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Asheville coin dealer recognized after buying 1859 Coronet gold $10 eagle makes front page of Coin World for coin
Sunday, 03 November 2019 13:46

From Staff Reports

Les Stevenson, an Asheville-based coin dealer and collector, recently received worldwide publicity for his purchase of an 1859 Coronet gold $10 eagle, which is certified as the finest-known example by Numismatic Guarantee Corp.

A story about Stevenson’s purchase of the family heirloom rare gold coin and its certification made the front page of Coin World Weekly’s Oct. 21 edition — an honor that, among numismatists, is similar to the esteem accorded to a musician making the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Specifically, Stevenson’s 1859 Coronet gold eagle acquisition was certified as NGC MS-64, and the coin was “one of about 12 survivors from the 16,013 eagles struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1859,” Coin World noted.

The “finest-known 1859 eagle” — as Coin World stated — had been “passed down for generations in a Pennsylvania Dutch family since the coin’s direct acquisition from a local bank....”

Stevenson is the owner-manager of Stevenson Rare Coins & Jewelry at 1 Page Avenue #120 in the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, which notes on its website that “we buy and sell foreign and domestic coins, gold and silver bullion, all types of currency and collecting supplies.”

He opened the shop at the same location is it still occupies today in January 1998 — almost 22 years ago.

Regarding the 1859 eagle, Coin World wrote, “The coin, now graded and encapsulated Mint State 64 by NGC, is the highest-graded example from fewer than 12 Mint State examples known.

“Before the recent certification by NCG, the highest graded 1859 eagle was one certified MS-63 by NGC. Professional Coin Grading Service also has sumbissions recorded in MS-63, but the two services may have graded separate submissions of the same coin,” Coin World quoted Jeff Garrett, owner of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Ky., as saying.

An NGC MS-63 1859 eagle netted $66,000 in a Feb. 22, 2018 sale by Heritage Auctions, Coin World reported.

According to the story, the coin’s owners brought the rare eagle into Stevenson’s shop “in a leather pouch containing 24 U.S. gold coins, all from the 1850s, along with a single commemorative half-dollar.”

Coin World added, “Garrett said he plans to display the MS-64 1859 Coronet eagle at the Whitman Baltimore Expo in November.

“The Philadelphia Mint struck a reported mintage of 16,013 of the 1859 Coronet $10 eagle.”

The family with the coin pouch included two sisters and a brother, all in their 70s, with no offspring among them to whom they could leave the coins, Stevenson said. They originally were from Pennsylvania, but now live in North Carolina, he added.

Stevenson told Coin World that he had the siblings, who wish to remain anonymous, write the following synopsis of the pedigree of the pouched coins:

“The 1859 $10 U.S. gold piece recently graded by NCG MS-64 is from a group of coins handed down in our family over several generations. The 1859 $10 gold coin was saved at the time it was minted. The family goes back to the early 1700s and lived in Berks County, Pa.

“Being Pennsylvania Dutch, things of value, either actual or sentimental, were kept and passed down to the next generation. The house our father grew up in was in his family for over 100 years and it grew in size with each generation.

“So there was plenty of room to keep things. When our grandfather, who was a Lutheran minister and scholar in ancient languages, passed away, the house was old and our father brought what we had room for to our house.

“In going through our father’s safety deposit box when he passed away, we found the coins in a leather pouch. Not having any children to leave the coins to, as would be the tradition, Les Stevenson, the owner of Stevenson Rare Coins, has purchased the coins and pouch they were found in from us; we hope they find a good home with someone who will appreciate them.”

Meanwhile, Coin World noted, “The pouch held 16 gold dollars, mostly from the 1850s and from the Philadelphia Mint, except for one AU-55 1851-C Coronet gold dollar struck at the Charlotte Mint; four gold $2.50 quarter eagles; one Indian Head gold $3 coin; one gold $5 half eagle; the lone $10 eagle; a single gold $20 double eagle, and a 1924 Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary silver half-dollar.

“The 1854 Indian Head $3 coin was graded and encapsulated NGC MS-65; and the 1851 Coronet double eagle was graded NCG MS-62+.

“Stevenson said the sibling owners of the coins have currently retained the $3 coin and are not selling it at this time,” Coin World reported.



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