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Rare 19th Century Proof Coinage highlights Long Beach selections

1879 $4 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC
1879 $4 PR66 Ultra Cameo NGC
An outstanding selection of rare proof coinage from the 19th century highlights our offerings in the upcoming 2013 June 6 - 9 US Coin Signature Auction, to be held in connection with the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo. This auction will open for bidding soon at HA.com/coins.

An extremely rare branch mint proof 1895-O Morgan dollar is, as an NGC-graded Proof 66 Cameo, the finest of only five known proof or specimen strikes of this issue. Struck from heavily polished and lapped circulation strike dies, this piece is clearly something special, perhaps produced for a special occasion or visitor. This coin is profiled in more detail below.

Four dollar gold pieces, or Stellas, grab collectors' attention unlike any other denomination of US coin. Struck for only two years (1879-1880) as an early attempt at an international coinage, only the 1879 Flowing Hair variety comes on the market with any frequency, and this auction contains an outstanding example. Graded Proof-66 Ultra Cameo by NGC, is surpassed as a Deep or Ultra Cameo by only two coins at the major grading services combined.

The three dollar gold piece is another odd denomination, which, although much more affordable than the Stella, still commands high prices whenever it's encountered as a proof. The 1876 is from the second year of a two year run of proof-only issues, and while it is not as rare as the 1875, the tiny mintage of 45 coins necessarily limits its ability to collectors. This piece, graded Proof-65 Cameo by NGC, is surpassed in numerical grade by only six coins at the major grading services combined.

Although it was struck a few years after the close of the 19th century, the proof 1904 double eagle in this auction deserves special mention. Certified as Proof-67 Cameo by NGC, this coin is, simply put, the single finest certified example of the issue, and a must for the collector who wants the best. Proof 1904 double eagles are quite rare, unlike their circulation strike counterparts, and examples with significant cameo contrast are even more unusual.

1876 $3 PR65 Cameo NGC1876 $3 PR65 Cameo NGC
1904 $20 PR67 Cameo NGC1904 $20 PR67 Cameo NGC
Just a few of the many other highlights of this auction include:

Bidding on this auction is expected to open in a few days. As always, we are looking for outstanding consignments for our next auction, scheduled for July 11-14 at the Summer FUN show in Orlando. To consign your material, please give us a call at 1-800-872-6467, x1000.

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Seldom Seen Selections: The finest of five known proof 1895-O dollars

1895-O $1 PR66 Cameo NGC. VAM-3
1895-O $1 PR66 Cameo NGC. VAM-3
The existence of a branch mint proof 1895-O dollar was unknown and unsuspected until recently. In Walter Breen's comprehensive 1977 proof Encyclopedia, he mentions the existence of an 1895-O quarter and half dollar, but no mention of a dollar. Wayne Miller's 1986 dollar reference mentions many known, probable, and even definitely-not-proofs. The Anita Maxwell Trust Collection of Silver Dollars, sold in our 1995 ANA auction, had eight branch mint proofs, but no 1895-O. At that time none were even rumored to exist. Today five examples have been certified by NGC: two non-Cameo coins, one Cameo, and two Specimen strikes. Of those five coins, the coin we are offering in our upcoming Long Beach auction is the highest graded, as NGC has encapsulated it in a Proof-66 Cameo holder.

Wayne Miller refers to a lightly hairlined coin he once owned that others (himself excluded) believed to be a branch mint proof. Otherwise the traditional literature on Morgan dollars is silent about the existence of proof 1895-O dollars. One must assume these pieces were considered by Miller and others as Deep Mirror Prooflike coins. But even the most casual glance at this coin shows that it is clearly not a business strike Morgan dollar. It does, however, follow the pattern of almost all other known branch mint proof dollars (except the 1879-O) in that it was struck from known circulation dies. There is nothing special about the VAM-3 variety. It is notable only for slight doubling at the top of the 5 in the date. But as with other branch mint proofs, this coin was adapted from existing dies. New Orleans Mint personnel obviously had a need for special strikes for some occasion or person(s), and they specially treated the VAM-3 dies. However, unlike some branch mint proofs, especially those from New Orleans, this piece shows no trace of die rust.

The die characteristics on this piece and we assume on the other 1895-O proof and specimen strikes, are:

  1. Incomplete die polish in the field immediately between the upper and lower folds in the cap.
  2. Evidence of heavy die lapping, most easily seen on the lowest curl and truncation of the neck of Liberty around the designer's initial, making that portion of the curl seem to "float."
  3. Several other spotty areas of die polish on the obverse: in front of the eye, within the ear, below the ear, and several other patches of polish are scattered throughout the hair.
  4. The reverse die was also heavily lapped. Several of the peripheral letters, especially the I in UNITED are attenuated.
  5. Incomplete die polish is seen between the eagle's neck and right (facing) wing, within and around the bowknot, and around the berries in the first cluster just right of the bowknot.

These characteristics are roughly equivalent to what may be found on Philadelphia proofs of the same era. Not only is that remarkable when compared to P-mint coins, but it is unprecedented in our experience among branch mint proof strikings.

In the July 2007 Numismatist, Neil Berman wrote a column titled "Morgan Proofs and Specimens" in which he laid out the general guidelines for branch mint proofs and briefly reviewed those he had seen. For the general guidelines, he wrote:

"These pieces display bold detail for the date, although weak strikes are acceptable on those issues that typically are not sharp. Proof and specimen examples exhibit square or wire rims because of the extra pressure put on the planchet during the striking process. Since the U.S. Mint did not dump these Morgans into sacks following their manufacture, they are devoid of bagmarks, although other damage can be present. Such coins should exhibit deeply reflective proof fields (a result of the specially polished planchets and polished dies). Lastly, all the coins have mintmarks. "A lack of any one of these characteristics does not disqualify a coin from being a proof or specimen, but the absence of several certainly puts the coin in question. Keep in mind that the equipment at the branch mints was inferior to that at the Philadelphia Mint; consequently, their products tended to be of lesser quality." [Emphasis ours.]

This dollar meets all the criteria set forth above, except for squared rims. The lack of squared rims was certainly not from a lack of striking pressure, though. Unlike most 1895-O dollars, which are poorly struck, this piece has an absolutely full strike. That means complete hair detail over the ear as well as full feather definition on the eagle. The fields show extraordinary depth of mirroring, quite unlike that seen on Morgan dollars of other dates that are Deep Mirror Prooflike. Die polishing is complete from rim to rim, except for the minute areas noted above. And as Berman noted in his column, this piece lacks bag marks.

There are contact marks, as one would expect to see on a proof, but it lacks the tiny abrasions Morgan dollars display that were housed for years or decades in canvas bags. The most obvious contact mark is a shallow, angling abrasion just behind the mouth of Liberty. On the reverse, there are three shallow planchet defects in the field below ED of UNITED. Otherwise, the surfaces are brilliant with no evidence of color on either side. The devices are nicely frosted, yielding noticeable field-device contrast on both sides. In-person inspection of this dollar will remove any doubt from a prospective bidder's mind. As Walter Breen used to say, "It carries its own credentials."

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Website Tips: Adding images of items to MyCollection

The Heritage "MyCollection" feature allows you to link your collectable automatically to any image you choose.

To link an image to your item, go to its listing within "MyCollection". Click on the corresponding link.

This will bring up a menu that will allow you to edit specific information corresponding to your coin.

On the right side of this page are two boxes entitled "Image One" and "Image Two". To get your picture to appear, just click on the browse button and find the image. For space reasons, images are limited to 2 MB each.

To save the images and any other changes, click on the Update button. Once you go back to your collection listings, you will see the image(s) appear.

Of course, once you have started up any collection under MyCollection, any item that you have ever bought directly from Heritage will be automatically added to your MyCollection. You need do nothing more in order to have a complete listing of these items, including purchase price and images!

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This Week's Top Ten

The ten highest valued branch mint proofs or specimen strikes to sell in Heritage auctions:

1883 3CN PR68 Cameo NGC
1883 3CN PR68 Cameo NGC
  1. 1856-O $20 SP63 PCGS. CAC. Realized $1,437,500
  2. 1855-S $3 PR64 Cameo NGC. CAC. Realized $1,322,500
  3. 1894-S 10C PR65 PCGS. Realized $1,035,000
  4. 1838-O 50C PR64BM PCGS. Realized $734,375
  5. 1838-O 50C PR63 Branch Mint PCGS. CAC. Realized $632,500
  6. 1906-D $20 Special Strike SP66 PCGS. CAC. Fourth 1906-D Double Eagle Struck in Denver. Realized $440,625
  7. 1839-O 50C PR65 NGC. Realized $299,000
  8. 1855-S 25C Arrows PR64 NGC. CAC. Realized $276,000
  9. 1838-O 50C PR45 PCGS. Realized $276,000
  10. 1855-S 50C Arrows PR65 NGC. WB-1. Realized $276,000

Repeat appearance of two coins have been omitted, as have patterns.

Do you have a suggestion for a future top ten list? Send it to us!

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  Announcements

Heritage's Mark Borckardt to teach new ANA Summer Seminar Course

Our very own Mark Borckardt is among the slate of world-renowned numismatists teaching the new "Legends in Numismatics" course at The American Numismatic Association Summer Seminar. The course will be offered during both sessions, June 22-28 and June 29-July 5, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Course CatalogThis will be a rare opportunity for students to get first-hand experience with some of the icons in the numismatic industry. Along with Mark Borckardt, instructors will include Neil Shafer, Fred Holabird, and Ira Goldberg. This week-long session will give students an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of territorial gold, money of panics and depressions, coins that made history and the first U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

From June 22-28, instructors will include Ira Goldberg, Neil Shafer, Fred Holabird, and Heritage's own Mark Borckardt. This week-long session will give students an opportunity to enhance their knowledge of territorial gold, money of panics and depressions, coins that made history and the first U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

Find out more about the Legends In Numismatics course at the ANA Summer Seminar.

The ANA Summer Seminar is given in two sessions, June 22-28 and June 29-July 5. For more details, please visit the ANA's website.

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Coin Buyer Wanted - San Francisco Office

Heritage Auctions is seeking a talented numismatist with a broad range of expertise to join our new S.F. office located in Jackson Square. If you have a good working knowledge base of U S. coins and currency and are comfortable dealing with the public, we have an opening for a permanent position as a buyer in our San Francisco office. Duties will include dealing with walk-in clients, evaluating and purchasing coins and currency, working local coin shows, and accepting Auction consignments. Pay will be commensurate with numismatic experience.

If you are interested in this position, please contact Jobs@HA.com.

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Reduced Auction Commissions When You Resell Your Winnings!

When you win any lot worth with a hammer price of $1,000 or more (or $2,500 for Art and Nature & Science lots), you will receive a coupon that entitles you (or your heirs) to re-consign that lot to Heritage at a reduced seller's commission. Selling through Heritage is a convenient and hassle free way to maximize your return (find out why). Maybe you'll need to make room in your collection for something better, perhaps your collecting tastes will change, or maybe it will be your heirs that benefit; but be sure to save the coupon, which could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

  • Coins: 0% Seller's Commission for all items $1K or more.
  • Comics: 50% of the usual Seller's Commission for all items between $1K & $10K, and 0% for items $10K and over.
  • All Other Categories: 50% of the usual Seller's Commission for everything else over $1K ($2,500 for Art & Natural History).

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  Employment Opportunities

As the fastest growing American-based auction house, financially rock-solid Heritage Auctions continues to grow and seek the best talent in the industry. If you are a specialist or have strong general collectibles knowledge, we want to hear from you. These specialists will, in some cases, head new departments and in others will enhance existing department expertise. We have positions open at our headquarters in Dallas as well as at our new state-of-the-art galleries in prime locations in both Midtown Manhattan and Beverly Hills.

Heritage is seeking to hire the world's best specialists in the following categories:

  • Asian Art Specialist
  • Coin Buyer: San Francisco, Dallas, New York
  • Decorative Arts & Design Specialist
  • European Art Specialist
  • Modern & Contemporary Art Specialist: Beverly Hills, New York
  • World Coins Director: Hong Kong

If you are interested and feel you have the qualifications we seek, please email your resume and salary history to Experts@HA.com.

We are also seeking to fill the following corporate positions:

  • Building Operations / Maintenance Supervisor: Dallas
  • Client Data Specialist: Dallas/Part-time
  • Client Services Representative: Dallas
  • Currency Cataloger: Dallas
  • Currency Consignment Director: Dallas
  • e-Publishing Expert: Dallas
  • Interns
  • Marketing Account Executive: Dallas
  • PHP Web Developer: Dallas
  • Studio Photographer: Dallas
  • Web Marketing Specialist: Dallas
  • WPF Applications Developer: Dallas

If you are interested in applying for one of these Corporate positions, please apply here.

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  Around Heritage

Rare Patek Philippe Platinum Ref. 5004P may bring $250,000+ in Timepiece event

Patek Philippe Ref. 5004P Extremely Rare And Important Platinum Wristwatch With Split-Seconds Chronograph, Registers, Perpetual Calendar, Moon Phases, Leap Year And 24 Hour IndicationA pristine, rare and important Patek Philippe Ref. 5004P Platinum Wristwatch is expected to realize more than $250,000 on May 21 in New York as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions' 361-lot Watches and Fine Timepieces Signature® Auction, taking place at the company's new expanded space at 445 Park Avenue.

"This is definitely an auction for Patek Philippe aficionados," said Jim Wolf, Director of Watches and Fine Timepieces at Heritage. "They'll have a tough time choosing between all the top examples in this impressive collection."

Highlights from the famed watchmaker include a rare, important and never before offered Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 Very Fine 18k Yellow Gold Gentlemen's Chronograph, circa 1949 (estimate: $120,000+), a very fine and rare Patek Philippe Ref. 5146P-001 Platinum Annual Calendar With Moon Phases & Power Reserve Indication (estimate: $50,000+), an important Patek Philippe Minute Repeater With Split Seconds Chronograph & Register For Tiffany & Co., circa 1903 (estimate: $30,000+) and new, very fine Patek Philippe Single Sealed Ref. 5130R-001 Rose Gold World Time Wristwatch (estimate: $27,500+).

Important pocket watches and marine chronometers from a superior estate collection will also be showcased, including an amazing Tiffany pocket watch attributed to Louis Audemars, circa 1873, expected to bring more than $40,000+.

More information about Jewelry auctions.

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Exceedingly rare 3.50 carat Natural Fancy Blue VS1 Diamond brings $1.65+ million

Art Deco Natural Fancy Blue Diamond, Diamond, Platinum Ring, J.E. CaldwellOne the world's rarest colored diamonds, a 3.50 carat natural fancy blue VS1 diamond brought $1,650,500 in Heritage Auctions' April 29 Jewelry Signature® Auction in New York.

Highly sought after for its rare coloration, placing it in the same class that includes the famous Hope Diamond, the diamond is the largest of its kind ever offered by Heritage.

Designed by the famed J.E. Caldwell & Co., the Art Deco ring features a natural fancy blue marquise-shaped diamond enhanced by full, single and baguette-cut diamonds set in platinum. In fact, Caldwell & Co. was so proud of the beauty and craftsmanship of this particular ring that it was used in a 1927 advertisement and described as "a degree of quality, beauty and importance rarely obtainable."

More information about Jewelry auctions.

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  Heritage Interactive
Opinion Poll

Answer this quick question and see how your opinion compares with your peers.

When is the last time you bought coins directly from the US Mint?
       A) Within the last year
       B) Within the last five years
       C) Within the last ten years
       D) More than ten years ago
       E) I have never bought coins from the US Mint




Last week's question:

Which of these $1,000,000+ coins would you rather own?
A) 1787 Brasher Doubloon (23%).
B) 1804 Silver Dollar (29%).
C) 1907 Ultra High Relief $20 (27%).
D) 1927-D $20 (5%).
E) I don't care; I'd rather sell it and keep the proceeds (15%).

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  Is it Time to Sell?

Heritage is dedicated to selling your rare coins and currency for top dollar in the marketplace, providing you with the right auction at the right venue. Your coins can sell alongside thousands of rarities. In recent auctions, Heritage has achieved extraordinary prices realized. Our world-class marketing is second to none. Our more than 750,000 online bidder-members ensure a wide reaching audience for your coins.

We invite your consignment to the Official Summer FUN 2013 Auction. Call one of our Consignment Directors today!

2013 July 11 - 14 Summer FUN US Coin Signature Auction – Orlando
Consignment Deadline: May 28, 2013

David Mayfield
Vice President, Numismatic Auctions
David@HA.com
1-800-US-COINS ext. 1000

Interested in Selling?
What's My Coin Worth?
Consign to a Heritage Auction

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  Current Auctions
Coin Auctions
Sunday Internet Coin Auction Sunday Internet Coin Auction #131320
Closes May 12
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Tuesday Internet Coin Auction Tuesday Internet Coin Auction #131320
Closes May 14
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Thursday Modern Coin Auction Thursday Modern Coin Auction #241320
Closes May 16
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Weekly World Coin Auction Weekly World Coin Auction #231320
Closes May 16
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Currency Auctions
Tuesday Internet Currency Auction Tuesday Internet Currency Auction #141320
Closes May 14
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Other Signature Auctions
May 11 Texas Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5133 May 11 Texas Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5133
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May 11 Western & California Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5134 May 11 Western & California Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5134
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May 11 Fine American Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5136 May 11 Fine American Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5136
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May 16-18 Comics Signature Auction - Dallas #7076 May 16-18 Comics Signature Auction - Dallas #7076
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May 21 Watches & Fine Timepieces Signature Auction - New York #5137 May 21 Watches & Fine Timepieces Signature Auction - New York #5137
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May 22 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5138 May 22 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction - Dallas #5138
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May 30 DBA Home Project Auction - Habitat for Humanity - Dallas #537 May 30 DBA Home Project Auction - Habitat for Humanity - Dallas #537
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June 2 Nature & Science Signature Auction - Dallas #5110 June 2 Nature & Science Signature Auction - Dallas #5110
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Other Internet Auctions
Sunday Internet Comics Auction Sunday Internet Comics Auction #121319
Closes May 12
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Sunday Internet Sports Collectibles Auction Sunday Internet Sports Collectibles Auction #151319
Closes May 12
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Sunday Internet Movie Poster Auction Sunday Internet Movie Poster Auction #161319
Closes May 12
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Tuesday Internet Watch and Jewelry Auction Tuesday Internet Watch and Jewelry Auction #171320
Closes May 14
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Weekly Internet Luxury Accessories Auction Weekly Internet Luxury Accessories Auction #251320
Closes May 14
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Weekly Internet Rare Books and Autographs Auction Weekly Internet Rare Books and Autographs Auction #201320
Closes May 16
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Auction Schedule | Order a Catalog

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