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SBG Crypto: Morgan Dollars and the Lealana Bitcoin Series

Last week, we made the comparison between the 2011 Casascius 1 Bitcoin and the 1907 High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle. This week, I would like to draw your attention to a similar comparison in silver between the Proof 1895 Morgan dollar and the 2013 Lealana “Gold B” 1 Bitcoin. The Lealana series as a whole parallels the Morgan dollar series in many respects. Both offer a wide range of types and varieties and offer many affordable entry points into collecting, as well as legendary and formidable rarities. Both the 1895 Morgan dollar and the 2013 Lealana 1 Bitcoin are examples of this latter rarified category.

The 1895 Morgan dollar has long been considered the “King of the Morgan Dollars” and is generally the linchpin for a completing a complete collection. The Philadelphia Mint only distributed silver dollars in Proof format that year, creating an instant rarity with just 880 struck. Similarly, the 2013 Lealana 1 Bitcoin is considered the key issue for that series, especially within the Classic Era of 2011 through 2013. It offers even greater rarity with only 290 Loaded examples produced—in addition to 210 Non-Loaded (Buyer Funded) examples—according to the Ahonen reference. The “Gold B” is the only 1 Bitcoin denomination from the Lealana series, guaranteeing that any collector building a denomination set or a complete set for the series will need one. Because of these supply and demand forces, both the Morgan dollar and the 1 Bitcoin regularly achieve astounding prices when collectors vie to acquire them. The 1895 Morgan dollar often exceeds $100,000 at auction depending on the grade, and an astounding Proof 67 Deep Cameo example in our March 2017 sale sold for $152,750. The Lealana 1 Bitcoin elicits similarly strong results and an example from our April 2022 sale set a live-auction record for the 1 Bitcoin denomination at $108,000.

We are proud to be offering a fantastic Proof-69 Deep Cameo example of the Lealana 1 Bitcoin in Part 1 of our Physical Crypto sale next Friday, November 17. Similarly, many Proof and key date rarities from the Morgan dollar series will be presented in our Rarities Night session just a few days earlier on Tuesday, November 14. Both offerings represent landmark events in their respective series

I’d like to close with few observations on the digital Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Over the past week, BTC has been holding strong above $34,000 and even topped $35,000 for much of the first half of this week. This performance might be attributed to factors that include the partial-conclusion to the SBF/FTX saga, speculation around ETF approval, the pending Bitcoin halving in April 2024, and likely more than a handful of other occurrences. Either way, stability and/or strength in the digital currency can have positive implications for the physical collectible counterpart. Similar observations can be made of the relationship between the gold bullion market and numismatic gold coins, particularly more “generic” 20th century Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens coins that balance gold content with premiums for condition and rarity. It will be interesting to see if other similarities develop between numismatic gold coins and physical bitcoins as the latter category becomes more familiar to traditional collectors.

I want to point out that we are just over a week away from the first auction session of Physical Crypto in our November Showcase sale, beginning on Friday, November 17 at 10AM PT. A second offering of Physical Crypto will be presented the following Monday, November 20th, beginning at 10AM PT—excellent ways to start and finish the weekend! New bidders are welcome to request a complimentary copy of the standard reference for the series, the Encyclopedia of Physical Bitcoins and Crypto-Currencies by Elias Ahonen. For more information about our Cryptocurrency auctions, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

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