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Auction Highlights

By Jaime Hernandez - August 13, 2021

Welcome to this edition of Rare Coin Market Report’s Auction Highlights, where we discuss some exciting coins and banknotes that sold at auction recently. So far, 2021 has seen a lot of great action in the numismatic market. Prices seem to be strong on most coins, and as one of the PCGS Price Guide editors, I’m staying busy keeping up with changing prices, with many coins increasing in value. In this article, we will highlight two coins that each fetched over a million dollars and a high-end vintage banknote that appears to have just come off the printing press!

1866 No Motto Liberty Seated Dollar, PCGS PR63+

This coin is extremely rare, with two examples known. The last time a specimen appeared in a public transaction was 2005. This significant rarity deserves to be tucked away in a museum – and that is exactly the case with the other known example, which is currently displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. The specimen highlighted here was offered by Heritage Auctions in April 2021 as the only example available for collectors to own. Graded PCGS PR63+ as well as having the Simpson pedigree, the treasure realized $1,050,000. Seeing the sale of this coin was definitely a great experience, as it might be many more years before it appears at auction again.

1866 Liberty Seated, No Motto Dollar, PCGS PR63. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Click image to enlarge.

(Ca. 1588) Tensho Era 10 Ryo Oban, PCGS MS60

This very unusual but exciting form of money, used long ago in Japan, is called an Oban. The Oban is a large-sized hammered or rolled oval gold bar that was used as a form of money beginning in the 16th century. At the time, these were some of the largest coins produced and used in Japan. The Oban was mostly used for valuable transactions or to trade for high-value items. A very rare example of an Oban from the 16th century was recently offered at auction. The 10 Ryo from the Tensho Era (Ca. 1588) shown here offers only six known examples. This piece is graded PCGS MS60 and realized a remarkable $1,920,000 at a Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction on April 2021.

Oban JNDA 09-1 Tensho-Hishi, PCGS MS60. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

1899 Black Eagle $1 Silver Certificate Fr. 230, PCGS MS68PPQ

Last but not least among the highlights is an 1899 Black Eagle $1 Silver Certificate (Fr. 230), with the signatures of James Carroll Napier and Thomas Lee McClung. These Black Eagle Silver Certificates are very popular among banknote collectors. The obverse carries an iconic and prominent black eagle design and also features an elegant blue seal and serial numbers. Underneath the eagle is a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant. Although the Black Eagle Silver Certificates are fairly common in most grades, it's not every day that one happens upon a specimen that looks as though it just came off the printing press. That’s exactly the case here with this banknote that sold in a GreatCollections Auction in February 2021! This 1899 Black Eagle $1 Silver Certificate graded MS68PPQ realized $6,300 – a respectable price for a popular note in a scarce, high grade.

1899 $1 Silver Certificate, PCGS Superb Gem UNC 68 PPQ. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

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