Rare Philadelphia Mint Proof Coins Anchor
Two unusual and extremely rare Philadelphia Mint proof coins —
1802-dated "novodel" silver dollar
1907 Ultra High Relief, Sans Serif Edge Saint-Gaudens double
– are among the highlights of our Philadelphia Signature
U.S. Coin auction featuring Platinum Night™
, Aug. 2-5.
We've put together a superb auction for Philadelphia. Our
Platinum Night session includes some of the most exclusive rarities
in U.S. coinage, including some offered for the first time in
Only four proof 1802 Draped Bust dollars, or "novodels," are
known, making them far rarer than the famous 1804 dollars. The
example of this enigmatic issue in this auction, graded
PR65 Cameo PCGS, CAC, is arguably the highest-quality and most
famous of all. While the four 1802 novodels have been given
identical technical grades by the major certification services, we
consider this specimen the finest by a slim margin, which is
corroborated by a published condition census.
This auction also features one of only two confirmed 1907 Ultra
High Relief, Sans Serif Edge Saint-Gaudens double eagles, Judd-1907
pattern variety, graded
PR58 PCGS Secure
. The Ultra High Relief double eagle patterns
of 1907 are considered the truest expression of the Saint-Gaudens
vision for the denomination. The Sans Serif or 1906-Style lettering
on this piece marks it, along with one other coin, as being one of
the earliest Ultra High Relief double eagles produced. This is the
finer of just two confirmed Sans Serif examples and the discovery
coin as well.
Atop the regular-issue highlights is a 1921
double eagle graded MS65 PCGS, CAC
, a famous melt rarity.
Though more than half a million 1921 double eagles were struck,
only a few left government possession and all the rest were
destroyed during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency. Only four
examples have been graded as MS65 or better by a major grading
service, adding condition rarity to this coin's desirability.
Any proof U.S. gold coin from 1839 is a major rarity and we are
honored to have specimens from all three of the year's gold
denominations in this auction. The 1839
proof quarter eagle, one of only four known, is graded PR62
PCGS; the 1839
proof half eagle, one of just two known and pedigreed to the
infamous collection of Egypt's King Farouk, is graded PR61 PCGS and
Type of 1838 eagle, one of just three known with one
permanently held by the Smithsonian Institution, is graded PR61
Not a coin itself but inextricably related to them, the
Letter," a typed letter signed by President Theodore Roosevelt
and sent to Secretary of the Treasury Leslie M. Shaw, signals
President Roosevelt's private interest in coinage redesign and
names Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who went on to make the eagle and
double eagle designs bearing his name. The letter, dated December
27, 1904, is a singular piece of numismatic history.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited
Silver Center Cent Pattern, Judd-1, VF30 NGC: A midrange
representative of this experimental cent, the first coinage
produced on the grounds of the U.S. Mint.
Half Dollar, O-102a, XF Details NGC: The rarest Bust half
dollar variety listed in the Guide Book of United States
Coins, a popular and specialist favorite.
Silver Dollar, B-1, BB-1, AU Details NGC: The 1794 silver
dollars were the first struck by the U.S. Mint and are very scarce
Ten Dollar, MS66 PCGS Secure: Of the few 1920-S ten
dollar coins released to the public, most experienced wear from
circulation, but this Premium Gem is a rare exception.
Twenty Dollar, PR67+ NGC: The finest certified example of
this proof-only issue, mintage 121 pieces.
Bidding on this auction will continue through August 5, with
Platinum Night scheduled for Friday, August 3. If you can't make it
to the auction, bid now at HA.com/Coins, or live against the
auction floor through Heritage Live!
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Seldom Seen Selections: 1817 Jolas, the First
American collectors are familiar with the 1818 New Spain (Texas)
half real coins, called jolas, through their listing in A Guide
Book of United States Coins, and in other colonial references.
Although they were known to a small number of Texas collectors for
several decades, the first widely publicized notice of the similar
1817 dated pieces appeared in The Paper Republic by James P.
Bevill, published in 2009. Further details were published in "Lone
Stars Rising, A Missing Numismatic Link," by Bevill and Alvin Stern
in the May 2011 issue of The Numismatist. To the best of our
the two pieces in our Philadelphia
Signature Auction represent the first ever public offering of
any 1817 jolas.
In the early 1800s, Spanish missions included those at San
Fernando de Bexar, Goliad, and Nacogdoches, the most successful
settlements of the Texas interior. As daily activities bustled and
commerce flourished, a shortage of small denomination coins caused
a serious hardship, much as they did a few decades later in
Manuel Pardo was the acting Spanish Governor in New Spain in
early 1817, and he received authorization from Mexico City to
produce copper coins known as jolas, worth a half real each. Pardo
chose a local merchant and public administrator, Manuel Barrera to
produce 8,000 of those coins. A public notice was issued,
announcing the new coins and identifying Barrera as the coiner. A
copy of that notice survives in the original Bexar archives. Those
coins have the initials MB above 1/2 and 1817 on the obverse, with
an incuse single star on the reverse, considered the first
appearance of the Texas Lone Star symbol. The 1817 MB jolas are
nearly identical to the 1818 JAG jolas in layout and design. The
1818 JAG pieces have been known since their discussion and first
illustration in 1892 (L.E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State
Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas, San
Antonio, Maverick Printing House, 1892).
Governor Pardo soon turned his command over to Antonio Maria
Martinez, who was the last governor of Spanish Texas, serving from
May 27, 1817 to August 17, 1822. In December 1818, Martinez
recalled the Barrera coins in favor of a new issue produced by Jose
Antonio de la Garza. The recall notice was dated December 6, 1818,
stating that de la Garza would receive the Barrera coins and
replace them with his own for a period of 12 days. The recall of
the older coins was probably intended to supply the metal necessary
for the new issue. There was apparently an additional issue later
in 1817, produced by R. Garza, as the current two pieces
The familiar 1818-dated New Spain jolas have the initials JAG
above, the date below, and the denomination expressed as 1/2,
appearing horizontally due to space considerations. The 1818 pieces
are known on small (17 mm.) and large (19 mm.) planchets. The basic
layout of the 1818 pieces, with the coiner identified above, the
denomination at the center, and the date below, is an important
consideration towards authentication of the 1817 pieces. A notice
of the 1817 issue survives in the Bexar archives, specifying that
each half real coin would contain the name and surname of the
Several varieties of the 1817 pieces exist. One piece is known
with the inscription M. BARRERA above, 1/2 vertically, and a three
digit date, 817. The reverse has a multi-pointed motif. That piece
clearly follows the written notice of those pieces. Another variety
shows the initials MB, 1/2 oriented horizontally, and the date,
1817 below, and is identical to the layout of the 1818 JAG pieces,
including the lone star motif on the reverse. A third variety has
the name R. GARZA above, 1/2 oriented vertically, and a three digit
date, 817. A fourth variety, as offered in both lots in the present
sale, have R. GARZA above, 1/2 oriented vertically, and 1817 below.
These pieces have the same multi-pointed reverse motif seen on the
M. BARRERA jola. The similarity in these varieties suggests closely
In addition to the stylistic similarities, an extensive physical
study of 1817 and 1818 jolas was conducted in August 2011 at the
Houston Museum of Natural Science by Dr. Garth Clark of Katy,
Texas, working closely with James Bevill. His analysis utilized
non-destructive mass spectrometry, including six 1817 jolas and
five 1818 pieces. All five of the 1818 pieces were from the San
Antonia River hoard of approximately 60 JAG half real coins.
The data presented in the Clark authentication study shows that
all of the 1817 and 1818 pieces are closely related. Clark
"The conversion of ore into a finished planchet has
changed over the millennia. For purposes of simplification these
steps in copper metallurgy can be divided into ancient, liquation,
sulphatization, and electrolytic processes. With each advance in
technology, the initial ore signature gets weaker as the ore is
more efficiently processed. Newer electrolytic processes result in
a final copper of such purity that only isotopic signatures can
yield any clues. However, for copper refined from older processes,
especially ancient and liquation processes, there is usually enough
of a signature to group coins as to ore origin and refining
Dr. Clark presents a detailed analysis that yields several
important conclusions. He writes that "all of the coins in the
group of jolas (1817 and 1818) which were tested have a common ore
origin and a common refining process." His conclusions point to the
unquestioned authenticity of these pieces:
"1. There was no brass or bronze used in making the
jolas. The coins were made from refined ore and were not made from
a secondary copper or brass product.
2. Molybdenum can be used as a surrogate isotopic signature and
groups these coins as belonging to the same isotopic copper
3. Each of the jola coins was made from a copper ore with lead,
nickel, iron, and silver impurities or copper refined using a
process that incorporated lead. This marks the copper alloy being
used as pre 1869 (copper electrolytic processing) and pre 1833
(Pattinson process), or in the liquation/fire refining era.
4. Using absolute and relative ratios of the non-copper metals
present, the jolas can all be grouped into two to four overlapping
groups and are all related by composition."
two 1817 half real jolas offered in this auction are from the
same R. GARZA dies. They are closely related to the 1817 Barrera
pieces, and also closely related to the 1818 de la Garza jolas.
These are crudely produced, small copper coins, with detail perhaps
weak or missing since manufacture. pictured
example has been conserved to bring out considerable detail
that was obscured by its original patina.
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Found Treasures: 1817
By Stewart Huckaby
If you've made it this far in the newsletter, you've undoubtedly
read at least a little bit about
our premier public offering of two 1817 Jolas
. I thought you
might like to read a little of the back-story of one of them, told
in a slightly more personal manner.
I've been an officer of the Dallas Coin Club off and on since I
moved to town over ten years ago, and I'm not the only Heritage
employee who is an active member. As you might expect in any coin
club, we see our share of items that the owners can't identify, and
occasionally we can help.
Perhaps three or so years ago, a gentleman who has been in the
club forever brought something that he wanted us to look at,
passing it around to the membership for any opinions we might have.
When I looked at this piece, it was very crude, with a mostly
visible 1817 date, but little other identifiable detail. Because of
the date, the first thing that came to my mind was that it might be
a jola (never mind that I'd never seen one in person, much less in
hand, before). Two or three of the club members suggested this.
The owner of the item said that this had crossed his mind as
well, but since only 1818-dated coins were known, he was skeptical.
He thought it might perhaps be a trade token. Because nobody really
knew, we encouraged him to do more research, helping him if and
when we could. I know that images of this piece and possibly the
actual coin were sent to the ANA for study at one point.
Cut to the beginning of this month. While editing the Philadelphia
Signature Auction catalog, I saw the pages for the two 1817
Jolas. The happy news is that one of them is the exact piece shared
with the Dallas Coin Club.
At my request, the consignor sent me some of his thoughts, a
portion of which reads:
About 25 years ago, two friends and I set out to metal detect a
couple of rest stops on the old San Antonio Trail. One person has
an extensive Texas library and is well versed in (Texas) History.
He retrieved (lots 5009
I had some interesting pieces of jewelry that he wanted for a
display, so he offered me a coin in trade. As a life-long coin
collector, I was happy to get that. At the time, we assumed that
they were a couple of trade tokens of not much value. I assume that
an ox cart driver threw them away as trash when he found out that
their use had expired.
As (literally) Found Treasures, these coins, crude though they
are, shine brightly. Who knows what the next found treasure will
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The Long Island Sound
Collection leads Philadelphia Currency event
The single most complete collection of rare currency relating to
Long Island, New York and Connecticut, assembled and presented as
The Long Island Sound Collection, anchors Heritage Auctions'
August 2-3 Currency
Signature Auction in Philadelphia, PA.
"More than a few collectors have collected notes from the Nutmeg
State over the past half century and many have sought to complete
collections from the four counties that make up Long Island," said,
Allen Mincho, Director of Currency Auctions at Heritage. "Only the
person who put this superb array together had the temerity to
create the most complete collection from both of these
That task, already monumental in scale, was made even more
difficult because both Connecticut and Long Island have long been
resident to determined and dedicated currency collectors whose
tenure in the hobby, in many cases, eclipsed the consignor's
"How was our consignor able to achieve the nearly impossible and
create this collection?" asked Mincho. "The answer lies in
perseverance, tenacity and hard work, along with a near-fanatical
dedication to finding and acquiring the most desirable, rarest and
highest grade examples that exist."
Highlights from the Long Island Sound Collection
CT - $5 1882 Brown Back Fr. 474 The Windham County NB Ch. # (N)1360
PCGS Superb Gem New 67PPQ (Estimate: $17,500+)
CT - $10 1882 Brown Back Fr. 485 The Thompson NB Ch. # 1477 PCGS
Very Fine 25 (Estimate: $20,000+)
CT - $1 Original Fr. 380 The Thompson NB Ch. # 1477 PCGS Fine
15 (Estimate: $20,000+)
CT - $10-$10-$10-$20 1882 Date Back Fr. 545/555 The Brooks NB Ch. #
(N)5231 Uncut Sheet PCGS Choice About New 55 (Estimate:
NY - $10 1902 Red Seal Fr. 615 The First NB Ch. # (E)8853 PCGS Very
Fine 30 (Estimate: $22,500+)
NY - $2 Original Fr. 387 The First NB Ch. # 334 PCGS Very Fine
35 (Estimate: $30,000+)
NY - $10 1902 Plain Back Fr. 626 The First NB Ch. # (E)8794 PCGS
Very Fine 30PPQ (Estimate: $30,000+)
NY - $20 1902 Red Seal Fr. 641 The First NB Ch. # (E)8833 Serial
Number 1 PCGS Very Fine 25 (Estimate: $20,000+)
Highlights from the Collection of Jess Lipka and other Important
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This Week's Top Ten
The ten highest valued New Orleans silver dollars to sell in
1895-O $1 MS67 PCGS. Sold for $575,000
1896-O $1 MS66 PCGS. Sold for $345,000
1893-O $1 MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike PCGS. Sold for
1895-O $1 MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike PCGS. Sold for
1895-O $1 MS66 NGC. Sold for $228,850
1895-O $1 MS 65 Deep Mirror Prooflike PCGS. Sold for
1893-O $1 MS66 Prooflike PCGS. Sold for $166,750
1886-O $1 MS65 PCGS. CAC. Sold for $161,000
1886-O $1 MS65 PCGS. CAC. Sold for $149,500
1896-O $1 MS65 PCGS. Sold for $149,500
Do you have a suggestion for a future top ten list? Send
it to us!
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