Heritage Offers Coin and Medal Rarities at January 2017 FUN Auction


A plethora of rare coins and medals will be offered in Heritage’s U.S. coins auction Jan. 4 to 9 around the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

1879 $4 Flowing Hair
1879 $4 Flowing Hair

One coin highlight includes an 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella, one of fewer than 500 ever made before Congress canceled their production in 1880.

"The coin already is generating a surge of interest among collectors. It was intended to match foreign currencies for international trade but proved to be unpopular and unnecessary," Heritage Auctions describes. "As stunning as it is scarce, the honey-gold coin is graded PR61 by PCGS, shows no planchet striations that often blemish surviving Stellas."

The gold piece is ranked No. 18 in Garrett and Guth’s 100 Greatest U.S. Coins.

In the arena of medal offerings, there is the large diameter 1925 Norse medal with a Viking in full battle regalia on the obverse and a Viking longship on the reverse.

1925 Medal Norse Medal
1925 Medal Norse Medal

Graded MS65 by NGC, the medal was commissioned by Ole Juulson Kvale, a Norse-American Congressman who wanted to celebrate the centennial voyage of the Restauration and the immigration of Norwegians to the United States. Kvale’s effort was met with resistance from the U.S. Treasury, but he convinced the U.S. Mint to strike an unorthodox bronze octagonal medal. The medals then were triple-plated with silver and given to assorted dignitaries, including President Calvin Coolidge.

Most of the production was 1 1/2" silver medals. Sources differ on the mintage of the 2 5/8" pieces. Some say it was 60 pieces, others state 75 pieces.

"The present example offers smooth, satiny surfaces and a sharp strike," Heritage notes. "The fields display ocean-blue and chestnut-gold toning, while the high points are dove-gray."

Another medal of note is a 1786 bronze piece depicting Benjamin Franklin. First struck at the Paris Mint in 1786 and graded MS63 NGC, the Dupré-designed pattern commemorated Franklin’s 80th birthday.

Benjamin Franklin Natus Boston MS63 Brown NGC
Benjamin Franklin Natus Boston MS63 Brown NGC

The obverse inscription reads in Latin "Benjamin Franklin born in Boston 17 of January 1706." The reverse depicts a famous 1778 quote from Turgot in Latin: "He snatched lightning from Heaven and scepters from the Tyrants."

The 62nd annual FUN Convention is held January 5 to 8, 2017 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million and over one million online bidder members. To learn more about the company, visit HA.com.

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Seth Riesling

Once again, Heritage uses the wrong numismatic terminology for the “Stella” gold piece, calling it a coin. It is NOT a legal tender coin, but is a coinage pattern.