There are many coin shows opening again and Florida United Numismatists will be hosting its 15th Annual Summer Fun Convention at Orange County Convention Center, July 8-10. Heritage’s Summer FUN Auction will take place at its Dallas headquarters from July 13-15, rather than at the actual convention.
Heritage lists the top lot as the eighth best of the 10 Proof 1884 Trade Dollars struck. It’s not a common flyer at the auctioneer’s podium. It was graded Proof 63 at Professional Coin Grading Service.
It was sold at Heritage’s January 2017 FUN Auction, where it made $423,000, and at the August 2019 ANA sale by the firm for $336,000. As part of Heritage’s ongoing offerings of the Bob R. Simpson Collection, another example, graded Proof63+ Cameo from PCGS and a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker was sold for $480,000 in April.
Many people believed that the Proof 1884 Trade dollars and the 1885 Trade dollars were part a clandestine production. Heritage however writes, “Archival Research proves that 1884 Trade dollars was struck officially under the supervision Mint officials.”
Roger W. Burdette wrote a feature article in the March 2021 issue of Coin World asking whether Proof 1884 or 1885 Trade dollars could have been struck as medals. Burdette concluded his article acknowledging the fact that there are still many discoveries in U.S. Mint archives, and other holdings, to tell the complete story of these last Trade dollars. He concluded, “Where they will take us is unknown, however it is likely to surprise and be interesting.”
The Trade dollar offered has a striking strike. Heritage notes, “The surfaces have a light to moderately toned silver-gray color that allows appreciation of the reflective properties at all angles. The PR63 designation is based on scattered hairlines, but there are not any individual bothersome contact marks. A small toning spot below Liberty’s outstretched arms, and a lint (as struck), in the field following the date are valuable pedigree markers.
The coin was not only collected by the Norweb family but also went to the collection of King Farouk of Egypt in the middle 20th century.
1861-O gold double Eagle
Another highlight is the 1861-O Coronet double Eagle graded Extremely Good 45 by PCGS. This is a Civil War issue that was struck in the year when the New Orleans Mint was transferred from Union control to Louisiana and then to Confederacy.
Only one pair of dies was used to strike all the examples. The mintage of 17,741 can be divided as follows: 5,000 under federal control; 9,750 under the State of Louisiana; and 2,991 under Confederacy.
After examining hundreds of auction catalogues, expert Doug Winter updated his book Gold Coins of New Orleans Mint in 2020. He believed that the Confederacy made coins with strong dates and an obverse crack. Heritage says, “Under Winter’s theory, this Choice XF example would be considered to have been struck by either the Union or the State of Louisiana. The date numerals at the bottom are weak and the radial crack towards Liberty’s chin from dentils near star 2 is absent.” Heritage also praised the “rich sun-gold color” and the “stunning luster in the fields.