Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 25

Lot 2618

1920-S $10 Indian. PCGS graded MS-65 PQ. Here is a magnificent Gem Brilliant Uncirculated example of this highly important date. There is some evidence of central striking softness noted by the weakness in the letter Y in LIBERTY as is almost always the case of this date. This stunning gem has velvet-like olive-golden fields and undisturbed golden-orange luster about the borders acting like a frame around the coin. The surfaces are absolutely free from all but the most trivial of imperfections, so much so that we have deemed this "Premium Quality" for the assigned numerical grade. We also have no reservations stating that this coin is easily among the finest known. Pop of 2 with 1 higher by a single point

The 1920-S in the William Thomas Michaels auction, Stacks 1-21-04 lot 3028, was previously in the Stack's 9/11/2001 auction, which our consignor acquired as a duplicate. Before selling that coin to a Beverly Hills dealer, both coins were laid side by side and our owner kept the finer example (which is the present offering). When you compare this example with the photo in the Stacks catalog, one can easily observe the weakness in the TY of LIBERTY as well as the marks on the cheek. The specimen offered here is considerably sharper and has a cleaner cheek. The other coin was graded by PCGS as MS-66. We strongly feel this coin should be resubmitted to PCGS for upgrading (PCGS # 8881) .
Estimated Value $150,000 - 185,000.

Lot 2359

1836 Pattern Dollar. Silver, plain edge. PCGS graded Proof 65 PQ. 1836 Pattern Dollar by Christian Gobrecht. Silver, plain edge. Judd-65. Pollock-68. Rarity-8.

A superb iridescent tone on top of essentially flawless mirrored surfaces makes for a simply stunning specimen, newly discovered for the numismatic fraternity. As well, this marvelous coin is the finer of just two certified by the grading services, outstripping in eye-appeal and also in technical quality the only other specimen available to collectors, the NGC graded PR-64 coin sold in May 2003 as part of the L.K. Rudolph Collection of silver dollars sold by Stack's (for $184,000); that coin has since been removed from the NGC Census and appears in the PCGS Population Report, again as PR-64. Hence the population of Judd-65 is 2.

The currently offered specimen, decidedly the finer of the two known in the population reports, is now making its first appearance on the numismatic marketplace since "disappearing" into a collection in the 1920s! It had been purchased at that time from a "major dealer" and has not been seen since, in some 80 years.

The latest edition of the Judd reference (edited by Q. David Bowers) calls heavily upon the details supplied by Walter Breen in his massive "Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins," in which, on pages 433-434, Breen explains the origins, instant popularity of the design, and the long-established rarity of not only the series of Gobrecht dollars as a class but also selected issues, both originals and restrikes. His comments should be reviewed by prospective owners of this coin, for they place this important specimen in perspective and illuminate the blunt allure of this coin.

Pertinent details from both Breen and Judd include these: this coin has a Plain Edge, there are no stars in the field of either side, the engraver's signature "C. GOBRECHT. F." ("fecit," made it) occurs in recessed form on Miss Liberty's rock, and the eagle is flying upward to the left, this latter indicating a die first used for restrikes in 1838. The literature suggests that, while in the past the "restrike nature" of such coins was often veiled for fear it could be mistaken for a coin of lesser significance, modern research has shown decisively that certain Gobrecht dollars, including Judd-65, exist only as restrikes and are, in themselves, major rarities. They are part of a complicated series featuring both currency-only and Proof-only specimens, both types having "lost" examples to hard times, when even fine collector pieces went into commercial circulation.

Technically, as Breen so well explains, Judd-65 is a mule, a combination of an early 1836 die with the starless reverse of 1838. A smidgeon of die-rust in the field just to the left of Miss Liberty's face is present here as well as on the Garrett specimen, the only other specimen seen, obviously in minuscule numbers (it does not get much fewer than two, after all). One of the charming details associated with this coin seems to be fading from memory amid the numerous technical facts cited by the references; and that detail is this, that the glorious Flying Eagle was modeled directly from an ancient resident of the Philadelphia Mint, "Peter the mint eagle," whose stuffed body remained on view at the old Philadelphia Mint on Spring Garden Street for over a century, this cataloguer seeing it in person in the early 1960s!

Judd-65 is one of the rarest of all Gobrecht dollars. Not only that, but its design, showing the engraver's signature, hales back to the very origins of this short-lived, inspiring series. As Breen states, this signature was initially viewed as artistic "arrogance" by some Vips, even though Mint Director Patterson had approved its use. Gobrecht was following the long tradition in Europe of proudly signing a work of numismatic art. The original 1836 circulation-strikes had his signature, but a number of Proofs and restrikes did not. Restrikes with the "name on base" are among the most desirable of the Gobrecht issues.

In considering the desirability of this coin, remember that only one other example has appeared for sale during almost a century's span. That piece, the PR-64 mentioned above, prior to being in the Rudolph sale, had made the following appearances: Bowers & Merena, Clemente sale, May 1994, lot 1058; Bowers & Merena, 1987 ANA sale, August of that year, lot 1504; Bowers & Ruddy, Garrett II sale, March 1980, lot 700; previously it had belonged in W. Elliot Woodward's 58th Sale (late 19th century).

The presently offered example has been off the numismatic market since the 1920s, having just resurfaced and being freshly graded PR65 by PCGS. That places it at the top of the Pop Report, but to be fully appreciated this coin has to be viewed in person. Wonderful as our color photos are, online and in print, they do not do justice to the sparkle and awesome originality of this exquisite Gobrecht dollar rarity (PCGS # 11249) .
Estimated Value $175,000 - 225,000.

Lot 2360

1838 Pattern Dollar. Silver, reeded edge. Restrike. PCGS graded Proof 64 PQ. Among the finest known examples of this classic pattern, this coin, in addition to its high technical "number grade," also possesses a special eye-appeal not enjoyed by most of the few other Judd-84 coins in existence. It has come to market from the same old source as the marvelous Judd-65 dollar in this sale, and is now making an unusually rare auction appearance. Its wonderful iridescent sea-green and silvery gray toning is made all the more intense by the shimmering reflectivity of its mirrored surfaces. Beneath this gossamer sheath of toning lies a brilliant intensity of "mint bloom" such as is seen on few other early Proofs, including most Gobrechts. We recommend personal inspection, for one look will convince any viewer of this coin's instant visual appeal.

Perhaps 60 or even 80 examples of this die combination are known, including an estimated uncertified group of 20 to 40 coins which are far from perfect, having been studied many times or carried as pocket-pieces and cherished as mementos of their era without regard to how the coins might suffer from such care. Among the better pieces are some 37 graded by PCGS and NGC, although those Pop Reports can frequently include the same coin submitted more than once but not so recorded.

Some technical details seem in order, and follow here: an extremely fine die-crack shows above MERI on reverse, and the Die Alignment is #3. From the website we gleaned the following interesting details: researchers Michael Carboneau and James Gray, who have checked the die-alignment of numerous Gobrechts, draw these conclusions about Judd-84: "Based on our research, it appears that the first set of 1838 dollars were probably made in die alignment IV, not die alignment I; and were probably struck in 1838 and/or 1839 from perfect reverse dies, making these coins either 'originals' or 'second originals' (using the terminology that is frequently applied to the issue of 1837). It is also noted that nearly all 1838 dollars have been observed in die alignment III orientation. However, a few die alignment IV coins are known (e.g., the Norweb specimen). No 1838 dollar is believed to have been deposited into the U.S. banking system. Therefore all 1838 dollars can be considered patterns; most of which are restrikes sold to collectors in the late 1850's and 1860's." Mintage is unknown, they continue, but "1838 dollars are significantly more rare than 1839 dollars." Many others share this opinion, of course, although 1839 is certainly "a rare bird" for most collectors.

Our lovely PR-64 Judd-84 Gobrecht dollar is apparently among the nicest 10 in existence. The L.K. Rudolph coin sold by Stack's in May 2003, PCGS graded PR-65, sold for $54,625. The Eliasberg "PR-64" (slabbing did not exist when that collection was sold) ended up graded PR-65 by NGC but that coin was very dark, and in our opinion lacked the sparkling eye-appeal of the presently offered coin. The top examples of this pattern from both grading services are all in the 64 to 65 range. We feel eye-appeal is of great significance, particularly in the large dollar patterns, and that this lovely coin could set a record, considering its splendid look and the significant rarity which marks its stature in American numismatic lore. In a word, a "great" coin! (PCGS # 11352) .
Estimated Value $75,000 - 100,000.

Lot 2614

1913-S $10 Indian. PCGS graded MS-64 PQ. Here is an absolutely glorious example of this sought-after date. The strike is as sharp as anyone could reasonably hope for and the lustrous surfaces are remarkably free from abrasions thus our "Premium Quality" designation. The rich golden-orange fields and devices are drenched in velvet-like mint bloom. There is only a very limited number of choice uncirculated specimens extant and in the gem category such as this, it becomes excessively rare. This PQ beauty sits high within the Condition Census. Pop of 11 with 2 in MS-65 and 1 in MS-66 (PCGS # 8874) .
Estimated Value $50,000 - 60,000.

Lot 2397

1802 $2.50 Capped Bust. 2 over 1. NGC graded MS-63. A choice, bright-yellow example with nice, coppery toning on both sides. Typical central weakness, as seen on most examples of this date. Free from any adjustment marks. One of the top dozen survivors out of an original mintage of a mere 3,035 coins. NGC reports 9 in this grade, exceeded only by a single MS-65 (most likely the Pittman coin). Nice, original early gold such as this specimen is truly rare and being devoured up by increasing demand.

Although called an 1802/1 overdate, close examination of this high grade example shows no trace of an underlying 1. Admittedly, a thin line connects the upper tip of the 2 with the curve beneath, but this appears to be more of a die defect than an undertype. Breen also questioned this "overdate", noting that the only reason it is considered at all is because of the 1802/1 Half Eagle, which is a true overdate.
Estimated Value $35,000 - 40,000.

Lot 609

1942 Mercury Dime. 2 over 1. PCGS graded MS-66 Full Bands. A fabulous treasure from the Joshua II collection, the finest collection of Mercury Dimes ever assembled. This piece also hails from the William Dominick collection, which was the finest collection prior to the rise of Joshua II. First, the coin: this is a pure white example with just a tinge of golden color forming on both sides. The strike is excellent and the overall quality is perfectly consistent with the assigned grade. If you had no idea as to the date, you'd agree this is a pretty coin, but knowing that this is the rare overdate elicits adjectives like "amazing" or "spectacular" or simply "wow." PCGS reports six examples in this grade, with none finer. Second, the collection from whence it came: the story of the Joshua II collection is best told by its owner, who makes the following comments on the PCGS website: "After assembling the Joshua collection of Mercury Dimes that was auctioned off by Heritage at their October 2000 Long Beach Sale, this collector decided to put together another set that would be the finest set of all time. Within 15 months the Joshua II collection was completed with a higher ranking than the famous Dominick collection. This set boasts all the key dates in the highest condition available - 1916-D MS67FB, 1918-D MS66FB, 1918-S MS67FB, 1919-D MS66FB, 1920-S, 25-S in 67FB and the 1923-S in MS66FB. Only two coins in the entire set have a grade of MS65FB. A total of 74 coins are the finest known. 28 coins are MS68FB or better and 38 of the coins are MS67FB. While the set is now the finest known it is not finished. The set now has an average grade of 67.19 [out of a possible 70]." The set is still listed on the PCGS Registry, now with an amazing weighted grade of 68.97!

If you're competing in the Set Registry competition for Mercury Dimes, why not add the 1942/1 overdate that helped Joshua II make it to the very top. The PCGS population reports but 6 in this grade with none better (PCGS # 5037) .
Estimated Value $40,000 - 45,000.

Lot 2492

1812 $5 Capped Draped Bust. Miller 117, Breen-1A, Large Date, Close 5D. NGC graded MS-65. A gem example of the popular Capped Bust type. Frosty, lustrous surfaces and a sunny, yellow color. Boldly struck details. Tied with 9 others as the finest graded by NGC (doubtless, with some duplication). The only finer example is a PCGS MS-66, offered in the 1999 issue of Coin World for $175,000 (you can buy this one for less)! For a comparable piece, we note that the Bass coin realized $35,650 when it reappeared on the market in 2002 (then in a PCGS MS-65 holder).
Estimated Value $35,000 - 40,000.

Lot 2289

Russia. Ruble, 1839-SPB NG. Dav-283; Cr-168.1; Sev-3305. Nicholas I. The rarest date Russian ruble, appears only in the finest collections. PCGS graded MS-62.
Estimated Value $30,000-UP.

Lot 2482

1795 $5 Capped Bust. Small eagle. PCGS graded AU-55 PQ. A boldly struck example of our first half eagle with fully defined hair details and only a touch of light friction on the highest points. The planchet is unusually clean with no problems of any kind. This beauty is loaded with mint luster with a hint of delicate golden-orange toning about the extreme borders, thus our Premium Quality designation. Pop of 55 in this grade (PCGS # 8066) .
Estimated Value $19,000 - 22,000.
The Dr. Cliffford E. Smith Collection by Stacks, Metropolitan N.Y. Convention, May 6-8, 1955 Lot 1717.

Lot 803

1795 Flowing Hair Dollar. Silver plug. B-3, BB-11. NGC graded AU-50. 2 leaves reverse. Beautifully toned in lilac-gray, with plenty of untoned areas that reveal the underlying mint luster. Even more important, the silver plug is readily visible on both sides, mostly because the plug has toned to a darker color than the surrounding metal. Magnification reveals a tiny seam around most of the plug on the obverse. However, on the reverse, the seam has been pretty well obliterated by the strike. Apart from being a nice type coin, we point out that this is the finest example of this variety yet graded by NGC.

The purpose of the plug has not yet been determined. Sadly, no mention was ever made in the Mint records. Some experts believe the plug was used to raise the purity of the silver; others believe it was used to raise the weight of the coin. Whatever the purpose, silver plugs have been the object of intense demand and scrutiny. Surprisingly, "plugged dollars" have been with us since 1794, yet they seem to have gone unnoticed until recent years and new discoveries are being made every year. Even so, as far as plugs go, this is the most obvious one we've encountered.
Estimated Value $30,000 - 40,000.

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