Coins and Medals

14 Sep 2015, starting at 7:00 PDT .

Auction information

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Russia, Nicholas II, Gold 25 Roubles (2 1/2 Imperials), 1896, XF Details, Damaged, Edge Filing NGC
32.21 grams. KM-YA65, Fr. 171, Bitkin-312 (R2). Obverse: youthful portrait of Nicholas II facing left, reverse: crowned double-headed Imperial eagle with four shields on each wing, date and dual denomination based on 10 roubles equaling one within beaded circle. Legend with values and date surrounds. Lettered edge gives weight in Russian measurement: 7 Zolotnik, 77.4 Dolya, no mint master's initial. This was thought to be a special commemorative issue for the Coronation of Nicholas II, with a scant mintage thought to be just 300 pieces, all struck as proofs. Careful study finds a few very minor hairlines and microscopic milling marks in the obverse fields, and some edge damage is reported on the reverse. Still, a very rare issue that is seldom encountered in any grade. Few examples still survive, and every appearance of this important rarity always elicits great collector interest.

Ex: Charles E. Dearnley Collection; purchased from a Philadelphia dealer circa 1930. Dearnley was a well travelled individual who was president of Dearnley Brothers Worsted Spinning Company, worsted yarn manufacturers and distributors in Philadelphia where he was born in 1892. As well as being a prominent coin collector of the time, he was the Director of Rotary International cut short by his death in 1961. The surviving family has retained possession of this coin since his death, thus this example has been off the market since the 1930s.
Sold for US$ 40,950 inc. premium
1929 $20
Beginning with this issue and continuing through the Saint-Gaudens series end in 1933, every surviving double eagle produced is considered rare. The Philadelphia Mint struck slightly less than 1.8 million double eagles in 1929. Most of these coins (including the later-minted dates) were not needed for domestic commerce or export trade, and were simply placed into federal vaults for storage. A very few pieces found limited distribution within America's banking system.

In early 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued his now-famous Gold Recall Act in an effort to reverse the economic downturn of the Great Depression. One of the clauses of this act instructed the Mint not to release any more gold coins into circulation and to destroy those pieces that were either still on hand or were returned to federal control as a result of the recall. Numismatic scholars are generally agreed that much of the original mintage of 1929 double eagles was destroyed as a result of this Presidential order.

Unlike many other Saint-Gaudens twenties, the 1929 has not been widely represented in hoards discovered overseas. A small group of 40 examples was found in England in 1984, and numismatic dealer/author Jeff Garrett purchased another group of 10 coins in the early 1990s from an unspecified source. We are unaware of any other significant finds, so the balance of this issue's extant population probably dribbled into the market either individually or in small groups over the past half century or so.

This is a fully lustrous, honey-gold specimen with bright cartwheel activity and satiny, green-gold highlights. The overall physical quality and aesthetic appeal are substantial for this specimen. Well struck, but not quite full, as is typical for this issue, only a few microscopic abrasions are reported on the reverse. Saint-Gaudens' double eagle specialists will pay close attention as this important lot crosses the auction block. (PCGS 9190)
Sold for US$ 38,610 inc. premium
1866 $20 MS62 PCGS
CAC Sticker. The year 1866 was a year of transition for both silver and gold coins. Patriotic fervor arising out of the trauma of Civil War gave birth to demands for a religious motto to be added to America's coinage. In 1861, 1862, and 1863, two variations of this motto were used on Pattern coins. The first, GOD OUR TRUST, was rejected; the more lyrical IN GOD WE TRUST came off better and was included on the new two-cent pieces of 1864 and Shield nickels of 1866. The Act of March 3, 1865 included a clause mandating this motto on all coins, however, it took the Philadelphia Mint some months before it could add it to the $20 gold production dies -- Philadelphia made the dies for all branch mints. For this reason, a few No Motto twenty-dollar gold pieces were struck at San Francisco before the new With Motto reverse dies arrived from the East.

From a mintage of just 698,745 pieces, and now considered rare in any Mint State grade. From that emission, PCGS has graded only six pieces at the MS62 level with just one finer, that being an MS64. Antique golden mint luster throughout with a slight greenish hue as the coin turns under a light. Scattered light scuffs and bagmarks as expected for these large, heavy coins, but much better than average eye appeal and luster. These mark the appearance of the new Motto on the reverse punched in with individual letters which is readily obvious. Desirable in every way, rarity, eye appeal, and quality. (PCGS 8949)
Sold for US$ 28,080 inc. premium
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

Please Note:

The Buyer's Premium for this sale is 17% of the hammer price.

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