Two NGC-certified Gold Eagles Highlight Heritage US Coins Sale

Posted on 4/14/2020

Bidding is already up to six figures for each of these two coins in the April 2020 auction.

Gold rarities certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) — one from the dawn of Proof sales and the other from the abrupt end of circulating gold — are among the highlights of the Heritage Auctions Central States Numismatic Society US coins sale, which is being held April 23-26. With the cancellation of the CSNS show, the auction has been moved from Chicago to Dallas, with bidding continuing as it normally would have online.

1858 Eagle graded NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo.
Click images to enlarge.

The 1858 Eagle graded NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo is the only known example in private hands. It hails from the year the US Mint first announced its offerings of Proof coins for sale. Prior to that, this service was a poorly kept secret among knowledgeable numismatists, who had been purchasing very small numbers of such coins on an informal basis.

The public announcement had little impact on the number of gold Proof coins sold, as there remained very few people who could and would purchase such expensive pieces even at their face value.

The number of Proof Gold Eagles minted in 1858 went unrecorded, but only four examples are confirmed to have survived. These were coined from a single pair of dies, and three of them are believed to be permanently impounded within institutional collections.

The coin being offered by Heritage is pedigreed to the renowned Ed Trompeter Collection. One of a very few people to collect gold Proofs by date during the 20th century, his run of Eagles was superb.

The auction features another rare $10 gold coin that was also struck in Philadelphia: a 1933 Eagle graded NGC MS 65.

1933 Eagle graded NGC MS 65.
Click images to enlarge.

When mention is made of United States gold coins dated 1933, one first thinks of the notorious Double Eagle of that date. The Treasury Department’s stance is that none of these coins were issued before President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order to cease payment in gold coinage went into effect, and they are thus considered off limits to collectors.

No such prohibition has been placed on the rare $10 piece of that date, which was clearly released in limited numbers before the recall notice was ordered. The only obstacle to ownership in this instance is the great rarity of this issue.

Despite a mintage of 312,500 pieces from the Philadelphia Mint, only around two dozen example of the 1933 Eagle survive. As there was no opportunity for these coins to become worn, all are in various grades of Mint State. Gems, however, are extremely rare, as the known examples seem to have suffered more than an average number of heavy contact marks. This splendid specimen is one of only four certified as MS 65 by NGC, which has graded a single MS 66 as the finest certified.

As a major United States rarity and the only souvenir of that fateful year’s gold coinage available to numismatists, this coin presents an important opportunity for the most advanced collectors to vie for the record books.

Meanwhile, an 1848 "CAL." Quarter Eagle graded NGC MS 68★ is also expected to draw spirited bidding.

The highest-graded example known, the coin was struck from a special shipment of gold sent from California's acting governor to the Secretary of War William Marcy in 1848 as the California Gold Rush began. Recognizing the historical significance, Marcy asked the Mint director to ensure that a distinguishing mark was added to coins struck using that shipment of gold. The reverse of the coin features the letters "CAL." above the head of the eagle.

NGC is proud to continue to facilitate the global numismatic trade by certifying rarities such as these for this auction and others in the future.

Other NGC-certified highlights in the Heritage auction include:

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