Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    1875 Liberty Eagle, AU50
    Lowest-Mintage Circulating U.S. Gold Coin
    Only 100 Examples Struck

    1875 $10 AU50 PCGS. Only 100 business-strike Liberty eagles were struck in 1875, making it the lowest mintage regular-issue U.S. gold coin and the premier rarity of the series. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at eight to nine examples in all grades and no Mint State coins are known, or even rumored. It has been stated that as many as 12 to 15 piece are known, but it appears that figure is on the high side and that the actual number is more likely seven to nine. Only two or three would grade AU, and some of the coins that have been certified are actually impaired proofs. The roster below includes 11 specimens known to us, including one example in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

    There was little numismatic interest in Liberty eagles in 1875, as the coins were too expensive for most collectors to set aside. The few numismatists who did collect large denomination gold coins simply ordered one of the 20 proof examples struck that year to update their collections. As a result, no business strikes were saved by contemporary collectors and no Mint State examples have ever been publicly offered. There have only been 13 public offerings of this issue in any grade over the last 20 years and most of the coins are presently in strong hands, so future auction appearances may be even more infrequent.

    The present coin is an attractive AU50 PCGS example from the Jacobson Collection which we believe is tied for second-finest known (the AU55 coin in the NGC Census is actually a circulated proof and we believe the AU53 specimen in the PCGS Population Report is a prior submission of the AU53+ example in their listings). Although the 1875 eagle has been something of a sleeper in the past, collectors are beginning to appreciate the rarity and appeal of this issue in recent times. This particular coin set the auction prices realized record for the issue in its 2018 appearance in the Admiral Collection (Heritage, 2/2018), where it brought $372,000. The AU53+ PCGS example in Stack's Bowers 2011 ANA Auction realized almost as much, as it sold for $345,000. Clearly, collectors have become more aware of the elusive nature and potential value of this classic gold rarity. The 1875 Liberty eagle seems poised to join the other outstanding rarities in the U.S. federal series at the highest level of commercial value and pride of ownership.

    This coin exhibits only light wear on the strongly impressed design elements, with much interior detail still intact on Liberty's hair and the eagle's feathers. Like all examples seen, the pleasing orange-gold surfaces show a number of minor abrasions and some chatter in the fields, but most of the marks are unobtrusive and none are overly distracting. Original mint luster remains in the sheltered areas, mixed with flashes of prooflike reflectivity around the margins. The overall presentation is most attractive. This coin will be a welcome addition to the finest collection or Registry Set.

    Roster of 1875 Liberty Eagles
    1. AU53+ PCGS. Margene Heathgate Collection (Superior 6/1997), lot 1541(as AU53 PCGS); Atlanta Signature (Heritage, 8/2001), lot 7904 (as AU53 NGC); ANA Auction (Stack's Bowers, 8/2011), lot 7732 (as AU53+ PCGS), realized $345,000.
    2. AU50 PCGS. St. Louis ANA Auction (New England Rare Coin Galleries, 7/1979), lot 313; Admiral Collection (Heritage, 2/2018), lot 4292, realized $372,000. The present coin.
    3. AU50 PCGS. Alto Collection (Stack's, 12/1970), lot 356; Harry W. Bass, Jr.; Bass Collection, Part II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1551; Jeff Garrett; Philadelphia Signature (Heritage, 8/2000), lot 7338; Pre-Long Beach Sale (Superior, 5/2001), lot 4139; Internet Only Auction (Heritage, 4/2002), lot 11458; Old Roswell Mill Collection; offered by John Hamrick in April 2008 at $150,000; David Hall (Ellen D Collection); Simpson Collection via Legend Numismatics in May 2011.
    4. AU50 PCGS. Four Landmark Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 700; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 10/1995), lot 6376; Boys Town and Mamiye Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1998), lot 2207; Baltimore Signature (Heritage, 7/2003), lot 10450; Internet Auction (Heritage, 10/2003), lot 14125; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2004), lot 2201; Christopher Bentley's Knob Hill Collection (Heritage, 2/2014), lot 4201, realized $211,500.
    5. XF45 PCGS. James and Margaret Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1986), lot 270; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 10/1988), lot 126; ANA Signature (Heritage, 7/1997), lot 5510.
    6. XF40. Possibly Col. E.H.R. Green; Dr. Charles W. Green Collection (B. Max Mehl, 4/1949), lot 547; Davis-Graves Collection (Stack's, 4/1954), lot 955; Edwards Metcalf; Gilhousen Collection, Part I (Superior, 2/1973), lot 712; Jeff Browning; Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's-Stack's, 10/2001), lot 474; Douglas Winter Numismatics; Southern California collection.
    7. VF35 PCGS. Public Auction (Robert A. Siegel, 11/1984); Mid-American Rare Coins, 5/1992), lot 395; Dr. Jon Kardatzke Collection (Goldberg, 6/2000), lot 1539; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2006), lot 3536.
    8. VF30 PCGS. Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 6/1997), lot 5548; ANA Signature (Heritage, 8/1998), lot 7771.
    9. VF30 PCGS. Cornerstone Sale (Mid-American Rare Coins, 8/1991), lot 758; Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 2/1994), lot 5441; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/1998), lot 7966; June Auction (Superior, 6/1998), lot 2298.
    10. VG. William Cutler Atwater Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1946), lot 1453; Amon Carter, Sr.; Amon Carter, Jr.; Amon Carter Collection (Stack's, 1/1984), lot 772; Auction '87 (Superior, 8/1987), lot 1946.
    11. XF45. Possibly Jacob Shapiro, a.k.a. J.F. Bell; J.F. Bell Collection (Stack's, 12/1944), lot 639; Clifford T. Weihman; Josiah K. Lilly; Smithsonian Institution.

    Additional Appearances
    A. Good. John G. Kellogg, et al (Thomas Elder, 10/1916), lot 1339.
    B. Extremely Fine, prooflike. Sale 416 (Morgenthau, 6/1940), lot 145.
    C. Fine, formerly mounted. R.L. Wilson Sale (Stack's, 10/1959), lot 1111; Golden Sale (Kreisberg-Schulman, 3/1962), lot 2678.
    D. G-VG. Jacob Shapiro, a.k.a. J.F. Bell; J.F. Bell Collection (RARCOA, 4/1963), lot 392.
    E. Good. Charles Williams; Adolphe Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 1616.

    Note 1: The following coin has been graded as a business strike in the past, and still appears in the NGC Census, but it is actually a circulated proof:
    AU55 NGC. 1992 GNA Sale (Mid-American Rare Coins, 5/1992), lot 1435; Richmond Collection, Part I (David Lawrence Rare Coins, 7/2004), lot 2102.
    Note 2: This coin has been listed in previous rosters, but John Dannreuther notes it is actually an altered date:
    XF45. Possibly Louis Eliasberg, Sr.; H.R. Lee Collection (Stack's, 10/1947), lot 1530; James A. Stack; James Stack Collection (Stack's, 3/1995), lot 610.
    From The Harvey B. Jacobson, Jr. Collection of Liberty Eagles. (Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 54UH, PCGS# 8672)

    Weight: 16.72 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Harvey B. Jacobson, Jr. Collection of Liberty Eagles ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    20th-23rd Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 46
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,144

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 13 days left to consign to the 2020 June 4 - 8 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions is very well keyed into the evolving market place, what better exposure can anyone ask for?
    Consignor of The Virginia Cabinet
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search