Magnificent 'Washlady' dollar stars at Heritage's $9.42m COINFEST auction

Rare US Coins continue to provide for steady, even stellar, prices in times of recession, as evidenced by Heritage's $9.42 million COINFEST Signature® US Coin Auction.

The sale was held from October 27-30 in Stamford, Connecticut. A magnificent 1879 Washlady dollar sold for $161,000 emerging as the top lot.

"These results are 20% percent higher than our pre-sale projections," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions.

"The market for rare coins is, simply put, very strong. The best examples continue to command top prices and the top collectors are more than happy to acquire these examples."

More than 4,380 bidders participated in the auction, both live on the auction room floor and via online bidding, contributing to a sell-through rate of 92% by value and 97% by number of lots.

The 1879 Washlady dollar, sold for $161,000

Recent Heritage coin auctions have mostly seen examples of rare gold coinage taking the top slot, but the stunning 1879 $1 Washlady Dollar, Judd-1603, Pollock-1798, High R.6, PR66+ NGC, the finest known specimen, took top honours.

The coin finished at $161,000 after a fierce bidding between advanced collectors. Between 12 and 15 examples are known of the Washlady dollar in both copper and silver. There is also one example known in white metal.

"In the late 19th century this design was not well received by dealers and collectors, and was apparently given the nickname of 'Washlady' by David Proskey around April 1891 at the Doughty Sale," said Rohan.

"The name stuck, but today the Washlady design is considered one of the most beautiful ever produced by the Mint."

The equally rare and collector-coveted VF30 NGC. M. 4.2-F.6, W-2360, R.8., from The W Philip Keller Collection of US Colonials, took the second spot on the auction podium in Stamford, realising $115,000.

The 1785 Connecticut Copper, African Head brought $115,000

Elsewhere a famous 1882 $20 AU53 PCGS, one of only 571 pieces struck piqued the interest of numerous collectors of important gold with a final price realised of $80,500.

The coin is so rare that even the Smithsonian Institution, keeper of the National Numismatic Collection, lacks an example of the issue.

"While there are numerous double eagle issues from the late 1870s through early 1890s that boast extraordinarily low mintages," said Rohan, "the 1882 is the absolute lowest-mintage of them all.

"At 571 coins. Any representative of this issue, in any grade, is an extraordinary rarity."


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