California Gold Rush-era relics from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America were among the top sellers in Heritage’s Jan. 29-Feb. 3 Long Beach Signature Auction, held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo.
Altogether, prices topped $11 million, with after-auction sales continuing through Feb. 6. Of the six top lots, five were gold ingots found in the S.S. Central America shipwreck, highlighted by the very large size 174.04-ounce Harris, Marchand & Co. gold ingot.
This is the sole ingot from the firm’s Marysville office recovered in the shipwreck, and it is distinctive enough to warrant a significant writeup in Q. David Bowers’ A California Gold Rush History. It sold for $528,000.
Additional gold ingots in this auction included a Kellogg & Humbert 97.19- ounce, which brought $204,000; a Blake & Co. 19.30-ounce, $156,000; a Blake & Co. small-sized 14.31-ounce, $144,000; and a Justh & Hunter 50.50-ounce, $121,333.
A pair of Panama-Pacific $50 gold commemoratives, each graded MS64, further represented California highlights, having been minted in San Francisco and commemorating the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The rarer round piece brought a sale price of $114,000, while the iconic octagonal coin sold for $81,000.
Bringing the highest price for coins was the ever-popular 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, this one graded PRF64 Deep Cameo by the Professional Coin Grading Service.
Technically a pattern, this piece has been enthusiastically collected as a regular issue since its manufacture, most likely due to its odd denomination. It exchanged hands for $210,000.
Additional highlights included:
All prices realized reported here include a 20% buyer’s premium.