1907 Ultra-High Relief Double Eagles Fly

Heritage Auctions, an Event Auctioneer Partner of the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money®, will auction PF-69, a 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle, on Aug. 10. As with the past three Bass Core Collection coin auctions, earnings will benefit dozens of Dallas-based non-profits funded by the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation, with a focus on early childhood education and reading.

After his family moved to Dallas when he was young, Harry Bass Jr. spent nearly his entire life there,” said Heritage Auctions executive vice president Todd Imhof. He spent much of his adult life building one of the most spectacular numismatic collections, which at his death was the largest and most comprehensive collection of U.S. Federal gold coins.

“Only his loyalty to his adopted hometown matches his knowledge and love of numismatics. Dallas-area non-profits will benefit from the $62.6 million raised in the previous three auctions and this remarkable auction thanks to the Harry W. Bass Jr. Foundation.

The first public auction was the 1920 sale of the 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle. Few double eagles are as rare, desirable, and attractive as the 1907 Ultra High Relief. John H. Clapp, a Washington, D.C., collector, sold it and his other collection to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., for over $100,000 in 1942, one of the largest numismatic deals ever. Until his 1976 death, Eliasberg owned it. Bass bought it in 1982 for $242,000. It has been unavailable to the public until now.

The finest 1829 Capped Head Left half eagle, PF-66+ Cameo, the sole proof 1829 Small Date half eagle in private hands, will also be auctioned. An 1829 Capped Head Left half eagle sold for a record $2.88 million at Heritage Auctions. That stunning Large Date coin from the Harry W. Bass Jr. Core Collection, Part III, more than twice the previous record.

Even amid a sequence of uncommon issues, the 1829 Capped Head Left half eagle with the Small Date and planchet is a rare gem. It is the earliest and rarest date of a new half-eagle design minted from 1829 to 1834. PCGS CoinFacts estimates that just eight or nine business-strike instances exist, and PCGS Founder John Dannreuther has confirmed the existence of two proof specimens, one of which is in the Smithsonian National Numismatic Collection.

BD-1, MS-64, an 1828/7 half eagle, is another prized early U.S. gold series rarity. The National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution holds one of the five traced examples of this coin, which is tied for the highest grade with the 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle.

One of three early eagles rated MS-66 by PCGS is a 1799 $10 Large Obverse Stars, BD-10, R.3, MS-66 PCGS, tied for the finest known. The other is a 1795 Small Eagle $10 gold piece certified MS-66+. Eliasberg became the only collector to collect U.S. coins by date, mintmark, and main variety after buying Clapp's coins. The Eliasberg estate sold it to Bass after his death, like the 1907 Ultra High Relief double eagle, and it has been unavailable until this sale.

Another 1798 Small Eagle $5, BD-1, R.7, AU-53 PCGS series rarity will be sold in this auction. Only six or seven remain in any grade. Two coins are in the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection, permanently out of reach of enthusiasts. B. Max Mehl, a Fort Worth coin dealer, found this sample in 1924 and sold it to Clapp, who kept it until his 1940 death. Eliasberg bought Clapp's collection for $100,000 in 1942.

Some argue that the 1907 Eagle Rolled Rim MS-64 PCGS, CAC is a circulation issue, not a pattern. The majority of the 31,500 struck were melted, leaving 50, including the presented sample, conserved and sold to collectors, museums, and government officials. Two went to the Met and 10 to the Mint Bureau. Most of the 50 Rolled Rim Indian eagles preserved in 1907 are now owned by collectors and rarely displayed.

Dannreuther estimates that the finest certified 1863 $3, PF-67+ Deep Cameo is one of 14-16 existing copies of the Civil War issue, which had 39 proofs and 5,000 circulation strikes. Dannreuther's assessment may be high due to wartime gold hoarding. A magnificent Bass Core Collection coin sold for $336,000 and is the only other PF-67+ Deep Cameo proof in the $3 gold series recognized by PCGS.

The second-finest of 10 known instances of this rare is an 1877 $50, Judd-1547, Pollock-1720, Low R.7, PF-66 Red and Brown PCGS, CAC. In 1877, only fifty-dollar gold pieces were produced to test the practicality of larger coins than double eagles. Only copper examples are available to collectors since two gold examples, Judd-1546 and Judd-1548, are permanently stored at the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection. This coin will be auctioned for the first time in 53 years.

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