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Stack’s Sells $5 Million in Americana Sale
By Stacks

Over the last two days, Stack’s held its annual January Americana in its private gallery in New York City. The sale began with a packed auction room and saw spirited and competitive bidding throughout both sessions.

Over 3,000 lots were sold, and $5 million worth of material changed hands. Properties from over 125 consignors were showcased in this sale, and included items from the Manhattan Collection, the Maryland Historical Society, the Clinton Sherwood Ward Collection of U.S. Gold Coins, Clem Schettino Collection of New Jersey Coppers, the Museum of the Fur Trade, the Alan Bleviss Collection of Civil War Tokens, Part III, and medals from the family of Charles E. Barber.

American Paper Currency began the sale, and Obsolete Currency led the way. The second lot of the sale was an exceptionally rare California and Salt Lake Mail Line $10 note, a note that was not represented in the Ford Collection and is only the second of its kind that we have catalogued. This very rare type is in Very Fine condition and sold for $18,400. Hawaiian obsolete currency offered the rare six-piece set of Lahainaluna Seminary scrip notes, a beautiful set of “token” currency that sold for $14,375. Obsolete notes also featured the exceedingly rare and important Union Bank of Missouri $5 note issued from the branch in Kansas City that sold for $8,050. New York notes showcased a breathtaking Ontario County Bank $1 Proof note from Phelps, NY that was once part of the Ford Collection. This Gem Uncirculated note sold for an impressive $8,625.

Colonial currency lots boasted the extremely rare New York 1709 Twenty Five Shillings in Very Fine condition. Only 800 notes of this denomination were authorized, and competition for this prize was fierce to the tune of $17,250. Vermont colonials offered the newly discovered example of the 1781 Half a Crown note. This item, graded Fine-15 by PMG, came to us via the Museum of the Fur Trade and was reportedly obtained in the Washington, D.C. area in the 1960s before that. It joined a new collection after a top bid of $12,650.
Another important highlight of colonial-era paper money included the Official French Colonial Regime Second Bill of Exchange, accomplished October 15, 1759 for 6000 Livres. Dated one month after the fall of Quebec, this note represents the final paper money issue of New France. This extremely rare piece sold for $12,075. Stack’s was proud to feature over 20 lots of early American lottery tickets, a highlight of which was the choice and rare 1767 Fanueil-Hall Lottery ticket signed by John Hancock. In Choice Very Fine condition, this ticket was among the finest we have ever seen, and realized a final price of $17,250.

Federal currency finished out the American Paper Currency section of this sale, and highlighted there was the newly discovered First National Bank of Fountain, Colorado $10. This note, one of just a tiny handful of notes that has survived, was bright and fresh and sold for $10,350.

U.S. coins led off with half cents and large cents, and highlights here included a lovely 1797 S-138 large cent graded MS-62 by NGC, the finest graded example of that variety, that sold for $9,200. Minor coinage performed strongly, and the large selection of Liberty nickels from the Q. David Bowers Reference Collection proved quite popular. Half dimes proffered an array of rarities like the 1794 Flowing Hair example graded AU-58 (NGC) that sold for $10,062. Three lots later appeared the Eliasberg 16 Stars 1797 example in MS-66 (NGC). This beautiful coin, the finest certified by NGC, reached a final bid of $97,750.

U.S. quarters began with the rare 1796 Draped Bust issue, a wholesome, attractively toned coin graded VF-25 (NGC) that brought $29,325. Two lots later produced the 1804 in EF-40 (NGC), a pretty toned coin that is one of the rarest prizes in the quarter dollar series—this desirable lot sold for $23,000. Half dollars highlighted the incredible 1794 O-104a issue in EF-40 (NGC), one of the finest examples seen of this variety, which sold for $37,950, followed immediately by an Uncirculated 1795 O-119 in an MS-63 (SEGS) holder that brought $16,100. Capped bust half dollars saw the rare 1839 Type II, Small Letters example in AU-50 (NGC) climb to a strong $50,025 and later issues featured a splendid gem 1920-S graded MS-66 (NGC) (CAC) that topped out at $29,900.

Silver dollars began with an impressive EF-45 1795 Flowing Hair, 3 Leaves issue that sold for $14,950. Later issues featured a nice pair of proof trade dollars, the first an 1878 Proof-65 (NGC) that sold for $9,775 and the second an 1879 Proof-65 (PCGS) that brought $9,200. Morgan dollars provided a healthy array of high grade rarities as well as more common, affordable issues.

U.S. gold coins showcased the elusive and always popular 1854 Type II gold dollar in MS-65 (PCGS) that sold for $29,900. Quarter eagles offered up one of the finest known 1825 issues. Graded MS-66 by NGC, this BD-2 example sold for an impressive $115,000. Immediately following this lot was the dazzling prooflike Gem 1834 Classic Head graded MS-66 PL by NGC, a coin that is one of the finest known of the date and type. This impressive coin climbed to $51,750.

Among half eagles was the incredible prooflike 1834 Plain 4 graded MS-66 PL (NGC). This coin, like its quarter eagle counterpart, is easily one of the highest quality survivors of both the date and type and reached an impressive price of $92,000. Coronet half eagles presented a stunning 1860-D in MS-63 (PCGS). This amazing coin has been handed down through the same family for generations since the day of issue, and was one of ten original pieces acquired by that family at the Dahlonega Mint in 1860 in exchange for gold bullion and scrap. This historical piece sold for $43,125.

U.S. eagles offered a splendid 1800 Capped Bust example in AU-55 (PCGS) that brought $27,600 and an MS-61 (PCGS) 1801 example that took in $32,200. Double eagles offered a modest selection of both Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens types, punctuated by a fabulous quartet of MCMVII (1907) High Relief issues. The first was the unbelievable Wire Rim Roman Finish Proof-68* (NGC) example, a gorgeous specimen that saw active bidding and eventually closed for a whopping $230,000. Next up were two Wire Rim examples, both graded MS-65 by PCGS, which brought $46,000 and $46,575 respectively. The last high relief offered here was a Flat Rim variety in MS-63 (PCGS) that sold for $21,850.

From U.S. gold we moved into the section of Pattern coins, and notables here include the extremely rare 1858 Flying Eagle pattern cent, a Large Letters type struck on a broad planchet. This Judd-199 was in a Proof Genuine (PCGS) holder and brought a very impressive $19,550. Three lots later appeared the exceedingly rare 1866 pattern $20 in gilt copper. One of just three specimens believed to exist, this trial piece is certified Proof-62 by NGC and went to a new home after a top price of $34,500.

Stack’s proudly presented a large selection of Confederate coinage, featuring the Robert LeNeve C.S.A. Collection. This impressive collection was headlined by the Haseltine restrike copper 1861 Confederate cent in Proof-65 RB (PCGS), an exceptional rarity that sold for $43,700. Also from this collection was the 1861-D gold dollar, the final Dahlonega issue that was struck by the Confederacy. In an AU-53 (PCGS) holder, this coin was fiercely bid upon and eventually sold for $57,500.

Shipwreck and Territorial coins, Western Americana, and California and other small gold rounded out this session. The Western Americana portion featured a magnificent 1870 Nevada Presentation silver ingot. This 16¼ ounce rectangular ingot is inscribed “J.G. Lee to John Lee” and features an inset photograph on the top face of the ingot. This amazing and distinctive presentation ingot brought a pleasing $23,000.

Session Two began with Colonial and Early American coinage, led off by a pleasing run of Massachusetts silver, followed by an impressive run of over 40 pieces of Saint Patrick coinage. A Vlack 4-B Saint Patrick halfpenny graded Fine-12 performed wonderfully and ran up to $17,250 and the rare and desirable silver farthing in Fine-15, the fourth documented specimen struck from these dies, brought $7,475.

Other colonial highlights include a rare 1737 Broad Axe Higley copper graded AG-3 by PCGS (the Corrado Romano coin) that sold for $37,375. Also featured here was a pleasing Pewter 1776 Continental dollar in VF-25 (PCGS) (CAC) that brought $17,940, as well as an elusive 1783 Chalmers threepence in EF-40 (PCGS) that garnered $29,900.

The next headlining collection that the Americana Sale saw was the Clem Schettino Collection of New Jersey coppers, which featured over 150 lots and more than 90 varieties of the popular colonial coin. Significant realizations came by way of the Maris 12-G No Coulter example in VF-25 that brought in $12,650 and the beautiful Maris 34-J Deer Head graded EF-45 that sold for $8,050. Later varieties included an interesting Maris 73-aa Plaited Mane example that was overstruck on a 1774 English-type counterfeit halfpenny! This coin was pedigreed back to the George J. Bauer Collection, 1945 and sold for a very strong $8,050.

Washington pieces boasted a very attractive 1799 (i.e. 1800) Washington Skull and Crossbones Funeral Medal in silver graded EF-45 by NGC. This important medal was noted as being perhaps 10 or even 20 times rarer than its Funeral Urn counterpart and sold for $17,250. Colonial issues were followed by a notable offering of early American silver. Several pieces by the important silversmith Daniel Van Voorhis were offered here, and the handsome ca. 1780-1800 tankard sold for $16,100.

The second half of Session Two was comprised of United States Medals and Tokens, and featured a nice array of Betts Medals. A newly rediscovered Libertas Americana reverse cliché or épreuve, produced around March 1783, was showcased here. This trial piece was housed in a contemporary silvered lead frame, and there is a piece of white paper adhered to the center with a contemporary French inscription describing the reverse design. This wonderfully historical piece found a new home after $25,300. Immediately following this lot was an MS-62 (NGC) example of the Libertas Americana medal that raked in $100,625.

Indian Peace Medals offered nearly 30 lots to choose from, and important items here included the famously rare 1801 Thomas Jefferson silver shells. This particular example was clearly worn for years and years, as the technical grade of the medal is only Very Good. However, the sense of history this medal imparts transcends the technicalities and this sentiment was clearly echoed in the final price of $74,750.

Other Indian Peace Medals included a beautiful 1829 Andrew Jackson, a large size silver medal graded About Uncirculated and was once part of the Virgil Brand collection. This exemplary piece sold for $24,150. Also noted here is the high grade, ex Ford 1849 Zachary Taylor medal, another large size silver medal, in Extremely Fine condition that brought $27,600.

Later U.S. medals presented the (1873) American Academy of Arts and Sciences Benjamin Count Rumford Medal, a glorious ex Ford gold medal in Uncirculated condition that brought $17,250. Also offered here was the legendary and probably unique silver 1876 Independence Centennial International Exhibition Award Medal, a Choice About Uncirculated rarity that sold for $11,500.

Inaugural medals boasted the 1905 Theodore Roosevelt, a wonderful Uncirculated rarity by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Adolph A. Weinman that climbed to an impressive $40,250. Other interesting pieces included a magnificent 1887 Robert Louis Stevenson Plaque, a lovely tribute to the writer. This piece was also produced by Saint-Gaudens, who was a personal friend of Stevenson. This bronze cast plaque is in Uncirculated condition and sold for $32,200.

U.S. tokens began with Early American and Hard Times issues, and were highlighted by a magnificent prooflike Low-118 Feuchtwanger Three Cent token in MS-64 (NGC), a token that was once part of the Ford collection. A candidate for the finest known of the type, this token sold for a hefty $20,700. From here we moved into Part II of the Alan Bleviss Collection of Civil War Tokens. Wisconsin issues were well represented by the 1864 Mrs. J. Tate. Milliner token from Oconomowoc listed as a Rarity-9 in the Fuld reference and housed in a GENUINE (NCS) holder with the details of Very Fine. This token, believed to be one of only 2-4 pieces known, soared to a closing price of $12,650.

Some weeks ago, we wrote that the so-called dollar market has become especially energetic as of late. Upon viewing the results of last night’s auction, it is not difficult to see why. This section of so-called dollars spotlighted the Tim and Marlee Gabriele Collection, and offered an unlisted silver 1882 Pennsylvania Bicentennial Upland-Chester Dollar that is quite possibly unique. Graded MS-64 by NGC, this attractive so-called dollar sold for an extremely strong $9,200. Other so-called dollars included an impressive 1954 Albany “Cradle of the Union” Celebration medal in gold. Graded Proof-63 Cameo and one of just 50 struck in gold, this medal more than quadrupled its pre-auction estimate when it sold for $5,175.

Miscellaneous tokens, countermarks, engraved coins, and a collection of 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition elongated cents concluded our New York Americana Sale. For further information on participating in or consigning to an upcoming Stack’s auction, contact Stack’s at 123 West 57th Street, NY, NY 10019 or at Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH, 03894. By phone please use 800-566-1580. Full sales results from the Americana Sale, as well as full photos and text from previous sales, are available online at our website.


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