lot 30424 in the catalog. This silver coin is the only known example with a plain edge. It belonged since 70 years to the Eric P. Newman collection. It is graded AU55 by NGC.
POST SALE COMMENT
This rare coin from the first trial of a federal US coinage was sold for $ 700K including premium.
1792 The Challenge of the Small Cent
2012 SOLD for $ 1.15M including premium
2017 SOLD for $ 900K including premium
The condition census of the 1792 silver center cent includes 13 coins plus an unplugged specimen. Five of them are graded Mint State by PCGS or NGC. The results below include the premium :
MS67 by PCGS, previous auction in 1981.
MS64 by PCGS, sold for $ 2M by Heritage on August 7, 2014.
MS63+ by NGC, sold for $ 1.4M by Heritage on May 16, 2014.
MS61+ by NGC, sold for $ 820K by Heritage in April 2013.
The fifth in the census, graded MS61 by PCGS, was sold for $ 1.15M by Heritage on April 19, 2012. It is now for sale by Stack's Bowers in Baltimore on November 9, lot 10003. I narrated the silver center cents as follows before its 2012 sale :
The American act of Congress dated April 2, 1792 defined the values of the metal coins. The development of the 1 cent coin was a real puzzle : it was required to adjust the price of the metal to one hundredth of the metal price of the dollar. In copper, it would be too big. In silver, too small.
The engineers had two intermediate options : alloy or bimetal. The latter variant seems a technical feat. It was nonetheless tried. The 1792 Silver Center Cent is actually composed of copper centered with a small silver plug. The value of copper is 1/4 hundredth of a dollar, the silver 3/4 hundredth. The calculation matches !
This coinage of such a special design was one of the very first to have been made in the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, and as such is highly appealing the numismatists.
The competing technology of the Silver Center Cent in 1792 was the Fusible Alloy Cent. This one also was not viable industrially. At the official launch of the U.S. coinage in 1793, all these tests had been abandoned in favor of the most logical technology which was the copper coin identified as the Large Cent.
1792 Smaller Federal Coins
2013 SOLD 1.15 M$ including premium
I introduce now three small coins among the precursors already admitted as a regular coinage qualified to circulate, but whose issue is still in very small quantities. These three are in mint state.
The half disme of 1792 is the first operation to have been coordinated with the establishment of the factory in Philadelphia. The coin from the Cardinal Collection is almost perfect, graded 68 by PCGS. This is one point better thanthe extraordinary specimen of the same variant for sale soon by Heritage, which was also previously discussed in this column.
The 1793 chain cent is the first real federal coinage. It was issued in 36,000 units in 1793, before being withdrawn because of the fury of the patriots who did not like the ambiguity between the chain of solidarity of the States in the Union and a chain of slavery. The Cardinal coin, graded 65 by PCGS, belongs to the sub-variant 2 (of 4), which is one of the rarest.
On the same year, the wreath cent replaced the chain with a laurel-like crown of foliage. This transitional variant was produced in only 63,000 units, for a financial total still limited to $ 630 quite unable to serve the needs of the country.It was struck in high relief.
The wreath cent from the Cardinal collection is an extraordinary example graded 69 by PCGS. Its polishing and centering are perfect, and it takes a very careful scrutiny to detect only one abnormal spot. It is illustrated in the article shared by Coin Update.
POST SALE COMMENT
The most expensive of the three coins in this discussion is also the earliest: $ 1.15 million including premium for the half disme. Quite logically, it has not reached the price of the example sold $ 1.4million including premium by Heritage two weeks earlier, ranked one point lower by PCGS but in Specimen quality.
The chain cent, in excellent condition and from a rare variant, was sold $ 1M including premium.
The wreath cent in almost perfect condition was the least rare of these three coins. It is worth $ 560K including premium.
1792 a birch cent with a plain edge
2018 sold for $ 660k including premium
The cent had been the most anticipated federal coin. It is delayed by the large diameter of the prototypes that may disconcert users, and also by a risk of copper shortage. In December the trials of the Silver Center cent and of the Fusible Alloy cent do not lead to any realistic solution. More pragmatically the weight of the cent is devalued from 264 to 208 grains by the Congress Act of January 14, 1793.
The prototypes preparing the cent bear the engraver's mark of Birch who has not been formally identified and no longer appears after that phase. Four variants are identified. Their drawing is very similar to those of the half disme and of the December bimetallic tests.
An example in white metal survives. Not compliant with the requirements of April 1792 because it bears the initials of the President, it certainly predates the Mint Act. It alone constitutes the first variant of the Birch cent and is the earliest prototype of the federal cent.
The first variant in copper is based on the 264-grain standard. Three units are known. One of them graded MS 61 by NGC was sold twice by Heritage, for $ 560K including premium in January 2015 and for $ 520K including premium in August 2016. The second piece was lightened by its wear. The third coin has been filed to erase its inscription on the edge.
Only one Birch cent is known with an original plain edge. Weighing 226 grains, this specimen is probably a preparatory unit for the next phase. Graded AU 58 by PCGS, this coin will be sold on October 26 by Stack's Bowers in Baltimore, lot 7151.
Seven Birch cents meet the 1793 weight standard. They differ from previous variants by an extra star on the edge but retain the facial date of 1792. The best, graded MS 65 by NGC, was sold for $ 2.6M including premium by Heritage on January 8, 2015. The second best, graded AU 58 by PCGS, was sold for $ 1.18M including premium by Stack's Bowers on March 26, 2015. Their terminus ante quem is the release of the chain cent in March 1793.
1792 Engineering of the US Cent
In 1792, the U.S. government organizes its coinage. The Act of April 2 defines ten coin values, and that of May 8allows the use of pure copper for the one cent and a the half cent.
On that year, various alternatives were tested under the high vigilance of President Washington and his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.
It was necessary that the 1 cent coins are small and not too expensive to produce. For this second criterion, the idea ofan alloy of copper and silver was not viable. Prototypes have yet been made, with varying amounts of silver up to three quarters of the weight of the piece. These test coins are known by the chemically unsuited name of Fusible Alloy cents
The 1 cent coin will be released in 1793 in pure copper, with larger size than the 1792 Fusible Alloy cents. A regular1793 1 cent, close to perfection, was sold for $ 630K including premium by Heritage in February 2008.
Less than ten Fusible Alloy 1 cent coins survived. One of them, in very good condition, was sold for $ 600K includingpremium by Heritage on January 10, 2008.
The Fusible Alloy 1 cent offered by the same auction house on August 12 in Chicago is less graded, and biddingstarts at $ 20K. The price of the rarest pieces is often difficult to predict. This lot falls into this category.
Here is the link to the catalog page, shared by Heritage Auctions.
1793 the copper-red chain cent
2016 sold for $ 1M including premium
The model is stopped and the first federal coinage that was intended for a real circulation becomes a rarity, with its very low mintage of 36,103 representing a total face value of $ 361. These chain cents are divided into four die pairings whose numbering from S-1 to S-4 seems chronological.
A coin collector enjoys when a piece still appears as it was made before handling. Wear erases the finer engraved lines. The oxidation of copper is difficult to prevent.
The best specimens differ in some features that make uneasy an identification of the best despite the remarkable accuracy of the grading scale.
A chain cent S-4 graded MS-66 by PCGS was sold for $ 2.35M including premium by Heritage on January 7, 2015. It is characterized by a perfect strike with a stunning sharpness and relief.
On February 9 in New York, Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's sells a chain cent S-3 graded MS-65RB by PCGS, lot 3013 estimated $ 750K.
For copper coins, RB means red and brown. The lot for sale is the only chain cent to have preserved a color close to its original copper red, visible throughout the reverse and in many places of the obverse. The best Wreath cents, the transitional variety that succeeded the chain cent, may have similar characteristic.
This piece belonged to a Parisian numismatist who died in 1881. Although its earlier history is not retrieved, this European episode reminds the treasure of Strickland, the British traveler who brought back in July 1795 for his pleasure some samples of US coins acquired at the factory.
A good original storage in a curiosity cabinet gives indeed an undeniable chance for a piece to escape corrosion. The Strickland silver dollar that later became the St. Oswald specimen was sold for $ 5M including premium by Stack's Bowers on September 30, 2015.
1793 The Chain Cent Rejected by the Patriots
2012 SOLD 750 K$ including premium
The first model of the large cent, known as the chain cent, shows on the reverse side a chain of fifteen rings supposed to address the unbreakable ties between the states of the union. The patriots are outraged that their freedom is symbolized by a chain of slavery.
Production is stopped very quickly, but circulation is not prohibited. NGC states that 36,103 chain cents were produced in a period limited to the first twelve days of March. By inspecting samples with his magnifier, Dr. Sheldon has identified four variants, known to numismatists as references S-1 to S-4. A variant NC-1 was added later.
The total face value of all this production is easy to calculate: U.S. $ 361. It was conceivable that this unpleasant variant with uninteresting monetary value disappears completely. This was not the case, perhaps because some userswere so politically disgusted by this coin that they avoided to use it.
The copies remaining in mint condition are however extremely rare. On January 4, Heritage sold $ 1.38 million including premium a S-4 in MS65 condition.
The chain cent for sale in Philadelphia on August 9 by Stack's Bowers is graded MS66, a little closer to perfection,but it is a S-3, generally less rare than the S-4.
You probably would like to know what is the difference. It is tiny: the R in the word Liberty was poorly shaped in S-3 and was modified.
POST SALE COMMENT
This small coin from a historically important model was sold $ 750K including premium. Its condition is very good, but its scarcity was not comparable to the further variant of which I cited an example in reference above.
1794 Fortune for Miss Liberty
2010 SOLD 1.2 M$ including premium
Its price: $ 7.85 million.
Now this exceptional transaction has a consequence in the auction world. Indeed, the buyer, the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation (a non-profit institution), already had a copy of this type, which it forwards to the market in Boston by Bowers and Merena on August 7. This is one of the five best copies currently known, certified MS-64, and its bidding starts at $ 650 K.
Five values were issued in 1794. In the same sale, Cardinal also offers a copy of each of the four other coins: a half dollar with the flowing hair, a half dime (5 cents) of same design, with a cent and a half cent of Liberty Cap type. Each of these pieces will be sold separately. The condition of the half dime is exceptional: MS-67.
POST SALE COMMENT
As expected, the result demonstrates the considerable price difference between two fine specimens of the same model separated by 2 points in the MS scale.
The MS-64 dollar with flowing hair has been sold $ 1.05 million before fees, $ 1.2 million including premium. This coin is illustrated both sides in the article shared before the sale by NumisMaster (Krause Publications).
The MS-67 half-dime reached 115 K $ excl.
1794 Half Cents from missouri cabinet to pogue
2014 SOLD 1.15 M$ including premium
2016 sold for $ 940k including premium
I introduced this collection as follows. All the grades listed in the present post have been established by PCGS.
The half cent was the smallest denomination established by the U.S. Coinage Act of April 2, 1792. Its value was too low for it to become really popular. Produced in Philadelphia, it only overcame twice the million units within a single year, in 1804 and 1809.
The half cent and the cent constituted the whole category of US copper coins. In 1857, when the cent was made in an alloy of copper and nickel, the half cent did not follow and was removed.
The no longer circulating half cent did not even excite the collectors, more attracted by the disappointments in the early development of the cent. It was a pity because some half cents have been preserved in excellent condition.
For four decades, the collector Tett Tettenhorst endeavoured to gather the best half cents of every type and even from every die, with the co-operation of the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
The first variety, in 1793, shows Liberty looking to the left. The best example of the first strike, carried out in June 1793, is graded MS-65 and estimated $ 250K (lot 1). The best from all known coins of this type, graded MS-66, is estimated $ 300K (lot 6).
The second variety, from 1794 to 1797, has now Liberty looking to the right. An almost perfect 1794 coin graded MS-67 red and brown is estimated $ 500K (lot 20).
Two 1796 coins are exceptional. One of them (lot 36) is from a die which broke prematurely, leaving a bisecting crack. Graded MS-65, it is estimated $ 750K. The other coin retained a red brown color close to the original color. Graded MS-65+, it is estimated $ 650K (lot 37).
Here are now the results including premium : the Missouri collection fetched $ 18.3M. The five coins that I selected in the above discussion were sold as follows : $ 380K (lot 1), $ 920K (lot 6), $ 1.15M (lot 20), $ 890K (lot 36), $ 720K (lot 37).
The third sale of the D. Brent Pogue collection will be held byStack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's in New York on February 9. It includes four coins acquired by the collector after being auctioned by Goldberg.
They are :
Lot 3001 (1793, MS-65, Goldberg lot 4 sold for $ 720K).
Lot 3003 (1794, MS-66, Goldberg lot 14 sold for $ 300K).
Lot 3004 (1794, MS-67 RB, Goldberg lot 20 already discussed above, the top lot of the Goldberg sale sold for $ 1.15M).
Lot 3011 (1797, MS-66, Goldberg lot 43 sold for $ 400K).
The tweet below features the lot 3001 of the next sale.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM
Lot 3001 : $ 450K
Lot 3003 : $ 210K
Lot 3004 : $ 940K
Lot 3011 : $ 294K
All results listed above from both sales include the premium.
1795 The First Year of the Gold Eagles
2013 SOLD 680 K$ including premium
The reason for this delay is funny. The government, wary of its own officers, had required an exorbitant bond from its gold assayers. As soon as that mistake was understood and repealed, everything went quickly. The first gold coin was the $ 5 half eagle, soon followed by the $ 10 eagle.
The eagles dated 1795 were produced from August 1795 to March 1796 with the first gold stock delivered to the factory for this operation. Of generic type Draped Bust - Eagle, they are divided into five sub-variants according to the pairing of the front and back dies. The most visible difference is the number of leaves on the branch below the eagle on the reverse.
These variants linked to the difficulties of mechanical reproduction of the dies have been designated under the references BD-1 to BD-5 without this suite to represent a chronological classification.
On August 9 in Rosemont IL, Heritage sells a 13 leaves eagle. Graded MS65 by NGC, it is the finest known exampleof the sub-variant BD-5. This coin is also supported by the best of pedigrees: it once belonged to the Eliasberg collection. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Very good result, $ 680K including premium, for this US coin that is both early and very pleasant.
1795 How 1 Cent can make Wealth
2008 SOLD 400 K$ including premium
I start by giving the answer, and then I explain.
Just wait two centuries for an American coin of 1 cent to be sold at auction at a very high price.
On February 24, I made an exception to my practice to speak only of future sales (and then their results). I wrote: "As we spoke of the auction house Heritage, I highlight a sale of coins of 1 cent from 1793 to 1806 included in a general coin sale on 14, 15 and 16 February. I counted twenty-three 1 cent coins over $ 100 K with a double high price at $ 632.5 K (including expenses). In the press release, the seller expresses his satisfaction! I appreciate this. "
Coming back to this release, I invite you to view it because it was an extraordinary sale. These 300 lots from a single collection of these coins that are known as "Large Cents" fetched $ 10.7 million.
The two results that I reported above were awarded to coins in nearly uncirculated condition since 1793 and 1794, respectively. Of course it is such a condition that makes them exceptional, as these small coins had no reason to stay in a drawer.
Lot 1143 from the sale of Bowers and Merena in Baltimore on Nov. 20 had not been so lucky : it is very worn. Dating back to 1795 and also belonging to the category of Large Cents, this 1 cent type Reeded Edge Liberty Cap Cent has survived with only six copies known. Its starting bid is 75 K $.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result is far beyond what I had imagined: 400 K$ costs included for that coin, despite its poor condition.
The numismatists, as the philatelists, love the rarities.
A 1795 Gold Liberty
2009 SOLD 345 K$ including premium
I have already discussed in this group the interest of collectors for the US coins from the late eighteenth century. The few copies of 1 cent coins that have survived are the subject of fierce competition.
Let us discuss now a more classical lot, but in an exceptional condition, at Heritage in Beverly Hills on July 31. It is a $ 5 gold coin dated 1795 of type "half eagle, small eagle reverse." The obverse shows the bust of Liberty, in profile. The monetary value is not indicated on the coin.
This piece is almost mint and prooflike. Copies of American coins are subject to specialized databases. The auction house says that only one copy of this type is known in a better condition. The lot offered for sale presents a rare feature: a letter of the reverse was an error which was corrected by reprint over it. This variety was known.
In the Comics group, I noted that the ratings used by Heritage were sufficiently accurate to provide reliable predictions, including extrapolation for the lots in outstanding condition. I see with pleasure that it is the case also for coins.
Probably for this reason, Heritage publishes data but no estimate for the lot. I do not copy here because they are the property of the site, but I invite you to access through the link in the press release.
POST SALE COMMENT
Here's the result: K $ 345 premium included.
Let us analyze now with reference to the condition. This price represents the average of the six databases used by Heritage for this model in Grade 64. This coin announced in Grade 65 should have been more expensive of about 85 % for this specific model.
We need more data to confirm the reliability of databases for coins in outstanding condition. Consider that the analysis of defects is so detailed that an error of a single grade is acceptable. In these circumstances, the result is satisfactory.
1796-1797 Early Silver Fractions of the Dollar
2015 SOLD for $ 1.53M including premium
The half disme is the value used for the first experimental production and then comes back in 1794. The half dollar begins in 1794. These first two small silver denominations are produced in 1794 and 1795 in the flowing hair variant of Miss Liberty.
The design changes in 1796 for the new obverse variant with the draped bust. The disme and the quarter dollar appear for the first time on that year. The half dollar is interrupted from 1798 to 1800 inclusive and the quarter from 1797 to 1803 inclusive. Their reverse variant is the small eagle as opposed to the heraldic eagle that will supersede it when the production of these values will restart.
The exceptional Pogue collection includes three of the best examples of these ancient draped bust fractions of the dollar. They will be sold without reserve at the first session by Stack's Bowers in New York on May 19 in association with Sotheby's.
The first quarter dollars had not been successful, which explains the early shutdown of their production. The lot 1051, estimated $ 750K, graded MS66 by PCGS, is one of the best specimens of this rare variant limited to 1796.
The 1797 half dollar at lot 1103 is also graded MS66 by PCGS. With its stunning visual appeal, it is the most desirable part in its class, estimated $ 1.2 million.
Throughout the history of its provenance, it has almost never been separated from a half dollar of the same grade from the only other year of this variant, 1796, which is estimated $ 775K at lot 1102. The ephemeral feature of this 1796 coin modified to sixteen stars for welcoming Tennessee in the Union is highly rare.
RESULTS including premium :
1796 half dollar : $ 820K
1796 quarter dollar : $ 1.53M
1797 half dollar : $ 1.53M
1796 The Most Beautiful American Silver Coin
2013 SOLD 1.53 M$ including premium
This piece in mint condition is graded MS67+ by NGC. From that time when coins from first strike (proof coins) were not yet attracting private collectors, it is even better : a specimen made with highest care to get the best possible sample. Both sides had a double striking and the reeding was made with a special planchet. It is also perfectly centered.
The result is spectacular, both for the accuracy of the carving and for the color. It was made with new dies, and the line is so sharp that experts perceive tiny cracks from the tools that are no longer detectable on subsequent coins of lesser quality.
On both sides, the color is typical of an old silver coin that has never circulated, in an elegant gradient slightly bluish on the borders and bright yellow-orange on the figures.
1796 the scarface liberty
2016 sold for $ 760k including premium
1796 started very badly. The No Pole die is broken, creating a diametral line throughout the obverse of the coins. The incident probably happened before launching the production as all the 1796 No Pole have this scar which is very visible in the cheek and interrupted in the center by the recess of the hair. These coins were released for circulation but the event marked the end of the No Pole dies.
This unwanted line had been generated at the Mint and is considered authentic by numismatists. Even better: the sharpness of the scar enables to identify the first pieces from that production.
The 1796 No Pole from the Missouri Cabinet collection, graded MS65 Brown by PCGS, was sold for $ 890K including premium by Goldberg on January 26, 2014.
The Eliasberg specimen graded MS67 RB (Red Brown) by PCGS is the best 1796 No Pole. Its sale for $ 506K by Bowers and Merena in May 1996 was acclaimed as outstanding in its class. It is estimated $ 750K for sale by Stack's Bowers (successor to Bowers and Merena) in association with Sotheby's in New York on February 9, lot 3008.
The next lot, 3009, is a 1796 With Pole MS66 RB PCGS estimated $ 500K. It can be compared with the Missouri Cabinet specimen graded MS65+ RB by PCGS, sold for $ 720K including premium by Goldberg.
The presence of red is important because it is an indication of the low oxidation of the metal. The Eliasberg 1796 No Pole half cent still has in some tiny places the lighter red of the original copper. In addition to the rarity of its variety, it is one of the best preserved among all US copper coins of that period.
In the Goldberg sale already twice referred above, a superb half cent MS66 Red Brown PCGS on the date of 1811 was sold for $ 1,12M including premium over an estimate of $ 200K.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM
No pole : $ 760K
With pole : $ 470K
1796 The Stars of Liberty
2012 SOLD 400 K$ including premium
The eagle coin of ten dollars shows a profile of Miss Liberty sided on the right and wearing a high cap. On the perimeter of this face, the stars symbolize the states of the Union. On the other side, the eagle spreads its wings.
The quarter eagle was created in 1796. It was not a success: the $ 2.5 currency is too expensive for routine use andtoo small to hoard. Production for the whole year hardly reached 1000 units.
The first version shows a Liberty similar to the $ 10, but the stars are on the other side above the bird. This variant is named the "no star quarter eagle".
On August 9 in Philadelphia, Stack's Bowers sells a 1796 No star quarter eagle, described in the catalog as"phenomenal" for the remarkably warm color of its surface. It is graded MS61, which is far from perfect but still within the best recorded examples, especially when observing that the coins of first strike (proof coins) are not identifiable for such early coinages.
The flat areas around Miss Liberty look great on that surface increased by the absence of stars. Alas for the aesthetics of the coinage, the stars of this side will be resettled by the end of 1796.
The beauty of the metal pushes this piece beyond the arithmetics of the grading offices. Two days before the sale, it has already exceeded both its reserve price and its previous result at auction, $ 320K including premium by Heritage on August 14, 2006.
POST SALE COMMENT
This coin with a strong visual appeal got a good price: $ 400K including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Stack's Bowers on YouTube:
1798 the demise of the small eagle
2015 sold for $ 1.18M including premium
The $ 5 half eagle was established in 1795 with the small eagle reverse. That chicken headed bird early provoked mockery and condemnation. Despite the laurels in its beak, it was not worthy of symbolizing the American ambition. Its successor whose chest is hidden by a coat of arms is named the heraldic eagle.
The very small amount of small eagles on the date of 1798 is due to a late use of an old reverse die that should have already been obsoleted from production.
The best of these coins, graded AU55 (almost uncirculated) by PCGS, is estimated $ 550K for sale by Stack's Bowers on September 30 in New York in association with Sotheby's, lot 2074. It once belonged to the collection of King Farouk.
In a lesser condition, another specimen became the most valuable coin in the world when it was sold at auction for $ 3,000 in June 1912.