A new blog article by researcher Ron Guth of the Numismatic Detective Agency continues his Eliasberg Project with a look at the Eliasberg Continental Dollar. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online.
Black-and-white image from the 1996 Eliasberg sale - credit Bowers & Merena
In addition to his phenomenal collection of United States coins, Louis Eliasberg, Sr. built impressive collections of world gold, pattern coins, and U.S. colonial coins. For those of us who were around for the sales of his U.S. coins in 1982, 1996, and 1997, it's hard to believe that a quarter of a century has passed. During that time, his coins have either remained with the original buyers or they may have appeared and re-appeared on the market. In many of those reappearances, the Eliasberg provenance has simply gone missing, severing the ties to this important collection. Thus, the Eliasberg Project has become a personal challenge to identify Eliasberg coins and to re-establish the Eliasberg provenance chain where possible. A further goal of the Eliasberg Project is to present
modern grades (where known) to give the Eliasberg coins their proper ranking in the Numismatic Detective Agency (NDA) Condition Census.
Rediscovering an Eliasberg provenance is a real thrill, especially when it involves one of his more important coins. One such coin was his 1776 Continental
Dollar (I put quotes around the word Dollar because of the ongoing debate about the origins of the Continental coinage). Recently, I was able to restore the lost Eliasberg pedigree to a Continental
Dollar that appeared three times at auction with no mention of his prior ownership.
Eliasberg owned only a single Continental
Dollar, but it was a nice one. When his coin sold as Lot 50 in Bowers & Merena's May 1996 sale of the Eliasberg Collection, it was described as
MS-63 or finer. The cataloger (presumably Q. David Bowers) gave the coin a nearly full column, half page writeup. The coin was illustrated in black-and-white along with the lot description, and in color in the plates near the front of the catalog. No prior provenance was provided.
In April 2002, Eliasberg's Continental
Dollar reappeared in a Heritage auction as Lot 4002. By then, PCGS had assigned a grade of MS64 and the coin realized $43,700, nearly doubling in value in the intervening six years. No provenance was provided.
Ten years later, the coin reappeared in the August 2012 Heritage sale as a PCGS MS65, this time as part of the Liberty Collection, where the price soared to $246,750. No mention was made of the Eliasberg provenance.
Half a year later, the Eliasberg Continental
Dollar reappeared as Lot 1370 in a February 2013 Goldbergs sale, again as a PCGS MS65, but the price dropped to $212,750. The catalog description included the Liberty Collection provenance but no mention of the Eliasberg provenance.
I am unaware of any subsequent auction appearances of this coin.
Where is this coin today? See the full article for a description of the diagnostics. Clickbait headline: You could be rich! Do you have Eliasberg's dollar in your pocket change?
To read the complete article, see:
The Eliasberg Project: Rediscovering His Continental "Dollar"
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