1808 A Flat Cap for Miss Liberty
2015 SOLD for $ 2.35M including premium
The other two coins are quarters : of eagle worth $ 2.5 and of dollar worth $ 0.25. These quarters were not user friendly to count his money. They were not popular and their manufacture was sometimes interrupted. In two cases, the production is stopped at completion of a year of design change, generating the rarest types of regular US coinage.
The first sale of the Pogue collection, on May 19 in New York by Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's, includes a specimen in exceptional condition for these two rarities. The 1796 quarter dollar was recently discussed in this column. The other example is the 1808 quarter eagle, lot 1128 estimated $ 1.2 million.
The eagle, half eagle and quarter eagle are the three gold coins defined by the Coinage act. At the beginning of the three denominations, Miss Liberty wears a turban like a Phrygian cap which had been a symbol of freedom during the War of Independence.
The eagle is discontinued after the year 1804, leaving the half eagle as the top denomination in production. In 1807, the drawing of the half eagle is changed. Miss Liberty exchanges her high turban to a flat cap. In 1808, the same design is applied to the quarter eagle that will be interrupted from 1809 to 1820 inclusive.
The 1808 quarter eagle in the first Pogue sale is graded MS65 by PCGS. This dark yellow gold piece is in a remarkable state of preservation of the metal, with nice coppery or violet tonings. Struck with a great clarity that reveals the defects from the die, it is by far the best surviving coin in its class, considered as a masterpiece of US numismatics for over a century.
1811 Old Copper
2014 SOLD for $ 1.12M including premium by Goldberg
2017 SOLD for $ 1M including premium by Stack's Bowers
The half cent is the smallest denomination authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. This coin in pure copper is definitively interrupted by the Coinage Act of 1857. The production, entirely made in Philadelphia, is not regular, with many missing years.
The fourth and penultimate figure, identified as the Classic Head, appeared in 1809 which was also the year of the highest production, 1,154,572 units, which however only correspond to $ 5,770 in face value. The production fell to 215,000 units in 1810 and to 63,140 units in 1811. The latter year was divided into two varieties cataloged as C-1 and C-2. The production is stopped after 1811 and will not be restarted until 1825, without changing the figure.
The Tettenhorst collection, known as the Missouri Cabinet, had gathered 226 half cents. Its sale by Goldberg on January 26, 2014 rekindled the interest of collectors for this small denomination. We will know later that D. Brent Pogue had bought the most important lots.
The very rare coins that have significantly preserved red areas of the original copper have often far exceeded their estimates. They are identified by the suffix RB, for Red and Brown, assigned by the certification companies. The coins identified below have been graded by PCGS.
The best result in the sale of the Missouri Cabinet was recorded on a 1794 half cent graded MS-67 RB, sold for $ 1.15M including premium. This unit was sold for $ 940K including premium by Stack's Bowers in the third Pogue sale on February 9, 2016.
1796 is the year of the lowest production. The coin graded MS-65+ RB from the Missouri Cabinet was sold for $ 720K including premium by Goldberg.
In the auction of the Missouri Cabinet, the 1811 C-1 half cent graded MS-66 RB was sold for $ 1.12M including premium over an estimate of $ 200K. It is one of the most remarkable of its denomination for its color including about 20% of the original red on the obverse and 10% on the reverse. It was sold for $ 1M including premium by Stack's Bowers on March 31, 2017 in the fifth Pogue sale. It will be sold by Heritage in Dallas on April 23, lot 3628.
1815 Shortage of Metals in Philadelphia
2016 SOLD for $ 820K including premium
The metals do not circulate any more. Copper, silver and gold are no longer available for the Philadelphia Mint whose business is extremely slowed down. The reserves ran dry. The currency emissions are no more resulting from federal decisions but the production line accepts some operations to change bullion in coins on orders from private investors.
In such conditions, it is assumed that individuals were using for their transactions the Spanish silver coins and the Portuguese gold coins whose circulation were to remain legal until 1857. The extreme rarity of the 1815 US coinage demonstrates the fragility of the American economy and the weakness of the autonomy of the United States despite the satisfactory conclusion of the war.
Only one gold coin operation is carried out in 1815, on a coordinated order between two private depositors and the Bank of Pennsylvania who each brought some gold to turn it into half eagles of $ 5. In less than one hour on November 3, 1815, 635 pieces are produced with a single pair of dies.
The rarity of this coin has become legendary. Unknown to the numismatists until the mid-nineteenth century, the 1815 half eagle was regarded in the 1880s as the rarest regular issue of the USA. Although some coins have surfaced in the following century, this variety remains a treasure.
On February 9 in New York, Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's sells the finest known example of 1815 half eagle, graded MS65 by PCGS with a rich color between deep yellow and orange. It is estimated $ 750K, lot 3149.
1827 pattern rouble of Nicholas I
2013 SOLD 2.05 MCHF before fees by Sincona
1829 A New Proof Coin of 1829
2012 SOLD 1.38 M$ including premium
Proof coins are generally presented from mint to amateurs or other persons who know their specificity and keep them safe. They thus remain in excellent condition.
Everything is easier for recent issues which have of course a better traceability. For older pieces, the experts should use their best inspection equipment.
In 1829, the design of the US "capped head" half eagles ($ 5) changes very slightly, for reasons of standardization of production. The old and the new type, named Large Date and Small Date, coexist in that date, and both are extremely rare: the cash value was too close to the price of raw gold, and many have been melted.
CoinWeek summarizes the story (also available in the catalog of Heritage) of one of these 1829 Large Date coins. Classified Mint state in 1979, it already generated a doubt. It could also be a proof or from a special presentation strike.
Doubt is now closed. This is one of very few surviving proof specimens of half eagles from 1820 to 1829. This coin is for sale by Heritage Auctions in Orlando on January 5. The auction is open on the site of the auction house and the price is already rising for this outstanding lot.
POST SALE COMMENT
This numismatic gem had emerged as the star lot of this important auction sale. It is worth its price, $ 1.38 million including premium.
1833 The Half Eagles
2016 SOLD for $ 1.35M including premium
The third Pogue sale made by Stack's Bowers on February 9, 2016 listed 27 half eagles from 1807 to 1820. Highly rare due to the shortage of gold, the 1815 half eagle was sold for $ 820K including premium. 1816 and 1817 are missing.
The fourth Pogue sale is held in New York on May 24 by Stack's Bowers in association with Sotheby's. It offers 37 half eagles from 1821 to 1839, lots 4025 to 4062, often the best known example for year and variant.
In the 1820s, the half eagle is an issue because its value in gold has become greater than its face value. For this reason, a large proportion of the coins was used as bullion, exported and melted. Its change from 1834 is aiming to limit the consequences.
These facts may explain the sensational rarity of the half eagle on the date of 1822. On that year, the realized production was similar to the other years, probably insufficient for the dies to be worn at the end of the year. Most half eagles struck in 1822 have certainly been made with the tooling marked 1821, although no document confirms this hypothesis. The following year marked a return to normal.
The attention of collectors on the rarity of the 1822 half eagle was awakened in the late nineteenth century. In addition to a coin in poor condition preserved in the Smithsonian, it was counted after removing some counterfeits that only two units were surviving. Both in very good condition, they were coveted by the greatest collectors throughout the twentieth century.
One of these coins went to the Smithsonian by donation in 1968. There is now only one 1822 half eagle remaining in private hands. Without it, it is impossible to assemble a complete private collection of US coinage. This coin graded AU-50 by PCGS is offered as lot 4026 with an opening bid of $ 2.6M.
A 1833 half eagle is exceptional for its condition graded Proof-67 by PCGS that makes it one of the most stunning US gold coins of its time. It is estimated $ 850K, lot 4044.
1833 half eagle SOLD for $ 1.35M including premium
1834 The Muscat Eagle
2021 SOLD for $ 5.3M including premium
The diplomat Edmund Roberts had convinced the Sultan of Muscat and Oman in 1833 of the interest of signing a treaty of friendship and commerce with the United States. In 1834 President Jackson asks Roberts to prepare for this mission, to which he adds a visit to the King of Siam.
Among the diplomatic gifts, the Americans define a box that will contain an example of each of the coin denominations in circulation. The cumulative face value of the ten samples is derisory : $ 19.415. The double eagle did not yet exist.
The target is indeed to demonstrate the quality of proof coins produced in the United States. This prestige finish had been used sparingly since 1801 for silver, 1817 for copper and 1820 for gold. A 1821 quarter eagle graded PR64 Cameo by PCGS was sold for $ 240K including premium by Heritage in January 2007.
For the largest silver and gold coins, $ 1 and $ 10 respectively, President Jefferson suspended production in 1804 to curb speculation, while maintaining their circulation. For these two denominations, the factory decides to supply coins inscribed 1804 rather than 1834 which would be illegal. These coins will necessarily be a new build, to display the proof finish in mint condition.
Two dollars and two eagles were thus produced at the end of 1834. The eagles used for the obverse a spare die from the 1800s decade on which the engraving of the last digit of the year still had to be done. This 4 designed in the style of the 1830s makes it possible to distinguish between the Crosslet 4 variety produced in period and the Plain 4 variety produced for the Roberts mission.
In March 1835 two other destinations are added to the mission at the last moment. Two new 1804 eagles and two new 1804 dollars are minted. A tiny defect in the eagle die has been repaired in the mean time. There will be no further 1804 Plain 4 eagles, confirming the recent hypothesis that the four 1804 Class I supernumerary dollars are patterns unrelated to the Roberts mission.
The eagles prepared for Muscat and Siam are the two pieces from the first batch. No test eagle having been identified, they are the first two eagles to have been processed as proofs.
The Muscat specimens are the best in both varieties. The dollar is graded PR68 by PCGS. The eagle, graded PR65+ Deep Cameo by PCGS, will be sold by Heritage in Dallas on January 20, lot 3049.
NEW RECORD: The finest of just three known examples of the 1804 $10 Plain 4, BD-2, JD-1, Judd-33, High R.7, PR65+ Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC brings $5,280,000 at the FUN US Coins Signature Auction – the most ever paid at auction for a coin! https://t.co/6sLPD6FYbz#AuctionUpdate pic.twitter.com/aD2ohJauuy— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) January 21, 2021
1834 The Dollar of the Kings
1999 SOLD 4.1 M$ including premium by Bowers and Merena
The dollar dated 1804 is an extraordinary coinage whose story is worthy of an oriental tale.
The first specimen identified as Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue 1804 dollar class I is really fabulous. It was sold for $ 4.1 million including premium by Bowers and Merena in August 1999, the highest recorded price for any coin at that time. It is for sale by Stack's Bowers, successor to Bowers and Merena, in cooperation with Sotheby's on May 24 in New York, lot 4020.
The Sultan of Oman is an important Arabian monarch who controls the trade in the Horn of Africa which is a major passage to the Orient. His capital is Muscat. An American dealer named Edmund Roberts manages to meet the Sultan in Zanzibar in 1827, opening the possibility to create an American influence in Asia.
Roberts is naturally designated in 1832 by the government of President Jackson to finalize the trade agreement with Muscat. The tradition is to support the negotiations in the East with gifts. Americans are not familiar with this practice: there will be no investment for this operation which, if successful, will however bring huge sources of revenues for the United States.
Roberts does not wish being commissioned to offer a ridiculous gift to the Sultan. He imagines a morocco box containing a sample of each legal coins of the United States. The order is sent to the Philadelphia Mint to run this special operation.
The silver dollar is a legal coin but President Jefferson suspended its production in 1804. Its face value is the symbol of the American currency and this piece should be the focus of the gift. New dies are created from the punches that began to rust after three decades of storage. The date 1804 is selected because it is the latest that is credible.
The first class I 1804 dollar is struck in November or December 1834 with great care so that this brand new piece of silver shall dazzle the Sultan of Muscat when he opens the box. The government is enthusiastic about the idea of Roberts and a similar gift is simultaneously prepared for the King of Siam. Six other class I coins will be struck including at least two before Roberts left for the East.
Roberts presented the box to the Sultan on October 1, 1835, the day following the signing of the treaty of friendship between both countries. This exceptional coin has been kept in mint condition. It is graded Proof 68 by PCGS. The image below has been downloaded a few years ago from Wikimedia.
The prestige of this piece with coin collectors is further increased by the fact that it is the first silver dollar on the date of 1804. At the time of Jefferson's decision the dollars produced earlier in that year were still using the dies dated from the previous year.
Please watch the video shared by Stack's Bowers in 2018.
1835 The Presentation Dollar
2013 SOLD 3.9 M$ including premium
2018 SOLD for $ 2.64M including premium
The dollar struck at the date of 1804 is the most desirable regular coin issue. Although the number of specimens made in the first issue also known as Class I is not recorded, it is probable that it did not exceed the eight units currently known.
They were prepared in three strikes : two presentation coins in 1834 for the diplomatic travel of Edmund Roberts in Asia, two additional coins in early 1835 for an an extension of the same trip and a final set of four in 1835 for the archives of the Philadelphia Mint.
The reason for the later Class II and Class III restrikes made between 1857 and 1860 is not clear.
The sixth specimen in the Class I roster is graded PR62 by PCGS. It was twice sold by Heritage, for $ 3.7M including premium on April 17, 2008 and for $ 3.9M including premium on August 9, 2013. It is now listed as lot 4003 by Heritage in Long Beach on June 14.
I summarized the reason for its rarity as follows before the 2013 sale.
The dollar is a symbol of money and the East is a dream of wealth. During the presidency of Jackson, Edmund Roberts became ambassador at large of the United States to the East.
In 1834 Roberts was responsible for presenting the richest monarchs with a complete series of the then legal US coinage from its current or last year.
When this decision was made nobody appreciated that this special set was to include for its credibility a coin that had never existed : the 1804 silver dollar. Its production had stopped after that date and all the coins from that ultimate year had been made with 1803 dies.
The 1804 dollars prepared for Roberts's diplomatic mission were for these reasons the first to use that face date, with a delay of thirty years.
Please watch the video shared by Heritage. The image below has been downloaded a few years ago from Wikimedia.
1835 The Voyage of Four Coins
2017 SOLD for $ 3.3M including premium
Diplomat and traveler, Edmund Roberts had imagined returning to the East with gifts altogether prestigious and cheap for the king of Siam and the sultan of Muscat. The Secretary of State accepted in November 1834 his idea of constituting for each of these powerful monarchs a case containing a set of all the coins in circulation in the United States including the silver dollar whose production had been suspended since 1804.
While preparing the execution of that federal order, the US Mint found that all the dollars regularly produced in 1804 had used the dies of the previous year and thus carried the date of 1803. To avoid entering into lengthy debates, the factory decides to modify old dies and to make two coins dated 1804, which are struck in December 1834. They will at least have the advantage of being brand new.
The Secretary of State decides that Roberts must extend his mission up to Cochin China and Japan. Two additional sets are assembled in April 1835 just in time before his departure. A third strike is made before 1837, certainly for the use of the archives of the US Mint : four of these coins survive.
The eight coins referred above are together designated as the 1804 Class I dollar. They are a flagship of American numismatics by the quality of their execution scheduled for a prestigious operation. The wear of the reference image of Liberty, designed in 1795, is not a numismatic defect.
The king and the sultan have received their gift but it is not known what happened to the two other sets after the death of Roberts in Macau in June 1836. It is probable that a member of the crew caught them discreetly.
The monarchs did not handle their gifts, of course. The Siam specimen remaining in its presentation case is graded Proof-67 by PCGS. The Muscat specimen graded Proof-68 by PCGS was sold for $ 4.1M including premium by Bowers and Merena in August 1999. It passed at the fourth Pogue sale on May 24, 2016.
Pogue owned another 1804 Class I dollar, graded Proof-65 by PCGS. It was sold for $ 3.3M including premium in the fifth sale of his collection by Stack's Bowers on March 31, 2017, lot 5045. Coming now from the Morelan collection, it is estimated $ 4M for sale by Legend Rare Coin in Las Vegas on October 8, lot 25. Its image is shared by Wikimedia.
This coin had surfaced in Germany in 1884 with no identified history and was at that time the subject of a dispute of authenticity closed by an official statement in its favor issued by the US Mint. Moreover the hues of its patina and the perfect condition of its reverse suggest that this coin has long been preserved in a case identical to those offered to the two sovereigns. It is therefore probably one of the last two silver dollars of Roberts' voyage.
A Class I coin graded Proof-62 by PCGS was sold for $ 3.9M including premium by Heritage on August 9, 2013.
1831-1836 The Stickney Dollar
2020 SOLD for $ 3.36M including premium
1804 had been the last year of production of the silver dollar. In 1831 the Treasury Department authorizes the restart of this denomination. Tests are carried out by reusing dies dated from 1801 to 1804. The preparation of a new design by Gobrecht in 1836 is the terminus ante quem of these tests.
The four diplomatic pieces had been the subject of specific productions, so that they could be offered in the best possible condition. Two of them were delivered, respectively to the Sultan of Muscat and the King of Siam. Remained in mint condition, they are alongside the prototype of 1794 the finest of all silver dollars.
In 1842 two managers of the Mint, DuBois and Eckfeldt, publish an illustrated manual devoted to gold and silver coins. The collector Matthew Stickney is puzzled. Plate II includes, among other coins, without further explanation, a 1804 dollar. According to official records, 19,570 dollars were minted in 1804. Stickney had never found a mere one.
In the following year Stickney manages to obtain a specimen kept at the Mint in exchange for a lot containing a 1785 Immune Columbia gold cent. This dollar, graded PR-65 by PCGS, is one of the two finest 1804 Class I after the copies offered to the kings. It was sold for $ 1.8M including premium in April 1997 by Bowers and Merena. It will be sold at lot 1094 in Newport Beach on December 17 by Stack's Bowers, successor to Bowers and Merena.
It became evident after Stickney's intervention that dies from earlier years had been used in 1804 until it was ordered to stop this denomination, and that no dollar with the date 1804 was minted before the 1831 restart authorization. The hypothesis that the 1804 dies had been specially put back into service for the diplomatic gifts has recently been refuted by the above considerations.
1838 The Gobrecht Eagle
2021 SOLD for $ 3.36M including premium
The eagle was completely redesigned in 1838 by Gobrecht, who had previously created the new silver dollar. The image of Liberty, tilted from the axis of date and stars, seems to be leaning forward. This first variety is rare, with only 7,200 units minted in 1838 and 25,801 in 1839. From the end of 1839, the figure is straightened and slightly modified. The new Liberty regains her pride but is less pretty.
Since 1820, the mint was maintaining its know how in the proof polishing of gold coins, with extremely low quantities. For the eagle, the first proofs, in 1834 and 1835, are the four pieces of Roberts' journey, made in the design interrupted in 1804.
The proof eagles in Gobrecht's first design are extremely rare. Three 1838 and three 1839 have survived, including one from each year in the collection of the Smithsonian.
An 1838 proof eagle graded PR65 Cameo by PCGS will be sold by Heritage in Dallas on January 21, lot 4109. An 1839 proof eagle from the type of 1838 graded PR67 Ultra Cameo by NGC was sold for $ 1.6M including premium by Heritage in January 2007.
1839 Proof Eagle
2007 SOLD for $ 1.6M including premium by Heritage