Offered as lot 6339 in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official ANA Auction was a landmark rarity in the California Small Denomination gold series. One of perhaps just three known, the 1854 BG-103 octagonal 25 cents is one of the rarest and most desirable coins in the fabulous Oregon Collection, a featured cabinet in the August sale. When it crossed the block on Thursday, August 19, it brought $90,000, nearly five times the previous record price for this exceedingly rare variety.
This variety was produced by Frontier, Deviercy & Co. and combines a late state of the BG-102 obverse (stars crumbling) with a reverse that features the dramatic DOLLA blunder, the letter D also prominently repunched. Just three specimens were listed in Bob Leonard’s census published in the 2003 edition of the standard reference California Pioneer Fractional Gold by Breen and Gillio, with one possibly a duplicate, suggesting that perhaps only two examples were known. The possible duplicates were certified MS-64 and MS-63 by PCGS at that time but, interestingly, the MS-64 is no longer listed on the PCGS Population Report (NGC lists only a single example of this variety, an MS-62). The Kenneth W. Lee-Jay Roe specimen was certified AU-58 by PCGS as of our September 2003 sale of the Jay Roe Collection. That coin is distinct from the present example. Again of interest is the fact that PCGS no longer reports an AU-58 for this variety. With three grading events combined at MS-62 in PCGS and NGC, the Jay Roe specimen has likely been upgraded to that level, where it joins the present example for at least two confirmed coins in this grade. With the PCGS MS-63 tentatively assigned to the Census #1 and/or #2 coins in the Leonard listing, we suggested in our August 2021 cataloging an estimate of three coins extant for the BG-103 variety.
The incredible price of $90,000 achieved by this tiny yet important coin emphasizes its rarity and desirability and highlights the strong numismatic market that powered the Stack’s Bowers Galleries August 2021 sale to a total of over $50 million sold. For complete prices realized visit StacksBowers.com.
To take advantage of the current market and Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ ability to bring top prices across all categories of numismatics, contact us at 800-458-4646 or by email at Consign@StacksBowers.com. We are currently accepting consignments for our November 2021 showcase auction of United States coins and currency, our January 2022 N.Y.I.N.C. auction of ancient coins and world coins and paper money, and our monthly Collectors Choice Online auctions that feature all areas of numismatics.