Without fail, the annual ANA convention brings out many great coins. Some of these are old friends; others are new to the market. Many of the best coins I buy at major shows never make it onto my website, but they deserve attention.
Two of the best coins I bought at the 2015 ANA were a pair of New Orleans eagles which I’ve been chasing for many years. I first saw them in the early 1980’s, was outbid on them in 2000, and have kept tabs on them ever since. They were first offered to me—as a pair—about a year ago and after a lot of negotiating and patience, I was able to buy them. They were quickly added to a New England collection specializing in New Orleans gold which is by far the best of its kind ever formed.
The coins are an 1845-O and 1846-O eagle, both graded MS64 by PCGS and both approved by CAC. Each is the finest known for its specific issue, and both fall into the very elusive category of MS64 (or higher) No Motto eagles from New Orleans.
What is truly “cool” about these coins, besides their amazing appearance, is the fact that they have been together since at least 1890 and likely earlier. They have passed through some of the greatest collections of American gold coins ever formed.
The 1845-O is the more “common” of the two in higher grades but it is still a very rare date in Uncirculated with just five or six known to me, with the next finest being a pair which grade MS62. This includes a single PCGS MS62 and an NGC MS62, ex S.S. New York, which sold for $54,625 when auctioned in July 2008.
This 1845-O first appeared at auction in 1890 in the Chapman Brothers Cleaney sale and the next appeared in B. Max Mehl’s 1922 Ten Eyck sale where it was bought by collector John Clapp, Sr. It was next in the collection of Louis Eliasberg and was sold in the October 1982 Bowers and Ruddy sale to Harry Bass for $30,800. When the Bass collection was sold, this coin next realized $48,300 in 2000 and went into a Louisiana specialist’s collection where it stayed until I purchased it.
As you can see from the photo, this 1845-O is an exceptional coin with unmolested surfaces and gorgeous color. It is identifiable by a shallow planchet flaw above the date.
The 1846-O is a rare and undervalued issue which is actually among the harder No Motto eagles from this mint to locate in higher grades. There are three to five known in Uncirculated of which the present example being far and away the finest. The next finest known is an NGC MS63, also ex Eliasberg and Bass, which I sold to a California collector around a decade ago.
Every 1846-O eagle I have ever seen has frosty luster (and that’s assuming that it shows any luster any at all). This example is a unique exception as it is nearly fully reflective with spectacular cameo contrast. In fact, my first reaction when I saw this coin three decades ago was “It’s a Proof!!!” It’s not, but it is a very special coin.
Remarkably, this coin has exactly the same pedigree as the 1845-O. It sold for $28,600 in the Eliasberg sale to Harry Bass and nearly twenty years later it brought $46,000 in the Bass sale.
I paid a six-figure price for each coin and no doubt set a record price for each issue. In this case, the price was fully justified as the combination of quality, rarity, and provenance made these two of the greatest No Motto eagles from New Orleans in existence.
Do you collect New Orleans gold coinage? Why not work with the world’s leading expert on these coins when building your collection. Call Doug Winter at (214) 675-9897 or send an email to email@example.com to discuss your New Orleans gold (or silver!) collections.