|The Great Western Collection of
As we return to the scene of so much important numismatic history
in San Francisco for our upcoming ANA Signature Auction, it seems
only fitting that we will have the great privilege to offer perhaps
the finest collection of Territorial Gold we've ever seen at this
most appropriate venue. The Great Western Collection of Territorial
Gold is one of the greatest assemblages of these important pieces
of numismatic history, and we are even more impressed now than when
we first inspected it. After carefully examining the pieces it
contains, it is remarkable both for the breadth of the issues and
for the sheer variety of its $50 "slugs."
This collection is a far-reaching assortment of Territorial Gold
coins from North Carolina, Utah, Oregon, Colorado, and, of course,
California. Many unusual pieces are included, such as the Shultz
& Company Half Eagle, a piece rarely seen in auction in any
grade. This is the first such coin that we've had the privilege to
offer in one of our auctions, and although it shows some porosity
due to environmental damage, it is blessed with extremely sharp
details, showing little or no actual wear.
Of course, the $50 Slugs are the first thing one might think of
when the subject of California Territorial Gold comes up, and this
collection is blessed with six such quasi-official coins, or
"ingots". Although most collectors may not consider collecting
these pieces by variety, there are five different varieties
included amongst the selection of Humbert pieces, including an
1851-dated Lettered Edge piece with the word "ASSAYER" inverted
which bears a PCGS-assigned grade of MS61. The sixth Slug is a
United States Assay Office piece graded AU55.
For the collecting community, this will be an extraordinary
opportunity, as most of the coins have been off of the market
several decades - some for more than thirty years. This is an
opportunity that specialists will talk about fondly for
This collection, along with the rest of the treasures we will be
offering in the ANA Signature Auction, will be auction in San
Francisco on July 27-29. Bidding will open soon at HeritageCoins.com,
with floor bidding sessions will take place at the San Francisco
ANA Convention on July 27-30.
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Auction Posts Outstanding Results!
Americana held our latest Grand Format Auction of Historical and
Popular Culture Americana on June 22 & 23, 2005 in our Dallas,
Texas headquarters. 1,103 lots found new owners with sales
exceeding $1.1 Million.
"I'm overjoyed by the results of this auction," said Tom Slater,
Director of HSA. "This has been our best auction ever, and I'm
thrilled that we're reaching so many new collectors and bringing so
much new blood into this exciting hobby."
The star of the show was, undoubtedly, the spectacular 1864
Lincoln Campaign Banner, which was part of the Hershey farm
collection. This banner, along with its companion piece, the 1844
Henry Clay banner, hung in the Hershey family home for generations,
kept in a wonderful state of preservation. This is one of the few
textile pieces to show "Honest Abe" with his familiar beard, and is
a truly museum-quality artifact.
"I was especially pleased with the interest in the items related
to President Calvin Coolidge," Slater said. "Lot after lot, rarity
after rarity set new price records. The 6" Coolidge jugate led the
pack, hammering at $11,000 plus the 15% Buyer's Premium. The
Coolidge collection came to us from a well-known, long- time APIC
member and Coolidge specialist, Larry Krug. It proves that when
really outstanding merchandise is presented, collectors respond and
prices go through the roof.
"Personally," said Slater, "I think it's great to see so many
people taking such a profound interest in our country's rich and
exciting history. From the War of Independence through the Civil
War, World War II and beyond, our nation has played a pivotal role
in world events. The memorabilia left behind provides a marvelous
insight into those events and the effect they had on those that
lived through them. I'm looking forward to our next auction, which
will feature even more exciting items from times past."
Heritage-Slater Americana's next auction event, featuring Rare
Books, Manuscripts and Autographs, will be held on September 12
& 13, 2005, in Dallas, Texas.
1864 Abraham Lincoln Portrait Campaign Banner. REALIZED:
Howard Hughes' 14 Carat Emerald With Diamonds Ring Gift to Terry
Moore. REALIZED: $46,000.
Collection of 1790s Chinese Export Porcelain. REALIZED:
Museum-quality 1844 Henry Clay Cloth Banner. REALIZED:
"Roll, Jordan, Roll," First Edition Book by Doris Ulmann and Julia
Peterkin. REALIZED: $29,900.
1864 Lincoln and Johnson Campaign Flag Banner. REALIZED:
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Pocket Watch. REALIZED:
Probably unique 1 1/4" 1920 Harding - Coolidge Jugate.
The Premier Teddy Roosevelt Button Variety. REALIZED:
From-life Ulysses S. Grant Oil Painting, by Recognized Artist Ole
Peder Hansen Balling. REALIZED: $16,100.
For more information about Heritage-Slater Americana auctions,
and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color,
enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HeritageAmericana.com.
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Seldom Seen Selections: An
Indian Head Half Eagle Graded MS68
As a part of the July
28 Platinum Night in our upcoming San Francisco ANA Signature
Auction, Heritage is privileged to present the only
Indian Head Half Eagle of any date to ever have received a
grade of MS68 from PCGS.
The 1908-S Half Eagle is usually found in lower grades, but when
they are nice, they are really nice. This is just such a
coin, almost certainly the single finest 1908-S Indian Half Eagle
in existence. Walter Breen mentioned that Virgil Brand once had a
small group of Mint State examples (Brand had small groups of just
about everything). Perhaps this amazing example traces its history
back to that group, which David Akers said "contained a number of
gems as well as several superb pieces." In A Handbook of
20th-Century United States Gold Coins, Akers also noted that a
few exceptional or nearly perfect examples exist today.
In general terms, 1908-S Half Eagles were quite sharply struck
with strong mintmarks. This is especially significant for the
present example has an "S" mintmark with exactly the same
characteristics as found on the popular 1909-S V.D.B. cent. The
most visible characteristic is a small lump inside the upper left
curve of the letter. Mintmark punches were used over several years,
as long as they were still serviceable.
This incredible specimen is fully struck and highly lustrous
with frosty reddish-gold surfaces. Some lighter pinkish gold color
is visible on both sides. According to Akers: "Most specimens have
very good to excellent luster and the color is typically reddish
gold or coppery." The connoisseur of gold coinage may never find a
nicer example of the date or the type. We have spent considerable
time searching for even the slightest little tick or mark for
pedigree purposes, almost to no avail. The only marker we can find
that might even remotely show up in older photographs of this coin
is a tiny field nick below the space between UN in UNITED and a
second at 8 o'clock on the reverse border. Even with present-day
photographic technology, these may not be visible.
Bidding on this coin and the other great pieces in the San
Francisco ANA Signature Auction will open soon at HeritageCoins.com.
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Found Treasures: The Columbus
Quincintenary Half Eagle
by Stewart Huckaby
Every so often, my
e-mail box sees a pretty good numismatic question that sparks my
imagination and results in a somewhat lengthier reply than can be
fit into the standard "Your coin is worth $1 to $5; don't clean
it..." e-mail. A customer wrote in this week with a question that I
hear (with obvious variations) with some regularity. Specifically,
he wanted to know why the catalog values of the Uncirculated
Columbus Quincintenary Half Eagle were higher than the
corresponding values in the same grade for the Proof version of the
As with any coin values, the basic economic laws of supply and
demand rule, so it's not unusual at all to find a proof coin valued
less than an uncirculated coin in the same grade. When there are
more proofs than uncirculated coins in a particular grade, the
uncirculated coins will generally be worth more. Similarly, if
there is more demand for the uncirculated piece, the circulation
strike coins will be worth more.
The most common examples where uncirculated coins would be worth
more than similarly graded proofs might include:
- Comparatively few circulation strike pieces were minted and
virtually all circulated. This was very common with late 19th
century coinage — not so much with Indian Cents and Morgan Dollars,
which were made in quantity, but often with other denominations.
Seated Dimes, Quarters, and Half Dollars each went through periods
with very small circulation strike mintages because of the immense
numbers of silver dollars in production. Many collectors prefer to
collect exclusively circulation strike coins (or exclusively
proofs), and since proofs are by definition collector coins and
most were saved rather than spent, the circulation strike coins
become correspondingly harder to find in high grades and bring a
premium when available. This pricing behavior is not limited to
Seated coinage; Three cent pieces of both types, Shield Nickels,
and Liberty Nickels all have similar examples. The key 1886 Liberty
Nickel, for example, is far cheaper as a Proof than as a
- The circulation strike coin and the proof are both common and
in a seemingly high grade, a condition very common with coins
minted 1955-64. Because of the care taken in their manufacture,
Proof coins tend to receive higher grades than circulation strike
coins, so you might see a typical circulation strike coin receiving
a grade of MS63-66 and its corresponding proof a grade in the 66-69
range. An example that comes to mind is the 1964 quarter, where the
circulation strike can bring a tremendous premium in high grades
because of a combination of poor production quality and the mass
collector apathy brought on by tremendous production numbers. This
extremely common coin is unknown in grades above MS67. The
corresponding proof was made in huge numbers by the standards of
proof coinage, but the majority of coinage receives grades of PR68
and PR69. A Proof-67 piece is not only very common, but a
relatively poor grade for the issue.
- Modern commemoratives and (some) bullion coins. All of these
come in high grades and most grade 68 or 69 regardless of whether
they are circulation strikes or proofs. The price for these coins
is based strictly on the availability of the type of strike, and
more often than not with commemoratives the proofs are more common
than circulation strike coins. The key to the entire Modern
Commemorative set, for example, is the Uncirculated Jackie Robinson
Half Eagle, a coin that currently sells for around $2,500. Its
proof counterpart, a semi-key coin in its own right, is worth
closer to $500 - which makes the fact that I picked mine up at $300
three years ago that much sweeter.
The Columbus Half Eagle in the original question is probably the
rule, rather than the exception, among Modern Commemoratives, and
particularly among Modern Commemorative Gold. People who buy coins
from the US Mint tend to like them nice and shiny, and proofs are
nothing if not that, while circulation strike Modern Commemoratives
have a satin surface that is a bit on the dull side. In its
original packaging, this coin might bring about $170 as a
circulation strike, compared to roughly $30 less as a Proof, making
it, if not as valuable as most later Modern Gold Commemoratives, at
least a notch above the bullion status of its earlier peers.
Interestingly, its Silver Dollar counterpart is worth perhaps $10
more as a Proof than as an Uncirculated piece.
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Website tips: MyNotes
Ever wanted to have a quick, convenient place to take notes
about a lot that interests you in a Heritage Auction? Now you have
that opportunity, and you need not look for pen and paper to do it.
Heritage now provides you the opportunity to keep notes on our
website on any item that shows up in any of the following
- MyWantlist Matches
When you visit any of these pages, you will see two buttons -
"Add/Edit note" and "Remove Note" immediately above your listings.
At the far left of each of these listings is a checkbox. Check any
or all of the items on which you wish to enter notes. If you want
to take notes on every item in your listing, click on the checkbox
at the top. Once you have checked every item you wish to edit,
click on the "Add/Edit Note" button.
Here, you will see a listing of every item you have chosen to
enter, complete with description, lot number, and thumbnail image.
Make any edits you wish, and then click on any "Save" button to
save all of your edits. Note that you will be limited to 256
characters of notes on any one item, or about 50 words or so. The
bottom of each listing will show you the amount of room you have
Once you've entered your notes, they will instantly be visible
from your MyBids, MyTrackedLots, MyConsignments, or MyWantlist
Matches listings, immediately below the short description of the
item. You can enter notes on items in present, past, and even
future auctions, so long as they show up in one of these
To remove a note, just click on the checkbox to the left of the
item and click "Remove Note.
MyNotes is a tremendous tool for you as a bidder, with an array
of uses that is limited only by your imagination. Keep an eye out
for more new features, on the way soon from HeritageCoins.com!
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Novodel: (1) A coin struck with new dies to imitate an
older type or date. Sometimes this can take the form of a
"restrike" of a coin that was never struck in the first place. A
rather obvious example would be the 1804 Dollar.
(2) A die trial. Used mainly with Russian coinage, which is only
appropriate since Novodel is a Russian term.
Condition Census: (1) A listing of the finest known
grades of a particular coin or variety. The number of coins listed
in a condition census may vary according to the reference involved,
but most references will list the top five. For example, the 3rd
Edition Overton Condition Census listing for the 1815/2 Half Dollar
(2) Used as an adjective to describe a coin fine enough to be
included in the condition census.
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