Heritage Auctions’ January numismatic sales top $68.8M

The 1927-D double eagle, MS65+, the rarest regular-issue 20th-century American coin, sold for $2,160,000. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – Heritage Auctions announced Monday, Feb. 3, that its numismatic sales through the month of January totaled a combined $68.8 million from its Signature Auctions held during the Florida United Numismatic Convention and the New York International Numismatic Convention conventions.

Sales spanned U.S. coins, U.S. currency, world paper money and world & ancient coins only offered during the conventions. The sale total does not include January’s weekly, monthly or private numismatic sales.

The world’s largest numismatic auctioneer garnered $41.8 in U.S. coins sales, which were led by a $2,160,000 bid for a 1927-D double eagle, the rarest regular-issue of a 20th-century American coin. One of likely seven examples publicly available, the sale of the $20 MS65+ PCGS. CAC, marks the first time in five years Heritage has offered a 1927-D double eagle, which last sold for $1,292,500.

An exquisite specimen of an 1855 G$1 PR66★ ultra cameo NGC, the finest of only seven confirmed examples, realized $336,000. The coin displays smooth, mirrored looking-glass fields and thick frost on the devices, with superlative black-on-gold contrast.

Additional U.S. Coin highlights offered during the Florida United Numismatic Convention (FUN) include:

– A 1927-S Saint-Gaudens $20 MS66+ PCGS CAC, an elusive branch mint issue and the second-finest certified at PCGS ended at $312,000. The coin’s rarity only enhanced its sale price; the large mintage of 3.1 million pieces was almost totally destroyed after the Gold Recall of 1933 and only a small number of examples surfaced in European holdings in the 1950s.

– Among the finest known of this one-year type, a 1796 no stars quarter eagle, MS63 NGC, sold for $300,000. The 1796 no stars quarter eagle shares a reputation with its later sibling, the 1808 quarter eagle, as among the most significant and rarest gold type coins of any denomination due to low mintages.

– A 1794 flowing hair dollar, VF35 PCGS, garnered 45 bids before it sold for $288,000. It was the key piece offered as part of the Watermark Collection.

Several special collections and a hoard of notes from the notorious gangster Baby Face Nelson lead $9,992,733 in total sales of U.S. currency.

Top lot currency honors during the FUN auction were claimed by a $228,000 winning bid for the finer of two known 1863 $100 compound interest treasury notes, PMG, very fine, 30 EPQ (below). The note’s colorful bronze overprint is bright and completely intact, the red overprint vivid and the note displays a mesmerizing eye appeal.

Fr. 193 $100 1863 compound interest treasury note, PMG Very Fine 30 EPQ. Price realized: $228,000. Heritage Auctions image

A rare 1882 $5 Brown Back, PMG choice extremely fine, sold for $144,000. The standout note featured Serial No. 1 – unique for both the bank and the rare location of the First National Bank in Guernsey, Wyo. Few notes generated more buzz among collectors than this newly discovered note. The fascinating tale behind the note proved irresistible among collectors: The First National Bank of Guernsey was the shortest-lived note-issuing national bank in Wyoming, lasting less than 13 months between its organization in April of 1900 and the closing of its doors forever on May 1, 1901. During its short tenure, a minuscule 400 sheets of $5 Brown Backs and 362 sheets of $10 and $20 Brown Backs were printed, with none reported to date until this serial No. 1 note was discovered.

A newly discovered collection tied to a 1930s crime spree and money laundering effort by gangster Baby Face Nelson, recently discovered in Texas, sold for a combined $19,200. The collection was offered along with a cash hoard tied to Hyman S. Lebman, a gunsmith from San Antonio known to launder money for Nelson. The most expensive lot in the Lebman collection was a 1928 $50 Dallas Federal Reserve Replacement Note, which sold for $10,200.