Here are some U.S. highlights from the January 16, 2023 Auction 67 from Numismatic Auctions LLC., starting with a 1795 dollar.
Lot 202 1795 Flowing Hair, 2 Leaves. Satiny lustrous gunmetal blue, teal and golden toned Unc or virtually so, a
trifle softly struck at centers as typical for the issue yet on a broad flan with strong presentation, some
light old marks and faint scattered hairlines nearly concealed by the toning and not detracting to the
naked eye. A beautiful type coin and scarcer variety with great eye appeal.
Lot 354 Very Rare Congressional Gold Medal of Honor – One of only four struck for presentation to the last surviving Veterans of the Civil War, 1956. AV, 70mm, 318 grams, by Gilroy Roberts. Stately conjoined busts of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee r.; Rx: Shields bearing Union & Confederate flag motifs; torch, sword and olive sprig with multi-line legend below. Unc with a few faint whispy inclusions and and cpl tiny old test marks on the edge, accompanied by its original presentation case. This example was presented to Walter Williams, Centenarian and the famous, possibly dubious forager for Hood's Brigade who died December 19, 1959.
Williams, often revered by many as the last surviving Confederate Civil War Veteran, still to this day remains a famous yet undocumented mystery in the annals of history. This medal first reached the numismatic community via the Williams family in the 1976 ANA Sale conducted by Stack's as lot #3321. The only other medal of its kind currently in public domain appeared in a NASCA sale of 1978, which was the William Lunday medal. The Albert Woolson specimen now resides in the Smithsonian Institution via the Sons of the Union Veterans with the fourth and final medallion being destroyed according to Stack's. A monumental rarity and sure to be the centerpiece of any medallic, exonumia or Civil War collection. An impressive and historic jewel, weighing in at over 10 ounces of solid gold. Sure to incite spirited bidding on its way to a new home as one of this original quartet of medals may never surface again in the collector market.
Lot 384 Rare & Unique George Washington Bicentennial/Proclaim Liberty Plaster, Medal and Photographic Historical Archive of Laura Gardin Fraser, circa 1931. Likely unique and previously unknown Original Reverse Plaster, Medal and original unpublished studio photographs of Laura Gardin Fraser. Features a white alabaster plaster model with olive green applied finish, 9 1/8" diameter, 2 1/4" thick, a small drilled hole for hanging on the back; unsigned but marked
FINAL on verso.
Design as executed by Laura Gardin Fraser for use on the reverse of the 1932 George Washington Bicentennial Commemorative Medal. The design depicts a magnificent stylized Lady Liberty with radiate headdress, in likeness to the the Statue of Liberty; Eagle above with 13 Stars, holding a torch and sword to the sky, flanked by the legend PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND. The plaster is augmented by one of the actual issued medals; both overall EF or better, cpl tiny chips to the green finish of the plaster from age and storage.
Accompanying the plaster and medal are two original, unpublished sepia tone 7 3/8 x 9 1/8 and 8" x 10" studio photographic images of Laura Gardin Fraser, one posed in a formal smock along with a second image of her with her stunning life-size sculpture of a Royal Elk - quite likely a commissioned work for the Hartford Insurance Company. This fabulous ensemble is a virtual time capsule of one of America's most famous coin designers. From the estate of close Fraser family friend, sculptor and photographer Vincent DeMeo.
Another similar Fraser coin design archive for the Washington Quarter competition from the DeMeo estate sold for over $10,000 with the BP in our Auction Sale #65, December 2020. This discovery archive and offering of such amazing pieces, their historic relevance and irreplaceable nature are both difficult to fathom the true value of and estimate as no others are available. An important opportunity for the advanced collector of U.S. Mint History, the Washington Quarter specialist or any registry set collectors who are fans of Fraser's coin designs and Medallic art. This lot contains both the original Plaster for the Washington Bicentennial Medal reverse, the issued medal itself plus two original, unpublished sepia tone photographs images of Laura Gardin Fraser; four items in all.
Lot 385. John R. Sinnock Estate Quintet of Uniface Medallic Splashers and Trial Strikes, circa 1946. Features five Uniface Medallic Trial Strikes and Splashers in WM, two with Bronzed finish application. Avg 85-90mm, by John R. Sinnock, designer of the Roosevelt Dime and Franklin Half Dollar along with other issues, some trimmed with slightly irregular edges as made, cpl old marks here and there yet nearly as made. Designs feature Princeton University Bicentennial depicting Nassau Hall, 1946(3); Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, ND and Fred M. Vinson, Secretary of the Treasury, ND(1946). AU to Unc, pleasing and historic, these would make a wonderful exhibit or Medallic ensemble if paired with examples of the actual issued Medals, which on their own merits are quite scarce and primarily in University Archives and museums – these trials likely being Unique and from the Sinnock Estate, adding to their desirability. A tremendous group that cannot be replicated or found elsewhere and a wonderful find. Five Uniface Die Trial Strikes/Splashers in all
Lot 386 Rare & Unusual Experimental 12-Sided Libertas Americana Design Metallurgical Pattern/Trial Post-War Era 5 Cent Size Example in Cupro-Nickel Clad Steel. 20.77mm, on a 12-Sided planchet that appears to be round when viewed head-on, made of three bonded/clad layers with a magnetized steel core and two outer cupro-nickel layers. The piece exhibits pronounced, deeply struck/dished fields and weighs in at 4.35 grams with a specific gravity of 7.9. The design depicts a Libertas Americana Portrait remarkably like the John R. Sinnock Assay Medal central design of 1945, though minus the Cap and Pole. The reverse bears random sample letters and numerals at the center within a wreath; very close in nature to that of the G.M. Roller Die Cents by Frank Gasparro and earlier synonymous designs by Sinnock. This piece and a similar unverified one, along with a smaller and lesser weight Cent size discovery example have been the subject of numerous articles and studies, none with conclusive results since first reported in 1962.
One can certainly speculate this design was possibly an expeditionary trial into the realm of the Canadian Five Cent coins of the WWII, Korean and Postwar period possessing similar edge designs and experimental compositions to allow for more economic mass production with metals not as critical to the war efforts. Quite possibly unique or one of only two known in this size and weight. Semi-reflective lustrous AU with the slightest hints of toning, the exposed core at the 12-sided edge displays some deeper colored areas of oxidation and micro traces of rust attesting to its steel content, visible only from the side view. A true enigma, and an important advanced technology prototype for the period.
It is likely the dies or even the striking of this piece was possibly executed in part or whole at the U.S. Mint or by subcontracted agency affiliates in the automotive industry. Similar entities were approached during WWII and the Postwar era for affordable, high production run coinage alternatives. A rare, widely storied and well-documented Michigan collector find, detailed in articles by Ken Potter, The Numismatist, Coin World and Numismatic News. As the saying goes, it can now be yours if the price is right! Certainly worthy of a strong bid and further research, a rarity that cannot be acquired elsewhere in the marketplace.
For more information, or to bid, see:
Sale 67 Day 1 Timed Auction
Wayne Homren, Editor
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