Stack’s Bowers Galleries is delighted to present the last handful of rarities from the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., known in his time as the “King of Coins.” These incredibly rare and high quality United States and world coins were retained or reacquired by the family as personal favorites when the majority of the collection crossed the block in several different auction events decades ago. Iconic issues like the Proof Kellogg & Co. $50 gold piece, a British Una and the Lion Pattern 5 Pound, and 1923 Chinese Pattern Dollar struck in gold will create quite the stir when they are presented to this generation of collectors. Because the coins retained are quite diverse, bidders in multiple Stack’s Bowers Galleries events will have the chance to acquire one of these world class highlights, which will be presented in three of the firm’s upcoming sales.
The October 2023 Hong Kong Auction Rarities Night will feature a Chinese Gold Dollar Pattern, Year 12 (1923), Tientsin Mint graded PCGS Specimen-62+ (lot 30224). An iconic Chinese rarity, this type is a challenge to acquire in its normal silver module. As a specimen striking in gold, this museum-quality example of the famed Dragon and Phoenix dollar is exceedingly rare.
During our official auction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo in November, five important pieces will cross the block on Rarities Night. Leading that list in numismatic order is an Undated (ca. 1616) Sommer Islands sixpence with Large Portholes in EF-45 (PCGS). There are 19 discrete examples of the Large Portholes variety listed in the standard reference, with the majority impounded in institutional collections. This stunningly well struck and beautifully preserved example is certainly among the finest known in private hands.
Next to cross the block will be the 1853-O Liberty Seated, No Arrows half dollar graded Fine-12 (PCGS), the second finest of only four examples known. The 1853-O No Arrows is the undisputed key to the series and a classic rarity. This coin was discovered circa 1909 by a Chicago trolley car conductor, then housed in the cabinets of Charles Wilcox, DeWitt Smith, H.O. Granberg; William H. Woodin; Waldo C. Newcomer, Col. E.H.R. Green, and Charles Williams. Louis Eliasberg, Sr. purchased this coin from Numismatic Gallery’s June 1950 sale of the Adolphe Menjou sale.
This session will also feature the “King of Territorial Gold,” an 1855 Kellogg & Co. $50, Proof-63 Cameo (PCGS) CMQ-X. The Eliasberg specimen of this extremely rare Proof issue from the Gold Rush era is extensively pedigreed back to Augustus Humbert and has graced many important cabinets including those of Zabriskie, Jenks, Nygren, and Clapp. While no records were kept of the mintage, there are 14 examples known today, and this ranks among the very finest. Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. regarded this 1855 Kellogg & Co. $50 as one of the most important and historical of his private gold coin issues – a sentiment that will surely be echoed by its next owner.
Another showstopping rarity will be the 1860 Clark, Gruber & Co. “Mountain $20” graded AU-55 (PCGS) CMQ-X. This very high quality Choice AU example is among the finest known of the rarest Clark Gruber type. Prized among territorial and private gold issues, the Clark Gruber $20, with its fanciful image of Pikes Peak, is an iconic type that is always highly sought by collectors of this challenging specialty.
The final Eliasberg item in our November Rarities Night line-up will be a (1907) Baker City, Oregon two-ounce gold ingot in a PCGS Genuine holder. It is estimated that only 100 of this intriguing and exceedingly rare issue were produced, as related by Don Kagin on page 379 of his 1981 reference. The cataloger of this piece suggests, based on the experiences of Q. David Bowers, that likely no more than five or six different examples can be traced today.
The Stack’s Bowers Galleries January 2024 New York International Numismatic Convention Auction will feature two more important Eliasberg rarities. A gorgeous German New Guinea 20 Mark of Wilhelm II, 1895-A from the Berlin Mint graded PCGS Proof-66 Deep Cameo is the sole finest “Bird of Paradise” 20 Mark graded by that service. One of the most iconic of 19th century coins struck for any colonial possession of a European empire, this marvelous Gem Proof is a delight to behold and will likely bring a world record price for the issue.
A stunning example of the iconic British Una and the Lion five pound coin with glorious contrast will delight bidders. Only several hundred were struck of this type that is among the most gorgeous and most cherished designs ever produced by any country. Graded by PCGS as Proof-63 Deep Cameo, this piece will certainly be the centerpiece of another remarkable collection.
“The Eliasberg name is among the most famous in all of numismatics, with a legacy going back nearly a century” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Louis Eliasberg, Sr. began collecting coins around 1925, and in 1942, our predecessor firm (Stack’s), brokered the John Clapp Estate to Mr. Eliasberg in a single transaction. His incredible and singular accomplishment of acquiring examples of every date and mintmark in United States coinage is unlikely ever to be matched.”
“Our team has enjoyed a relationship with the Eliasberg family for many decades,” stated Christine Karstedt, executive vice president. “It has been a highlight of my career to work with Richard Eliasberg and his team to showcase this historically important and world renowned collection to several generations of collectors. It is an honor to be a part of this final offering and I look forward to congratulating the lucky bidders who will take home these treasures.”
For more information about upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries offerings from the Eliasberg Collection visit StacksBowers.com or email [email protected]. To consign to an upcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries showcase or online auction, call 800-458-4646 or email [email protected].
About Stack’s Bowers Galleries
Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s nearly 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection.
The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California, with galleries in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris and Vancouver. Stack’s Bowers Galleries hosts an annual Global Showcase in August featuring United States coins and currency, Ancient coins and World coins and currency in its Costa Mesa auction gallery. They are also the Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic events, including the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, the Spring and Fall Hong Kong shows, and the Maastricht Paper Money Shows.