Physical Cryptocurrency at Stack’s Bowers
Stack’s Bowers Galleries announced their official auction for the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo, the first such event since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Lot viewing will be held from 16th to 19th November 2021 at the Baltimore Convention Center, while the live sessions of the sale will be held November 21-23 at Griffin Studios in the firm’s Costa Mesa, California headquarters. Additional Internet Only sessions will be hosted Stack’s Bowers website from 29th November through 1st December 2021. Offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale is an incredible selection of U.S. Colonial rarities, exceptional Federal coinage, some of the most desirable tokens and medals from the Numismatic Americana category and a wide array of U.S. currency.
Highlighs from the U.S.
The U.S. coin portion of the sale is marked by several significant collections, notably the Aberg, Birdwatcher, and Fricke cabinets, which span a variety of numismatic categories and offer fresh, high-quality selections. The greatest treasures among U.S. Federal coinage will be presented in the Rarities Night session, taking place on Tuesday, 23rd November 2021. The session commences with impressive rare Proof half cents, as well as magnificent fresh-to-market large cents from the Collection of Dr. Frances W. Constable, including a phenomenal AU-55 (PCGS) CAC 1793 Wreath cent. A world-class selection of silver dollars begins with a number of Condition Census early dollars, including an MS-63 (NGC) BB-61 1796 Draped Bust dollar. Gold coinage is highlighted by an outstanding selection of early Capped Bust half eagles, including the sole finest certified Rarity-7 1797 BD-2 at MS-60 (NGC). The Aberg Collection offers a wide variety of rarities across all denominations, including a legendary MS-61 BN (PCGS) CAC 1969-S Doubled Die Obverse cent, a MS-63 (PCGS) 1870-CC dollar, and a Proof-66 Ultra Cameo 1870 quarter eagle. Additional significant rarities in this session include a MS-62 (NGC) 1870-CC half dollar, a Proof-68 Cameo (NGC) 1897 dollar, a Proof-66 Ultra Cameo (NGC) original 1873 three-dollar gold piece, an iconic Proof-62 (PCGS) 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, a sandblast Proof-65 (NGC) 1912 Saint-Gaudens $20, and a magnificent AU-53 (PCGS) 1849 Mormon $20. It is poised be a truly historic evening!
The Colonial Coin Collectors Club Auction
The November sale will also feature the Stack’s Bowers Galleries official auction for the Colonial Coin Collectors Club, best known as C4, on Monday, 22nd November 2021. This session features all manner of Colonial and related coinage, ranging from Massachusetts silver to desirable State coppers and early Washington pieces. Included are several historic cabinets including Fugio coppers from the Pierre Fricke Collection and New Jersey and Connecticut coppers from the Norman G. Peters Collection. Notable rarities are AU-55 (PCGS) examples of 1787 Fugio Newman 10-T and Newman 11-A, and an incredibly rare 1787 New Jersey Maris 62-r . Also offered is a remarkable selection of pieces from the collection of respected dealer Richard Rossa, formerly of Rossa and Tanenbaum, as well as a newly discovered 1658 Lord Baltimore shilling and a rare 1790 Standish Barry three pence.
The First Physical Cryptocurrency at Public Auction
The sale also features as a special highlight a SP-70 (PCGS) silver Lealana 0.1 Bitcoin (BTC) physical Bitcoin in lot 4151. Graded SP-70 by PCGS, it is the very first bitcoin from the Lealana series to be certified by that service and will also be the very first piece of physical cryptocurrency offered in a major live auction. It features an intrinsic face value, or “peel value,” of 0.1 Bitcoin (BTC), equivalent to roughly USD 6,500 at the time of publishing. With a current high bid of $7,000 and two more weeks remaining before it crosses the auction block in Costa Mesa, California, enthusiasm among aficionados of cryptocurrency and traditional numismatists is strong for this new and exciting numismatic category.
This physical Lealana Bitcoin represents a historic revolution in commerce, similar to the first gold coinage issued by King Croesus circa 500 BC and the first U.S. coins to be struck by steam press in 1836. It is the physical manifestation of an entirely digital concept, offering a fusion of numismatic utility and financial technology.
First introduced as Lealana Litecoin, the Lealana series was released to collectors and investors in June 2013 as a counterpart to the Casascius physical bitcoins introduced in 2011. It was invented and issued by Noah Luis of Honolulu, Hawaii, who is perhaps better recognized within the crypto community by his internet handle “smoothie.” These physical Lealana Bitcoins were produced in both brass and silver compositions and issued in a range of denominations from 0.1 BTC to 1 BTC, corresponding to those of the Casascius series. Only 2,000 Lealana 0.1 Bitcoins were issued in silver, and this buyer-funded example with a black address is a great rarity, one of only 10 issued. It is considered part of the limited Series 1 Lealana coins, offered before the address color was changed to green in May 2014 to comply with regulations.
The value of this SP-70 (PCGS) coin was buyer-funded and remains unredeemed, further increasing its desirability. Issued on a 25mm planchet of ¼ ounce of .999 fine silver and minted by Northwest Territorial Mint, the obverse features a holographic sticker with the serial number at left and the public address visible through a rectangular window. On the reverse is the Bitcoin currency symbol at center surrounded by a legend listing the denomination, composition, and the Hawaiian phrase “IKAIKA I HELU NUI” that translates as “Strength in Numbers.” Also included with this physical Lealana Bitcoin is a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and an encased Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) message.
Birdwatcher Type Set
Spanning virtually every category in the Red Book, the Birdwatcher Type Set includes such desirable treasures as a Proof-66 Deep Cameo (PCGS) 1898 half dollar and a MS-65 RB (NGC) 1926-S cent. While the quality of the pieces will inspire strong bidding, it is worth mentioning that a portion of the proceeds from the Birdwatcher Type Set will be donated to The Nature Conservancy. A comprehensive selection of Capped Bust, Reeded Edge half dollars by die variety are presented from the cabinet of specialist Jim Koenings, while a virtually complete set of Barber half dollars from the Premo Collection, includes several Proof example and many high-end Choice and Gem-quality pieces. An expansive selection of California Fractional Gold coins from the Oregon Collection, Part II, features such world-class rarities as a Rarity-8 EF-45 (PCGS) BG-209B 1853 Round 25 cents. Also of note is a selection of original and high-quality Liberty Head gold coins from the firm’s ongoing offering of the Fairmont Collection.
Presidential Inaugural Medals
Passionate collectors of Numismatic Americana will delight in a magnificent selection of Presidential Inaugural medals, including a Gem bronze 1905 Roosevelt and the exceedingly rare bronze 1921 Harding medal. An impressive group of medals by Tiffany and Company can be traced directly back to Tiffany Studios. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is also proud to present Part 3 of the E Pluribus Unum Collection, available as a dedicated catalog. This selection is marked by an incredible array of Indian Peace Medals, Bolen tokens, and significant struck copies, all of which exhibit exceptional quality, desirable provenance, and utmost rarity. The live bidding for the E Pluribus Unum Collection, Part 3 will begin on Sunday, 21st November 2021.
The Official Currency Auction
The Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Currency Auction live session will take place on 22nd November 2021 and present a wide array of United States paper money of all series. Among many impressive offerings, Session 4 will feature the “Gnat” Laguna Coast Registry & Rarity Collection, which contains one of the best collections of San Francisco district small size notes ever formed, along with many unique and rare San Francisco pieces and an unprecedented number of Top Pop notes. Highlights include lot 20111, a Fr. 1954-F 1928D $5 Atlanta Federal Reserve Note in PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ and lot 20119, a unique Fr. 1957Lm* 1934A $5 Federal Reserve Mule Star Note from San Francisco graded PMG Extremely Fine 40. The session offers additional standout notes led by lot 20056, a Fr. 374 1890 $20 Treasury Note in PMG Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ that sits atop PMG’s population report and has never before been offered at public auction. Other highlights include a Fr. 96 1869 $10 Legal Tender Note graded by PMG as Superb Gem Uncirculated 67 EPQ (lot 20029), an incredibly scarce Fr. 341 1880 $100 Silver Certificate, graded Very Fine 40 by PMG (lot 20051), and a newly discovered Fr. 1132-I 1918 $500 Federal Reserve Note from Minneapolis in PCGS Banknote About Uncirculated 50 (lot 20067).
The entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction for the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Winter Expo is available for viewing and bidding at Stack’s Bowers website.
The firm is now accepting consignments of U.S. coins and currency for their March 2022 Showcase Auction, while their monthly Collectors Choice Online Auctions offer a convenient venue for the quickest sale at the strongest prices. For more information or to consign, contact the firm at 800-566-2580 or email.