Heritage Auctions’ early January numismatic sales topped $71 million for the fourth consecutive year, the company announced Jan. 18.
In just three short weeks, high-dollar bids for U.S. Coins, World & Ancient Coins and World Paper Money reached seven figures in some cases at auctions held during the Florida United Numismatic Convention (FUN) and the New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC).
"We take great pride combining our market knowledge with our clients’ collecting strategies," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. "This year shows our continued ability to find exceptional rarities to the auction block, despite an unpredictable economy."
The bombshell, a $3.96 million winning bid for the finest known 1885 Trade dollar, PR66 NGC, drew thunderous applause during Heritage’s FUN Platinum Night Auction. Perhaps the most enigmatic issue in all of American coinage sold to the floor as collector Dell Loy Hansen added the rarity to his cabinet.
The seven-figure bid was one of four cast during the convention auction, as the second-finest known 1793 Chain cent, MS64+ Brown PCGS Secure. CAC, from The Alan V. Weinberg Collection, Part I, brought $1.5 million. Buyers cast 43 bids to own the specimen, which appeared in a public auction for the first time.
An 1884 Trade dollar, PR66 NGC. CAC, with pedigrees from the Granberg-Brand-Eliasberg collections, ended at $1.14 million for the alluring proof issue. One of only 10 examples known from the famous U.S. federal series, the specimen on offer is a spectacular Premium Gem and the second-finest certified example in the population data from both leading grading services.
An 1879 Coiled Hair Stella, one of just 13 examples traced, earned its reputation among the rarest and most valuable issues in American numismatics when it sold for more than $1.05 million. The classic gold rarity, graded PR66 Cameo by NGC, exhibits richly frosted devices and deeply reflective fields contrasted against a well-detailed central design. The lovely lemon yellow and rose-gold surfaces remain impeccably preserved.
Heritage’s U.S. Paper Money Platinum Night Auction featured an 1878 $100 Silver Certificate, PCGS Very Fine 35, so rare that it marked the first time in 30 years a note from that series had been available to the collecting public. Collectors drove the auction price to $540,000 in a bid to own the finest of only four 1878 $100 Silver Certificates known, which also was the first of the two privately held examples to reach auction.
A coveted Serial Number 1 1872 $5 Sacramento National Gold Bank Note sold for $180,000. The historic specimen stands alone as a great rarity and a milestone result of the 1870 Act of Congress, which authorized the creation of National Gold Banks — special banks afforded the power to issue currency backed by gold.
A radiant example of a 1905 $20 Gold Certificate, PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ, lived up to its "Technicolor" nickname as its fiery yellow field and bright orange reverse earned a $75,000 winning bid.
"We always bring surprises to the NYINC and this year was no different," said Cristiano Bierrenbach, Executive Vice President of International Numismatics, referring to an extraordinary East Indies Gold Ducaton, which attracted $336,000.
Struck in 1728 and graded PR64 by NGC, the piece sold by Heritage is a gold pattern for the type that became known as the "Rider" for the obverse image of intricate armor worn by a man on a galloping steed. The coin was issued when the Netherlands was at the peak of its power and influence around the globe, and remains intensely popular among collectors.
Seven of the remaining top lots in the NYINC World & Ancient Coin auction were British gold and silver coins spanning the 17th through 19th centuries. A 1663 Charles II gold Proof Pattern Crown, PR58 PCGS, sold for $288,000.
An 1839 eye-catching 5 Pounds Victoria gold Proof “Una and the Lion”, PR62+ Deep Cameo PCGS, ended at $264,000. Considered one of the most beautiful coins ever produced, this particular piece exhibits perfectly struck engraving in frosty high relief set against reflective fields.
The top ancient coin lot was a Probus aureus that realized $156,000 and was one of the jewels of the Morris Collection, which achieved over $2.5 million in total.
Heritage Auctions’ next U.S. Coins event is the auction associated with the Long Beach Expo, Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California 90802. Bidding is open and the first auction begins at 3 p.m. Central time Jan. 31.
The next World & Ancient Coin auction is April 24-30 during the Central States Numismatic Convention at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, 1551 North Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg, Illinois 60173.
To learn more about upcoming auctions and consignment deadlines, visit Coins.HA.com.
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.