RENO, Nev. – For the first time, two numismatic companies that are giants in their field – Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC and Finest Known, LLC – will join forces to hold a sale titled Treasure Trove of Rarities: Coins & Treasure Shipwreck Auction on Saturday, April 29. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Instead of Holabird’s usual four-day monster sales, this one, which starts at 9 am Pacific time, will be a tidy 164-lot event that’s small in size but gigantic in importance for the collecting community. It offers some of the finest known treasure and numismatic rarities, including items recovered from the SS Central America and SS Republic.
Numismatic items from the SS Central America include an 1857-S $20 U.S. gold coin with a deep golden-red patina, known as the “Golden Gate” coin, estimated at $75,000-$200,000. The coin is so stunning in appearance and reminiscent of the sunsets at the Golden Gate that SSCA Chief Scientist Bob Evans refused to conserve the coin and compromise its fabulous coloration.
Also offered will be a group of three daguerreotype and ambrotype photographs in their original cases of the D. O. Mills family, inclusive of newlyweds Addie and Ansel Easton, thought to be taken by San Francisco photographer Robert Vance on their return from the East after the SS Central America sinking. Both Eastons were rescued, by different ships. The photographs are together estimated at $2,000-$20,000.
Other SS Central America treasures include coins of various numerous denominations found in what amounted to coin piles in debris fields on the ocean floor, plus key items from the ship’s Gold Room, inclusive of a 13 troy ounce Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot that’s expected to sell for $80,000-$100,000. The gold bar, stamped “Kellogg &” and “Humbert”, was valued at $236.82 in 1857 dollars.
The SS Republic treasure of 1865 offers several of the fine $20 gold coins and several of the half dollars. Certainly one of the key pieces is a counter-stamped half dollar with “TN” and “1861” stamped into the obverse and reverse of the coin, which is estimated at $1,000-$5,000. The coin tells the story of the difficult, conflicting politics of the people of Tennessee in 1861 at the onset of the Civil War.
Also recovered from the SS Republic is an 1864 Liberty Head US gold coin, graded NGC MS61, a hard-to-find Civil War key date and one of only 204,285 minted, estimated at $30,000-$45,000; and an 1865 U.S. gold coin graded NGC MS64, a spectacular coin in near-perfect condition, estimated at $35,000-$60,000. Of all the known examples, only five are graded MS64, and just two are MS65.
Gold Rush rarities will feature low-mintage US gold coins, particularly US type 1 $20 gold coins from 1850 to 1860. A spectacular rarity is a Baldwin 1851 $10 gold coin in mint state, one of only a few known, estimated at $180,000-$250,000. At least two other examples have never been outside a museum. Only two of the Baldwin 10’s were recovered from the S.S. Central America.
Other lots from the US coins and ephemera category include an 1852 US Assay Office $50 gold piece known as a “slug,” NGC certified AU58, the only issue of this denomination struck in .900 fineness, estimated at $75,000-$150,000; and a 2022 US $50 Gold Eagle coin, one of 1,945 minted (for the year 1945 and the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII), NGC PF69 Ultra Cameo, estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
The nearly 100 ancient silver and gold coins on offer will include an Alexander III (Alexander the Great) stater dating to 336-323 B.C., NGC graded Ch AU, with Athena on the obverse and Nike standing on the reverse, estimated at $7,500-$10,000; and a 51-30 B.C. Ptolemaic Kingdom 80 Drachmae coin, NGC graded VF, with Cleopatra VII on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse, estimated at $3,600-$4,500.
Foreign coins will include a Canadian 1911-C gold sovereign coin graded PCGS MS63, one of only 256,946 minted, estimated at $500-$2,000; and a Netherlands gold 1875 10G coin, graded PCGS MS66+ and estimated at $1,000-$7,500. Six others, graded MS65, will also be offered.
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is always seeking new and major collections to bring to market. To consign a single piece or a collection, call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, please visit www.holabirdamericana.com.
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