NGC-graded Ultra-Rarities Highlight the 2019 Heritage FUN Signature Coin Auction

Posted on 1/8/2019

Two ultra-rare Trade Dollars and a Coiled Hair Stella, all graded by NGC, highlight the 2019 Heritage FUN Signature Coin Auction.

Ultra rarities certified by NGC pack the Heritage Auctions 2019 FUN Show sale. Although there are many highlights, the premiere coin is undoubtedly the 1885 Trade Dollar, graded NGC PF 66. One of only five examples known, it has already topped $3 million days before the sale.

1885 Trade Dollar Proof, graded NGC PF 66
Click images to enlarge.

The 1885 Trade Dollar is an enigma. There was no official mention of it in any US Mint document. However, it is very clear that they are official issues struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and were almost certainly produced in 1885. Today, they are among the rarest and most sought after coins in American numismatics; a rarity on par with the famed 1913 Liberty Nickel. This particular example is only helped by the fact that it came from the famed Eliasberg Collection, and it also happens to be the finest example extant.

Another famous rarity, an 1884 Trade Dollar also graded NGC PF 66 and pedigreed to Eliasberg, is getting attention in this auction.

1884 Trade Dollar Proof, graded NGC PF 66
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The 1884 Trade Dollar proofs were also a mystery until recent research uncovered their origins. Some 264 Trade Dollar proofs were struck for inclusion in proof sets for collectors. However, subsequent to their striking, an order came down to not include these coins in sets for sale to collectors. Presumably, most were melted, leaving only 10 coins that were likely purchased by Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Archibald Loudon Snowden. The second-finest example known, this coin has already passed $800,000 with several days to go before the auction.

Another notable rarity in the auction is this 1879 Coiled Hair $4 "Stella", which is graded NGC PF 66 Cameo.

1879 Coiled Hair "Stella", graded NGC PF 66 Cameo
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According to Heritage’s researchers, only 13 examples of the famed Coiled Hair “Stella” pattern are known to exist. This makes it another major rarity in American numismatics. This particular coin has only been sold at public auction twice: once in 1948 as part of the “Memorable Collection” and again nearly 50 years later in a Bowers and Merena sale in July of 1997. This piece is the third-finest piece known and will undoubtedly command a price well into the six figures.

Another highlight of the auction is this 1943 Bronze Wheat Cent, graded NGC AU 53 and pedigreed as "The Don Lutes Jr. Discovery Specimen."

1943 Bronze Wheat Cent, graded NGC AU 53-The Don Lutes Jr. Discovery Specimen
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In 1943, no copper cents were to be struck, as the valuable metal was needed for the war effort. All Lincoln cents of that year were to be struck on zinc-coated steel planchets. However, almost as soon as the new coins were released, there were rumors of extremely rare 1943 Cents struck instead on copper planchets. None were actually located until 16 year-old Don Lutes Jr. discovered this coin in his change from the school cafeteria.

This coin was the first 1943 Bronze Cent to be discovered, and has remained in the possession of Mr. Lutes until this auction. It was submitted to NGC for certification last year. Several days before the auction, this coin is already bid up to $108,000.

Other NGC highlights include:

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