Press Release - May 13, 2004

Heritage to Auction Hundreds of Rarities at Long Beach Platinum Night, Including Select to Gem Mint State Vermontensium, 1794 Half Dime, 1795 Large Eagle $5, and U.S. Assay $50

Dallas, Texas: Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc. will be offering several hundred major rarities at Platinum Night, Thursday June 3, as part of its June 2004 Long Beach Signature Auction. The auction will be held June 3-5 as the Official Auction of the Long Beach Coin Expo. Here are just a few of the many amazing numismatic treasures that will cross the block...

1795 $5 Large Eagle MS63 Prooflike NGC. B. 5-W, Miller-13, R.7. Despite the presence of the date on the obverse, the 1795 Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle Fives were not produced in 1795. Rather, these coins were produced in 1797 at the earliest, but more likely in 1798, perhaps as part of the 3,226 pieces delivered on December 5 of the latter year. Breen notes that extant 1795 Heraldic Eagle Fives display significant evidence of hasty workmanship, namely die rust on the obverse and generally poor striking quality. While the obverse portrait of the present example does reveal some rust pits, as one should expect for a leftover die that probably received very little attention prior to being pressed back into service, the overall impression is quite pleasing. There is plenty of bold, and even some sharp definition in evidence, the only noteworthy softness of detail being confined to the central highpoints. The color of this coin is pleasingly original with a deeply set, green-gold sheen throughout. One can also discern some isolated blushes of rose tinting in a few areas over and around the central reverse. Perhaps the most significant feature of this coin is the markedly prooflike finish. The fields are mirrored, suggesting an early impression from this press run, while the devices are more frosty in texture. Also, and interestingly for a business strike, an identifying lintmark (as struck) is seen on Liberty's cheek. The presence of this lintmark, as well as the prooflike finish, could mean that this coin was either the Menjou or Kern specimen, both of which were erroneously offered as proofs in 1950 (per David W. Akers, 1979). This issue is the third rarest in the Capped Bust Right, Heraldic Eagle Five Dollar series of 1795-1807. NGC and PCGS combined have seen just six examples in MS63 (resubmissions?), with a mere four finer (3/04).

1851 $50 RE Humbert Fifty Dollar, 887 Thous. MS61 NGCM. Reeded Edge. K-6, R.4. An important Mint State example of this large format territorial gold coin. The Assay Office in San Francisco actually did very little in 1851 to help alleviate California's need for a circulating medium. What they did under Humbert's leadership was to convert the raw gold dust, that had previously been used as currency, into these large $50 so-called "slugs." Smaller denominations would follow, but these are the initial emissions from the Assay Office, an official U.S. government office that acted as a de facto Mint until the actual Mint opened in 1854. Many of these "slugs" have numerous rim bumps and nicks due to their massive size, as does this example. Minor rim irregularities that were on the planchet at the time of striking are noted at 1 o'clock on the obverse and at a similar position on the reverse. The target reverse has a vertical blemish above and just to the left of center and a few others of relatively minor consequence. An attractive reddish patina highlights the lustrous green-gold surfaces and the strike displays normal deficiency on the obverse devices. Listed on page 289 of the 2004 Guide Book.

1786 Vermont Copper, VERMONTENSIUM MS62 Brown NGC. RR-7, Bressett 5-E, R.3. A sharply struck and well centered representative that generally has medium brown patina, although portions of the reverse border possess more reddish maroon color. A couple of small mint-made planchet flaws above the P in PUBLICA and inside the M in DECIMA are noted as pedigree markers. There are three VERMONTENSIUM Landscape varieties, Ryder-6 through 8. Among these, RR-6 is certainly the most available, and RR-8 is probably more obtainable than RR-7 since the former has many more appearances than the latter in recent Heritage sales. In the recent Stack's Ford sale, Michael Hodder mentions that he has seen 122, 74, and 83 examples respectively of the Ryder 6, 7, and 8 varieties. Thus, it is fair to state that Ryder-7 is the toughest of the VERMONTENSIUM marriages. Listed on page 51 of the 2003 Guide Book. Ex: Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 10/87), lot 1272; purchased earlier from Richard Picker on 3/22/55.

1794 H10C MS66 NGC. V-3, R.5. A truly amazing first year Flowing Hair Half Dime, not only because of its lofty grade assignment, but also by virtue of its outstanding eye appeal. This beauty has it all: an abundance of natural luster, extraordinary sharpness of detail for the design type, and satiny surfaces that are free of all but the most trivial of mint-caused planchet voids. A pale golden wash of color heightens the appeal of this spectacular coin, highlighting the peripheral legends and devices in particular. This piece is from a late state of the reverse die, with prominent die cracks from the rim at 7 o'clock, across the eagle's tail, and then to the rim at 5 o'clock, with another crack dropping from the eagle's tailfeathers to the rim at 6 o'clock. This advanced state of the die affords a good look back into time at the early technology of the Mint, when die steel was at a premium and dies were frequently worked until they shattered. As might be expected, this is the second finest example of the date certified by NGC (one specimen is higher) and finer, for instance, than the Eliasberg coin, or any of the other examples of the date that have staked claims to Gem status.

Images, descriptions, and prices realized are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website, www.HeritageCoins.com.
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