Auction relocated from Chicago to Heritage Auctions’ Dallas headquarters, draws 6,800 online bidders
Nearly $47 million in rare coins and currency changed hands during a series of auctions originally scheduled for the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS) Convention, which was cancelled in mid-March due to the ongoing pandemic.
The three sales by Heritage Auctions were instead held at the company’s global headquarters in Dallas, Texas, on April 23-26, with total realizations exceeding $33.6 million US.
“Considering the worldwide coronavirus crisis, participation was stellar, with more than 6,800 people participating in the auction online,” said Jim Halperin, Heritage Auctions co-founder. “We watched top specimens receive numerous bids and there was exceptional interest in Colonial coins. The auction was 97 per cent sold, by both number of lots and by dollar value.”
U.S. COINS LEAD THE WAY
U.S. coins saw the bulk of the action in these auctions, according to auctioneers, with more than $20.23 million US ($28.20 million Cdn.) in winning bids.
The top-earning lot was a historic 1858 proof gold “Liberty Eagle,” graded Proof-64 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). It’s believed between four and six 1858 proof Liberty Eagles were produced. The coin is one of only four examples that have been reliably reported, with the other three included in institutional collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Society and the Connecticut State Library. A bidder seeking to own the sole publicly available example of this issue paid $480,000 US (nearly $670,000 Cdn.) for the opportunity.
Other U.S. coin highlights include a 1933 “Gold Eagle” graded Mint State-65 by NGC. It brought $360,000 US (about $500,000 Cdn.) after 45 bids.
The finest known example of this historic issue, an 1848 CAL. “Quarter Eagle” – a gold rush-era rarity – brought $300,000 US (about $418,000 Cdn.) in Mint State-68 by NGC, which also gave the coin a star designation.
An Ultra Cameo specimen of an 1855 gold dollar in NGC Proof-66 sold for $282,000 US (about $393,000 Cdn.), resting among the finest of seven traced proofs.
The CSNS world coin auction brought close to twice pre-sale estimates with a final total of more than $6.6 million US ($9.2 million Cdn.).
Gold rarities from Great Britain dominated the results, with a 1644 Triple Unite of Charles I leading the way at $360,000 US (about $500,000 Cdn.). This coin, graded Mint State-62-plus by NGC, is one of the finest extant examples of England’s largest hammered gold coin produced in the early stages of the English Civil War of 1642-49.
“Highly sought after in any grade, it represents the single example with the second-highest grade by NGC or PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), and combines this exalted preservation with undeniable medallic skill and fascinating numismatic history,” auctioneers said in a statement issued this April.
World coin highlights also included Great Britain with an 1839 Victoria gold proof “Una and the Lion” £5 coin in PCGS Proof-62 Cameo bringing $300,000 US (about $418,000 Cdn.).
Rounding out the British highlights, the finest-known Elizabeth I (1558-1603) gold “Ship” ryal nearly doubled its high estimate of $80,000 US, selling for $228,000 US (about $317,000 Cdn.).
U.S. & WORLD PAPER MONEY
The U.S. currency auction was dominated by two high-denomination issues—a rare Series 1934 $5,000 from the Philadelphia district graded About Uncirculated-55 by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG), and a Series 1934 $10,000 from the Boston district bearing the same grade.
These notes brought $138,000 US (about $192,000 Cdn.) and $132,000 US (about $184,000 Cdn.), respectively, leading the event’s currency auctions to an overall total of close to $4.8 million US ($6.69 million Cdn.).
World paper money offerings brought close to $2 million US ($2.79 million Cdn.) led by a 1908-dated 20-rupee specimen note from Zanzibar. Graded Choice Uncirculated-64 by PMG, it sold for $72,000 US (about $100,000 Cdn.). This higher-denomination type from the most sought-after country in Krause Publications’ Standard Catalog of World Paper Money is “incredibly rare in any and all varieties, with only six sales records in the last nine years,” according to auctioneers.