A legendary 1927-D double eagle, the rarest coin ever minted in Denver and the absolute key among circulation issue Saint-Gaudens double eagle, realized $1,292,500, to lead the way in Heritage
's March 20 auction of The Bently Collection in San Francisco, on the way to raising nearly $8.9 million overall.
"Proceeds from this auction are going directly to the Bently Foundation," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. "Christopher Bently established this foundation to honor his father's philanthropic spirit and as a means to support the arts, environmental sustainability and animal welfare in communities in Northern California and Nevada."
The 1927-D double eagle is both the rarest regular issue 20th century coin and the rarest coin minted at the Denver Mint. Only seven times has an example crossed Heritage's auction block, and only seven examples are known to be available to collectors. Given the rarity of the coin and the popularity of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series, we expected high demand for this coin, and it did not disappoint.
The buyer, Barry Stuppler, President of Stuppler & Company in Woodland Hills, California, placed the winning bid on behalf of a client.
The Bently Foundation's emphasis on Northern California and Nevada covers an area that encompasses two present and past US mints along with far more than its share of numismatic history. The fabled Carson City Mint has produced more than its share of rarities, such as the 1870-CC double eagle, considered the fifth rarest issue in the Liberty double eagle series behind the ultra-low mintage 1882 and 1886 circulation issues, the 1856-O, and the nearly uncollectible 1861 Paquet reverse coin struck in Philadelphia.
No 1870-CC double eagles have ever been certified in Mint State grades by any major grading service, making high quality AU examples that much more desirable, with the Carson City mintmark only adding to the coin's allure. The Bently specimen is graded AU53 by PCGS, and is likely one of the five finest specimens known. It sold for $411,250. Chief among the territorial issues represented in this auction was an octagonal $50 piece with lettered edge struck by US Assayer Augustus Humbert in 1851. Seldom seen in Mint State, the finest example from the Bently Collection was graded MS60 by PCGS and sold for $282,000.
Rarities from the San Francisco Mint were also well-represented in this auction, including a 1930-S double eagle MS65 PCGS which sold for $176,381, an 1854-S quarter eagle Good 6 PCGS selling for $193,875, an 1878-S half dollar MS63 PCGS at $129,250 and an 1864-S eagle AU53 NGC, which brought $146,875.