Auctions to be held by Stack’s Bowers Galleries the week after the American Numismatic Association’s World Silver Fair feature spectacular proof coins.
Perhaps the most exciting – and freshest on the market – is a 1825/4/1 Capped Head Gold $5 Half Eagle graded Proof 67 Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service that also bears a green Certified Acceptance Corp sticker. It will be offered on August 25 during the Rarities Night session at the company’s offices in Costa Mesa, California.
It is the finest of the three known Proof 1825 half-eagles and was acquired by the consignor circa 1973. It was part of the Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. collection, where it was given as one of its twins in October 1947 and then spent time in collections. by King Farouk of Egypt before being offered for sale by Sotheby’s Palace Collections of Egypt in 1954.
Of course, the idea that such a piece might have been alienated as a duplicate when it was superior to that kept by Eliasberg is subject to speculation, and Stack’s Bowers opines: “Although it is only ‘a conjecture, we believe was simply an error on the part of Mr. Eliasberg’s coin’, since the ‘evidence’ the collector kept to represent the date was an example of a traffic strike resembling a evidence.
Proof coins in the 1820s were produced for a select audience, with some serving as official presentation coins. As the catalog points out, “in many cases, specimens were made repeatedly in a given year, further evidence that they were invented on demand to meet specific needs or in response to Special demands”.
A lack of contemporary documentation means that the official mintage of the Proof 1825 Capped Head half-eagles is unknown, and all known examples were struck from the same pair of dies, cataloged as JD-1 in John Dannreuther’s recent book on Proof gold coins. The date is outdated, originally assumed to be 1825/4 and now extended to 1825/4/1 thanks to research by Saul Teichman documenting the reassignment of dies at the Philadelphia Mint at the time.
“This is a full proof with uniform deep mirror reflectivity across fields on both the obverse and reverse. In true cameo fashion, design elements are set apart with texture slightly frosted, and they are also fully defined apart from the soft areas located at the eagle’s right heel and in its right wing,” the catalog notes, observing sharp denticles around both sides. a proof, Stack’s Bowers concludes: “It is also a simply magnificent half-eagle which exhibits the difficult left large diameter capped type in a way that few other examples can match, whether ordeals or traffic strikes.”
Enigmatic 1825 PRO 25¢
Another fascinating piece of evidence from the era is an 1825/4/2 Capped Bust quarter dollar graded Proof 63 by ANACS which is described as “a very important, but somewhat enigmatic American coinage” since neither PCGS nor Numismatic Guaranty Co .has certified a Quarter Dollar Proof of that date.
Walter Breen observed in his 1989 book on evidence pieces that “misleading first strikes lack the central sharpness of real evidence”.
Stack’s Bowers calls the subject offering “the only striking unequivocal evidence of the matter of which we are aware”. The four authors of the 2008 book United States Mint First Quarter Dollars depict it as the plate coin for the Browning 2 variety, tracing its provenance to the March 1945 Numismatic Gallery auction of the “World’s Greatest Collection” (FCC Boyd), where it fetched 17.50 $, like a quarter dollar proof.
1878 Gold pattern $2.50
Another noteworthy offering is the unique $2.50 1878 Gold Eagle model listed as Judd 1566 in model reference, rated Proof 67 Cameo by PCGS, which recently sold at Heritage’s April 23, 2021 sale. of selections from the Bob R. Simpson collection for $384,000. .
The design is attributed to George T. Morgan and is the only known example of the type of design struck in gold. A dozen copper strikes, listed Judd 1567, some of which are gilded, also serve to represent the design.
Larger and thinner than a regular issue of the denomination, the new planchette size was designed in response to contemporary concerns that counterfeiters might hollow out gold coins and replace the gold with then cheaper platinum ( but still dense). The Mint abandoned the idea because the thinner coins were more difficult to produce and were less durable.
This example is identified by a small lint mark or similar bar in the reverse field to the left of the letter C in AMERICA. It is described as a “wonderful stunning gem with a dusting of pale silvery-olive iridescence to an otherwise warm, vivid, reddish-orange color”.