At Douglas Winter Numismatics, we tend to keep things pretty under the radar. This means that many fantastic US gold coins never make it onto our website and often don’t even receive any publicity.
From mid-July to the days leading up to this year’s ANA show in Rosemont, we have had one of our most productive stretches in close to a decade. We’ve sold small coins and big coins, 18th century coins and 19th century coins, worn coins and new coins, fairly common coins and extremely rare coins.
Here are some of the more interesting numismatic items we have sold in the past 45 days.
1. The Northern California Collection of Carson City Eagles, 1870-1893
This set, which was listed on the PCGS Set Registry as the finest of its kind ever assembled, was put together primarily by me for a client beginning in 1998 and continuing up to a few years ago. It contained 19 coins, all graded by PCGS and many with CAC approval. The grades ranged from AU50 to MS63+ and contained a number of Condition Census coins.
Highlights of the set included: a PCGS/CAC AU50 1870-CC; possibly the finest known 1873-CC graded AU58 by PCGS and approved by CAC; PCGS AU58 examples of the 1877-CC, 1878-CC, and 1879-CC (both well up in the Condition Census); an 1883-CC graded PCGS MS60; and a superbly toned PCGS/CAC MS62 1893-CC.
Many of these coins were obtained from the Bass Collection sales held in 1999 and 2000, and this meant that these coins were very fresh, in many cases having been off the market for 20 years or so.
The only two Carson City Eagle sets with comparable quality coins to have been offered since the mid-2000s were the Battle Born Collection sold by Stack’s Bowers in the August 2012 ANA auction, and the Admiral Collection sold by Heritage in February 2018.
DWN sold this exceptional collection intact to a well-known collector who already had what was at the time the second best PCGS Registry Set of CC eagles. With the acquisition of the Northern California Collection, this revised set immediately became the finest ever assembled.
2. 1870-CC $20.00, NGC Graded EF45
In my career as a gold coin specialist I have likely handled more examples of this famous rarity than virtually any other contemporary dealer. I hadn’t handled an 1870-CC in around three years, but just before the Long Beach show opened I sold an NGC EF45 to a West Coast dealer.
The 1870-CC double eagle is the rarest and most famous gold coin from the Carson City mint. Around 35-45 are known with nearly all in lower grades as this issue saw active circulation in the booming Nevada economy of the early 1870s. There are likely not more than four to six examples which are properly graded AU and virtually none of these is choice.
The example I sold is from the forthcoming offering of the Houston Collection which is DWN’s next Concierge Sale. I sold this exact coin to a collector in April 2014, and the coin was from the Heritage April 2014 auction (Lot 5820) where it realized $282,000.
The sales price for this coin was somewhat less than what it brought in 2014 as the market has softened slightly for very rare Liberty Head double eagles.
3. 1819 $5.00, PCGS MS61
The 1819 is one of the great melt rarities which populate the half eagle issues of the 1815-1834 era. As a date there are likely not more than 20-25 known and there are three die varieties: BD-1 (Wide Date with 5D/50 reverse; this is a High R-6 with an estimated 15-20 known), BD-2 (Close Date with a normal reverse; this is an R-7 with as few as four to five known in total), and BD-3 (Wide Date with Normal Reverse; currently unique).
This date was missing from the DL Hansen Collection and in a recent conversation with a client, I mentioned that he might want to offer one of his 1819s. (Remarkably, he also owns a spectacular PCGS MS65 1819 5D/50 which is unquestionably the finest known). When I received word that this was a “go,” I contacted John Brush at David Lawrence RC, the agent for the Hansen Collection, and told him it was available. The transaction was completed in literally 45 seconds.
I purchased this coin for the collector in the Pogue auction of February 2016 for $141,000. I felt this was one of the better values in the sale as it is an important variety which is, viewed as an individual issue, rarer than an 1815. But I felt it was a coin which the collector who owned it could afford to sell (for a nice profit) given the fact that he already owned another—and better—1819. And, it filled an important hole in the Hansen Collection.
In closing, take a look at the amazing pedigree of this coin:
Peter Mougey Collection; Peter Mougey Estate, 1908; Thomas Elder’s sale of the Peter Mougey Collection, September 1910, lot 1070; William H. Woodin Collection; Waldo C. Newcomer Collection, by sale, early 1920s; Col. Edward Howland Robinson Green Collection, by sale, via B. Max Mehl, 1931; Stack’s, by sale, 1943; Henry P. Graves Collection; Gwendolen Graves Fullerton, by descent, 1953; Stack’s sale of the Davis-Graves Collection, April 1954, lot 1449; Stack’s sale of the Dr. Clifford Smith Collection, May 1955, lot 1682; Stack’s 1976 American Numismatic Association sale, August 1976, lot 2936; Paramount International Coin Corporation’s Rare Coin List No. 15, April-May 1977, page 80; Superior Galleries’ “Connoisseur’s Collection” sale of January 1989, lot 354, via David Akers, Pogue Collection, Stack’s Bowers/Sotheby’s February 2016, Lot 3154, Midwestern specialized collection via Douglas Winter Numismatics.
There is always lots going on “behind the curtain” at Douglas Winter Numismatics and every now and then, we like to share some of these secrets with you!
If you are interested in some of the very special “secret coins” we regularly buy and sell, please contact Doug Winter by phone at (214) 675-9897 and let’s get you on board the DWN Train.