Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

Lot 796

1795 S-79 R7 Reeded Edge PCGS graded Genuine. Sharpness VG7 or slightly better but lightly corroded. The roughness is fairly uniform but does not extend to the highpoints, which are smooth. There are traces of shallow verdigris on both sides, but the verdigris is barely visible with a glass and does not detract from the eye appeal. There are a few contact marks hidden in the patina. These include a pair of parallel nicks or short scratches at the bottom of the cap into the hair and a few minor disturbances around the rims, the notable one a small rim bruise under the 9 in the date. The date and design elements remain visible in spite of the imperfect surfaces. The date is clear and easily readable and the legends are complete, although some letters on the reverse are weakened by the roughness. The color is a rather glossy dark olive and chocolate brown with lighter chocolate and steel brown toning on the highpoints. The contrast in toning helps accent the date and major design details, and this adds to the eye appeal. The all-important edge reeding is clearly visible, especially before the face where the reeds are relatively strong. The purpose for the reeding is speculative. Walter Breen suggested the reeding was "an experiment which proved to be a needless frill, adding to the cost of manufacture without compensatory advantage." Nicely expressed. Other experts have offered similar opinions while some have taken it a step farther proposing that the reeding was added to help identify cents struck under the new 168-grain standard that was adopted at the end of 1795 (versus the previous 208-grain standard). We may never know the "official" reason for the reeding, but we do know the "Reeded Edge" variety is a genuine mint product since the reverse die was subsequently used to produce 6 different 1796 Draped Bust varieties (Sheldon numbers 106 through 111). The obverse die, however, was used only in this S-79 die marriage. The Sheldon-79 Reeded Edge die variety has long been considered the most famous variety in the entire series of early US Large Cents, and it is the undisputed "key" to completing a collection of the numbered Sheldon die varieties of 1793-1814 cents. The currently accepted population of this variety includes only 8 examples while 2 more are rumored to exist but remain highly doubtful. And all of those pieces are in relatively low grade with most suffering from significant surface defects. The piece offered here is a new discovery that came to light after our sale of the finest known S-79 cent from the Dan Holmes collection (our auction, 6 Sept 2009, lot 128). The Holmes coin, graded by PCGS as VG10 but considered by us to grade VG8, realized an astonishing $1,265,000.00, a world record for any US large cent. A PCGS graded G4 example of the S-79 variety with less detail than the piece being offered here realized $402,500.00 as lot 1143 in the Bowers & Merena auction of 11/20/2008. Bill Noyes grades this piece net G4+ "average" and his condition census of the 8 known examples is 8-7-5(2)-4+ (this coin)-4-1-X. The VG7 is impounded in the ANS Museum, the Basal State-1 is a heavily corroded example that is barely identifiable without any visible edge reeding, and the "X" is a holed obverse brockage impression. If you are holding out for a choice example, perhaps a lottery ticket would offer better odds for success. The PCGS grading label identifies this piece as the Sheldon-79 Reeded Edge variety. Our grade is net G4+.
Estimated Value $200,000-UP.
Discovered by John Baker in a group of unattributed coins given to him by his father years ago.

Lot 2852

1834 $5 Capped Head. Plain 4. NGC graded MS-65. A magnificent example of this major U.S. rarity! Boldly struck throughout except for a touch of softness on some of the outer obverse stars as is consistant with all known examples. Less than 40 known in all grades with far fewer auction appearances than the Crosslet 4 variety which in the past, was considered the rarer of the two varieties for the year. Fully lustrous with rich golden-orange mint color. An incredible example of this rare coin.

By 1834, and actually long before, the authorities realized that gold coinage production could not continue as before. The gold content actually exceeded the face value of the coins the U.S. was minting! Congress passed new legislation lowering the weight of all our gold coinage, promoting renewed circulation. The Act of June 28, 1834, which was to take effect on August 1, specified a new weight of 129 grains of standard gold for the half eagle (versus 135 grains for the old tenor coins). The same Act specified that half eagles coined previously were to be receivable at the rate of 94.8 cents per pennyweight, or $5.095 each, close to the actual market value at the time. (At the same time, the Bechtler family, producers of private gold coinage in the Carolinas, adjusted the weight of their own coinage to meet the Federal standard.)

Few examples of the 1834 Capped Head half eagle survive today, and seldom are they found in grades finer than MS63, however this piece is the single finest example that has been seen by both services. It is a very sharply struck, save for several of the star centrils, with fully brilliant, Prooflike surfaces and a light cameo cameo contrast. The surfaces have bright greenish-gold color displaying only a few tiny blemishes. Searching for pedigrees can sometimes be a difficult task, especially when the coin is nice enough to have few visible pedigree markers. A few degrees of clockwise die rotation is also noted. We have handled only a few other high-grade 1834 Capped Head half eagles in the past dozen years, and this example is clearly the finest we have ever offered and the finest known to the grading services Pop 1; none finer at either services thus a candidate for finest known! (PCGS # 8160) .

Historic note: Arno Safran, writing in the November 15, 1993 issues of Coin World describes the problem with keeping the five dollar gold pieces in circulation, and their subsequent rarity:

"Half eagles bearing the Scot-modified Capped Head design (1813-29) and the further modified, smaller-size pieces by Kneass (1829-34) are the scarcest types for this denomination. Most of the mintages were either melted by the government or left the country soon after being released into circulation because miscalculations by Treasury officials regarding the ratio between gold and silver were skewed in favor of the yellow metal."

From 1829 to 1834, explains distinguished author Neil Carothers in his seminal book Fractional Money, published in 1930, the question of currency reform was constantly agitated. Forty years after the establishment of the mint the coinage system was a discreditable failure. There were three elements in the problem, the circulation of bank notes issued by a host of state banks of every degree of financial integrity, the disappearance of gold as the result of an adverse coinage ratio [15 to 1], and the continued circulation of a non-decimal foreign silver coinage [chiefly Spanish and Mexican] of degenerate condition. The bank note question and the problem of gold coinage were, perhaps, of the more fundamental importance, but the problem of the fractional currency was more immediately pressing and more intimately bound up with the customs and daily life of the people.

In June 1834 a coinage bill became law that altered the situation and did nothing to solve the problem of a shortage of small silver coins. This bill's effect lasted the greater part of two decades; until, that is, the gold discoveries of the California gold rush upset the gold to silver balance once more. The essential provision of the bill of 1834 reduced the weight of the standard gold dollar from 24.75 grains of fine metal to 23.2 grain. In effect, this changed the coinage ratio from 15 to 1 to 16.002 to 1. From a legal standpoint the law was a debasement of the currency by approximately 3 percent. From the standpoint of the fractional coinage it was an egregious blunder. By giving gold a higher value as coin than it could command in the arts Congress had deliberately provided for the cessation of silver coinage. It had virtually adopted the gold standard without any provision for a small change currency!
Estimated Value $150,000-UP.

Lot 2303

Kingdom of Macedon. Alexander III, the Great, 336-323 BC. Gold Distater (17.24 g) minted at Amphipolis, c. 330-320 or c. 323-316 BC. Head right of Athena wearing triple-crested helmet, decorated with snake. Reverse: Nike standing left, holding wreath and stylis; in lower left field, trident. Price 171 (Macedonia); Troxell 543. Much luster present, with obverse struck in high relief

A stunning example, with choice centering, and well struck in high relief from among the finest dies in the series. Superb, Nearly Mint State.

Similar to the Millenium specimen (Goldberg May 26, '08, lot 19), which realized $200,000 plus premium. Struck from the same dies as the Millenium example.
Estimated Value $70,000 - 80,000.
Ex Triton XII (5 I 09), lot 175; NFA I (20 III 75), lot 82; the Extremely Important Greek Hoard [Paeonian Hoard], Parke-Bernet (9 XII 69), lot 140; Paeonia 1968 Hoard (IGCH 410; CH I, 40).

Lot 2980

1870 $10 Liberty. NGC graded Proof 65 Ultra Cameo. A lovely untoned example. 35 Proofs struck. It is not often that we handle any specific date in the Proof Liberty Eagle series, but the 1870 is an issue that we rarely see offered. To put it in its proper relationship to others in the series, this specimen is an extremely rare Gem Proof and years may pass before another is offered for sale. It is the sort of coin that gives one a feeling of anticipation! Possibly as few as 10-12 pieces from the original mintage survive to the present day. A stunning piece of 19th century Proof gold.

The fields have almost unimaginably deep mirror reflectivity and seem to ripple with an inner force of their own when the viewer angles the coin just so in the light. Contrasted against the fields, the devices are well frosted, indeed "ultra frosted", which yields a strong cameo contrast. There are no mentionable defects on either side of this exceptional coin barring a small toning area by the date. This is clearly one of the finest known, its low population offering confirmation. The overall surfaces attest to this coin's attractiveness and go far toward explaining why any serious bidder should chose this particular example for his collection. The coin is irreproachable in its originality. Pop 2; none finer at NGC.
Estimated Value $65,000 - 75,000.

Lot 1447

1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime. . LM-10, V-4. NGC graded MS-66. Star. Lovely rainbow toning on both sides. A beautiful coin. The variety is confirmed by the presence of a single outer berry below the eagle's left (facing) wing. Die cud over TY and adjacent star. A superlative gem specimen of this Flowing Hair type, one of the handsomest, original toned Flowing Hair half dimes we have had the pleasure to offer in our sales.

There is everything satisfying and positive to report here! A coin with soul: The obverse exhibits deep steel-with-blue toning, iridescent as well as attractive, which changes to still deep and saturated russet & purple toward the center before yielding to full-strength silvery brightness. A very pleasing balance of colors. The luster is impeccable, as well, with thorough satiny cartwheel on both sides. The strike is bold enough to impress us and then some. This includes all of Liberty's hair strands which stand out forcefully except for the lowest curl. For its part, the eagle sports much of its feathers but for there are a few missing ones at the absolute center and on the upper wings. The eye appeal is dramatic. Careful scrutiny reveals the immaculate surfaces one would expect for the MS66 grade. Pop 2; 6 finer.
Estimated Value $55,000 - 60,000.

Lot 3404

1915-S $50 Octagonal Pan Pac. NGC graded MS-64. Only 645 pieces struck. Light golden toning. Very choice for the grade, with the fields displaying smooth almost velvet-like surfaces from the way the dies were prepared. The trendy effect was new and innovative in those days and it shows its finest here on these large format $50 coins. The Mint Act of January 16, 1915 authorized a fifty dollar gold piece along with a gold $1, a gold quarter eagle, and a silver half dollar to commemorate the Panama-Pacific International Exposition scheduled to open in San Francisco that year. Proceeds from sale of the commemorative coins would be used to defray the cost of exposition. Several events are commemorated, including the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.

Both $50 gold pieces were the achievement of Robert Aitken. Since nearly all went to wealthy individuals who were not necessarily coin collectors, a fair number of the coin were handled (or even mishandled) by their owners or heirs. With this in mind, is it any wonder why so few Choice examples of the octagonal motif survive today? A significant number were cleaned. This lovely MS63 is a perfect selection to represent the Octabonal $50 format. The coin displays beautiful soft golden color and radiates a pure satiny luster. No observable blemishes are reported, making this an impressive specimen for the well-heeled numismatist; one of the most desirable issues in the U.S. Commemorative series.

Note:). On the octagonal issue and only on this issue, there appear 8 sporting dolphins around the inner margin at the 8 corners on either side.
Estimated Value $55,000 - 60,000.
The Estate of Winthrop A. Haviland, Jr.

Lot 3183

1907 $20 St. Gaudens. High relief, flat rim. NGC graded MS-66. Well struck and untoned. In a new 4 prog NGC holder. An elegantly beautiful example of this award-winning MCMVII coin, a satiny gem with healthy glowing yellow surfaces plus a nuance of shimmering iridescence. Crisply detailed and attractive, a coin that shows the designer's mastery of design in its finest light. The high-relief format was a difficult one to work with, but Saint-Gaudens met the challenge.

Best of all, the new PCGS holder allows for complete examination of the edge of the coin as well as the main features on the obverse and reverse. The Saint-Gaudens $20s are the first lettered edge coins issued by the United States (there had been some Pattern trials of a silver dollar made back in 1885 but nothing came of the experiment). On the edge in raised letters is E PLURIBUS UNUM with stars separating the words.

The High Relief Roman Numerals pieces have been treasured for decades by numismatists and art connoisseurs for their imaginative theme as well as the prestige that owing one confers. Fortunately, enough first-rate Gems were saved to afford today's well-established buyers a constant stream of coins in this grade. When a gorgeous gem such as the present example gets the call from the auctioneer, the level of excitement in the room begins to rise, since many bidders desire the finest pieces for their collections. The present example is among the most beautiful, satiny MS66 examples seen by NGC or we miss our guess. Need we say more? Pop 54; 20 finer.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.

Lot 1826

1895 Morgan Dollar. PCGS graded Proof 65 Cameo PQ. A popular key date. Proof-only. Mostly untoned and very attractive. This splendid Gem combines vibrant silvery iridescence highlighting the devices while being surrounded by pools of deep mirror reflection from the field on both sides. Of all Morgan Silver Dollar dates including the major varieties, the 1895 has by far the lowest mintage. Just 880 Proofs were struck, plus, it seems, no circulation strikes at all. For many years a circulation-strike mintage figure of 12,000 was bandied about in print, but Henry T. Hettger and numismatic author Q. David Bowers effectively put the kibosh on that idea a few years back, based upon Hettger's research in the National Archives. Indeed, although the information was lost to a later generation of numismatists, they were able to find scattered references soon after the 1895 was minted that only Proofs were struck.

Today it may be that 600 to 700 Proofs survive from the original mintage. Most are lower grades, however, and a fair percentage of them have been dipped to make them appear "brilliant." The present coin, while it has a few trivial hairlines, is a solid Gem, almost pristine in its overall appearance; breathtaking, beautiful and, indeed, one of the finest Proof 65 specimens we have ever offered. The eye appeal as offered here is finer than on some "ordinary" Proof 66s we've seen. However, it is your money that backs up your bid, so examine it and decide for yourself. Pop 10; 7 finer (PCGS # 87330) .
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.
The Cypress Estate.

Lot 2841

1879. Flowing hair "Stella". ANACS graded Details of AU-58 Cleaned. J-1635 Restrike. Rarity 2. A pleasing example of this popular American rarity. The four dollar gold piece, or Stella, is one of the most prestigious and sought-after United States gold coins. The derivation of the term Stella is one that, while often repeated in numismatic circles, is not completely understood by many. Rather than use a weight-standard for the monetary measure, such as ounce, grain, or gram, when gold coins were first struck in the U.S. Mint in 1795, they were based on a unit of value called the 'eagle.' The eagle was equal in value to ten dollars and it also had a factual design of an eagle on one side. The "dollar" itself was based on a specific weight in metal, either silver or gold. If the eagle is worth ten dollars, it would follow that a half eagle would be worth half that amount, a quarter eagle two and a half dollars, and so on.

The four dollar gold piece, when it came along in 1879-80 (the new denomination was proposed by John Kasson as an international metric coin), was also a new base unit for gold coins, so they called it a Stella. Similar to the eagle on other gold coins denominated on the ten dollar gold standard, the statutory "Stella" has a star on the reverse, since 'Stella' means star in Latin. Charles Barber engraved the dies for the Flowing Hair Stella in 1879, although he modified a design earlier done by his father, William Barber, from the previous year (the father died in August of 1879).

Around the obverse is an abbreviation of the weight and content of the metal contained therein: 6 G[old] 3 S[ilver] .7 C[opper] 7 GRAMS all punctuated by five-pointed stars (naturally). Liberty's hair is confined at the top by a simple ribbon with a pearl or button at the forehead, inscribed LIBERTY. For the first time on the United States Pattern coin, a new motto was introduced on the Stella, and it appears around the star: DEO EST GLORIA. On the star itself, the denomination ONE / STELLA / 400 / CENTS while below, for the third time, FOUR DOL.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 55,000.
The Estate of Winthrop A. Haviland, Jr.

Lot 2419

Great Britain. Triple Unite, 1642. B-J II/S4; Br-831; N-2381; S.2724; Fr-258. Charles I, 1625-1649. Oxford mint. Mint mark, plumelet obverse only. Obverse: Crowned half-length figure of king left touches rim but elbow does not break inner circle. Reverse: Declaration RELIG.PROT.LEG ANG. LIBER.PAR in three wavy lines, value and three plumes above, date below, group of seven pellets after INIMICI. Striking splits normal with this extremely rare die. NGC graded EF-45.
Estimated Value $50,000 - 60,000.

Home | Current Sale | Calendar of Events | Bidding | Consign | About Us | Contact | Archives | Log In

US Coins & Currency | World & Ancient Coins | Manuscripts & Collectibles | Bonded CA Auctioneers No. 3S9543300
11400 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite 800, Los Angeles CA 90064 | 310. 551.2646 ph | 310.551.2626 fx | 800.978.2646 toll free

© 2011 Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, All Rights Reserved