Texas Rangers Owner Bob R. Simpson Selling Two Rare Gold Coins – Barron’s

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$20 1865 Judd-452

Courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions

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Bob R. Simpson, an oilman and co-chairman of the Texas Rangers baseball team, is offering two rare gold coins from his impressive numismatic collection for sale.

A US$20 1865 Judd-452 is now available for private sale for US$5.5 million through Legend Numismatics, a New Jersey-based numismatic firm. A US$10 1863 Judd-349 gold coin will be publicly auctioned by the firm’s auction arm, Legend Rare Coin Auctions, on April 28 in Schaumburg, Ill., which carries a presale estimate of US$1.25 million. 

Mr. Simpson, 73, was the founder and chairman of XTO Energy, which was sold to ExxonMobil in 2009 for US$41 billion. The following year, he and another Texas oil magnate, Ray Davis, led a cohort of investors in the US$593 million purchase of the Rangers.

He acquired both coins about a decade ago for undisclosed amounts through private deals, according to Legend Rare Coin Auctions. Simpson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The obverse of the US$20 1865 J-452 features the head of Liberty facing left and wearing a beaded coronet and surrounded by 13 stars. On the reverse side, it has an eagle in double die, producing some unevenness of the inscription of “In God We Trust.” 

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$10 1863 J-349

Courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions

A double die coin is produced when the coin die is not properly manufactured, which was not struck for commercial use until 1866 and those struck in gold “are often the rarest and most coveted,” says Laura Sperber, owner of Legend Numismatics and founding partner of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

“Many of them are unique and impounded either in institutional museum collections, or in advanced collections that rarely ever make it onto the market,” she says.

The coin has a distinguished provenance and is believed to be one of the only two examples known to exist, with the other one being held in the Mint Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, the auction house said.

The US$10 1863 J-349 gold coin is one of a kind. It previously belonged to prominent private collections and was once donated to Johns Hopkins University, according to Legend Rare Coin Auctions. 

Simpson sold part of his rare coin collection through Texas-based Heritage Auctions in 2020 for US$14.6 million. During that sale, a 1894-S Barber dime, one of nine known examples, fetched US$1.5 million.