Though we have sold more than 800 lots of physical bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2021, one particular type seems to generate the greatest excitement among collectors. That is the Series 1 “prototype” 2011 Casascius 1 Bitcoin. This type, distinguished by a spelling error on the security hologram, is truly historic and represents the very first funded physical bitcoin ever produced. Announced on September 6, 2011, the issue served as the prototype for the entire category which would eventually expand to more than 60 different iterations of physical cryptocurrency.
We are thrilled to present two examples of this historic 2011 issue in our November 2023 sale of Physical Bitcoin including an MS-67 (PCGS) and an MS-64 (PCGS). Either would represent a crowning jewel in an advanced collection or PCGS Registry Set. An MS-66 (ANACS) example realized $57,600 in our March 2023 sale and collector demand has surely grown over the past year (as has the underlying price of Bitcoin).
This Series 1 variety is readily identified by the misspelling of Casascius as “CASACIUS” at the right and left borders of the reverse hologram. This error was corrected midway through the production year, leading to a 2011 Series 2 type without the error. However, the “prototype” Series 1 remains the most highly coveted among crypto specialists and “traditional” collector. Parallels can be drawn to similar errors among early United States coinage including a variety of silver half dimes struck in 1796 with a broken B punch so that the word LIBERTY appears to be misspelled LIKERTY. Perhaps even more catastrophic is the misspelling of CURRENCY as “CURENCY” on the historic “1776” Continental dollar.
These 2011 Casasius 1 Bitcoin are accompanied by a magnificent trio of 2013 1 Bitcoin pieces struck in silver including a 2013 Casascius “Gold Rim” 1 Bitcoin, a 2013 Casascius “Series 3” 1 Bitcoin , and a 2013 Lealana “Gold B” 1 Bitcoin—one of which sold for $108,000 in Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Spring 2022 sale. These treasures are joined by several additional treasures from the Casascius series including a Redeemed 25 Bitcoin and an extremely rare Unfunded 100 Bitcoin bar that is one of only four produced. Additional Lealana rarities include an Ultra Gem MS-68 (PCGS) example of the 2013 0.1 BTC in brass, as well as a 2022 “Bitcoin Dime” 0.1 BTC struck in one ounce of silver. An Unfunded Lealana “Gold B” 1 Bitcoin is among the highlights of the Non-Loaded category; a similar example brought $6,600 in our August 2023 sale.
For questions on our November 2023 Physical Crypto sale or to consign your coins to a future sale, contact James McCartney, Director of Consignments and Numismatics, at [email protected] or call (800) 566-2580.