The finest known 1851 Double Eagle sold for $408,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ US Coins Signature® Auction to $12,076,000 Dec. 15-18.
The event drew more than 3,700 global participants, and generated near-perfect sell-through rates of better than 99% by value and by lots sold.
The event’s top lot is the top graded example of the 1851 version of the coin in its second year of production.
“It is believed that the Mint struck nearly 2.1 million of these 1851 Double Eagles,” says Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Of those, somewhere around 3,000 remain in all grades remain today, and only 200-300 in Mint state. Only two or three near-Gem examples were known … until this Gem was discovered. It is a magnificent coin that will be a central part of its new collection.”
Also reaching six figures was a 1851 Humbert Fifty Dollar, MS61, which prompted 51 bids before ending at $115,200. Colloquially known as “slugs,” Humbert fifties had the advantage of having been struck by authority of the federal government and accepted at the Custom House of payment of duties. They were also widely used by banks and merchants in larger transactions. Although the Humbert slugs were manufactured in large quantities, most eventually were melted. Those that survive are either heavily worn or impaired, and often are both.
Also generating enormous interest was a 1907 Wire Rim Ten, MS64+, which brought in 65 bids before closing at $90,000. The 1907 Wire Rim Indian eagle is avidly collected by series specialists and pattern collectors alike as the only available issue that shows Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ original design for the ten dollar gold piece. Of the 542 examples originally struck, only 472 were distributed, with the remaining 70 melted after 1915.
Two $3 gold coins — an 1875 Proof Three Dollar and an 1858 Three Dollar Gold, PR64 — each drew a winning bid of $72,000. The 1875 was part of The Allan H. Goldman Collection, Part III, while the 1858 came from The Bender Family Collection.
The auction included 84 lots from the Goldman Collection. In addition to the 1875 Proof Three Dollar Gold, the trove was led by a 1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar Gold Piece, Unc Details that brought $63,060. The Bender Collection also included a 1956 Cent, MS67+ Red that drew a winning bid of $57,600 and an 1873-CC Arrows Seated Liberty Half, MS64 that drew $44,400.
Appearing at auction for the first time, a 2000-D Sacagawea Dollar, MS64 ended at $66,000. More than 20 years after it was struck, a mule that paired a Sacagawea dollar obverse and the statehood side of a 2000-dated South Carolina quarter was reported in the June 27, 2022 issue of Coin World. Mules — coins struck from mismatched dies — are undeniably rare, but this example is unique. It is more dramatic than the other famous Sacagawea dollar / statehood quarter mule, since the state is identified, and it shows the Sacagawea obverse.
Other highlights included, but were not limited to:
- A 1925-S Twenty Dollar, MS64: $56,400
- A 1947 New York Assay Office Gold Ingot: $55,200
- A 1911 Quarter Eagle, PR68: $54,000
- A 1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim, MS65 PCGS: $52,800
- A 1921-S Half Dollar, MS63: $49,200
- An 1892-S Morgan Dollar, MS61: $46,800
Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/1351.
About Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels and Hong Kong.
Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,500,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.