One of the many glittering stars of our November 2023 Rarities Night is the extremely rare Branch Mint Proof 1907-D double eagle. Thought for decades to be unique, now there are three certified as such; the currently offered example is the only one graded by PCGS. It features a great provenance and is coveted for its absolute rarity. The opportunity to purchase such a fantastic American numismatic treasure comes up so infrequently that many collectors may not even know of this coin’s existence.
In 1906, the Denver branch mint opened, and a limited number of special strikes were produced to celebrate the occasion. These coins have been called Specimens by the grading services With only five examples known, they are rarely encountered in the market. The following year, as the mints concluded the 57-year run of James Longacre’s Liberty Head design and began transitioning to the Augustus Saint-Gaudens design, the Denver Mint produced an unreported, but small number of Proofs, apparently to mark the end of the Liberty Head design. Today, three have been certified as Branch Mint Proofs or designated as a Specimen strike: this one graded Proof-62 (PCGS), a Proof-62 (NGC), and a Specimen-65 (NGC).
In addition, this important coin has an equally important provenance: A royal provenance, you might say, as its earliest known collection was that of King Farouk of Egypt. When a military coup overthrew the monarchy in 1953, the new Egyptian government contracted Sotheby’s to sell off the playboy king’s massive collections. This coin appeared in their Palace Collections sale of February-March 1954, one of 34 coins in lot 184. It is uncertain who obtained the coin out of that sale, but for years it was thought to be Hans Schulman, based on the fact that another 1907-D appeared in a Kriesberg-Schulman sale a few years later. Our own research confirms that the piece sold by Kriesberg and Schulman and this, the Farouk coin, are two separate examples. Purchased by a still unknown buyer at the Farouk sale, it changed hands privately over the years until it ended up with London coin dealer Stephen Fenton in the 1990s. We offered this coin in our (Stack’s) October 2001 Anniversary Sale, after which it appeared in the 2004 and 2013 FUN auctions. It was then offered by two dealers for private sale, most recently in March 2016.
Ownership of a rarity like this puts your collection on an entirely different plane. The most famous collections of gold coins have lacked an example. You can be one of the very lucky few to have this world famous rarity in your collection.