Finest 1815 B-1 Quarter, designed by John Reich grabs spotlight at Heritage's US Coins Auction

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Finest 1815 B-1 Quarter, designed by John Reich grabs spotlight at Heritage's US Coins Auction
1815 25C B-1, R.1, MS67 CACG. Ex: Col. Green. Coinage at the Philadelphia Mint was limited in 1815 to quarter dollars, half dollars, and half eagles.

DALLAS, TX.- When numismatists speak of “history that can fit in your pocket,” consider for a moment John Reich, a German-born designer of American coins, and Edward Howland Robinson Green, the Englishman who was among this country’s most prominent early collectors.

Reich came to the United States shortly after the Revolutionary War, wowed Thomas Jefferson with his medal-making prowess and ultimately landed at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, where he came to design and engrave the Capped Bust design that defined American coinage for decades. Historians don’t know what Reich looked like – there exist no images of the Bavarian-born coin-maker – but his output at the Philadelphia Mint is inescapable in numerous denominations, from the large cent to dime to the half dollars to the $5 gold piece coveted by collectors.

One of Reich’s most historic coins — the finest-certified 1815 B-1 Quarter Dollar, CACG-Certified MS67 — serves as a centerpiece offering in Heritage’s Dec. 14-17 US Coins Signature ® Auction. That alone is significant enough. Though NGC claims one other MS67 example, that example has traditionally been ranked second to this one, which originally hailed from the collection of the man commonly known as “Colonel” E.H.R. Green, the London-born millionaire who was close friends with President William McKinley, ran the Texas-Midland Railroad, brought the first car to Texas and, among other things, owned a semi-pro baseball club out of East Texas. Green was also among the world’s most revered coin collectors and owned the entire sheet of “Inverted Jennies.”

“This auction underscores the rare coin market’s enduring strength and growth,” says Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “It features some exceptional individual lots, as well as featured collections that will allow winning bidders prime opportunities to bolster their collections heading into the new year.”

An 1864-S Liberty Eagle, XF40 NGC is the rarest S-Mint Ten and the second-rarest Liberty Ten — the only example with a grade of 40, and just four carrying higher grades. During its early years, the San Francisco Mint focused largely on the production of double eagles, an effort deemed the most convenient way in which to convert massive amounts of bullion into much-needed coins. The San Francisco Mint followed the trend of small mintages with just 2,500 Liberty eagles in 1864, coins that were released into circulation during a time when gold coins rarely were seen in circulation in the East. The 1864-S remains an absolute rarity today. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at 22-26 examples in all grades; NGC and PCGS have combined to certify 40 examples between them, including some resubmissions and crossovers.

An 1853-D Liberty Half Eagle, MS64+ PCGS. CAC is considered the most available half eagle from the Dahlonega Mint, often sought by Southern gold collectors for type purposes. This example is tied with one other MS64+ example at PCGS for the distinction of being the finest certified.

A magnificent 1927-S Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, MS64 is a beautiful Choice example of a coin that always has been popular, and was believed in the 1940s to be the fourth-rarest Saint-Gaudens double eagle, behind the 1924-D, 1926-S and the 1926-D. But some 1927-S double eagles were used in foreign trade, putting them out of reach during the Gold Recall of 1933. When international trade resumed after World War II, coin dealers found many exported Saint-Gaudens double eagles had survived in European and Latin American banks and were repatriated in the 1950s. But only a relatively small number of 1927-S double eagles ever surfaced in foreign holdings, and they remain a popular rarity, especially elusive in grades above the MS64 level.

The only 1855 Gold Dollar, MS66+ to earn that lofty grade from NCG, where four Superb Gems were reported in October, will find a new home when it is sold in this auction. The Mint switched to the Tyle Two design in 1854, after the tiny Type One gold dollars were lost easily. Type Two gold dollars featured the bust of an Indian princess on the obverse and were struck on slightly thinner, larger-diameter planchets, which made them easier to locate. But those thinner planchets also resulted in an assortment of striking problems, prompting another redesign in 1856 and making the Type Two design a coveted prize among collectors.

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