Legend Rare Coin Auctions Regency XXII Sale: Lots You Need to Know

Lots You Need to Know from Legend Rare Coin Auctions Regency Auction XXII

By CoinWeek .....
 

Handpicked high-eye-appeal U.S. coins are the hallmark of Legend Rare Coin Auctions (LRCA) and on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the New Jersey-based firm will offer 515 PCGS- and NGC-certified coins at their Regency XXII Sale. Many are either conditionally rare or rare in an absolute sense, and the majority of the coins on offer are CAC-certified. Many were handpicked by Legend Numismatics for the collections of their consignors. Here are some of the lots and groupings that you need to know about.

Lots 33 - 56: The 1994 Collection

(Including a high-end Matte Proof Lincoln cent run from 1909-1916 and a 1909 Proof $20)

Legend Numismatics’ “1994” collector was a rare coin investor that assembled a collection of high-end type coins, many of which were scarce-to-rare Proof issues. The 1909 $20 in PCGS PR66 CAC (Lot 43) is by any reasonable definition, the highlight of what is being offered. A six-figure coin that is seldom encountered and one of only 67 pieces distributed, this Saint features the distinctive look of a Roman finish Proof - a look that was not much appreciated in its day - but much more so now as the demand for these coins is reflected in the price.

Serious Lincoln cent collectors would be remiss not to closely examine each of the Matte Proof Lincolns. Offered individually, but also combined as a provisional lot, based on the combined hammer prices of the entire grouping plus 5%, the set represents the toughest part of assembling a Top 5 Registry Set of Lincoln Proofs from the “Wheat” era.

We spoke in depth with Legend Numismatics’ Senior Numismatist Greg Cohen about the 1994 Set and other highlights for this CoinWeek Exclusive Expert Insight.

Moving beyond the 1994 selection of Lincoln Proofs, be sure to check out Lot 64, a monster toned 1914 in PCGS PR67RB CAC. This has to be the most beautiful Lincoln cent Proof we have ever seen.

Other highlights from the 1994 Collection include:

Lot 33: Braided Hair Large Cent, Slanted 5. N-5. PCGS PR65RD CAC - good luck trying to find a better one in full red.

Lot 40: 1864 Seated Liberty Half Dollar PCGS PR66 CAC - Superior example of the issue with fiery rainbow toning with blue along rims.

Lot 42: 1888 $5 PCGS PR66 DCAM CAC - Majestic contrast and thick cameo.

Lot 74: 1857 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR65 CAM CAC Ex: Rollins-Cardinal

1857 Flying Eagle cents in Proof are scarce in all grades, but conditionally rare in gem. Examples with cameo contrast in all grades number a mere fraction of the known survivors with a mere five grading events reported by PCGS.

1857 Flying Eagle Cent ProofThe mintage of the issue has long been reported as 485 pieces, but others disagree, including early small-cent expert Rick Snow, who estimates the mintage at about 50 pieces. The combined number of grading instances reported by PCGS and NGC certainly reflect a mintage far below the larger number.

Lot 74 is of the Snow PR3 variety and shows die doubling on the obverse and a diagonal die line connecting the denticles to the N in UNITED. In 2008, Heritage Auctions offered this example in its third sale of the coins of the estate of Robert R. Rollins, where it brought $43,125 USD. At the time the coin was housed in an older PCGS holder but at the same grade.

In 2013, Stack’s Bowers had the opportunity to offer the coin again in its Americana auction, where the coin retreated in price, bringing $34,075.

In 2016, a CAC-approved example in the same grade, but of the Snow PR1 die marriage, brought $32,900. Current bid for the PQ example on offer by Legend sits at $30,000.

Lot 195: 1839 Capped Bust Half Dollar, Large Letters, Reeded Edge GR-7, PCGS MS65 CAC

This Capped Bust half dollar is an early die state example of the Graham-Reiver-7 die marriage and one of just six gem examples certified by PCGS. A single toned example is certified at MS66, making this the highest-certified example to retain its original mint brilliance. The GR-7 variety is probably the most frequently encountered marriage of the Large Letters type on 1839 half dollars. In a PCGS Old Green Holder with a seven-digit certification number, this example last sold at Heritage’s 2015 FUN auction, where it brought $38,188. A Type Set collector’s dream...

Current Bid: $17,500

Lot 196: 1865 Seated Liberty Half Dollar, WB-101. Possibly Finest Known. NGC MS67 CAC

511,400 half dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1865, a middle of the road mintage for the Civil War issues of the workhorse denomination.

Eugene Gardner and 1865 Half DollarThis is the Gene Gardner example that brought $32,900 when it crossed the block in 2015. Gardner’s taste in Seated half dollars was exemplary to the point that Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) founder and president John Albanese told Greg Reynolds at the time that “Gardner had the best set of Liberty Seated Half Dollars that I remember seeing.”

Two discreet mini-hoards of the issue are the assumed source of many of the uncirculated examples of the type in the market. We have no knowledge tying this example to either hoard, but without these examples, the scarcity of this date in Mint State would be greatly amplified. To date, NGC has reported 35 grading events in Mint State; PCGS 47. When this piece was sold in 2015, it was the only MS67 at either service. PCGS now reports one, but only this example has been approved by CAC.

Lot 233: 1965 Kennedy Half Dollar, Special Mint Set, SP67DCAM

Proof coin production was halted from 1965 through 1967, a period of punishment doled out to collectors, as the United States Mint, the Treasury Department and Congress stubbornly maintained that the nation’s coin shortage was the result of secondary market coin hoarding on the part of coin dealers and their insatiable clients.

This was all poppycock, of course. For in truth, automation was the true culprit.

In the 1960s, the proliferation of coin-operated vending machines was in full gear. On virtually every city corner or public establishment, you would find a coin-munching pay phone. The vending industry, constantly innovating and improving on past designs, produced machines that sold everything from aspirin and cigarettes to soda, sandwiches, even hot soup and coffee. Bowling alleys had vending machines that cleaned and polished your bowling balls, while airports had machines that broadcast a few minutes of TV while you wait for your flight. There were myriad other machines, as well. As each of these machines filled up with coins, the delay in returning them into circulation caused a feedback loop problem.

Only by increasing coin production into the hundreds of millions to billions per annum was the Mint able to alleviate this issue.

Despite being openly hostile to collectors during this period, the Mint did manage to produce 6.3 million “Special Mint Sets”. There really wasn’t anything special about these sets. The coins were struck on regular planchets using overly polished dies. This gave the coins varying degrees of a Prooflike appearance, but the coins were of poorer quality than the Proof issues struck up until 1964.

1965 Kennedy Half Dollar in PCGS SP67DCAM

More than 50 years after the fact, most collectors’ impressions of the coinage of the 1965-1967 period come from Special Mint Set coins. Coins struck for circulation in gem grades or better are surprisingly scarce and will likely one day be a sleeper hit, if the market catches up with reality.

And while most contemporary collectors are satisfied with having a Special Mint Set from each of these three years to fill that hole in their collection, few are aware that a small percentage carry with them an attractive deep cameo frost.

Lot 233 is from 1965, the first year of SMS production, and as such is the toughest date for Deep Cameo. PCGS has graded just 50 with the attribution and none finer than the present piece, which is one of 14 in the SP67DCAM grade, making it an excellent choice for the specialist collector.

Also look at Lot 233, a 1966 Half Dollar, SMS PCGS SP67DCAM and Lot 234, a Half Dollar SMS, SP68DCAM (this piece was previously Cert#25388814, PCGS SP67+DCAM - a high-resolution image is available for review on PCGS CoinFacts).

Lots 256-285: The Northern Lights Morgan Dollar Collection, Part V

The final lots of the Northern Lights Collection of hand-picked, impressively toned Morgan dollars will be offered in this Regency Sale. Earlier offerings have brought considerable collector interest and record prices. At the top end of the colorful toning scale, coin prices are all but untethered from “price guides”. This grouping consists of 29 pieces, including a number of 1881-S dollars in various gem and gem plus grades.

Three Toned Dollars from Northern Lights Collection

Lot 279 is one of the finest 1880-S Morgan dollars certified by PCGS. One of 26 pieces certified at MS68+, this coin, dubbed “The Grand Dame--My Head Exploded”, is among the boldest toned Morgan dollars we have ever seen. Legend traces this CAC-approved toned Morgan dollar’s pedigree back to RARCOA’s Auction ‘83, where, they say, it had the exact same appearance. The coin sold for $23,000 in 2006 and currently has a bid of $26,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $40,000 to $45,000.

Lot 277, “A Sexy Sorbet”, is an 1887 dollar in PCGS MS66 CAC. The coin shares a vividness with the 1880-S, but being a Philadelphia issue, does not have the near perfect surfaces of a San Francisco Morgan dollar at its peak. Whatever imperfections there are, lurk underneath the vivid orange, green, and raspberry toning that washes over the coin’s obverse. A spray of turquoise and blue wash over the back of Liberty’s hair, giving the coin a nice “sunset” look. Current Bid: $3,100. This is a $5,000+ coin.

Lot 278 is probably the finest 1904-O Morgan dollar toner known. PCGS has reported 49 grading events at the MS67 level for this issue and CoinFacts’ TrueView image archive reveals but a handful of toned coins at this level. None are in the conversation of this coin, which Legend has named “Jelly Beans”. Current bid is $8,250 against a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$7,000. Obviously, Legend underestimated demand.

Should further Northern Lights coins come to market, CoinWeek has the following name suggestions: "The Annoying Orange", "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape", "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", and "Picasso’s Blue Period".

Additional Highlights

Lot 18: 1835 Capped Bust Half Dime. PCGS MS64 CAC bean - Wonderful red and green toning. Gem.

Lot 209: 1898 Barber Half Dollar. PCGS PR67+CAM CAC bean - Superior rainbow toning.

Lot 220: 1942-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar. PCGS MS67+ CAC bean - Nicely Toned, PQ Eye Appeal.

Lot 232: 1962 Franklin Half Dollar NGC PF69UCAM - As Nice as Franklins come.

Lot 235: 1795 Silver Plug Dollar. PCGS AU50

Lot 450: 1877 Half Dollar Pattern, Judd-1515 (Morgan Dollar Head) - PR66BN CAC bean

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Legend Rare Coin Auctions (LRCA), founded in 2012 by Laura Sperber is a boutique auction firm that handles the finest in U.S. rare coins. Every coin offered is vetted by two world-class numismatists. As the official auctioneer of the PCGS Members Show, Regency Auctions are conducted four or five times a year and are limited to roughly 500 lots. A Premier Session Internet Only Auction is held monthly, featuring 150-200 hand selected lots. For more information, or to consign, contact Greg Cohen or Julie Abrams.

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