Published: November 30, 2010
Rare US coins provided for steady, even stellar, prices at Heritage’s $9.42 million Coinfest Signature US coin auction, October 27″0 at the Marriot Stamford Hotel. The auction’s top lot was a magnificent 1879 “Washlady” dollar, which brought $161,000.
“These results were 20 percent higher than our presale projections,” said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions. “The market for rare coins is very strong. The best examples continue to command top prices and the top collectors are more than happy to acquire these examples.”
More than 4,380 bidders participated in the event, both live and via Heritage’s Internet auction platform, taking the sale to a sell-through rate of 92 percent by value and 97 percent by lot.
Recent Heritage coin auctions have mostly seen examples of rare gold coinage taking the top slot, but here the 1879 Washlady dollar, the finest known specimen, took top honors after a fierce bidding between advanced collectors. Between 12 and 15 examples are believed known of the Washlady dollar in both copper and silver. There is also one example known in white metal.
“In the late Nineteenth Century this design was not well received by dealers and collectors, and was apparently given the nickname of ‘Washlady’ by David Proskey around April 1891 at the Doughty sale,” said Rohan. “The name stuck, but today the Washlady design is considered one of the most beautiful ever produced by the mint.”
The equally rare 1785 Connecticut Copper, African Head, from the W. Philip Keller Collection of US Colonials, took the second spot on the auction podium, realizing $115,000, while a famous 1882 $20, one of only 571 pieces struck †a coin so rare that even the Smithsonian Institution lacks an example of the issue †piqued the interest of numerous collectors with a final price realized of $80,500.
“While there are numerous double eagle issues from the late 1870s through early 1890s that boast extraordinarily low mintages,” said Rohan, “the 1882 is the absolute lowest-mintage of them all.”
A 1904 $20 was close behind the 1882 example, with a final price of $74,750, a mark that was equaled in the auction by the finest known 1879 Metric dollar, a highly desirable $1 coin of great beauty and peculiar metallic composition (silver, copper, aluminum and white metal) that drew considerable enthusiasm from collectors at the auction.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 800-872-6467 or www.ha.com .
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