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Numerous Historical Curiosities and Rarities to Highlight Coins, Medals and Banknotes Auction
Fr. 1132b $500 1918 Federal Reserve Note CGA CU60. Est. $50,000-60,000. Photo: Courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Part two of Bonhams & Butterfields Los Angeles' Coins, Medals and Banknotes Auction on May 30, 2010 features a diverse grouping of rarities, many of which are fresh to market. The coinage will be offered immediately following the sale of the Paul Bloomfield Collection of Coins sold to benefit the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.

An extremely rare 1847 $1 Proof is offered, lot 2022, with less than 20-30 struck, and fewer extant today. This example is attractively toned, and very seldom offered at public auction (est. $10,000-12,000). Amongst the Morgan silver dollars, lot 2028, an 1879-CC Morgan Dollar, is in choice to gem uncirculated, and truly pristine (est. $6,500-7,500). Lots 2046 and 2047 stand out as a pair of nearly gem 1894-O Morgan Dollars, which are scarce in any grade, and rare in this fine. Both of the Morgan Dollars are estimated to bring $6,500-7,500.

US gold coins however are the true stars of this auction. Included in the sale is a lovely run of Liberty Head Quarter Eagles from the 1850's to the early 1900's, which are truly fresh to market and hail from notable collections, including a few brilliant proofs. The quarter eagle section is highlighted by Property of a Gentleman and includes a truly special private collection of Indian Head Quarter Eagles, lots 2125 through 2141. A complete run of Indian Head Quarter Eagle coins is featured, all of which are graded from NGC or PCGS MS64 through MS66, and range in value from $5,000 to $32,000.

Among the Half Eagles, lot 2152, is intriguing. It is an ever-rare 1795 $5, which comes with jewelry mounting. It was handed down through the generations of a California family as a cherished a piece of jewelry, and offers an affordable, genuine opportunity to purchase an otherwise rare to market early Half Eagle from early years of the US. This specimen is estimated to bring $12,000-16,000.

Many early $10 Eagles have also been included in this auction. Lots 2183 through 2189 are all originally from historic collections, most with their original paper envelopes of purchase, which are several decades old. Both the 13 and 9 leaf varieties of the 1795 $10 are represented, with lot 2183, the 1795 $10 13 Leaf, expected to bring $20,000-25,000, and the supremely rare 1795 $10 9 leaf, lot 2184, conservatively estimated at $40,000-60,000. Other early Eagles from this same collection include examples from 1799, 1800, and 1803 (estimates vary).

There are also several rare Liberty Head Eagles from the 1840's through the 1860's from a private Northern California Collection, from lots 2190 through 2206. This includes lot 2200, a lovely 1858 $10, which is rare in any state of preservation (est. $5,000-7,000).

Within the section of $20 Double Eagles is a truly unique item, lot 2275, an 1861 $20 with an obverse which is uncirculated, but it is the reverse which makes this item a wondrous artifact from the US Civil War. This coin, once owned by esteemed New Yorker, Henry Keteltas, was engraved for the owner's mother and dated July 1861, from his first Civil War army earnings.

Lots 2342 through 2346 represent an unusual opportunity to bid on five different 1907 Roman Numeral High Reliefs. All five of these items come from fresh to market from select private collections or estates, with none of these items having seen the marketplace since 1965. They range in value from About Uncirculated polished details, to Choice Brilliant Uncirculated or better (estimates range from $7,500 to $18,000).

Lots 2422 through 2440 represent a unique opportunity to acquire rare and unknown documents relating to the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915, held in San Francisco. They come from a private collection, "The Property of a Lady". These coins are fascinating in that they refer directly to the coin delivery and production instructions for the Half Dollar, Gold Dollar, Quarter Eagle, the $50 Octagonal and the $50 Round which were manufactured for the beloved exposition held north of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Related to the actual coinage of the Panama Pacific Exposition, the offering represents once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire such rare and unusual documents of this importance (estimates range from $800-3,000).

Lots 2441 through 2453 offer a range of territorial gold coinage from the California Gold Rush, all from two private collections. The private assayers' names include Augustus Humbert, Kellogg & Co., Moffat & Co., Norris Gregg & Norris, and Wass Molitor. Lot 2443 is perhaps the most unusual coin in this grouping, as it is an 1852 $50 United Assay Office of Gold .887 THOUS reverse that has been inset into a silver pocket watch over a century ago (1890-1896). This item has been in the family for over 120 years, and has been consigned by a direct descendant. This unusual item is estimated to bring $12,000-18,000.

Lot 2454 is arguably the most visually stunning lots in the entire auction, as it represents an original, perfectly matched 1896 Six Piece Proof Set, Cent through Silver Dollar. Allcoins have their original, deep, dusky rainbow toning throughout and retain their full freshness throughout. This set should bring in excess of the $15,000-18,000 estimate.

Numerous rarities are also featured within the paper currency section of the May auction. Lot 2483 is a Fr. 151, $50 1869 Legal Tender Note, one of perhaps fewer than 62 pieces, (est. $14,000-16,000) and lot 2484a Fr. 95, $10 1862 Legal Tender Face Print Missing PCGS Fine 15. As an error of an extremely rare note, this note is estimated to fetch $16,000-22,000. The undisputed marquee lot of this section is lot 2485, a Fr. 1132b, $500 1918 Federal Reserve Note in CGA CU60, condition, this note is serial #2-B, and is expected to fetch $50,000-60,000.

Lots 2509 through 2578 represent a choice offering of European Silver Talers, Multiple Talers and Medals in silver, along with some world gold coins of the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The offering of Talers is from two distinct private collections, all of which have been off the market since 1940-1960.

Lot 2581, a 2 Piece Egyptian Order of Merit, awarded to internationally renowned medical zoologist, Harry Hoogstraal, is the companion item to the Robert Dexter Conrad Gold Medal for Scientific Achievement, awarded to Hoogstraal, which was purchased in Bonhams December 2009 Coin auction in New York. This lot is estimated to bring $1,200-1,800.

The final lot of the sale, 2582, brings the May auction full circle, as an important historical medal awarded to Dr. Robert F. Morse of California in 1871 by the International Order of the Odd Fellows (IOOF). This gold and silver, jewel and enameled medal, is the IOOF's highest honor and award of distinction. This piece is truly an important artifact of California history and is visually spectacular as well; it comes with the original leather and velvet case of issue, which has been embossed in gold. The item has remained in the Morse family for almost 150 years (est. $30,000-50,000).

Bonhams & Butterfields | Paul Bloomfield Collection of Coins | Bancroft Library |

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