Two U.S. gold coins top $1M in pre-bidding a week before auction

Due to a severe winter storm that has left millions without power for several days, Heritage Auctions rescheduled its U.S. Coins Signature Auction (originally slated for Feb. 18-21) until Feb. 23-25.

Two U.S. gold rarities from the Paramount Collection are each expected to sell for more than $1 million US ($1.271 million Cdn.) at a Texas auction later this month.

At centre stage of the 1,038-lot auction – postponed until Feb. 23-25 due to a severe winter storm that caused at least 30 deaths and left millions more without power – is a 1907 $20 Double Eagle. Designed by iconic U.S. sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the coin features a Liberty figure (obverse) and flying eagle (reverse). It’s generally considered the most beautiful U.S. gold coin design, with this example – struck in ultra-high relief and with a lettered edge – certified as Proof-68 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). It topped $1.3 million US in pre-bidding more than a week before the sale’s original start date of Feb. 18.

“These Paramount Collection ultra-rarities will be the third and fourth NGC-certified vintage U.S. coins that have sold for more than $1 million at auction in just the first two months of 2021,” said NGC Chair Mark Salzberg, who’s also the Florida-based firm’s grading finalizer.

According to auctioneers with Heritage Auctions, which is conducting the three-day sale, only about 20 $20 Double Eagles from 1907 are known in ultra-high relief. The U.S. Mint struck more than 11,000 business strikes of that year’s Double Eagle with a high-relief design before switching to a more practical version with a lower relief, which was necessary for mass production.

1880 ‘COILED HAIR’ STELLA

Auctioneers are also offering another rare U.S. gold coin, an 1880 $4 “Coiled Hair” stella certified as Proof-67 by NGC, which also added a “Cameo” designation.

More than a week before the auction, pre-bidding for the $4 gold coin also topped $1 million US.

Struck nearly a century and a half ago, the coin was meant to compete in international trade with European coins of similar value; however, only a few hundred patterns were struck before the experiment was cancelled. Versions exist dated 1879 and 1880 with the Liberty head on the obverse sporting either coiled hair or flowing hair. The 1880 “Coiled Hair” variety is the rarest — with only nine known to exist — and the Paramount Collection piece is among the finest examples.

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