Bidders made numismatic history at Heritage Auctions’ American Numismatic Association events Aug. 14-19 as total sales surpassed $40 million — the auctioneers’ biggest ANA auction since 2015.
Total U.S. Coin sales reached $27,212,944 and delivered stunning sell-through rates of 97.3 percent by value and 98 percent by lot. Two historically important lots took top lot honors in their auction debuts.
One of the world’s rarest coins — the fourth known genuine surviving 1854-S Liberty half eagle gold piece, XF45 NGC, which initially was believed to be a fake — sold for $2,160,000. Dubbed a "discovery of a lifetime," the 19th century rarity is one of just 268 struck by the San Francisco Mint in 1854 during the California Gold Rush.
Auctions in Philadelphia.
The second, the unique 1792 $10 Washington President gold eagle pattern coin from the Eric P. Newman Collection, sold for $1,740,000 to a new client who had never before purchased a rare coin.
Co-founder James Halperin said Heritage’s more than 1 million bidder-members and international public relations reach, giving the firm the unique ability to cross-market and, in this instance, to entice a historian to acquire a numismatic rarity.
"The winning bidder of the 1792 Washington President gold pattern is a lifelong admirer of Washington," Halperin said. "We are dedicated to attracting the most interested buyers through targeted marketing strategies. That approach often results in a win for buyer and consignor alike."
Additional U.S. Coin highlights included a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, AU58 NGC, CAC, a classic American rarity, which sold for $780,000. A 1796 half cent, PCGS Secure. CAC, considered the finest known 1795 to 1797 half cent, ended at $630,000 following a flurry of 29 bids.
CURRENCY BIDDERS SOUGHT UNCIRCULATED GEMS
Heritage’s 114-lot ANA Currency session hit $1,976,946, led by a fresh and fully Uncirculated 1934 $5,000 Federal Reserve Note, PMG Choice Uncirculated 64, which brought $150,000. The "trophy note" from Chicago presented plenty of eye appeal and the example sits right near the top of the PMG census for the district.
Another Chicago rarity, a 1914 $100 Red Seal Federal Reserve Note, PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ, sold for $120,000, is not only the highest graded Federal Reserve 1078b by both PMG and PCGS, but is also at the very top of all $100 Federal Reserve Note Red Seals combined.
The highest example graded by an independent third-party of a 1905 $20 Gold Certificate, PMG Superb Gem Unc 67 EPQ, dazzled bidders with bold black, yellow, and red inks, earning its "Technicolor" moniker. The superb piece sold for $102,000.
ANCIENTS LEAD THE WAY ACROSS WORLD COINS
Heritage’s ANA Ancient and World Coin session realized $9,659,221, as the legendary "First Dollar of the Americas," struck in Mexico City by the Spanish in 1538, sold for $528,000. The first dollar-sized coin struck in the New World, the Charles and Johanna "Early Series" Rincón 8 Reales ND (c. 1538), AU50 NGC, is the finest of three known specimens.
Ancients from Rome and Greece made up the auction’s top lots as an exceptionally rare Diadumenian ‘Star’ Gold Aureus, Choice AU ★ 5/5 – 4/5, Fine Style, and a ‘Star’ Sextus Pompey Aureus, Choice AU ★ 5/5 – 4/5, Fine Style, each sold for $336,000.
An 1899 Pedigreed Roman ‘Star’ Macrinus Aureus, Choice AU ★ 5/5 – 5/5, Fine Style, reached $288,000. The rare specimen features a fully lustrous surface and high relief details from dies of fine style.
WORLD CURRENCY FEATURES EARLY SPECIMENS AND DESIGNS
A striking Zanzibar 20 Rupees Color Trial Specimen, PMG Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ, brought $108,000, topping the World Currency session’s $1,349,640 in total sales. Issued in 1908, the first issue of Zanzibar notes is the only example of this type in the PMG Census, as well as the highest denomination graded.
The Sole Graded 1931 10 Dinars Specimen, PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, features King Faisal I on this first series design from Iraq. Its standing as the only specimen graded of this type in the PMG Census, and most likely the best as Specimens of this era, pushed the note to $43,200.
A superior example of a popular early design, a High Grade 1923 Hong Kong Five Dollar Note, PCGS Choice About New 55PPQ, features scenes of a city gate, workers and an ancient Chinese sailing ship in striking detail. Juxtaposed with brilliant orange underprints, the specimen sold for $40,800.
Heritage Auctions’ next convention auctions are during the September Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo. Auctions include U.S. Coins Sept. 6-9, U.S. Currency Sept. 5-11, World & Ancient Coins Sept. 6-11 and World Currency Sept. 6-10, all at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California 90802.
Heritage Auctions (HA.com) is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. In addition to its headquarters in Dallas, Heritage has offices in New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago and Palm Beach, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.