Coins & Money

An 1875 Liberty Eagle Smashes Record and Joins the $1 Million Coin Club!

We all know that sports cards can now easily fetch $1 million or more in auctions and private transactions. Coins can fetch north of $1 million as well. According to Heritage Auctions, a 1875 Liberty Eagle (AU53) has fetched a record winning bid of $1.02 million from the Allan H. Goldman Collection. . The coin led Heritage Auctions’ Long Beach Expo to a grand total of $17,875,326 for the US Coins Signature Auction during October 6-9, 2022.

Heritage showed that the Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part I US Coins Signature Auction reached $20,459,645, then the Long Beach Expo US Currency Signature Auction – Long Beach brought $10,682,198. The second Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction’s final tally of $17,875,326 boosted the finally tally to $49,017,169 for these three events.

Heritage pointed out that this tally set a new all-time record for any Long Beach Expo numismatic auction total. Other interesting totals were that there were over 3,000 global bidders for the 1,529 lots. Several of those lots established new records as part of nine elite collections that were represented. Coin image below by Heritage Auctions.

$1 million 1875 Liberty Eagle

The $1,020,000 result for the event’s top lot set a new auction record for the issue in any grade! The price also nearly tripling the prior $372,000 mark for an 1875 Eagle (also set by Heritage in 2018). According to the report:

This magnificent coin is tied for the second-finest example known of one of the lowest-mintage circulating gold coins from the entire U.S. gold series; just 100 were struck by the Philadelphia Mint in 1875.

Other top lots in the Goldman collection included the following coins:

  • An 1863 Liberty Eagle, PR63 PCGS: $144,000
  • A 1932 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64 PCGS: $144,000
  • A 1931 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64 PCGS: $102,000
  • A 1930-S Indian Eagle, MS64 NGC: $87,000

Heritage then showed an 1866 Liberty Double Eagle (PR65 Cameo), just one of 30 examples struck, saw 27 bids before finishing at $660,000.

An 1870-CC Double Eagle (AU50 NGC) Variety 2-B, 1 of 22 lots from the Olivia Collection, took in 36 bids before ending at $630,000 for the coin. Heritage noted that this coin was 1 of the 10 finest among the roughly 40 survivors that remain from an original mintage of just 3,789 pieces. Other top lots from the Olivia Collection included 19 Double Eagles with some of the key sales as follows:

  • An 1871-CC Double Eagle, AU58 NGC: $87,000
  • An 1891-CC Double Eagle, AU58 NGC: $40,800
  • An 1879-CC Double Eagle, AU58 NGC: $31,200
  • An 1885-CC Double Eagle, AU58 Prooflike NGC: $31,200
  • An 1878-CC Double Eagle, AU58 NGC: $30,000

The rest of the Heritage Auctions release is verbatim to avoid any doubling up of sales numbers…

An 1887 Liberty Double Eagle, PR67+ Cameo NGC, numerically the single finest certified specimen of the 1887 double eagle at either service, brought a winning bid of $600,000 – also a new auction record. It is one of what is believed to be no more than 40 surviving examples. The only Superb Gem at either service, it boasts both the Plus and Star designations from NGC as further testament to its extraordinary eye appeal and surface quality.

An 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, PR64 Cameo PCGS closed at $180,000. One of the most desirable of all 19th century gold issues (it is believed that 425 examples of the 1879 Flowing Hair stella were struck) this magnificent coin is, strictly speaking, a pattern, but many collect it alongside other regular-issue U.S. coinage. These four dollar gold pieces, which formed part of Dr. William Wheeler Hubbell’s scheme for a system of international coinage, were distributed in three-coin sets along with goloid and metric dollars (Judd-1617 and Judd-1626, respectively).

Another collection with magnificent lots in the auction was the 92-lot Northern Lights of Vermilion Collection, which focused largely on high-grade U.S. gold, including Eagles, Double Eagles and Half Eagles. Four lots brought six-figure results. Top lots from the collection included, but were not limited to:

  • A 1931 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS65 PCGS: $144,000
  • A 1931-D Double Eagle, MS64 PCGS: $126,301.20
  • A 1915-S Panama-Pacific Fifty Dollar, MS64+ PCGS: $108,000
  • An 1890 Eagle, PR64 Deep Cameo: $108,000 – an auction record for this proof issue
  • An 1867 Liberty Eagle, MS62 PCGS: $99,000 – an auction record for this date and mintmark in any grade

Three lots from the Perfection Collection of Proof Seated Liberty Dollars drew winning bids of $90,000 or more: an 1863 Seated Liberty Dollar, PR67+ Cameo and an 1866 With Motto Dollar, PR67 Cameo PCGS each drew a winning bid of $96,000, while an 1860 Seated Dollar, PR67 Cameo brought $90,000. The 1860 and 1866 With Motto dollars set new auction records for those issues.

Other top lots from the collection included, but were not limited to:

  • An 1859 Seated Dollar, PR67 PCGS: $72,000
  • An 1865 Seated Liberty Dollar, PR67: $55,000

The auction included 93 lots from the Christopher J. Salmon Collection of Massachusetts Silver, Part II, the second installment of the most complete collection of Massachusetts silver ever offered. Two lots from the collection cleared more than $100,000: a (1652) New England Shilling, Salmon 3-D, XF45 NGC that drew a winning bid of $111,000, and a (1652) New England Shilling, Salmon 3-B, VF35 NGC that ended at $105,000. Other top lots from the Salmon Collection included:

  • A 1652 Pine Tree Shilling, Small Planchet, Salmon 2-B, AU58 NGC: $19,200
  • A 1652 Pine Tree Shilling, Large Planchet, Salmon 2-C, AU58 NGC: $18,000
  • A 1652 Willow Tree Shilling, Salmon 3-C, Good 6 NGC: $16,800
  • A 1652 Pine Tree Shilling, Large Planchet, Salmon 4-Di, AU58 NGC: $16,800

Not every collection needed mass quantity to produce exceptional quality. The Song Family Collection offered a single lot … but what a lot it was: an 1857-S Double Eagle from the S.S. Central America, certified MS67 Prooflike by NGC, which climbed to $150,000. No 1857-S Double Eagle has been graded numerically finer at either NGC or PCGS.

Also among the records set in the auction was an 1861 Quarter Eagle, MS65+ PCGS, which sold for $45,600 – the highest price realized for an 1861 quarter eagle of either type.