Talk about a condition rarity! The 1906-S double eagle is a relatively common date coin in lower Mint State, but it is very scarce in Gem. In our June sale with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to present the only PCGS example certified higher than MS-65 for the date. Graded long ago (and with a green PCGS sticker), its last auction appearance was in our (Bowers and Ruddy’s) October 1982 sale of the U.S. Gold Coin Collection (Louis E. Eliasberg Collection), where it was described as: "Choice Brilliant Uncirculated-65. Very attractive.” In our June 2014 catalog, we will add the following by Senior Numismatist Jeff Ambio: “This is a breathtakingly beautiful piece, a true "monster" coin that stands head and shoulders above all other 1906-S double eagles extant. Graded MS-68 (!) by David Hall and Gordon Wrubel when they bought this coin out of our (Bowers and Ruddy’s) October 1982 sale of the United States Gold Coin Collection, the surfaces provide a glimpse of numismatic perfection in a Liberty double eagle. Both sides are so smooth as to be virtually pristine, and we are hard pressed to even find a single trivial tick or other blemish that could serve as a useful pedigree marker. The luster is intensely vibrant in a blend of satin and softly frosted qualities, and it gains even greater visual impact through the vivid, original, rose-gold patina that blankets both sides. Sharply struck and nothing short of exquisite, this is a "must have" coin for the collector assembling the finest known collection of Liberty double eagles. Remarkable!”
Adding to the stunning overall grade and eye appeal, this coin can positively be traced to essentially the day it was struck! The coin was purchased at face value in March 1906 at the San Francisco Mint by John H. Clapp. In 1942, the Clapp Collection was sold en masse to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. by Stack’s in a transaction that is now numismatic legend. When this coin was sold as lot 1017 in the Eliasberg U.S. Gold Coin Collection in October 1982, Dealers David Hall and Gordon Wrubel purchased it and sold it to our consignor.
From the PCGS CoinFacts website, we quote David Hall in his entirety regarding this marvelous numismatic survivor: “There is one monster 1906-S double eagle and it may not be listed in the PCGS CoinFacts census. It’s the Eliasberg-Clapp coin, sold at the Eliasberg sale in October, 1982. Gordon Wrubel and I bought the coin at that sale for what was a big price at the time, $16,500. We graded the coin MS68! The PCGS Pop Report shows one MS66, with none higher. Is this the Eliasberg coin? Maybe…maybe not.
“Here’s what happened to the coin in 1982. My long term partner Van Simmons sold the coin almost immediately after Gordy and I bought it. It was a very strange transaction. A guy calls us and says he wants to buy some great coins. He shows up at our office with about $100,000 in cash, He bought the 1906-S $20 and some other super coins. We didn’t know the guy, had never seen him before, and we have never seen him or the coin since!”
Well, for all the specialists who have read Mr. Hall’s words and wondered, as he has, the whereabouts of this coin, we can say with certainty, it will be a highlight of the El Dorado Collection, Part II, anchoring our June 2014 official auction of the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. If Liberty Head double eagles are your specialty, be sure to carefully review this, and all of the other wonderful coins in the El Dorado Collection, Part II. Catalogs will be in production shortly, so if you are not currently on our mailing list, be sure to add your name. If you have a specialized collection or individual rarities that you are considering selling, contact your favorite consignment director as we are now accepting consignments for our upcoming official auction of the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money.