Heritage Baltimore Auction: Nearly $14 Million and Climbing

by Heritage Auctions on April 2, 2009 · 2 comments

Heritage reports solid, steady numbers at Signature Coin Auction, March 27-31

1795 $10 13 Leaves MS63 PCGSDALLAS, TX – The number continues to edge ever higher with post-Auction buying, but preliminary figures from Heritage Auction Galleries indicate total prices realized will exceed $14 million over the course of five days of rare coin auctions at the firm’s Baltimore, MD Signature® US Coin Auction, March 27-31, 2009. The ongoing total prices realized is in line with what Heritage was aiming for in pre-auction preparation.


"I’d say it’s even on the high side of what we had hoped to accomplish with this event," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. "We’ve seen sustained steadiness in the U.S. coin market over the course of the last seven months. When numerous other markets are continuing to sink, or just tread water, coins have continued to be reliable ballast to a large number of portfolios."


These solid numbers come just a month before Heritage’s official auction of the 2009 CSNS Convention in Cincinnati, OH, an auction that is already featuring the Amon Carter Class III 1804 $1, the most famous coin in all of collecting, as its anchor. Along with that coin, Central States will also feature the Joseph C. Thomas Collection, one of the finest rare coin collections in the world, with more than 750 of the finest examples of a wide variety of exceptional coinage.


"This bodes well for the hobby," said Rohan. "Going into an event of the size and importance of Central States, it’s important that collectors and consignors alike see that the market is still active and that demand is still strong."


Leading the Baltimore auction, realizing $322,000, was a 1795 $10 13 Leaves MS63 PCGS. This coin is a fantastic representative of such an historic date. The United States Mint produced gold coins for the first time in 1795, starting with half eagles, and beginning the $10 gold series in September.

A modest mintage of 5,583 eagles dated 1795 was achieved during the fiscal year, with deliveries taking place from September 27, 1795 through March 30, 1796. Five different die marriages are known for the date, with BD-1 – as this example represents – the most “common” variety. In Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, John Dannreuther estimates a total surviving population of 225-325 examples of the BD-1 variety in all grades. The date may be available in the context of early U.S. gold coinage, but it is scarce in absolute terms.

At $109,250, a 1909 $5 PR68 NGC made a strong showing in Baltimore. Mint officials most likely anticipated strong collector demand for the new Indian half eagle when they delivered 167 proofs in 1908. Sales, however, were disappointing, a fact that one can easily see in the limited mintage of the 1909.

This second-year issue was produced to the extent of just 78 coins, and the finish was markedly different from that employed for the 1908. The 1909, as well as the 1910, was struck with a Roman Gold finish. This piece is tied for the single finest proof 1909 $5 at NGC and PCGS (2/09) – or that figure may represent one coin presented twice for grading and certification. It is easily one of the most appealing specimen strikings Heritage has ever offered.

Further highlights of Baltimore include:

A 1794 $1 Fine 12 PCGS, which realized $106,375. This example last appeared in the 378th sale held under the auspices of J.C. Morgenthau and Company in April 1937. Morgenthau’s 378th sale included large cents from the Gillette Collection, and other properties but the earlier provenance of this 1794 dollar remains unknown. The coin realized $111 in that 1937 sale.

A 1930-S $10 MS66 PCGS brought $92,000. The 1930-S $10 gold piece boasts a small mintage of 96,000 pieces. The reason for producing coins of this denomination at all is a mystery to modern numismatists, as they were clearly not needed in the regional economy. All examples seen today are in Mint State grades, indicating that none of the mintage was released into circulation at the time of issue. Experts estimate a surviving population of 125-140 examples of this date, all preserved by coin collectors who saved them at the time of issue.

The only cent in the top 10, a 1969-S 1C Doubled Die Obverse MS63 Red PCGS realized $86,250. Only between 17 and 32 examples of this coin are believed to exist, an extremely small number for a collecting specialty as popular as Lincoln cents. This is one of the finest of this well-known coin known to exist.

A 1907 $10 Wire Rim MS65 PCGS realized $69,000. The Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens eagles were the first examples of the late sculptor’s design struck in quantity, though they were not made available until the release of the No Periods variant to banks.

Despite today’s collector appreciation of the Wire Rim $10 piece’s inherent beauty, even the limited mintage of 500 pieces did not achieve full distribution right away, being at the disposal of others, including Secretary of the Treasury George Cortelyou and President Theodore Roosevelt. After Saint-Gaudens eagles and twenties were released to the public, the coins were no longer necessary for that role and were turned over for sale to collectors, then to members of Congress and other influential people. There’s no telling whose pocket this coin may have rested in.

One of the most pleasing 50C pieces in the auction, a 1797 50C VF25 PCGS realized $58,650, while another fine half dollar, a 1797 50C VF30 NGC, brought $54,625.

Two examples of the rare and highly desirable 1797 half dollar, key to a complete type set of US silver coinage, changed hands, with a VF30 example and CAC stickered VF25 example realizing $54,625 and $58,650 respectively.

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

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Client Services at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 150, or visit www.HA.com to order by email.

# # #

About Heritage Auction Galleries

Heritage Auction Galleries is the world’s third largest auction house, and by far the largest auctioneer of rare collectibles, with annual sales over $700 million, and 400,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Coin Collector April 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Economic crisis or not, some coins are still worth buying 🙂

Coin Collector April 5, 2009 at 2:21 am

Wow, quite a sum…

Leave a Comment