A variety of 19th century rarities — from an 1808 quarter eagle to an 1839-O branch mint proof half dollar and a historic1860 Mormon five dollar coin — highlight Heritage Auctions’ Feb. 2-5, 2012 Long Beach U.S. Coins Signature® Auction.
The Heritage Long Beach event also features a Currency Signature® Auction, on Feb. 3, with a beautiful and valuable Fr. 1219e $1000 1907 Gold Certificate PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 and an exceptional Fr. 168 $100 1869 Legal Tender PCGS Extremely Fine 45 leading the offerings.
"The year is off to a terrific start," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. "With this Long Beach auction – the first of our three 2012 U.S. Coin auctions in conjunction with the famous Long Beach Expo – we’ll continue on with considerable momentum."
The first of the chief highlights, chronologically speaking, is an 1808 quarter eagle graded MS63 NGC. The 1808 quarter eagle is one of the two rarest type coins; its design was struck in only one year, from a single pair of dies.
"The 1808 quarter eagle is one of the two great obstacles to a complete gold type set, along with the 1796 No Stars quarter eagle," said Rohan. "There is some debate as to their relative merits, but both are very scarce at a minimum, regardless of grade. This MS63 example of the 1808 quarter eagle is tied for third-finest known, and we expect strong competition between serious gold collectors for this lot."
Of lesser face value, but greater rarity, is an 1839-O half dollar graded PR65 NGC. It’s the single finest of just four confirmed proof examples for this issue, which historically has been underrated but is poised for a breakout auction performance.
"The extremely rare 1839-O proof half dollars have been in the shadow of the famous 1838-O half dollars for many years," said Rohan. "Yet the 1839-O proofs are significantly rarer. This is the finest certified example and connoisseurs of branch mint proofs will want to keep a close eye on this numismatic delicacy."
A third prominent 19th century highlight is an 1860 Mormon five dollar piece graded MS62 by PCGS. It’s the single finest PCGS-certified example of the issue, famous for its religious iconography and unusual script.
"The Deseret alphabet was created by Mormon scholars and promoted by Brigham Young," said Rohan. "As one of the few surviving uses of the Deseret alphabet, the 1860 Mormon five dollar is not only a collectible coin but an irreplaceable historic artifact."
The 18th century has a pair of high-grade highlights as well, both dating to 1795, the first year of gold coinage at the U.S. Mint: Lot 4748 is a 1795 half eagle with Small Eagle reverse, BD-8 variety, graded MS63 Prooflike NGC. Exactly 100 lots later, lot 4848 is a 1795 eagle with 13 Leaves reverse, graded MS64 NGC. Both are among the finest known examples of their important early issues.
Additional highlights at the February Heritage Long Beach auctions include, but are not limited to:
Lot 4025, 1919-D quarter dollar, MS66 Full Head PCGS Secure: Among the best-preserved and most sharply struck examples of this challenging issue, from The North Shore Registry Collection of Standing Liberty Quarters.
Lot 4968, 1869 eagle, PR67 ★ NGC: The single finest survivor out of just 25 proofs struck.
Lot 5056, 1895 double eagle, PR65 Cameo NGC: Tied for the finest Cameo Proof example of the issue certified by NGC, and one of just 51 proofs struck, from The Aspen Collection of Proof Coinage.
About Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage 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 HA.com.