Unearthing a Numismatic Treasure: The Boston Garage Coin Collection Auction

Unearthing a Numismatic Treasure: The Boston Garage Coin Collection Auction

In a thrilling turn of events, a long-forgotten collection of coins stashed away for decades in a garage in Boston became the epicenter of a heated bidding war. The treasure trove of numismatic history was showcased at Heritage’s The Boston Collection US Coins Showcase Auction, where fervent collectors and enthusiasts vied passionately, ultimately raising the total proceeds to an astonishing $987,789 on September 11.

This remarkable collection, meticulously assembled during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s by the consignors’ grandfathers, had remained concealed until its recent unveiling at auction. The boxes containing these numismatic gems bore postmarks as early as 1942 and included a cache of unopened correspondence from the U.S. Mint, adding an air of mystery and anticipation to the proceedings.

Sam Foose, Senior Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions, expressed the significance of this extraordinary find, stating, “Much of the material in this collection has never been offered at auction before, and the aggressive bidding underscored the significance of this collection.”

One of the auction’s standout moments was the bidding frenzy surrounding a collection of unopened mint-sealed Proof sets. Leading the pack was a box containing 25 pristine, untouched sets, which commanded an astonishing $60,000. Not to be outdone, a 1952 box containing 50 unopened mint-sealed sets achieved an impressive price of $28,800, while another box from 1951, featuring 25 sets, secured a winning bid of $27,600. Further exemplifying the demand for these time capsules of numismatic history, a box of 100 1955 Proof sets closed at $16,200.

Foose commented on the allure of these unopened sets, saying, “Unopened, mint-sealed sets always are in high demand because the coins in the sets often are so well-protected, and the opportunity they represented was shown in the aggressive bidding that drove their results far beyond pre-auction expectations.”

While the Proof sets took center stage, individual coins also shone brightly in the auction. The top result for a single coin was achieved by a 1909 Half Eagle graded MS66 NGC, closing at an impressive $26,400.

Other notable lots included a 1945 Wells Fargo Original BU Roll of Half Dollars, which fetched $12,000, as well as boxes of 25 1954 Proof Sets and 25 1955 Proof Sets, realizing $11,400 and $10,200, respectively.

The discovery of this hidden treasure trove of coins in a Boston garage serves as a testament to the enduring allure of numismatic collecting. The excitement and competitive fervor it generated at Heritage’s US Coins Showcase Auction reaffirm the timeless fascination with coins that have the power to unlock the past and redefine their worth in the present.

For a comprehensive look at all the lots featured in this auction, including detailed images and information, visit

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1899 Liberty Head Double Eagle: Numismatic Perfection

1899 Liberty Head Double Eagle: Numismatic Perfection

When it comes to the world of rare coins, collectors and enthusiasts have long held onto the belief that “only the best will do.” This sentiment couldn’t ring truer than with the upcoming Heritage Auctions’ Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction, scheduled for September 14-17, where numismatic treasures of exceptional quality will go under the hammer. Among the star attractions is the awe-inspiring 1899 Double Eagle PR67 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. JD-1, R.5.

Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions, describes this Liberty Head double eagle as nothing short of captivating: “Very few were created in the first place — the recorded original mintage was just 84 — and the number of surviving examples is significantly lower, around 30. This coin carries the highest grade of any survivor, including the one that is in the Smithsonian Institution. It’s the kind of trophy-level coin that can become an immediate centerpiece and demand a spotlight of its own in any collection.”

The rarity of this 1899 double eagle is undeniable. PCGS Coinfacts lists only 32 surviving examples across all grades, with a mere 10 in Gem condition or finer. In fact, only one Cameo is graded at PR66. The coin offered in this auction is one of just three that NGC has graded PR67 Ultra Cameo, and none carries a higher NGC grade.

But the Mercury Rising Collection doesn’t stop here; it boasts an impressive lineup of rare coins, including a 1870 Type Two Double Eagle PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. CAC. JD-1, Low R.7. This coin, one of only five or six survivors from an original mintage of just 35, is CAC-approved, adding to its allure.

For those with a penchant for historical numismatics, an 1854-D Three Dollar Gold, AU58 NGC, takes center stage. With a mintage of just 1,120, it’s the only three-dollar issue struck at the Dahlonega mint. Demand for coins like this one, graded above XF, is strong among collectors, making it a coveted piece.

The auction also features a 1796 Capped Bust Right Eagle, AU50 NGC, which is even more elusive than its 1795 counterpart. According to John Dannreuther, there are an estimated 125-175 surviving examples in all grades, making it a true rarity.

The Samuel Winans Collection is another highlight, focusing on Liberty Head double eagles, including several with challenging dates and mint-marks. Notable coins from this collection include an 1861-S Paquet Double Eagle, AU55 PCGS, and an 1862 Double Eagle MS63+ NGC. CAC, both exceptionally rare and sought-after pieces.

Morgan Dollar enthusiasts will find the Stuard Collection of Morgan Dollars irresistible. Featuring 30 Premier Session lots among its 86 lots, this collection offers a remarkable selection of silver dollar dates and grades. Notable pieces include an 1889-CC Morgan MS64 NGC, an 1893-S Morgan Dollar AU55 NGC, and an exceptionally rare 1904-S Morgan Dollar MS66 PCGS.

To add even more numismatic excitement, the James E. Blake Collection of U.S. Colonial Coins & Tokens is featured in a month-long Showcase auction, with highlights such as a 1724 Rosa Americana Twopence SP55 PCGS, a 1786 Connecticut Copper XF Details, and a 1670-A French Colonies 5 Sols AU55.

For those eager to explore the full spectrum of coins up for auction and to immerse themselves in the world of numismatics, detailed images and information about all lots can be found at

The Heritage Auctions’ Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction promises to be a veritable treasure trove for collectors and investors alike, with a stunning array of rare coins that truly embody the spirit of “only the best will do.” Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this numismatic extravaganza, where history and craftsmanship unite in the pursuit of the finest coins the world has to offer.

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Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part IV Shatters Records with $20 Million Sale

Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part IV Shatters Records with $20 Million Sale

In a momentous event that captured the attention of numismatists and collectors alike, Heritage Auctions proudly presented the Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part IV US Coins Signature® Auction, which concluded with a staggering total of $20,739,900. This spectacular event, held in partnership with the ANA’s World Fair of Money, marked the fourth and final installment of the renowned collection, with all proceeds continuing to support various non-profit initiatives in Dallas through the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation.

The auction’s most notable highlights included two exceptional coins that stole the spotlight and showcased the fervor of the coin-collecting community. A 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, PR69, and an 1829 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, PR66+ Cameo, commanded significant attention and fetched a combined sum of $8.16 million. These two remarkable coins showcased the diversity and historical significance of the collection, adding to its legacy as one of the most remarkable coin collections ever assembled.

The 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, making its return to the auction block after nearly four decades, realized an impressive $4.32 million after 73 intense bidding rounds. With a rich history that includes ownership by notable collectors like John H. Clapp and Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., this coin stands as a testament to the enduring allure of numismatic treasures.

Equally captivating, the 1829 Capped Head Left Half Eagle generated significant buzz, with 66 bids propelling its final price to an astonishing $3.84 million. This coin, a rarity in its own right, exemplifies the intricate design and craftsmanship that defines the collection.

Notably, the auction featured an array of coins that achieved seven-figure results, further emphasizing the exceptional quality of the collection. A 1798 Capped Bust Right Half Eagle, an 1828/7 Half Eagle, and a 1799 $10 Large Obverse Stars all reached remarkable prices, showcasing the depth and breadth of the collection’s significance in the numismatic world.

Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions, expressed the team’s honor and pride in being chosen to showcase the Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection. Imhof reflected on the collection’s impact, stating, “It has surpassed every expectation, and we’re grateful not only to the Harry W. Bass Foundation for selecting Heritage but to our client-collectors who recognized the significance of the collection and, in the process, helped raise more than $83 million to benefit nonprofits in Heritage’s backyard.”

As the final hammer fell on this historic auction, it marked not only the end of a remarkable collection’s journey but also the continuation of its legacy through the impactful philanthropic endeavors it supports. The Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection Part IV Auction solidified its place in history as a testament to the passion and dedication of numismatic enthusiasts and collectors, leaving an indelible mark on the coin-collecting world.

For a comprehensive list of the auction’s results, interested parties can visit to explore the full scope of this extraordinary event. The auction stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of coin collecting and its ability to shape and enrich both cultural heritage and philanthropic efforts alike.

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Historic Discovery: Mint-Sealed Bag of 1963 Denver Mint Silver Half-Dollars Set to Make Six-Figure Splash at Auction

Historic Discovery: Mint-Sealed Bag of 1963 Denver Mint Silver Half-Dollars Set to Make Six-Figure Splash at Auction

In a remarkable numismatic discovery, an elderly woman from northeast Oklahoma is about to cash in on a treasure trove of historic silver half-dollars dating back to 1963. The canvas bag, which has remained sewn shut since its minting 60 years ago, contains 2,000 silver half-dollars struck at the Denver Mint and holds an intriguing story of a father’s thoughtful gift to his daughter.

The bag contains a total face value of $1,000, comprising fifty-cent denomination coins featuring the likeness of Benjamin Franklin. However, it is the silver content that makes this collection exceptionally valuable. Each 1963 half-dollar is estimated to hold approximately $9 worth of silver, adding a significant premium to their original face value. Moreover, in mint condition, these Denver Mint half-dollars can fetch around $50 each in today’s market.

Rick Tomaska, co-founder of Rare Collectibles TV based in Los Angeles, California, expressed his excitement about the upcoming auction. According to him, “This original, mint-sealed bag contains a piece of numismatic history. Considering the individual value of these coins, I would not be surprised if this bag sold for $100,000 or more.”

The bag, belonging to an elderly woman who chooses to remain anonymous, has an endearing backstory. In the 1970s, the woman’s father, a Denver dentist, gifted bags of silver half-dollars to each of his four children. While her siblings sold their coins over the years, she held onto her precious inheritance for five decades.

The canvas bag bears the inscription “U.S. MINT DENVER HALF DOLLAR $1,000 1963,” along with original stitching from the mint that securely sealed its contents. A vintage American Airlines tag attached to the bag, dated April 20, 1967, indicates its shipment to Oklahoma, where the woman’s retired father lived.

Rick Tomaska further commented on the rarity of this find, stating, “This is undoubtedly one of the last if not the very last known surviving, mint-sealed bag of 1963 Denver Mint Franklin half-dollars. The woman told me she kept it all these years because she loves silver.”

As the co-founder of Rare Collectibles TV, Tomaska is well-versed in rare coins, but he admitted that this discovery stands out as a truly unique and exceptional numismatic artifact. “This is the first time I’ve seen an original, mint-sealed bag of Franklin silver half-dollars in almost 40 years in the rare coin business,” he said, underscoring the extraordinary nature of this auction.

The auction, set to take place on July 27, 2023, will be broadcasted on national television on various channels, including DirectTV channel 222 and Dish channels 85 and 224. Bidding will commence at an impressive $69,000.

Numismatists, collectors, and investors alike are eagerly anticipating the auction, hoping to secure this extraordinary piece of history. Whoever emerges as the winning bidder will become the custodian of an invaluable and super rare numismatic artifact. Tomaska expressed a wish that the bag remains unopened to preserve its pristine, mint-sealed heritage.

The legacy of these silver half-dollars harks back to the rich history of the United States Mint, which began producing half-dollar denomination coins as early as 1794. The Benjamin Franklin design graced the coins from 1948 to 1963, following which it was replaced by the iconic tribute to President John F. Kennedy.

For those unable to participate in the live auction on television, online viewers can also join in on the bidding action by visiting at 8 PM Eastern/ 5 PM Pacific on Thursday, July 27, 2023.

For more information and inquiries about the auction, interested parties can call 800-581-7273 or visit the official website of Rare Collectibles TV at This unique event promises to be a historic moment in the world of numismatics, as enthusiasts and collectors eagerly await the fate of this exceptional mint-sealed bag of 1963 Denver Mint Franklin half-dollars.

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New Social Network for Coin Collectors, MyCollect, Launches with Exciting Features and TheftCheck Database

New Social Network for Coin Collectors, MyCollect, Launches with Exciting Features and TheftCheck Database

MyCollect, a revolutionary social network designed exclusively for coin collectors, has officially launched, providing a platform that combines interactive features of the hobby and trade. Founded and operated by collectors, MyCollect aims to address the algorithm problems commonly encountered on mainstream platforms such as Facebook while offering a safe and engaging environment for collectors worldwide.

Ian Russell, the founder of MyCollect and president of GreatCollections in Irvine, California, shared some insights about the platform’s features, saying, “The website ( is free of charge and offers a wide range of functionalities. Among the notable features are competitive sets of all U.S. coin series, the option to post publicly or privately to selected friends, and TheftCheck, the most extensive and timely searchable database of stolen certified coins.”

The platform’s primary goal is to connect, interact, learn, collect, and compete in a secure environment, all while being overseen by fellow collectors. One of the standout aspects of MyCollect is its registry section, which is not limited to one certification service. Participants can add any or all of their PCGS, NGC, and CACG-certified coins to their inventories and MyCollect Sets, fostering inclusivity and convenience.

Early reviews of MyCollect have been overwhelmingly positive, with Kenny Duncan, Jr., chief numismatist at U.S. Coins and Jewelry in Houston, Texas, describing it as a “game changer” and an invaluable tool for collectors and dealers alike.

The platform’s launch on July 10, 2023, witnessed a surge in activity, with hundreds of accounts created, messages posted, and over $250 million worth of rare coins added to the MyCollect Sets section. One notable addition is the Elite Collection of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, which includes the world’s most valuable rare coin—a 1933 Double Eagle that sold at auction for a staggering $18.9 million.

The entry of MyCollect into the market poses a challenge for industry giants like Facebook and Instagram, who lack the essential coin and collectibles knowledge. Moreover, their algorithms have faced criticism for limiting users’ ability to view all their friends’ posts in real-time. In contrast, MyCollect is wholly owned and operated by collectors, driven by a long-term vision to promote the growth of the hobby and marketplace. The platform also has plans to expand to numerous other collectibles categories worldwide.

A vital feature of MyCollect is TheftCheck, which fulfills a longstanding need in the coin market. By entering a PCGS, NGC, or CACG certification number, users can instantly verify whether a coin has been reported stolen. The TheftCheck database is managed by former Texas Police Chief Doug Davis, founder of the Numismatic Crime Information Center. Davis will input theft reports on behalf of dealers, collectors, insurance companies, and law enforcement agencies.

In addition to its user-friendly features for collectors, MyCollect also offers application programming interfaces (APIs) for dealers and auction houses to utilize the platform’s capabilities and integrate with TheftCheck.

Russell expressed his excitement about the development process, stating, “It’s been an immense amount of fun building MyCollect with our team. We have added features that help collectors, and we will continue to expand our offerings.”

Coin enthusiasts attending the American Numismatic Association 2023 Pittsburgh World’s Fair of Money® will have the opportunity to witness live demonstrations of MyCollect at table 1200, taking place from August 8-12 in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

To learn more about MyCollect and its features, please visit, contact 949-679-4180, or email

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Rare and Exquisite Coins from Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection Head to Auction, Benefiting Dallas Nonprofits

Rare and Exquisite Coins from Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection Head to Auction, Benefiting Dallas Nonprofits

1907 Double Eagle Soars in Heritage Auction from Bass Collection

Heritage Auctions is excited to announce that a remarkable collection of rare coins from the esteemed Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection will be up for auction on August 10th through Heritage Auctions, an Event Auctioneer Partner of the ANA’s World Fair of Money. Among the highlights is the highly-graded 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, PR69, which is tied for the finest known example.

The proceeds from this auction, as with the previous three auctions from the Bass Core Collection, will go towards supporting numerous Dallas-based nonprofits, with a special emphasis on early childhood education and literacy programs in the area. Harry Bass Jr., a passionate numismatic collector and a loyal resident of Dallas, dedicated much of his life to assembling one of the most extraordinary collections of U.S. Federal gold coins. Through the generosity of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, the Dallas community has already benefited from the $62.6 million raised in the previous auctions, and this auction will contribute further to this impressive total.

The featured 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle is a truly exceptional coin. It was the first of its kind to be publicly offered in 1920 and has since remained out of public reach. Previously held in the renowned collections of John H. Clapp and Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., this rarity now presents a unique opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of history.

Another highly sought-after coin in the auction is the finest known 1829 Capped Head Left Half Eagle, PR66+ Cameo, which is the only proof 1829 Small Date half eagle in private hands. Notably, the last time an 1829 Capped Head Left half eagle was auctioned by Heritage Auctions, it fetched a record bid of $2.88 million. The rarity of this coin, combined with its exceptional condition, makes it a true standout in the numismatic world.

Other notable treasures include an 1828/7 Half Eagle, an 1799 $10 Large Obverse Stars, an 1863 Three Dollar, and an 1877 Fifty Dollar coin. Each of these coins represents a significant piece of history and rarity in the early U.S. gold series. The opportunity to own these exceptional coins rarely comes around, and collectors and enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating this auction.

The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection is not only a testament to the passion and dedication of its collector but also a remarkable philanthropic endeavor benefiting the local community. With each auction, the foundation continues to make a profound impact on early childhood education and literacy in Dallas. Don’t miss your chance to participate in this extraordinary event and contribute to a worthy cause.

For more information and to participate in the auction, visit the Heritage Auctions website.

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Heritage Auctions Awarded Legendary Walter J. Husak Collection of Large Cents

Heritage Auctions Awarded Legendary Walter J. Husak Collection of Large Cents

Revered assemblage from renowned numismatic collector will be offered by Heritage and Early Cents Auctions during January FUN convention

Heritage Auctions will offer a significant collection of large cents when the Collection of Walter J. Husak and the Liberty Cap Foundation crosses the block January 4, 2024, as part of the FUN Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The owner of HK Aerospace, in Burbank, California, Husak began collecting coins as a teenager in the 1950s and continued until his death last year. He purchased his first large cent — a rare 1804 Draped Bust, for $600 — in 1980, and began in the 1990s what became one of the most important collections of Sheldon varieties, which Heritage sold in 2008 for more than $10 million. In 2009, he founded the Liberty Cap Foundation to benefit American coin history research and education; at about the same time, he began his second large cent collection.

The auction at FUN will be conducted by Heritage Auctions, in partnership with Chris McCawley of Early Cents Auctions. Over the 15 years since his first collection sold, Husak reacquired 35 of the coins from the original assemblage.

“Walter Husak spent most of his life collecting and becoming an unquestioned expert on large cents and Sheldon varieties,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “It is only appropriate that a collection of this historical stature should be its own event.”

“In 2008, Heritage Auctions was pleased to present the first large cent collection that Walter Husak assembled,” Heritage Auctions Consignment Director Sam Foose said. “Like most collectors, ‘Walt,’ as he was known to his friends, was not finished collecting. His second collection was well on its way to completion when he passed away last year.”

Early Cents Auctions president Chris McCawley said the collection represents a clear selection of the elite examples of numerous coins.

“Early Cents Auctions is proud to partner with Heritage in the sale of the fabulous Walter Husak collection of U.S. Large Cents,” McCawley said. “The Walter Husak collection contains some of the finest early copper coins to come on the market in the last decade and a half, since the sale of Walter’s first collection in 2008, including possibly the finest set of 1794 Liberty Cap cents ever assembled, as well as many other choice rarities and finest-knowns.”

Heritage Senior Numismatist Mark Borckardt, a 50-year member of the Early American Coppers organization, wrote the first Husak Collection catalog and is working with Bob Grellman of Early American Cents on the present catalog.

“The auction will include more than 200 Sheldon variety large cents, many of which are the finest known examples,” Borckardt said. “Most of the coins have an outstanding provenance — there are even eight coins that have a continuous provenance to the 1790s, previously from William Strickland and the St. Oswald collection.”

Large cents, which are roughly the same size as half dollars that currently are in circulation, drew significant pursuit from numismatic collectors in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and grew in popularity in part because of Sheldon’s 1949 book, Early American Cents — a survey of large cent varieties created from 1793 through 1814. 

Collectors will have opportunities to study the Husak collection before heading to Florida in January. The collection will be displayed June 22-24 at the Early American Coppers Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon, and August 9-12 at the ANA Convention in Pittsburgh.

Early Cents Auctions/ECA is a team of early copper specialists consisting of Chris Victor-McCawley, Bob Grellman, Lyle Engleson, Lucas Baldridge and Travis Hollon. Together they have participated in the sale of over $100 million dollars in classic early American copper coins including the collections of Robbie Brown, Ted Naftzger, Dan Holmes and the Missouri Cabinet. Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at

Posted by News Release in Auctions, Recent
One of 35 Known ‘Watermelon’ $100 Bills Among Offerings at CSNS Currency Event

One of 35 Known ‘Watermelon’ $100 Bills Among Offerings at CSNS Currency Event

One of the banknotes that is among the most popular with collectors will offer a savory treat to its next owner, after it is sold in Heritage Auctions’ CSNS Currency Signature® Auction May 3-5.

The Fr. 377 $100 1890 Treasury Note PCGS Banknote About Unc 50 Details is known as the “Watermelon $100” because of the iconic design on the reverse, in which the zeroes resemble the popular large fruit from the same family as cucumbers and pumpkins.

“Watermelon notes are always in exceptionally high demand, and Watermelon $100s are exceedingly rare,” says Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Numismatics at Heritage Auctions. “The example in this auction is one of only 35 known examples of this beautiful banknote. Eliminate the eight government-held pieces and this is one of just 27 available to the public.”

The offered example is one of the finer known pieces, and can be traced to the holdings of William Philpott and Bob Medlar, who offered the note in a 1972 advertisement. Shortly thereafter, it was acquired by well-known New York collector Frank Levitan, and then it was later offered in the sale of Frank’s Large Size Type collection in 1998. Aside from a PMG Choice 63 EPQ piece, which sold at auction for $372,000 three years ago, no finer example of this rare and popular type note has been offered at public auction since Heritage sold the Tom Flynn collection in 2008, from which a PMG 53 Net example brought a winning bid of $195,500.

Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at

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Unique Gold Coin Shines At $5.52 Million, Leads Record-Setting Bass Collection Auction Above $24 Million

Unique Gold Coin Shines At $5.52 Million, Leads Record-Setting Bass Collection Auction Above $24 Million

An 1870-S Three Dollar Gold, SP50 sold for a record $5.52 million, and three other coins reached seven figures to lead Heritage Auctions’ The Bass Collection, Part II US Coins Signature® Auction – Orlando FUN to $24,022,741 on Jan. 5.

The auction was enormously successful by any metric: of the 103 offered lots, 30 established new records. The event was the second installment of the collection of Harry W. Bass; proceeds from the auction will benefit the dozens of Dallas-based nonprofits supported by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, with a particular emphasis on early childhood education and literacy in Dallas. Part I reached $20,459,645 Sept. 29.

“These coins were very special to Harry, and I hope the buyers appreciate them as much as he did,” says F. David Calhoun, executive director of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation. “They’re not just commodities, as every coin was special to Harry, as evidenced by the extraordinary collection of U.S. gold rarities he assembled. And, of course, the more money raised from the auctions of these coins, the better because that means we can help more people.”

“Heritage Auctions delivered more than $24 million in winning bids for the Bass Foundation tonight, and nearly $44.5 million over the first two parts of this extraordinary auction, and we know the foundation will put these proceeds to great use amongst the charities they support,” Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Todd Imhof said. “Our sale of Part II of the Bass Foundation’s rare coins tonight delivered numerous world records and shows this bull market in the rare coin hobby continues.

“We could not be more happy for the Bass Foundation and for the charities it supports.”

The event’s top lot, which drew 73 bids, crushed the previous world record of $687,500 and is among the rarest and most enigmatic coins in the U.S. federal series. Reliable reports suggest that a second example, housed in a ceremonial casket, was placed under the cornerstone of the Second San Francisco Mint in 1870, but the example offered in this auction is the only known example. But assuming the reports of that second example are accurate, that coin would be forever out of reach to collectors, meaning that for all intents and purposes, the example sold in this auction is unique.

Also clearing more than $1 million was the finest known 1795 Capped Bust Right Eagle, MS64, which reached $2.1 million. The rarest and most sought-after of the capped Bust Right, Small Eagle die varieties, PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at 18-22 examples in all grades, while John Dannreuther estimates 20-22 specimens extant. PCGS and NGC have combined to certify 28 examples between them, a total that almost certainly includes a number of resubmissions and crossovers. This coin has been exhibited, along with the rest of the Harry Bass Core Collection, at the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, at the headquarters of the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs, since 2001.

An 1835 Quarter Eagle, HM-1, PR67 Deep Cameo prompted 30 bids before it sold for a record $1.2 million; the previous record was just under $176,000. From the Eliasberg Collection with an earlier provenance to the George H. Earle Collection, this example is the finest certified proof Classic Head quarter eagle, the only one to receive the PR67 numerical grade and one of just four PCGS submissions boasting the Deep Cameo designation. This magnificent example is one of fewer than three dozen remaining from 1834-39, a distinction made rarer by the fact that four reside in the Smithsonian Institution, and another in the British Museum.

A 1798/7 BD-2 Eagle, MS62 was the fourth lot to reach seven figures when it ended at $1.11 million, surpassing the previous record of $705,000. It is the third-finest known example, and one of the two above it is housed in the Smithsonian Institution.

A 1796 BD-2 No Stars Quarter Eagle, MS63 brought a winning bid of $990,000. The 1796 No Stars Quarter Eagle ranks among the most sought-after and important types in the entire United States series, and ranks within the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins compiled by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth with the input of many of the hobby’s top experts. Not only is the 1796 Quarter Eagle the first two-and-a-half-dollar gold issue manufactured in this country, this variant without stars around the obverse was struck only for a few months before being replaced by a modified version with stars.

An 1820 BD-6 Half Eagle, MS64+ PCGS, the second-finest of the variety, ended at $900,000, erasing the previous record of $282,000. This is the first of three 1820-dated obverse dies with the Curl Base 2, and this example is one of what is believed to be no more than 10 remaining examples.

Part III of Heritage Auctions’ Bass Collection will be in April, and Part IV in August.

In 2022, the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation gave grants to 50 Dallas-area nonprofits, including Reading Partners North Texas, Momentous Institute, Bachman Lake Together, the North Texas Food Bank, Buckner Children & Family Services, Inc., Mi Escuelita Preschool, Inc., ChildCareGroup and Urban Teachers.

The foundation also donated $160,000 to the American Numismatic Association following the collection’s departure from its museum in Colorado.

Complete results can be found at

Posted by News Release in Auctions, Recent
Wells Fargo Treasure Box Lid From S.S. Central America Sells For $99,600

Wells Fargo Treasure Box Lid From S.S. Central America Sells For $99,600

Unique New Jersey $3 Banknote, Keys To Fabled Ship’s Treasure Room, and Polhemus Counter-Stamped Double Eagle Also Set Records In Holabird Western Americana Collections Auction

A unique wooden lid to a Wells Fargo & Co. treasure box was one of the many California Gold Rush sunken treasure highlights recovered from the fabled “Ship of Gold,” the S.S. Central America that sank in 1857, in the Holabird Western Americana Collections ( auction held December 3, 2022 in Reno, Nevada and online. The lid with the engraved name “Wells Fargo & Co./New York” boldly visible sold for $99,600.

Another never-before-offered numismatic item recovered from the legendary ship were Purser Edward W. Hull’s keys to the ship’s treasure cargo storage room. The keys attached to a personalized brass name tag sold for $102,300.

“There has never been anything like the scope of these recovered artifacts which represented a time capsule of daily life during the Gold Rush. The auction took over eight hours for only 270 lots because of the exceptionally large number of bids,” said Fred Holabird, president of Holabird Western Americana Collections.

Holabird advised there will be just one final opportunity to acquire previously unavailable S.S. Central America artifacts when the last items recovered from the fabled ship are offered in a public auction on February 25, 2023.

“There were five recovered banknotes in the auction. They were among 11 ‘broken bank’ notes found in the Purser’s safe that was retrieved from the seabed in 2014 after being submerged for 157 years about 7,200 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina. The other recovered notes will be offered in in February auction,” explained Holabird.

One of the five banknotes in the December auction is a $3 denomination note issued by the State Bank of Newark, New Jersey. It is the only known example to have been in circulation, apparently used to purchase a ticket on the legendary ship at dockside the day the ship left New York on a voyage to Panama.

These are the winning bids on the five banknotes in the auction that the Purser accepted while assuming the issuing banks were alive and well at the time:

  • Bank of Syracuse, New York, $5, Haxby G12c., $5,280.
  • Exchange Bank, Bangor, Maine, $5, Haxby G8., $5,760.
  • North River Bank, New York, $20, Haxby G50c., $1,380
  • Peoples Bank $5, Charleston, South Carolina, Haxby G2a., $3,720.
  • State Bank of Newark, New Jersey, $3, Haxby proof only, $5,160.

“Some of the notes undoubtedly were used by passengers to pay for their tickets. The money was accepted perhaps because the Purser did not yet know the banks that issued the paper money had failed,” explained Dwight Manley, Managing Partner of the California Gold Marketing Group which consigned the notes to the auction.

An 1856-S Double Eagle counter-stamped by Sacramento, California drug store owner J.L. Polhemus sold for $43,200. It is graded PCGS AU58 and encapsulated in a special PCGS holder with a pinch of recovered gold dust.

In addition to the lid from a Wells Fargo gold shipment box, a treasure shipment box from San Francisco Gold Rush-era bankers Sather & Church sold for $6,300. A cloth bag found in the Purser’s safe brought $4,300. It had the word “Dimes” written in black ink on it, although 2014 recovery mission records indicated it had held U.S. quarters and half-dollars.

A gold stickpin crafted with a U.S. Type II $1 gold coin of 1854-1856 sold for $5,040, and a sampling of nine unconserved pocket change coins gathered from the seafloor around the shipwreck site sold for $1,920.

Among the other lots in the auction were recovered exquisite Gold Rush jewelry, vintage 1850s clothing and other unique artifacts from the legendary ship. The oldest known pair of miner’s heavy-duty work pants sold for $114,000, the highest price ever paid for jeans. The auction catalog contained an extensive explanation of why the jeans may have been made by or for Levi Strauss Company.

“Seemingly ordinary items from the passengers and crew today give us extraordinary insight into the everyday lives of the people who traveled on the steamship,” said scientist Bob Evans who was on each of the recovery missions.

The tragedy of the S.S. Central America sinking took the lives of 425 of the ship’s 578 passengers and crewmembers, and the loss of the gold cargo was a major factor in the economically devastating financial Panic of 1857 in the United States.

Insurance claims for the loss were paid in the 1850s and the company that discovered and retrieved the treasure starting in 1988 settled with the insurers and their successors in 1992. With court approval, California Gold Marketing Group subsequently acquired clear title to all of that remaining treasure as well as all the items later recovered in 2014. For additional information about the recovered artifacts and the February 2023 auction, visit Holabird Western Americana Collections of Reno, Nevada at, call 775-851-1859, or email

Posted by News Release in Auctions, Recent