Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 1

Lot 885

Double Eagle. 1907. Premium Quality. Roman Numerals Date (MCMVII). Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original design for the Double Eagle in Ultra High Relief. Regular Edge Lettering (not inverted). The Norweb Coin, acquired from Albert Fairchild Holder, who obtained this coin directly from the Saint-Gaudens family in 1907. PCGS graded Proof 67. A superb specimen of one of the most famous of all American coin rarities and arguably the most beautiful coin that exists today.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens' original design for the Double Eagle in Ultra High Relief. Normal Edge Lettering (not inverted). Extremely concave fields, double the normal thickness at edge; no border at all, only a knife-rim. MCMVII distant from drapery; Capitol building very small; star well to left of E; star above extreme left corner of T; star above end of left arm of Y; only 2, rather than 3, narrow folds in skirt just past Liberty's right leg (at observer's left), and the oval section of underside of skirt beyond those is very large.

A pristine, flawless example of this most beautiful of all coins. The color, strike, and surfaces are all of extraordinary quality and the coin definitely is as nice as the day it was struck. A more superb Ultra High Relief could not possibly exist.

This stunning numismatic work of art was the brainchild of the famed American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens who, at the personal request of President Theodore Roosevelt, conceived the design concept and drawings for what would become America's most renowned coin. Although Saint-Gaudens preferred the Indian head obverse with the standing eagle reverse, he was overruled by Roosevelt, who ordered up the full figure of Liberty with the flying eagle reverse combination. Dies were prepared by Henry Hering, who was Saint-Gauden's assistant. All the while, the Mint's Chief Engraver, Charles Barber, flatly stated that it was impossible for any mint to make such a coin, and used all his influence to stop the project. Herng prepared plaster models in extremely high relief, "knowing perfectly well they could not stamp it in one strike, my object being to have a die made of this model and then have strikes made in order to see the various results." (Numismatist, 1949, P. 455) Hering then convinced Barber that experimentation was necessary and Barber finally agreed to make the dies. Hering returned to the Mint in February 1907 to "see how the experimental model of the first die would work out; so a circular disc of gold was placed in the die and by hydraulic pressure of 172 tons, I think it was, we had our first stamping, and the impression showed little more than one half of the modeling. I had them make a cast of this for my guidance. The coin was again placed in the die for another strike and again it showed a little more of the modeling, and so it went, on and on, until the ninth strike, when the coin showed up in every detail."

The exact number of pieces struck is not known and opinions vary. Adams and Woodin stated that "eighteen pieces are said to have been struck." An article in the 1909 Numismatist, indicated that "thirteen coins were struck." Later, in 1920 another article in the Numismatist stated that "nineteen pieces were struck, two of which were destroyed in Mint experiments or tests." Both Judd's book and the Scott encyclopedia indicate that 22 were struck with two subsequently melted.

Although the number minted actually is open to question, Aker's estimates that no more than 13 to 15 are known. Two specimens are located in the Smithsonian Institution, another which came directly from Charles Barber's estate is permanently impounded in the American Numismatic Society. One has a plain edge, another three have inverted edge lettering.

The medallic relief was too much for the dies, obviously a small number were struck, and at least one piece is known with a die crack extending from the reverse rim at 8:30 o'clock towards one of the suns rays. All were struck like medals, and have a satin finish, and are designated as "Proofs".

Of the handful produced, most were given away by President Theodore Roosevelt as presentation pieces, which became known as Roosevelt's "pet crime". Barber apparently squirreled at least one away (now in the ANS), the others soon showed up in prominent collections. A roster of the known specimens include:
1) Mint, Smithsonian Institution
2) Lilly, Smithsonian Institution, probably one of 7 to 11 below.
3) Charles E. Barber, ANS
4) Theodore Roosevelt Museum.
5) Theodore Roosevelt, unnamed close personal friend, Ullmer:546, $200,000 to Manfra, Tordella and Brookes.
6) Clapp, Eliasberg 1021, $242,000, M. Brownlee for the Harry Bass Collection
7) Col. E. H. R. Green, Bell I, Stack's 1944, 867A
8) Kreisberg-Schulman 2/61: 1417.
9) Farouk: 296.
10) Kern: 626.
11) Saint-Gaudens, President Roosevelt, Cornelius Van Schaak Roosevelt, 1967 to Smithsonian Institution.
12) Inverted edge letters (edge reads with obverse up). Only three reported. 1956 ANA: 1773, Dr. Wilkison, Paramount, A-Mark, Auction '80:977, $230,000; Trompeter Estate.
13) Inverted edge letters, "Mint employee", Saint-Gaudens family, Captain Andrew North (in cased set), Stack's exhibited at 1956 ANA Convention, dispersed ca 1980, "The Rarest" New England Rare Coin Galleries, Boston Jubilee: 323, $175,000; Auction '85: 983, to Manfra Tordella & Brookes
14) Inverted edge letters, Kosoff Estate, 11/85:848.
15) Plain edge, cased set as #13 above, John Danruther, private collection, "The Rarest" (1980), Swiss Banking Corporation.

The above handful of coins represent, beyond doubt, the supreme triumph of medallic achievement at the Philadelphia Mint. Though issued over the most vigorous objections of Mint Engraver Barber, despite administrative and technical difficulties almost beyond belief, including officious interference overtly intended to sabotage the project, on behalf of the dying Saint-Gaudens, who never got to see any of the finished coins, but who is remembered for them today far more for his life size sculptures all over New England. The art expert Cornelius Vermeule has justly compared this issue to the Nike of Samothrace.

Lot 718

Half Eagle. 1815. Rarity-7. NGC graded MS-62. One of the highlights of the sale, and will certainly be a highlight in any collection this coin graces. Long known as one of the ultra-rarities, any sale with an 1815 Half Eagle becomes a standard reference for numismatists, as this date has been known as a key date for well over 100 years. The fields and devices show few signs of contact, a mark here or there, but nothing of consequence. Liberty's face has some minor signs of contact, and the fields have trivial hairlines. None of this matters, for this is one of the great premier rarities of the Half Eagle series. The grading services have only graded 4 coins in total, two of which have been graded higher. An excellent list of the known specimens appeared in Superior's Keston sale, January 1996, which enumerates only 11 coins, some of which may be duplicates, and three of which are permanently off the market. A foremost opportunity and worthy of the finest collection of Half Eagles.
Identifiable by a tiny mark on Liberty's chin, and by a small tick mark on the upper right serif of the N of UNITED. Boldly struck on Liberty's uppermost curls, and on the eagle and his claws. An amazing rarity very nearly in choice condition.

Lot 719

Half Eagle. 1828/7. NGC graded MS-63. This is the second finest graded of this extremely rare date. Attractive copper-orange toning around the stars and legends with more than 50% luster in the fields. A few stars are not quite fully struck, but the hair over Liberty's ear and hair waves around her cap are full and complete. Similar on the reverse, with the eagle, shield and lettering all fully struck.

Our consignor purchased this coin from Superior in 1996 from the famous Michael L. Keston Collection Sale, Lot 118, prior to that the coin was offered in Auction '80, Lot 927; and various Stack's sales including Wolfson, 1962; Baldenhofer, 1955; and Bell, 1944 and possibly in the DuPont holdings. One other specimen has been traced, it is the Suros 1999, which is believed to trace earlier to ANA 1976; Smith 1955; Farouk 1954; Lee 1947, Col. E. H. R. Green, Waldo C. Newcomber and Flanagan 1944 piece. These two coins were offered 8 times in Akers extensive survey of 331 auctions since 1921. The only other example is the Eliasberg specimen, from the John C. Clapp collection, earlier from Harlan P. Smith, Chapman Brothers, May 1906. One other big maybe is out there, and probably included above, the Parmelee coin, sold nearly 110 years ago. It is instructive to note that the collecting energy of the Garrett's was unsuccessful in locating a specimen during their decades of searching.

This is the second finest known of apparently four survivors in all, behind only the Suros piece by a point. A foremost rarity in any grade, and seldom offered. Here is an opportunity which eluded the Garrett's and one of the most significant rarities ever to be offered.

Rarer than the 1819 and on par with the 1822 and 1825/4 Half Eagle rarities. In NGC holder #576531-007.

Lot 896

Double Eagle. 1921. PCGS graded MS-64. PCGS graded Mint State 64. A fantastic example of this rarity! Blazing luster radiates from the fields, the strike is full and complete. A glass will locate some minor tick marks, but most are hidden on the design elements, so the fields and devices remain far and away better than all but a single higher grade coin. PCGS has only graded 3 coins this high, with NGC awarding the MS-64 grade to only 2. With a single gem known, that makes this coin the highest available. As with the 1920-S rarity, the bulk of this date were melted in 1933, and virtually none were saved in any grade.

Lot 917

1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 Round. PCGS graded MS-65. A superb frosty mint gem, spot-free and spectacular in every way. Here is your opportunity to purchase the ultimate in commemorative coinage. Only 483 of these massive gold coins were issued and this splendid example certinaly ranks with the finest. PCGS has graded but 4 at this level and none higher.
All of America's fairs and expositions are built around a central theme. For 1915, the fair organizers chose the discovery of the Pacific Ocean and the completion of the Panama Canal, in 1914, as their themes.

Lot 916

1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 Octagonal. PCGS graded MS-65. A superlative example of the "King of Commemorative Coins." This beauty is a numismatic prize. The surface textures are smooth, spot-free, and frosty throughout. The mellow orange color gold gives added appeal. Premium examples of this coin are very difficult to come by, gems are almost non existant. PCGS has graded but 5 at this level and none higher.

Lot 895

Double Eagle. 1920-S. NGC graded MS-64. This is one of America's most acclaimed gold rarities. And clearly this is one of the very best, as only 6 have been graded this high, with a single coin graded higher! Frosty luster in the fields, with boldly struck devices and pristine, undiminished surfaces. All is graced with a delicate rosy pink color to confirm the original, untouched nature of this spectacular coin. Identifiable by a tiny nick just on the rim above the last A of AMERICA, and currently in NGC holder #225269-001.

Double Eagle mintage stopped during the war years of 1917-19, and mintage began with the 1920-S, however, most of these were later melted in the gold call in of 1933, with very few indeed being saved by collectors. There just aren't enough to go around today, and virtually none in high grades like the present coin. A fabulous opportunity!

Lot 498

Morgan Dollar. 1895. NGC graded Proof 67. We are proud to present the "King of the Morgan's" the 1895 in superb Gem Proof condition. Not only is this the date that everyone needs, and no one seems to have, but this coin is one of the top handful known. Only 7 have been so graded by NGC, with a scant 4 graded higher. It has long been assumed that the original mintage of 12,000 coins struck for circulation somehow all ended up in the melting pot in 1918 when most of the surplus Morgan Silver Dollars were melted under the Pittman act. Therefore, collectors who wanted a complete date set had to purchase one of the 880 Proofs. That has keep decades of high price pressure on these Proofs.
For years, Morgan Silver Dollars have been one of the most popular series with collectors, many people retain a handful from circulation, or purchased some from the General Services Administration a few decades ago. Attend any small or large coin show and virtually every dealer has Morgan Dollars, which are common in every state of preservation, including Mint State. Many collectors begin with a date set, but are nearly always stumped when it comes to paying the big money for an 1895. As collectors advance in wealth and begin to round out their date sets, the 1895 always seems to be the one that everyone needs, but no one has. For every one of these that turn up, most go away without ever obtaining one of these rarities. Wise collectors know that this is a "blue chip" coin that will always be in feverish demand, especially in such a rarified grade as Proof 67. One of the great American classics in pristine condition.
Free of hairlines or other detriments, superbly struck and preserved in every regard. In NGC holder #668476-003.

Lot 236

Dime. 1796. NGC graded MS-66. JR-1, Rarity-3. NGC graded Mint State 66. One of the very finest known of this first year of issue, and decidedly rare in this grade. In fact, NGC has only graded 6 this high, with none graded higher. The coin itself is lightly toned on the obverse, with deeper colors around the periphery, the inner fields and Liberty herself show a delicate gold tone which only enhances the devices featured. Turning to the reverse, the eye is greeted by an ocean of blues and greens with the central area and the eagle gold and rose in color. Blazing luster in the fields, which is undiminished by the toning. Well struck for the issue, with a hint of weakness on Liberty's neck and on the eagle's chest. Of course, one of the main features of this coin is the remarkable grade, a choice gem 66, which means there are virtually no signs of contact anywhere on the surfaces. How this coin has come down to us may never be known, but the fact remains that it is here, virtually untouched since the day it was struck, and only graced by lovely toning colors.
This particular variety has a small lump near the first star on the obverse, this was caused by a bubble in the obverse die, which collapsed very early in the dies life, only a single coin is known without this familiar die lump. All others struck show evidence of this curious die feature. As a variety, this is one of the more "common" varieties of the date, but truly no 1796 Dime can be considered "common". All are scarce and have been eagerly sought out by collectors for decades, not only as the first year of issue of the denomination, but as an important two year type coin. A superb coin in every way and worthy of the finest collection.

Lot 893

Double Eagle. 1912. Matte Proof 67. A rare and desirable gem Matte Proof in pristine condition. One of only 74 struck, probably very few of which remain in grades even approaching this stunning coin. One tiny copper spot is noted in the left obverse field for pedigree tracing, just below Liberty's longest hair end tip. Matte proofs were made by coating the dies with a special powder which gives the coins a subdued or soft appearance on both the fields and devices rather than the harsh mirroring in the fields against the frosted devices. The matte proofing process lasted several years in various countries, then mints returned to the mirror finishes more familiar with most collectors. A foremost rarity in a remarkable state of preservation. Be sure to view this beauty before the sale.

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