Goldberg Coins and Collectibles



Sale 75



 
Lot 2158

1795. BD-4, Breen-6830, Taraszka-4. NGC graded MS-64. A trifle soft in the center and some light adjustment marks across the eagle's breast feathers. The lustrous surfaces are quite reflective.

Dies identifiable by 5 in date being free from bust, and a leaf distant from U(NITED) on the reverse. Reverse die state b in which there are more advanced cracks and a larger lump left of A(MERICA), but not yet lapped.

This astonishing (and quite beautiful) early eagle is a highlight in the sale. Early ten dollar gold pieces were given the name 'eagle,' at the time the Coinage Act of 1792 was enacted. Until 1849, Eagles were the largest gold coins produced by the first U.S. Mint; the first series is from 1795 through 1797 and displays a small eagle reverse. Like all early gold coins, these pieces did not carry a denomination as part of the design. John Dannreuther explains: 'The eagle was the second gold denomination struck by the United States Mint. Calling it a denomination is actually a misnomer. Even though a gold eagle was denominated as a ten-dollar coin, our forefathers traded gold by the tale. [Tale, in this instance, means count or tally, a number of things taken together (i.e., the weight and purity of an individual coin).] The weight and purity were the only things important to merchants and individuals -- money was gold, and gold was money. In most cases, transactions of even a nominal sum had to be settled in gold, especially whenever governments were involved. There really was no need at first for a stated denomination on either gold or silver coins, because it was known that our coins would be under extreme scrutiny and would likely be assayed by foreign mints and others as to their weight and purity.' (At the time, British gold coins also did not carry a standard denomination.)

"In his new reference, Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties, Dannreuther provides estimated mintages for every variety, as well as estimates of the number of survivors for each variety. What is known for sure is that the number of die marriages known from 1795 through 1804 (32) and the total mintage for that period (132,714 coins including 122 pieces reserved for assay). By using the midpoint of Dannreuther's survival estimates, we can also establish an approximate survival rate for the series of 2.5%."

Many of the Mint State 1795 Eagles have Prooflike tendencies, much like this coin does. Although the fields are not deeply mirrored, they are clearly reflective. The surfaces are excellent and almost totally mark-free with only a few scattered abrasions as noted. Faint adjustment marks are evident at the center of the reverse, and also on some of the reverse denticles. All of the design features on both sides are boldly made as though given an extra strong blow from the dies. This example is a relatively late die state of the variety, which is especially noted in the advanced stage of the lump in the reverse field between OF and AMERICA. Despite the existence of several Mint State pieces, mainly in lesser grades, this example is one of the best. An incredible coin, and a first-class occasion for the earnest buyer of rare Early United States gold coinage! Pop 1; 1 finer in 65.
Historic Note: The mintages were small in 1795-1804, because little demand existed domestically for Eagles. The first United States Mint struck coins to order, for the most part. Bankers and others deposited silver or gold with the Mint, which the Mints workers turned into coinage in the denominations ordered, and then delivered to the owners of the precious metals.

Those depositing gold with the Mint in those early years has a preference for the more convenient $5 half eagles to the $10 eagles, ordering more of the smaller denomination than the larger. As best as we can understand, the eagle was too large for small transactions but too small for convenient transportation or storage of large sums. Many 1795-1804 eagles were exported.

Striking gold eagles that were only going to be exported or melted was wasteful of the Mints production capacity. Production of this denomination ceased in 1804, possibly under the orders of President Jefferson. The halt in production for the gold eagle proved more than momentary. It wouldnt be struck for circulation again until 1838, at the second Philadelphia Mint. Estimated Value $200,000-UP




 
Lot 116

1793 S-2 R4+ Chain AMERICA AU58. Lustrous light olive brown and steel with faded red peeking through in protected areas on both sides. No spots or signs of contact. The only marks are some microscopic planchet chips in the field behind the portrait, all as struck, and a very subtle splash of slightly darker toning near the rim left of the middle curls. This Chain Cent offers exceptional eye appeal, but a glass reveals that the field outside the link of chains may have been very lightly smoothed. Some have speculated that the highpoints of the Ms Liberty's hair also may have been delicately smoothed, but we feel this is doubtful. The highest points of the hair at the ear and along the neck appear to be flat from the strike, not from friction. The remainder of the obverse shows no hint of smoothing and the frosty luster remains unbroken. Curiously, this cent used to be housed in a PCGS MS63 Red & Brown holder, and it was sold in that holder in the Auction '89, Auction '90, Heritage 10/1990, and Bowers & Merena 1/1993 sales (see the provenance data below). At that time this was the only 1793 Chain Cent of any die variety that had been graded Mint State by PCGS. Why it was removed from that holder remains a mystery, and PCGS has refused to reholder it at the original grade. The lot descriptions and accompanying photos of this cent in the four sale catalogs suggest the coin has not changed in any way. Del Bland lists this piece as the only true mint state example of the variety in his census (which is the same condition census that is listed in the Breen encyclopedia). Noyes feels it was lightly smoothed and lists it as net AU50, tied for CC#6 in his census (his photo #35070). We settled on net AU58, but this beautiful cent certainly has choice mint state eye appeal and may deserve a mint state grade. LDS, Breen state II, with clear die clashmarks in the field below the truncation and a very subtle wave through the bases of the 793. This is the plate coin for the variety in Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Large Cents 1793-1814 (although the caption under those photos indicates the die state is Breen-I when it is clearly Breen-II). Estimated Value $100,000-UP

Ex Frederick C. C. Boyd 1957-New Netherlands Coin Co. #50, 12/6/1957:881-Corrado Romano, Stack's 6/1987:145-Martin Paul, Superior 1/1988:50-Martin Paul-Dr. Kenneth Baer, Auction '89 (David Akers) 7/8/1989:1003 (as PCGS MS63 Red & Brown)-American Rare Coin Fund LP (Hugh Sconyers, manager)-Auction '90 (Superior) 8/11/1990:1007 (as PCGS MS63 Red & Brown)-Martin Haber, Heritage 10/1990:453 (as PCGS MS63 Red & Brown)-unknown-Bowers & Merena 1/7/1993:217 (as PCGS MS63 Red & Brown)-unknown-Superior Stamp & Coin Co. (privately)-Spectrum Numismatics 9/1996-Walter Husak, Heritage 2/15/2008:2001.





 
Lot 2148

1899. NGC graded Proof 69 Ultra Cameo. A brilliant untoned virtually perfect proof Liberty Half Eagle. Not only the finest known example for the date but a candidate for finest known for the type! Only 99 struck.

A truly magnificent specimen! One might wonder how this coin has been saved for over 114 years in such a careful state of preservation. Needle sharp as though struck throughout with special attention deserving of a place in the Smithsonian or some European Palace Collection! From the remarkably low Proof coinage, the present coin is a perfect example of the coiner's art at the closing stages of the historic 19th century. Only this single 1899 half eagles has been certified in PR69 Ultra Cameo by NGC, with none finer. It is a privilege to offer this Finest Known 1899 Proof Liberty half. Pop 1; none finer at NGC, and none finer at PCGS (the best one at PCGS is a PRDC-66+). (PCGS # 98494).
At the turn of the 20th century, it was usual for wealthy collectors to order Proof Sets each year to fill in their collections with the finest specimens of the new years coinage. This was an age of imperial Empire expansion throughout the world. America participated along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and The Netherlands when, in 1898-1900 it "acquired" through conquest or other means the territorial entities of Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba, the latter three having been part of the fast dissolving Spanish overseas territories. Estimated Value $100,000-UP




 
Lot 1783

2009-P. Edge Error. Double Edge Lettering - Overlap. Zachary Taylor - Position B. PCGS graded MS-65. Housed in a PCGS Secure Plus Holder. Coin is the featured photo coin of PCGS coin facts. Discovery coin. Only one known including all third party grading services and any raw ones among collectors so far. Required to complete PCGS complete variety registry set. Pop 1; none finer at PCGS. Estimated Value $7,500 - 10,000

The Buck Stops Here Executive Collection.





 
Lot 2140

1810. Large date, large 5. BD-4. NGC graded MS-65. Lovely rich golden toning. Every advanced numismatist has embarked upon assembling a few of the Capped Bust Left half eagle type five dollar gold pieces, which were struck between 1807 and 1812. The series is approachable by date, unlike the earlier or later half eagle series that include expensive stoppers as the 1796, 1797, 1815, 1822, and 1829. Often, a first-time buyer or for that matter, a one-time Type Set buyer will choose a readily available date. The 1810 Large Date, Large 5 as an affordable selection.

This coin has forthright and original mint frost that sets the present Gem far ahead of a more typical Uncirculated Capped Bust Left half eagle. One might expect from the Mint State 65 Gem level almost no marks, and any that exist would be minimal. Here, we see only a few, and these are limited to a few light field grazes. The strike is outstanding, including stars, with only slight softness present on the feathers near the left side of the shield. We note mild adjustment lines on the upper left obverse rim. The type or date collector who has searched carefully to acquire a full-fledged Gem MS65 will want to take advantage of this prime opportunity. Pop 4; 2 finer in 66. (PCGS # 8108) Estimated Value $60,000 - 70,000




 
Lot 1398

1937-D. 3 Legs. PCGS graded MS-66. Lovely golden toning. A popular date and rare in this grade. This popular Buffalo Nickel has been a favorite with collectors for all intents and purposes since the time of production. "As early as 1937-1938, C. L. 'Cowboy' Franzen was offering examples for sale in The Numismatic Scrapbook," writes numismatic scholar Q. David Bowers. "Whether or not he was the first person to discover the '37-D Three-Legged Nickel we do not know. What we do know is that the main distribution area for these error coins seems to have been somewhere in Montana. This is unfortunate since coin collectors were quite rare in the Northwest at that time, and most examples acquired at least light wear before being set aside. As such, the majority of coins offered in today's market are circulated to one degree or another, and the '37-D 3-Legged remains rare in Mint State."

At the upper reaches of Condition Census standing for the issue, this exquisite Gem MS66 is, simply put, among the finest examples of this 20th century error that we have ever offered. The luster is uncommonly brilliant beneath the lovely toning, with a satiny texture to the surfaces. Both sides are well detailed beneath an overlay of balanced warm golden to nickel-blue and pale lavender patina.

Diagnostics of the reverse die that all genuine 1937-D 3-Legged Nickels display: (1) A series of raised lumps curving toward the ground from the top of the bison's left rear leg (2) A pointed beard on the bison with the right tip longer than the left (3) Thin and roughly textured rear legs on the bison (4) A smaller bison than typically seen on regular 1937-D Nickels.

In the same fashion as the almost unknown 1936-D 3-1/2 Legs variety, the '37-D 3-Legged was created by overzealous polishing of the die to remove clashmarks. According to Breen, the culprit for the latter error is one Mr. Young, a recently hired coiner at the Denver Mint. Pop 6; none finer at PCGS. (PCGS # 3982) Estimated Value $45,000 - 50,000

The Gerald Forsythe Duplicate Buffalo Nickel Collection.





 
Lot 1354

1926-S. PCGS graded MS-65. Premium Quality. Wonderful toning on both sides. Well struck. Long regarded as a key date in the series, the 1926-S Buffalo nickel reached a series low when only 970,000 pieces were struck. The issue is particularly hard to pin down in Mint condition with Gems obtainable only on rare occasions.

The Forsythe specimen is a strong candidate for World Class honors, since it is tied with just a few other specimens certified at this level by PCGS, with none finer. The consistent technical quality of this piece is fully harmonized by the important subjective aspect we all know at once but often find difficult to put into words: eye appeal. A memorable coin in this grade.

To say there were virtually no collectors for the 1926-S nickel the year it came out is simple fact; the majority of the production went into circulation. Few were saved; original rolls are something to imagine in a Wizard of Oz realm, they never have existed. Today, collectors attach great importance to the issue, more so as the years slip by. The situation would change dramatically were a few dozen to turn up as if by magic in gem grade, but this isnt about to happen, Mint State specimens have dwindled to almost nothing in the marketplace.

According to Bowers, "Among Mint State 1926-S nickels, many are dull, stained, artificially toned, or otherwise unsatisfactory -- including more than a few in certified holders. The striking is unremarkable, the result of inaccurate die spacing and, perhaps, keeping dies in the press too long." Well, this specimen is a step above those unremarkable ones, several steps above, in fact. The strike is much bolder than normally seen, with only residual softness on the bison's head and none in the Indian's hair. The surfaces delight the viewer with their lustrous glow and delicate original patina. Overall the appearance is unapproachable; the well-preserved surfaces mark-free. Everyone should jump at the chance to acquire this prime example, since few others exist in a similar state of preservation and these may lie hidden for decades. Pop 14; none finer at PCGS. (PCGS # 3959) Estimated Value $45,000 - 50,000

The Gerald Forsythe Duplicate Buffalo Nickel Collection.





 
Lot 1399

1937-D. 3 Legs. PCGS graded MS-66. Nicely toned on both sides. Medium golden toning over lustrous surfaces. An amazing coin in this grade, scarce enough in even AU or Mint State 60, rare in Mint State 65, but next to unobtainable when certified as Mint State 66. Add to this the perpetual appeal of this unusual variety and all fundamentals are in place for a coin that will be a pride and joy in your Buffalo Nickel collection.

The exact number of '37-D 3-Legged Nickels produced is hard to say. What we do know is that the state of Montana seems to have been the main distribution region for these. The scarcity of coin collectors in that section of the country in the late 1930s may explain why few Mint State examples are in existence. Few people bothered to retrieve these coins when they were first issued. This conditionally rare Gem, therefore, should be of added interest to experts in this series. Free of distractions, we note no obvious marks or spots on the smooth surface. A delightful Buffalo Nickel irrespective of issue, and a coin that would be the focal point of even the most complete collection. Pop 6; none finer at PCGS. (PCGS # 3982) Estimated Value $45,000 - 50,000

The Gerald Forsythe Duplicate Buffalo Nickel Collection.





 
Lot 2123

1839-O. NGC graded MS-65. Well struck and glowiwng with golden frosty mint luster. Pop 1; the finest graded at either service. High Date, Wide Fraction, Breen-6152, McCloskey-A, R.3. The years 1838 and 1839 provided innovations galore US numismatics. 1838 saw the opening of this nation's first branch mints in New Orleans, Louisiana, Dahlonega, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, reflecting the advancing front of the American migration south and to the west that continues to this day. Gold and silver coinage featured several new and distinctive types, with William Kneasss Classic Head gold design fading rapidly to be replaced by the long-lived Liberty Head motif. Silver coinage saw the introduction of Liberty Seated coinage after preliminary steps were taken in 1836 and 1837, which would run into the 1890s. The first gold eagles since their suspension in 1804 were coined in 1838, displaying the familiar Christian Gobrecht-inspired Liberty Head that would spread to the other gold denominations and last even longer than Gobrechts Seated coins.

The Obverse Mintmark style for gold and silver coinage in 1838 and 1839 was also new. However, Mint officials moved all mintmarks in 1840 to the reverse, trend that would reverse in 1909 when the Lincoln cent was introduced and repeated in 1916-17 with the Standing Liberty Quarter and Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

The present spectacular 1839-O Classic Head Quarter Eagle displays breathtaking, thick, frosty luster that justly juts the coin an Empire State Buildings height above the typical O-mint quarter eagle of this vintage. The surfaces are vivid golden yellow, verging on pristine quality throughout portions of the obverse and reverse. Die lapping makes the obverse hair below the Y of LIBERTY and above the 9 in the date appear broken, the strike is nevertheless extremely well executed. All star centers full with only a faint loss detail on the 13th star. On the reverse, which is better struck on these as a rule, there is outstanding crispness virtually everywhere save for the left portion of the lower shield lines (as typical for the date). Best of all, there are pretty much no disturbing marks of any kind. The luster is intact. The luster is beautiful. The color out of this world. It is, of course, the original luster and surfaces that are this wonder coin's foremost contribution to its one-of-a-kind Mint State 65 grade!

The 1839-O was unknown in Gem Mint State until recent time, although there are a few survivors classified MS64, including several we have offered in sales in the early 2000s. A heart-stopping opportunity for the gold coin or rarity specialist! (PCGS # 7701)
Note: In order to encourage gold coins to circulate at par -- which had not been the case since 1815 -- Congress reduced the authorized weight of the various denominations through the Act of June 28, 1834. On August 2, 1834, the new standard went into effect. For the quarter eagle the weight was reduced from 67 grains to 64 grains. A seemingly minor change but with notable ramifications.

To differentiate the new coins from the old, the design was changed. Chief Engraver William Kneass created what is called the Classic Head today. The head of Liberty faces left, her hair bound by a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY, stars circle her head, and with the date below.

The reverse depicts an eagle with a shield on its breast, perched on an olive branch and holding three arrows. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 2 1/2 D. surrounds. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM, used on quarter eagles since 1796, was omitted. The diameter remained 18.2mm.

Mintage quantities were large in the first several years of the coinage span, with the high-water mark being 1836, when 547,986 were struck. In 1838, quarter eagles were struck at Charlotte for the first time, followed the next year by supplementary coinage at Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans. By far, the greatest number of 1834-1839 Classic Head quarter eagles were issued at Philadelphia.

Examples of the Classic Head can be obtained readily in grades from Fine through Extremely Fine. AU pieces are scarce, and Uncirculated pieces are scarcer yet. Superb Uncirculated coins are very rare. Uncirculated pieces of the first year of issue, 1834, often display prooflike surfaces.

The lowest mintage of the type was registered by the first mintmark issue, the 1838-C, of which only 7,880 were struck. Today, this variety is very scarce in any grade and very rare at the AU level. The mintmarked issues of the next year, 1839-C, 1839-D, and 1839-O, are all scarce, with the typically encountered grade being VF or, occasionally, EF. Any coin in Mint State 60 or finer grade is a rarity. At the time, the numismatic community -- consisting of no more than a couple hundred widely scattered enthusiasts -- took no note of mintmarks, and not even the Mint Cabinet contained specimens. Estimated Value $40,000 - 50,000




 
Lot 1417

1822. JR-1. NGC graded MS-63. Nice even toning. A lovely Mint State example of this rare issue, the only die variety of this key date. The smooth surfaces are natural silver gray with lovely antique overtones. A very pretty dime for the grade, showing great originality, sharply struck everywhere but the first three stars and the final star (#13), showing bold detail in Libertys cap and hair, the eagles feathers and shield. Some minor hairline, surface free from spots or corrosion, and any marks that are present are neither large nor substantial in number. It is easy to call this piece choice for the grade, which is not to call it perfect but we certainly feel that it is far finer than most Mint State 63 coins of this type seen lately.

A rare date, highly sought in all grades. The preponderance of 1822 dimes are in low circulated condition, usually well worn or damaged, although a handful of Mint State pieces are known. When the authors of the JR dime book wrote, they estimated just 10 Uncirculated examples, an educated guess that dovetails fairly nicely with a few of the Uncs today being old Aus, a few regrades, and perhaps a few coins still raw in old-time collections. A wonderful opportunity for the specialized Bust Dime buyer. Pop 7; 3 finer, 1 in 64 Star, 1 in 65, 1 in 66.
Historic note: In March of 1807, Mint director, Robert Patterson, hired the German-born John Reich as second engraver. Reich began work under Robert Scot, receiving a salary of $600 per year. From 1807 to 1817 he performed most of the chief engraver's duties without receiving the salary or prestige of the higher office. Coming aboard on April 1, he was cutting dies for his first Capped Bust coins, the 1807 half dollars, by April 2. Only after getting the half dollar, half eagle, cent and quarter eagle out of the way did Reich tackle the dime.

As she first appeared on the 1809 Capped Bust dime Reich's Liberty was, if anything, a trifle more streamlined than her predecessor. Fifty years later, U.S. Mint writer William Ewing DuBois would claim that the model for all these rather stout, ample-bosomed Liberties was a woman he called "Reich's fat German mistress."

The reverse bears an American eagle with head turned left, holding three arrows symbolizing strength, and an olive branch representing peace. On its breast is the Union Shield composed of six horizontal lines indicating blue, with 13 stripes below, six of these made of three vertical lines each indicating red. Such lines were an 18th century engraver's standardized method of showing colors in black-and-white engravings; blue representing dominion, red signifying force, with white denoting purity. Encircling the top of the eagle is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and a scroll with the incuse motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Beneath the eagle is the denomination 10 C.

Reich prepared a single, steel punch of his Liberty bust, impressing it into each working die by blows of a small hammer. He then impressed each star by eye, seven on Liberty's left, six on her right, placing the date in the space below the bust. Although known as "Large Size," these dimes should more properly be called the "Open Collar" type. They were struck from 1809 to 1828 without a restraining collar, giving them a broad, low-rimmed look. Averaging 1.1 millimeters smaller in diameter than the preceding Draped Bust dime, this type is only large in relation to its smaller successor issued from 1828 onward. In reality, diameters vary widely over the years. (Reich left the mint in 1817.)

Capped Bust dime production was not continuous, with only three dates struck while Reich was in Mint employ. Dimes were issued dated 1809, 1811, 1814, 1820 through 1825 and 1827. Large quantities were struck only in 1820, 1821 and 1827. Estimated Value $35,000 - 40,000




 
Lot 3196

German States - Hamburg. 2 ½ Ducats or ¼ Portugaloser, ND (1553-1673). Fr-1093. City gate. Inner and outer circle of legend. Reverse: Portuguese Cross. Portugaloser gold coins were generally struck for presentation purposes. Sharply struck with lustrous and original blemish free surfaces. Very Rare. PCGS graded AU-53. WINGS Approved. Estimated Value $30,000 - 40,000




 
Lot 1484

1854-O. Arrows. NGC graded SP-63. A needle sharp strike with semi reflective surfaces on both sides. The obverse displays light mottled russet and royal blue toning, while the reverse displays light golden hues within the recess. Pop 1; none finer at NGC.

This spectacular 1854-O Arrows half dollar traces to the famous Reed Hawn collection. To our knowledge this is the only Proof striking of the 1854-O half dollar. No others like it have surfaced in the years since, causing us to believe this is a unique piece where it is mentioned briefly on page 235 of Walter Breens 1977 Proof Encyclopedia: "Date slants up to r., 54 touch. Reed Hawn:183, $1,300, unverified." Examination of the photo of Reed's coin in the Stack's catalog when it resold in Heritages July 2008 ANA sale, positively identifies this as the coin from his historic offering of half dollars. The description in the Stack's catalog in 1973 was concise and explicit: "A magnificent Brilliant Proof, with full glittering surface even in the stripes of the shield on the reverse. There is no doubt that this is a specimen striking, not only because of its mirror surface, but also because of the perfection of strike. A lovely coin with pale russet and golden toning."

The surfaces display full, smooth mirror surface over both sides. Furthermore, the striking definition exhibits exceptional detail. As to the reason for such a coin to having been struck, Breen did not speculate. The true story behind this coin like so many before must be assumed to be lost forever. Yet, according to the Heritage description, the "attributes of the piece stand as testament that something special was done to create a specimen striking in New Orleans in 1854. This is the only coin even rumored to exist as a specimen or Proof striking of the 1854-O half dollar."

A landmark rarity for the Year 2013!
By 1850, the massive flows of gold from California had depressed the prices of that metal, and made silver more valuable by comparison. Hence, all silver coins disappeared from circulation as they were worth more than face value. Depositors gave little silver to the mints for coinage, and there were no denominations in circulation between the cent and gold dollar. Something had to be done, so in 1853 Congress reduced the amount of silver for minor denominations, in order to reflect the market value of silver as compared to gold. On the half dollar, the weight was reduced from 206.25 grains to 192 grains, and Mint Director George Eckert ordered quick changes to the dies so the entire design did not have to be changed. Arrows were added at the date, and on the reverse, rays were added surrounding the eagle. These design changes caused a problem, the dies cracked and broke to pieces much faster with the arrows and rays. In fact, die life fell to one-third normal, and dies had to be replaced rapidly. When Col. James Ross Snowden took as Mint Director in 1853, he immediately ordered the rays removed starting in 1854, both to extend die life and because so little of the heavier pre arrows coinage was in circulation by then. The arrows were later dropped starting in 1856. Estimated Value $30,000-UP




 
Lot 1485

1855. Arrows. NGC graded Proof 66 Cameo. We note a minor planchet flaw on the reverse above "D". A mix of original colors on the obverse, with a bit less abundance on the reverse. The motifs are frosty while the fields are reflective; most importantly, the cameo they provide is noted on the NGC holder. Very few Proofs of this date exist. In addition to the perfect date Proofs minted in 1855, there are a few struck with an 1855/4 overdated die. On the present coin, the devices including date, stars, and legends, are strong and unmistakable, razor-sharpness noted everywhere. Fields are deep, reflective, and indeed, reflect perfectly the high grade that NGC has assigned to the coin A very rare and interesting With Arrows coin that will see a fair amount of bidding activity before it lends its beauty to an outstanding collection.

Why are there arrows beside the date on Half Dollars minted in 1853 to 1855? By 1850, the massive flows of gold from California had depressed the prices of that metal, and made silver more valuable by comparison in the better items-metallic system in use in the 19th century. The consequence was that most all silver coins disappeared from circulation as they were worth more than face value. Depositors gave little silver to the mints for coinage, and there were no denominations in circulation between the cent and gold dollar. Something had to be done. In 1853 Congress addressed the issue by reducing the amount of silver for minor denominations (but not the Silver Dollar), in order to reflect the market value of silver as compared to gold. On the half dollar, the weight was reduced from 206.25 grains to 192 grains, and Mint Director George Eckert ordered quick changes to the dies so the entire design did not have to be changed. Arrows were added at the date, and on the reverse, rays were added surrounding the eagle. These design changes caused a problem, the dies cracked and broke to pieces much faster with the arrows and rays. In fact, die life fell to one-third normal, and dies had to be replaced rapidly. When Col. James Ross Snowden took over as Mint Director in 1853, he immediately ordered the rays removed starting in 1854, both to extend die life and because so little of the heavier pre arrows coinage was in circulation by then. The arrows were later dropped starting in 1856. Only a few Proof specimens were struck, and their mintage was not recorded. Only estimates exist now as to how many Proofs are extant. Pop 1; none finer at NGC. Estimated Value $30,000-UP




 
Lot 2412

Sicily, Naxos. Silver Tetradrachm (16.81g) struck ca. 430-420 BC. Bearded head of Dionysos right wearing an ivy-wreathed stephanos, his short hair hanging loose in curly locks. Reverse: Nude and bearded Silenos squatting, facing, his right knee raised, left on the ground, looking left at a kantharos he raises with his right hand; left hand holding a thrysos upright; his tail juttting out at the left towards an ivy plant. Cahn 100 (V66/R82); SNG ANS 524; SNG Lloyd 1156; Gulbenkian 232 (same dies); Kraay-Hirmir 8-9; Jameson 677; Ward 225. Minor porosity in isolated areas. Very Rare. Nearly Extremely Fine/Very Fine.
One of the most sought after and famous of ancient Greek coins, this coin is known only from one obverse die and five reverse dies. A short-lived issue, it was likely produced for a specific purpose. During this time Naxos, the oldest of the Greek colonies in Sicily, actively supported Athens, notably with the Sicilian expedition of 427 BC. This coin thus may have been struck in connection with these events.

Showing a final transition from the earlier Aitna Master Tetradrachms which still exhibited the rigidity of design typical of the archaic, this coin shows true classical style. Dionysos' features are very natural: his hair tousled, his eye correct, the conventional archaic smile gone - replaced by relaxed lips; and his diadem less formalized. The reverse, which alludes to the source of Naxos' prosperity and power: wine production, depicts a very lifelike Silenos. Heeding far more closely the traditional description of the wisest, oldest and most drunken of Dionysos' Silenoi, half-man, half-goat followers, the engraver presents a somewhat disheveled Silenos with a round and balding head, curving, flowing beard, and some paunch. Estimated Value $25,000 - 30,000









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