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Press Release - April 1, 2005
Heritage Shines in Palm Beach!
Dallas, Texas: Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. (HNAI) held their latest Signature auction on March 24-25, in Palm Beach, Florida. 2,533 bidders competed for 2,641 lots, 617 of them successfully. The Signature auction realized $6,512,407.75 for 2,138 lots sold (80.95% of the total) so far. 58 lots were purchased after the auction by 48 bidders for a total of $134, 526.85. An accompanying Bullet auction, which closed on Monday, March 28, realized an additional $582,798.75, bringing the overall Palm Beach total to $7,229,733.35.
"2005 has proven to be a year of great strength for us," said Greg Rohan, President of HNAI. "The results of this first quarter bode extremely well for the remainder of the year."
"Individual sales were very strong," continued Rohan. "The 1937-D Three Legged Buffalo Nickel which sold for $86,250, for example, seems to be a record for that date."
The Palm Beach Signature Auction included Part Three of the Richard J. Chouinard Collection, the Luke Fey Collection of 20th Century American coinage, and Part One of the Napa Valley Collection, featuring a selection of Mint and Proof Liberty Nickels.
Highlights of the auction included:
1937-D 5C Three-Legged MS66 PCGS. The Three-Legged Buffalo nickel is a coin that has crossover appeal. Technically an error coin, it is now collected as a part of the regular Buffalo nickel series. The coins that are known are all from a single die, and curiously, we know who created this modern rarity. In 1937, a Mr. Young, who was then new to the mint and under pressure to complete a quota of coinage, took an emery stick and ground off evidence of die clashing from a pair of dies. However, in his haste he also inadvertently ground off part of the foreleg of the bison. While lower grade, circulated coins are always available for a price, Uncirculated pieces, especially coins that will fit into a Gem set of Buffalo nickels, are really quite elusive. Only three other MS66 coins have been certified by PCGS with none finer, while NGC has graded 13 with only one finer (2/05).
While known for weak striking details, this is an uncommonly sharp example. The braid on the Indian's hair is strongly defined and there is a faint but definite split in the bison's tail. Only the matted hair on the bison's head shows any trace of weakness. However, what really sets this coin apart from others is the amazing, satiny mint luster and rich olive-gold and lilac iridescent toning that is seen over both obverse and reverse. There are no identifying marks on either side, just a faint grease stain (as struck) in the upper right obverse field below the E in LIBERTY.(#3982) (Registry values: N7079) REALIZED: $86,250.
1880 $4 Flowing Hair Four Dollar, Judd-1658, Pollock-1858, Low R.7, PR65 Gilt NGC. The Flowing Hair design was Charles Barber's interpretation for an international coinage that was proposed by former Minister to Austria John Kasson. As a rule, the Flowing Hair design is seen with the 1879 date, but a limited number were struck also in 1880. Gilt copper and aluminum strikings of the stella represent an affordable alternative for the collector who wishes a representative of the design but does not want to spend the big bucks an actual gold striking would require. This piece is struck in copper with a reeded edge. The gilt overlay is very attractive and well done, giving the piece a deceptively similar appearance to an actual gold striking. Close examination reveals a few microscopic imperfections in the gilt, but the gold overlay is complete in all areas, and all in all this is a very impressive pattern. The only marks of note are a short scuff in the exergual area just below the truncation of Liberty's bust and a thin, shallow scratch in the right obverse field.(#62043) REALIZED: $80,500.
1813 $5 MS65 NGC. B. 1-A, Miller-119, R.3. The 1813 Half Eagle is important to collectors for two reasons. First, it is the initial year issue in the Capped Head Left series as modified by Robert Scot after John Reich's original concept. Second, it is by far the most affordable and obtainable date in the series, a series which few would dispute is the most difficult in all of U.S. numismatics. While the 1813 is relatively obtainable in circulated condition and lower Uncirculated grades, it is very elusive in the higher grades of Mint State. This is one of only four pieces to have been so graded with none finer at NGC, PCGS has seen two MS65s with one finer (2/05). The striking details on this piece are uncommonly well defined on each side showing full definition on most of the stars, Liberty's hair, and the feathers on the eagle's neck. The rich green-gold mint luster is free from any major blemishes, with only a small mark or luster graze seen here and there. One lateral abrasion is visible on Liberty's nose, and a couple of small pinscratches are on the reverse from the right (facing) wingtip to the first A of AMERICA. No adjustment marks are reported on either side. Exceptional quality and one of the finest currently available.(#8116) (Registry values: P2) REALIZED: $69,000.
1907 $20 High Relief PR65 NGC. Augustus Saint-Gaudens first came to Theodore Roosevelt's attention when he designed the President's inaugural medal. The driving force behind the wholesale coinage redesign of the early 20th century, Roosevelt solicited the New Hampshire artist to prepare new designs for the Eagle and Double Eagle. Saint-Gaudens chose to portray a standing representation of Liberty on the obverse of the Double Eagle, and a majestic flying eagle was selected for the reverse. The first coins produced with this design were the 24 Ultra High Relief patterns that the Philadelphia Mint produced in early 1907. Despite the awesome beauty of these coins, the mint realized that this initial design was too difficult and costly to produce in business strike format. Sadly, Saint-Gaudens died on August 3 before he could help the mint's staff lower the relief of his Double Eagle coin. The requisite work was carried out by Saint-Gaudens' assistant, Henry Hering, and the mint produced 11,250 High Relief Twenties for circulation in the last two months of 1907. Unbeknownst to novice collectors, the mint also struck an unknown, but very limited number of proof High Relief Double Eagles for presentation purposes. These coins display a satin finish, and two die varieties are known. Each of these die pairs was also coupled with a distinct collar. This particular coin does not display a small spine from the L in LIBERTY, and, as such, we assume that it was struck from the collar that displays uneven bases on the M in UNUM. (Of course, the NGC holder precludes confirmation of this.) This is Breen variety 2-D, Collar II. An impressive coin in all regards, both sides are remarkably hairline-free. There are numerous die striations in the fields, but we stress that this feature is diagnostic of this issue. Both sides display a warm, honey-gold sheen that accents the uncommonly sharp striking detail. For pedigree purposes, we mention a couple of contact marks in the reverse field above the sun and below the eagle's leg.(#9132) REALIZED: $60,375.
1853 10C Arrows MS69 NGC. When discussing the coinage of 1853, one has to remember the reason for the passage of the Mint Act of that year was to stimulate the circulation of silver and gold coinage. For decades U.S. silver and gold coinage had an intrinsic value that was greater than its face value. Melting was widespread, and the result was the United States was left with a hodgepodge of world coins and tokens for circulation. As hard as it might be to imagine today, Congress had pangs of conscience regarding this Mint bill--they actually believed they might be perceived as cheating the citizens of the U.S. Nevertheless, logic prevailed and the weight of all subsidiary coinage and gold was reduced. In the case of the dime, from 2.67 grams to 2.49 grams. In order to alert the general populace of this reduction in weight and silver content, arrowheads were placed on each side of the date, and this device remained on dimes through 1855. A staggering 12 million dimes were produced in 1853. These lighter weight coins had the desired effect: they drove out the old, heavier weight coins which were soon replaced with the new, somewhat lighter versions. Although common in worn grades, the 1853 Arrows dime is very elusive at the finer Mint State levels of preservation, particularly when compared to the number of high grade type collectors in today's hobby. This is undoubtedly the finest coin known of this important and historic issue. At the MS69 level, there really is nowhere else to go. The surfaces of this piece have thick mint frost and the centers are untoned. However, deep cobalt-blue and golden-brown toning surrounds the margins on each side, this, undoubtedly, being responsible for the star designation which indicates added eye appeal for the grade. Fully struck also, as one would expect, there are no obvious abrasions on either side of this remarkable coin. The only disturbance in the fabric of the coin is slight evidence of die clashing. A unique opportunity for the high grade type collector.(#4603) (Registry values: N1) REALIZED: $57,500.
1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 NGC. The story of the High Relief twenties is well-known to numismatists. President Theodore Roosevelt personally asked famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to rework several of the more uninspired coinage designs that were current in 1905. Over the next two years, in spite of declining health, Saint-Gaudens produced plaster models for the ten dollar and twenty dollar gold pieces. Each of these denominations went through several modifications before working dies were produced within the Mint that led eventually to the production of millions of gold coins. The Flat Rim variant of the High Relief is actually another minor, but significant modification that was made to the High Relief design. To produce each coin, between five and seven blows from a hydraulic press were required to fully bring up the details in the dies. However, it was soon discovered that in the striking process a tiny rim of extruded metal protruded between the die and the collar, producing the so-called Wire Rim variant. This was perceived as a problem by Mint personnel, not as an aesthetic element as it is by collector's today. The answer to the "problem" of the Wire Rim was the creation of the Flat Rim coins, pieces that had no extruded metal on either side. Such pieces are four to five times scarcer than their Wire Rim counterparts. This particular coin shows strong, bold definition throughout and the satiny surfaces are virtually free from any post-striking defects. Rarely seen in Gem condition and an important coin for advanced gold collectors. Population: 19 in 65, 18 finer (2/05).(#9136) (Registry values: N7079) REALIZED: $46,000.
1848-C $5 MS64 NGC. Ex: Elrod Collection. Variety 11-E. Even though the mintage of 64,472 pieces seems generous, only 3-4 pieces are believed known in mint condition of the 1848-C with the vast majority of the 145-155 coins believed extant today in the VF-XF grade range. Listed as the finest example known on Winter's Condition Census, this is a magnificent piece of Charlotte gold. We have handled this coin on two previous occasions (in our February 1999 Long Beach Sale and as a part of the Ashland City Collection). As one can infer from the grade, this is a spectacular coin. Some softness of strike is noted on the curls around Liberty's face and there is also some weakness on the eagle's neck and left (facing) leg. However, this softness is slight and hardly detracts from the overall appearance of the coin. The fields are semi-prooflike with quite a bit of reflectivity present. Rich reddish patina covers each side, making the basic green-gold color of the coin virtually invisible now. Only the slightest abrasions are present.(#8237) (Registry values: P4) REALIZED: $44,275.
1859-O $20 AU55 NGC. With a mintage of just 9,100 coins, it is immediately apparent that this is one of the rarities in the double eagle series. In fact, Doug Winter and Adam Crum noted that this is the fourth rarest of all New Orleans Mint double eagles, behind only the 1854-O, '55-O, and '56-O issues. It is also slightly rarer than the 1860-O issue. The author's of An Insider's Guide to Collecting Type I Double Eagles noted: "The 1859-O is a very scarce issue in all grades. It is most often seen in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine grades and it is rare in About Uncirculated. Most pieces in this grade range are no better than About Uncirculated-53 and the 1859-O becomes very rare in About Uncirculated-55. There is currently only one Uncirculated coin known: a PCGS Mint State-60 in a prominent Midwestern collection." As with all Liberty double eagles, regardless of date, it is imperative for the collector to seek examples with good to excellent eye appeal. Examples such as the present coin. Although not sharply struck (there is no such thing as a fully struck '59-O double eagle), this example has excellent central details. A few of the stars on the obverse are flat, and there is slight weakness in the upper hair strands at the top of Liberty's head. The surfaces have light greenish-yellow gold, and show evidence of light cleaning as almost always on these coins. The surfaces also exhibit many tiny abrasions, yet no serious marks of any kind. This is one of the finest existing '59-O double eagles with an above average appearance for this issue. It is easily one of the ten finest known examples of the date.
This example has a heavily impressed date with bold digits, and a weaker mintmark with the bottom curve extremely faint, almost missing. Clash marks are visible near Liberty's ear, and other clash marks are noted around the curls on Liberty's neck. These are present on all known examples of this issue, and are an excellent hallmark for authenticity. There is a heavy die crack on the reverse, from the wing through the left side of E in UNITED, to the border. This is an extremely important opportunity for the collector of high-grade or Condition Census Liberty Double Eagles. Population: 11 in 55, 4 finer (2/05).(#8927) (Registry values: N4719) REALIZED: $43,125.
Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all of Heritage's previous sales are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website.
To purchase a catalog for any Heritage Sale, please contact Nicole Jewell, 800-872-6467, Ext. 272, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX. 75219 or visit HeritageGalleries.com to order by credit card.