Rare Coins Up For Auction In Los Angeles
Recently I took a class in silver appraisal and learned a new term, toning, which refers to the patina of older coins. There are plenty of toned coins on display as part of Bonhams & Butterfields Los Angeles' Coins, Medals and Banknotes Auction on May 30, 2010. The auction features a diverse grouping of rarities, many of which are fresh to market.
Shown above is an extremely rare 1847 $1 Proof. It is estimated that only 20-30 Proofs were struck, meaning of course that far fewer are around today, lost to the swirls of time. The lot listing reports that a number of deceptive prooflike business strikes are known and so real proofs are highly prized. The coin is colorfully toned over both sides in shades of cobalt-blue, pale golden, and violet. It is estimated at $10,000-12,000.
The auction also will offer Liberty Head Quarter Eagles from the 1850s to the early 1900s and a private collection of Indian Head Quarter Eagles. Many early $10 Eagles have also been included in this auction. The very rare 1795 $10 9 leaf is estimated at $40,000-60,000. Only around 20 of this coin are believed to still be in existence. Other early Eagles from this same collection include examples from 1799, 1800, and 1803.
The eagle or $10 piece was intended to be the foundational gold coin in the American monetary system as outlined in the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. It was the largest denomination and the standard against which fractional coins were measured, like the $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle, these being proportionate divisions as to their weights. No gold coins were struck until 1795. In that year, coinage commenced in July with the half eagle, quickly followed by the eagle. The design of the first $10 gold is similar to that of the contemporary $5 and was by Robert Scot. Eagles of the 1795 to 1804 years are highly numismatically desirable and represent a unique time in American history when coins were new and represented both security and the promise of a new nation.