Gold Hot in Heritage’s May 2008 Long Beach $26.5 Million Auction

by Heritage Auctions on June 5, 2008 · 0 comments

Dallas, TX. Top prices realized of $161,000 were reached by two very different coins in Heritage Auction Galleries’ May 28-30, 2008 Signature® in Long Beach: a 1794 Dollar VF30 PCGS (Lot 800) and an 1891-O 25C Specimen MS65 NGC (Lot 334). Total prices realized for the American coins exceeded $19 million and ancient and world coins realized an additional $7.5 million; both totals will rise further when post auction buys are finalized. 

Heritage Long Beach Auction Coins, Highlights and Prices Realized


“The strong market is continuing to bring great rarities onto the Heritage auction block,” commented Heritage President Greg Rohan.

“One of the pair of 1794 silver dollars realized $161,000, matched by an 1891-O quarter, certified Specimen 65 by NGC.

One of the three Continental dollars included realized $92,000. Altogether, more than 650 consignors and more than 5,000 bidders participated in our May Long Beach auctions.”


Highlights from Heritage’s Long Beach Signature Auction

Lot 800: 1794 Dollar VF30 PCGS.

Realized: $161,000

Struck on the initial day of the production of silver coinage, October 15, 1794, this rarity is a historic relic of America’s earliest attempt to produce large size silver coinage that would compare favorably in weight to the widely circulated Spanish (Carolus) dollars.

Ex: George C. Slawson (Stack’s, 4/1970), lot 840; 1991 ANA (Bowers and Merena, 8/1991), lot 436.

Lot 334: 1891-O 25C Specimen MS65 NGC.

Realized: $161,000

One of only two pieces known since it was first recognized in 1941 when it appeared in Mehl’s Dunham Sale. Ex: William Forrester Dunham (B. Max Mehl FPL, 6/1941); Gene Edwards; 1980 ANA Sale (Steve Ivy, 8/1980), lot 2024; Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3652. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 493: 1796 15 Stars Half Dollar, O-101, AU55 NGC.

Realized: $149,500

The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar, bearing the dates 1796 or 1797, ranks among the lowest mintage of U.S. type coins, with only 3,918 pieces.

Lot 3461: 1907 $10 Wire Rim, Periods, MS67 NGC, Judd-1901, formerly J-1774.

Realized: $149,500

The Periods variants of the 1907 Saint-Gaudens eagle hold an interesting place in American numismatics, as either patterns or regular issues. Only three have been certified finer.

Lot 308: 1833 quarter dollar PR65 PCGS. B-1. Period after 25 C.

Realized: $149,500

An outstanding specimen of this formidable rarity, as the portrait, eagle, and right-side stars have a needle-sharp strike. Ex: Auction ’86 (Superior, 7/1986), lot 1091; Thomas S. Chalkley Collection (Superior, 10/1990), lot 2568, which realized $70,400. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 942: 1846 Seated dollar PR65 PCGS. Breen-5436.

Realized: $149,500

The proof-only blundered date variety, which Breen describes as “date first entered much too low and oblique, then largely effaced and corrected; parts of upper halves of 846 show in lower halves of final position of date.”  From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 3458: 1899 eagle, PR68 Star Ultra Cameo NGC.

Realized: $149,500

There is no doubt that this piece is the finest existing 1899 proof eagle.

Lot 1647: 1796 half cent, With Pole, AU55 PCGS. C-2, B-2, High R.4. EAC 45.

Realized: $138,000

The 1796 half cent is the classic rarity of the denomination; from a mintage of just 1,390 coins, perhaps 10% exist today. Ex: Julian Leidman; Jim McGuigan; Benson Collection Sale (Goldberg Coins, 2/2002), lot 32; Stuart Levine (2/2002). From The Colonel Steven Ellsworth Collection of U.S. Half Cents.

Lot 799: 1794 Dollar VG10 PCGS.

Realized: $115,000

Of the mere 1,758 pieces struck, approximately 125 individual examples have been traced today, making this first dollar an essential rarity. Ex: John N. Brooks Collection (United States Coin Co., 12/1914), lot 17. From The Northwest Collection.

Lot 306: 1820 quarter dollar PR64 NGC. B-1.

Realized: $97,750

A beautiful Choice proof with lovely golden-brown, jade-green, honey-gold, and lilac-gray toning. Ex: Auction ’89 (Superior, 7/1989), lot 566, From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 321: 1866-S quarter dollar MS66 PCGS. Briggs 1-A.

Realized: $97,750

This is the finest certified example, of only 28,000 pieces struck; housed in a first generation holder, it apparently has not appeared at auction since it was encapsulated, and twenty years after it was first graded, it remains the single finest certified example. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 651: 1839 No Drapery half dollar, MS64 NGC. WB-101.

Realized: $92,000

The 1839 No Drapery half is popular both with type collectors (as a one-year subtype in the series) and Seated coinage enthusiasts (as a first year of issue among Seated Liberty halves). Ex: Chalkley (Superior, 1/1990), lot 3565. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 743:  1892-O Micro O half dollar MS65 NGC.

Realized: $92,000

This legendary rarity was known as early as 1893, when Augustus G. Heaton mentioned it in his landmark treatise, Mint Marks. He wrote, “there is one rare variety of this piece [the 1892-O half] with an exceedingly small o, hardly larger than a period.” Ex: Moreira Sale (Superior, 1/1989), lot 4524; Jascha Heifetz Collection (Superior, 10/1989), lot 3770. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 2047: 1792 Roman Head Cent, Baker-19 PR61 Brown PCGS.

Realized: $92,000

The notoriety of the famously rare Roman Head cent was enhanced by Breen’s description of its history in his Encyclopedia. Only two have been certified finer. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 2106: 1739 Broad Axe Higley Copper, Freidus 3.2-D, Breen-244, VF20 PCGS.Crosby, Pl. VIII, 26.

Realized: $92,000

There is an unintelligible undercoin below the weakened 1739 date. Ex: Stack’s Henry Da Costa Gomez Collection, Part Two, 6/2004; lot 4004.

Lot 2138: 1776 Continental Dollar, CURENCY, Rare Early Die State, Pewter, MS62 PCGS. Newman 1-C, Hodder-1.A2, Breen-1089, R.3.

Realized: $92,000

The same die pair was used to strike all Continental Dollars that contain the blundered legend CURENCY, but Eric Newman assigned two additional reverse varieties for the two recut reverses.

Lot 295: 1818 quarter dollar MS66 PCGS. B-3, R.2. Breen Die State II.

Realized: $80,500

A magnificent Premium Gem with gorgeous cherry-red, lime-green and canary-gold toning, it is highly probable that this is the finest 1818 Browning-3 in a PCGS holder, as only one coin of this date has been certified finer. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 379: 1896-S quarter dollar MS64 NGC.

Realized: $80,500

A splendid key date quarter with undisturbed surfaces and coruscating luster. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 1059: 1922 No D Strong Reverse cent, MS64 Red and Brown NGC.

Realized: $74,750

An amazing example of the popular 1922 No D cent with the strong reverse; only examples like the present piece, from the Strong Reverse die pair, also known as Die Pair 2, are the true No D cents.

Lot 539: 1825 half dollar VF20 ANACS O-118 Third Known

Realized: $69,000

An extremely rare variety, this is only the third known example, and one of only three R.8 varieties within the entire Capped Bust half series.

Lot 718: 1841 half dollar, PR64 NGC.

Realized: $69,000

The 1841 half dollar in proof format is an extreme rarity; NGC and PCGS combined have certified a mere seven examples, and only one has been certified finer. Ex: The Boys Town Sale (Superior Galleries, 5/1990), lot 3803. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 307: 1828 quarter dollar PR64 PCGS. B-4.

Realized: $63,250

The Narrow Date variety has less space between the 82, relative to B-1 through B-3.

Ex: Thomas S. Chalkley Collection (Superior, 10/1990), lot 2564, which realized $41,800. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 1826: (1659) Lord Baltimore Fourpence, Large Bust and Shield. MS62 NGC.

Realized: $63,250

This is the single finest certified Fourpence of Lord Baltimore, and is ex: Wayte Raymond Plate. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3786: 1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. eagle, MS62 PCGS. K-3, R.5.

Realized: $63,250

A remarkable Mint State example with few peers among PCGS certified examples.

Lot 2139: 1776 Continental Dollar, CURRENCY, Pewter, Newman 2-C, MS62 PCGS. Crosby Pl. VIII, 16, Newman 2-C, Breen-1092, R.3.

Realized: $60,375

Struck from perfect dies, without the rust often seen for this die marriage within the rings for Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Hampshire. The second obverse die for the series, which corrects the CURENCY misspelling.

Lot 3324: 1904 Liberty half eagle, PR67 Cameo NGC.

Realized: $60,375

This is the finest 1904 proof Liberty half eagle that we have offered in any of our auctions, the previous best being a PR66 Cameo piece. Only one coin has certified finer.

Lot 3354: 1796 eagle XF40 PCGS, Breen-6832, Taraszka-6, BD-1, R.4.

Realized: $60,375

The only known die pair for coinage of 1796, with total production for the year of 4,146 pieces (with the majority of these dated 1795).

Lot 1861: 1737 Higley Copper, CONNECTICVT, Freidus 1.2-A, Breen-238, VF25

PCGS. Realized: $57,500

The CONNECTICVT is the first Higley variety, struck before presumed local complaints compelled the change in the obverse legend, from THE VALVE OF THREE PENCE to VALVE ME AS YOU PLEASE. Ex: F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part II (Stack’s, 5/2004), lot 268; San Francisco ANA (Heritage, 7/2005), lot 10078; Troy Wiseman Collection, Part Two (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 726. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 180: 1916-D dime, MS65 Full Bands PCGS.

Realized: $57,500

At 264,000 pieces struck, the 1916-D has less than a quarter of the original mintage of its nearest rival, the 1921-D dime. From the Tremont Collection.

Lot 719: 1845 half dollar, PR64 NGC.

Realized: $57,500

The 1845 proof half dollar is one of the more significant rarities in American numismatics; a sparse four coins have been certified by NGC and PCGS combined. Ex: Stack’s (3/1965), lot 447; Superior Galleries (10/1990), lot 3662. Possibly earlier from the World’s Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 4/1945), lot 273. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 3457: 1895 eagle PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC.

Realized: $54,625

This stunning Gem has exceptional aesthetic appeal, and should prove to be a delightful addition to the connoisseur’s collection. Both sides have impressively deep mirrors around highly lustrous and brilliant yellow devices. Only two certified finer.

Lot 1824: 1652 Pine Tree Shilling, Large Planchet, Noe-4, MS64 PCGS.

Realized: $51,750

The first N in ENGLAND is reversed, a die engraver’s blunder seen during many periods in many countries. Ex: F.C.C. Boyd Collection; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XII, Stack’s (10/ Q20 I05), lot 84; Milwaukee ANA Signature, (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1511. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3171: 1795 Small Eagle half eagle, BD-3, AU58 NGC.

Realized: $51,750

This scarce variety is the most available of the 1795 Small Eagle half eagles; all other die pairings are rare in an absolute sense.

Lot 3622: 1871-CC double eagle AU50 NGC.

Realized: $51,750

The 1871-CC is generally considered the second rarest Carson City $20, in overall rarity and condition rarity.

Lot 3456: 1889 eagle PR64 PCGS.

Realized: $48,875

The 1889 eagle had a production of only 45 pieces, a number that is somewhat on the low side even for the late 1880s and early 1890s. Ex: Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/1999), lot 1621.

Lot 883: 1803 dollar, B-5, BB-252, MS63 NGC.

Realized: $43,125

The obverse die is known only in this single die combination and is only found perfect, while the reverse was used for several different varieties beginning in 1801. Technically, the reverse die was first used in 1802, followed in combination with an 1801 dated obverse, then for these 1803 dollars.

Lot 1818:  (1615-16) Sommer Islands Sixpence, Large Portholes, Breen-3. NCS. AU Details. Breen-3. Realized: $43,125

It has been a number of years since any example of any denomination of early Bermuda silver has reached the Heritage auction block, and the present piece is the first Sommer Islands sixpence we have offered – it is that rare! From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3216: 1842-C Small Date half eagle, AU58 PCGS. Variety 4-C, the only known dies. Die State II.

Realized: $43,125

The two die states of this variety are easily distinguished by the presence or absence of a rim break at the top of the obverse, over star 7.

Lot 937: 1871-CC dollar AU58 NGC.

Realized: $40,250

Another of the Carson City Mint’s rare silver coins, the entire mintage of 1,376 1871-CC dollars (a figure more suited to 18th century American gold than 19th century silver) was struck in August of that year. Only four known finer.

Lot 2201: (1797) New York Theatre Penny Token, D&H-Middlesex-167, Rulau-E-NY-892, PR64 Brown PCGS. Realized: $40,250

The obverse shows THE THEATRE AT NEW YORK (Park Theater), which opened in New York City on Monday, January 29, 1798 with a performance of ‘As You Like It.’ The token is one of the nicest of the British Conder series. Ex: 2007 Milwaukee Signature Auction (Heritage, 8/2007), lot 1523, which realized $32,200.

Lot 2514: 1884-S Morgan dollar, MS63 PCGS.

Realized: $40,250

The 1884-S is the first truly elusive S-mint Morgan dollar one encounters in the series from 1878-S forward.

Lot 3785: (1837-42) C. Bechtler half eagle, 134G, With Star, MS63 NGC. K-20, R.4.

Realized: $39,100

This variety is plentiful and widely available in better grades, making it a favorite of both type and specialty collectors.

Lot 801: 1795 Flowing Hair, Two Leaves dollar, B-3, BB-11, R.5, AU50 NGC. CAC.

Realized: $37,375

A “Silver Plugged” example created in 1795, as a thin silver sliver was added to the blank planchet to increase its weight — by punching a hole in the planchet and inserting the sliver, which extended slightly past the planchet surface.

Lot 2723: 1880 Morgan dollar, PR68 Cameo PCGS. Ex: JFS Collection.

Realized: $37,375

In 1880, all of the Philadelphia Mint silver dollars featured the Slanted Arrow Feather reverse, also called Type of 1879; total production of proofs was 1,355 coins.

Lot 2140: 1776 Continental Dollar, CURRENCY, EG FECIT, Pewter, AU53 NGC. Crosby Pl. VIII, Newman 3-D, Breen-1095, R.3.

Realized: $35,794

The Continental dollars may have been intended to retire circulating Continental paper currency, or have served as a pattern for a planned issuance of silver dollars. What is nearly certain is that Elisha Gallaudet is the EG who engraved at least one set of dies–hence the EG FECIT on this variety.

Lot 2270: 1868 Indian cent, MS66 Red PCGS.

Realized: $35,650

The 1868 Indian cent reminds us that sometimes mintage figures can completely obfuscate the truth regarding current rarity; this is one of the three finest certified at PCGS. From The Estate of Robert R. Rollins Collection, Part One.

Lot 1822: 1652 Pine Tree Sixpence, Noe-33, MS63 PCGS.

Realized: $34,513

The obverse has pellets flanking the tree trunk, much like the Noe-1 shilling, and suggests that these pieces may have been made at about the same time. Only one example of this variety has been certified finer. Ex: David Proskey (11/28/1903); F.C.C. Boyd; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack’s, 10/2005), lot 136 Q; I FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 711. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3292: 1878-CC half eagle, AU58 NGC.

Realized: $34,500

The Carson City Mint was preoccupied in 1878 with striking Morgan Dollars (2.2 million coins), and not with half eagles (9,054 pieces); This coin is tied for the second finest certified.

Lot 3629: 1872-CC double eagle, MS60 NGC.

Realized: $33,350

The 1872-CC is scarce in all grades, and extremely rare in uncirculated grades.

Lot 720: 1846 half dollar Medium Date, PR63 PCGS.

Realized: $32,200

While mintage figures for the 1846 proof half dollar were not reported, it is likely that no more than a dozen have survived to the present day. Ex: The Thomas S. Chalkley Collection (Superior Galleries, 1/1990), lot 3574. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 3215: 1842-C half eagle, Small Date, AU55 NGC. Variety 4-C, Die State I.

Realized: $31,050

This issue is the rarest Charlotte half eagle, and is also the second rarest Charlotte coin behind the 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar rarity. Four coins are listed on Winter’s most recent Condition Census.

Lot 771:  1915-S Barber half dollar MS67 PCGS.

Realized: $29,900

A remarkable Superb Gem that has spent approximately one-fifth of its existence housed in the same old green label PCGS holder; its preservation is virtually unimprovable. Ex: Thomas S. Chalkley Collection (Superior, 10/1990), lot 3712. From The Silbermünzen Collection.

Lot 1944: 1787 Excelsior Copper, New York Arms, Eagle on Globe Left, Eagle Reverse Eagle Left, AU55 PCGS. Realized: $29,900

The eagle on the globe faces left, while the large eagle on the reverse gazes right; students of Early American numismatists can promptly name many similarities that the Excelsior coppers share with the legendary Brasher doubloons. This is the single finest certified by PCGS (3/08), and none have been certified by NGC. Ex: Benson Collection Part II (Ira and Larry Goldberg, 2/02), lot 12; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 736; From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3266: 1861 half eagle MS65 Star NGC.

Realized: $27,600

Despite its reputation as an available type coin, the 1861 half eagle is surprisingly elusive in better Mint State grades.

Lot 1819: 1652 Willow Tree Sixpence, Noe 1-A, Fine Details NCS.

Realized: $25,300

This is the #5 specimen (of ten known examples) on the 1943 Noe plate of Willow Tree sixpences, attributed as the property of a “Mid-West Coin Firm.” Today, still only fourteen pieces are known. Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 700. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 3579: 1861-S double eagle, MS62 PCGS.

Realized: $25,300

Subsequent to the small production run of Paquet Reverse double eagles, the regular reverse die was used to strike 768,000 coins at the San Francisco Mint in 1861. Only one coin has been certified finer.

Lot 495: 1797 half dollar Fine Details, O-102, Low R.6, NCS.

Realized: $23,000

The 1797 Overton 102 variety is the rarest of the four Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar die marriages. Ex: Stirling Silliphant Collection (Heritage 1988 ANA Sale, 7/1988), lot 679; Mid-American 1989 FUN Sale (1/1989), lot 462. From The Yoder Family Collection, Part Two.

Lot 2070: 1799 Gold Funeral Urn Medal, Baker-166, AU55 NGC.

Realized: $21,850

George Washington was a favorite subject of medalists over the years, and a wide series of death medals were produced; the Funeral Urn medals were part of a series of gold, silver, and tin medals produced by Newburyport, Massachusetts engraver Jacob Perkins.

Ex: F.C.C. Boyd Estate; John J. Ford, Jr. (Stack’s, 5/2004), lot 170; Columbus Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/06), lot 198; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/08), lot 2649. From The Liberty Collection of American Colonial Coinage, Part Three.

Lot 2345: 1859 cent PR67 NGC.

Realized: $19,550

This is one of the three finest certified of an important one-year type coin, with a reported mintage of just 800 pieces. From The Estate of Robert R. Rollins Collection, Part One.

Lot 2422: 1878 Eight Tailfeathers dollar, VAM-9, MS64 Deep Mirror Prooflike ANACS.

Realized: $19,550

This incredible example of “The First Morgan Dollar Die Pair” is quite probably the finest known survivor of the very first set of dies used to strike Morgan dollars, at 3:17 PM on March 11, 1878. From The Leroy Van Allen Collection, Part Two.

Lot 3503: 1915 eagle, MS66 Star NGC.

Realized: $18,975

The 1915 $10 enjoyed a high survival rate was quite high, but at the Gem level the 1915 become a condition rarity.

Lot 2842: Signed & Dated Christmas 1854 Gold, Quartz, and Wood Cane Presented ‘By His Friends’ to San Francisco Mint Superintendent Lewis Birdsall.

Realized: $17,250

This is a phenomenally historic memento of the earliest days of the San Francisco Mint. We simply cannot imagine another memento–outside of museum collections–of the first year of the San Francisco Mint that offers more charisma and historical importance than this piece.

To discuss consigning coins or currency to an upcoming auction, please call the Heritage Consignor Hotlines at 800-872-6467 ext. 1000 (Coins); or ext. 1001 (Currency).

For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 1150, or visit to order by email.

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