One of four known 1737 Higley or Granby Coppers brought a record $252,000 (all prices include a 20% buyer’s premium) in Kagin’s Auctions March 8-9th at the annual American Numismatic Association National Money Show sale in Irving, Texas. Described as the Three Crowned Hammers, Crosby 19; Breen-239; Freidus 1.2-B.a; Whitman-8205 variety and graded PCGS VF-35, it was last sold by Stack’s at the John J. Ford, Jr. part II sale in May, 2004, where it realized $212,500. It is considered the finest known specimen of the variety and sports a distinguished pedigree which includes Charles Ira Bushnell, S&H Chapman June 1882 sale; Henry Chapman sale of February 1923; Hillyer Ryder; and F.C.C. Boyd before being acquired by numismatist John J. Ford, Jr.
Other highlights of the sale included one of the finest 1872 copper Amazonian pattern half dollar Judd-1201; Pollock-1341 graded NGC Proof-67 RB. Designed by William Barber, the dramatic seated Liberty in a Phrygian cap representing freedom with sword and shield by her side, is considered one of the most beautiful and desirable numismatic designs. A spectacular artistic rendering of the coin even graced the Kagin’s Auction catalog cover. The piece brought $40,800 after spirited bidding.
A relatively small 10.07 ounce gold ingot produced by the San Francisco assay firm, Harris, Marchand & Co. in 1857 realized $138,000. The deep yellow-gold bar with colorful encrustations is the second smallest of 37 known Harris ingots which have been recovered from the famous 1857 shipwreck, S.S. Central America. Probably the single most valuable treasure, it also included four other assayer ingots recovered from the shipwreck. That included an 11.03 ounce ingot from Kellogg & Humbert which brought $77,400 in the Kagin auction.
Session two featured what the cataloger believed was then currently the finest collection of Civil War era encased postage stamps. 145 different varieties were offered including all 9 denominations from 1c to 90c stamps encased in brass with advertising on the back from all 36 known merchants. One of the highlights of the Michigan Collection included one of four known 2c “Black Jack” pieces advertising the inventor of encased postage stamps, John Gault. Described as Extremely Fine it previously resided in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society and subsequently Frederick R. Mayer whose collection was sold by Heritage in 2007 where it realized $13,800. This time it sold for $18,000.
The Carlson Chambliss collection of Federal Reserve and Federal Reserve Bank Notes comprised session three. Over 360 different varieties were offered with the famous 1918 $50 Federal Reserve Bank Note from St. Louis certified PMG XF-45 bringing a record $31,200 after considerable activity. Other highlights included a 1918 $500 Federal Reserve Note from Chicago Fr. 1132-G graded PMG Choice Very Fine 35 which realized $31,200 and a 1918 $1000 Federal Reserve Note from San Francisco Fr. 1133-L also graded PMG Choice Very Fine 35. That piece brought $33,600.