The only independently held 1822 Capped Bust gold 5 half eagle sold for $8.4 million on March 25 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, showing that a solid rare coin market continues, especially at top levels.
“It is currently the most valuable U.S. Mint gold coin which has ever sold at auction, also has surpassed even the highest prices paid for a 1913 Liberty nickel, 1804 silver dollar, or 1933 double eagle,” the company said.
The marketplace will find another test this summer as Sotheby’s again gives the sole legal 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle at auction, which it sold in 2002 for $7,590,020.
Prior to the record-setting Rarities Night auction in Las Vegas, the celebrated 1822 half eagle had just 3 associates: Virgil Brand acquired it in 1899, and it entered the collection of Louis Eliasberg Sr. at 1945, later selling to D. Brent Pogue at a 1982 auction of Eliasberg’s gold coins, for $687,500. It had been previously offered at Part IV of Sotheby’s and Stack’s Bowers’ earnings of this Pogue Collection in which it didn’t meet its reserve, passing at $6.4 million. Had it found that a bidder at that level, with the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee in the moment, it might have realized $7.52 million.
Auctioneer Chris Ortega led lively bidding on March 25, with bids moving quickly from $3.6 million to a last bid of $7 million, and that, adding the current 20 percent buyer’s commission, made the total price realized $8.4 million.
The cataloger clarified that, despite its rarity and multimillion-dollar price label,”This isn’t a stone, nor does it glow like a stone. This bit displays antiquity. It shows wear and use. Its surfaces suggest its life before cabinets and collectors and fame. Inside the shadows of contrast between a coin worth $5 and a coin worth millions, this coin hides a narrative whose earliest details will forever remain unknown.”
The description added that, in absence of U.S. Mint records documenting the exact mintage,”The three surviving 1822 half eagles might, instead of representing an historical fluke that generated an extreme rarity, constitute the anticipated number of specimens staying from a mintage of a few hundred pieces, given typical survivorship probabilities.”
Half dollar record re-set
Graded Mint State 66 by PCGS and carrying a green Accredited Acceptance Corp. decal, it previously sold in the first Pogue auction in May 2015 for $1,527,500, and it set a record for a half dollar at auction in both that and this look.
The cataloger praised the first half dollar’s enormous eye appeal, writing,”Both sides are alive with color, the obverse radiant gold and violet framed in light blue and champagne, the reverse blue and lavender suffused with pale gold.”
Of the approximately 10 Mint State giants known,”Many observers consider this coin the best known by a slender margin,” Stack’s Bowers said.
The matter is well known as a short-term kind minted in only 1796 and 1797, together with the Small Eagle reverse found on the prior issues along with also the Draped Bust obverse seen on later difficulties. Of the two years, the 1797 half bucks are more elusive, and the type is enviable in all grades.