Kutasi had top set of Indian $10 gold coins By Greg Reynolds
John Kutasi had the number one finest set of Indian $10 gold
coins, "Circulation Strikes (1907-1933)" in the
registry of the Professional Coin Grading Service. This set,
and other gold coin coins from Kutasi's collection, all PCGS
certified, were auctioned at the mammoth FUN auction extravaganza
in Orlando, which totaled around $75 million.
Kutasi's collection alone realized $7.79 million.
The topic here is Kutasi's set of Indian eagles, though the
collection included Saint Gaudens $20 gold coins as well.
The rarest Indian $10 coin is the 1933. Kutasi had one of
only eight that have been PCGS graded MS-65, pictured at left.
Though PCGS has never graded one MS-66, one of the early PCGS
MS-65s, the Kruthoffer example, was later graded MS-66 by
the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. It is the only one so certified.
The Kruthoffer piece was auctioned in October 2004 for $718,750
and is clearly finer than the Kutasi 1933, and could be the
The Dannreuther-Garrett compilation, 1994-2004 edition, lists
eleven auction appearances of 1933 eagles. After the $718,750
Kruthoffer piece, the next highest auction price is for the
Richmond piece, NGC MS-64, that DLRC sold for $276,000 in
July 2004. In November 2005, the Philip Morse 1933 eagle,
also PCGS MS-65, sold for $517,500.
Though I was unable to attend the Morse sale, I viewed that
coin at an earlier time. I tentatively recollect that the
Kutasi 1933 is of higher quality than the Morse example. The
$546,250 price for the Kutasi piece is about right.
The PCGS population of eight 65s probably only includes six
different coins and Kutasi's 1933 is certainly better than
most of them. It is fair to assume that it ranks in the top
five, maybe third.
PCGS officials concluded that the Smithsonian's 1933, if
submitted, would be likely to grade MS-65. Likewise, PCGS
founders attended the auction of the Thaine Price collection
in 1998, and have concluded that the Price 1933 also would
be likely to grade MS-65. Are they sure that it is not one
of the eight that have already been PCGS graded MS-65?
The 1933 eagle, PCGS MS-65, also sold privately in 2004 is
a solid 65. Is it equal to Kutasi's? It has cooler colors,
but it also has a few more contact marks.
More research needs to be done to determine a roster and
condition census for 1933 eagles. I suspect that the population
reports include considerable duplication. Auction catalogs
do not have that much information about them. There is not
even much of a consensus regarding the total number that are
The second rarest Indian $10 is believed to be the 1907 Rolled
Rim. PCGS refers to it, incorrectly, as a "Rolled Edge."
Kutasi's example, pictured at right, grades MS-67, one of
three so graded by PCGS. Further, it is estimated by PCGS
that the Smithsonian also has a MS-67 example. Likewise, it
is so estimated Thaine Price possessed a MS-66 Rolled Rim
At pcgs.com, Price's set is listed as the second all-time
finest set of Indian $10 gold coins. W. T. Michaels had the
third all-time finest.
Michaels' 1907 Rolled Rim is NGC graded MS-67. PCGS officials
estimate that it deserves a PCGS grade of just MS-66. It realized
$184,000 at the auction of the Michaels collection in January
2004. Also, an NGC MS-67 example was auctioned by B&M
in October 2004 for $270,250.
Dr. Steven Duckor, holder of the fourth all-time finest set,
has a PCGS MS-66 example. Who then has the other PCGS MS-67s?
Do they have complete sets?
While researcher Walter Breen and others determined that
just forty-two 1907 Rolled Rim eagles left the mint, PCGS
and NGC list a total of sixty-nine. Could there be that many
resubmissions or could more than forty-two have left the Mint?
Perhaps a combination of both factors account for the discrepancy?
The Kutasi Rolled Rim eagle sold for $402,500. As far as I
know, this price is a record for a 1907 Rolled Rim eagle.
Another telephone bidder bought a group of Kutasi's eagles:
1908-D with motto, MS-66, $48,875; 1911-D, MS-65, $195,500;
1913, MS-66, $19,550; 1914, MS-66, $32,200. All prices realized
incorporate the 15% buyer's fee.
The Kutasi 1914-S is the only one to be PCGS graded MS-66,
and PCGS has never graded one higher. It was hammered at $161,000.
The leading bidder for Kutasi's eagles was a cheerful man
who is comfortable with the idea of being mentioned in my
articles. His name is Jim O'Neal. He is an enthusiastic collector
who seemed to be having a great time at the auction. He has
a long term interest in numismatics, and was formerly chairman
of Collectors Universe, the parent of PCGS.
Kutasi's 1908-D No Motto, MS-66, is an amazingly brilliant
example of this date. These usually have a mellow appearance,
or a dusty tone. Kutasi's 1908-D NM is super brilliant and
richly lustrous. The nearly flawless reverse radiates. I wish
I could fully describe it. Though it is not one of the rarest
Indian Head $10 gold coins, O'Neal looked happy when he got
it for $115,000, a price that would only seem ridiculous to
people who have not seen the coin.
The Kutasi 1910-S, MS-66, is one of the top three. O'Neal
took it for $138,000. The 1913-S, MS-66, opened above $200,000
and eventually sold to O'Neal for $287,500. This is a terrific
coin, great looking, very sharply struck, with neat orange
and blue tones. It has some cool features that cannot be easily
summarized. Before I read the catalog description, I graded
it 67. The cataloger reveals that it was NGC graded MS-67
in the past, and was sold privately to Kutasi for $200,000
in April 2005.
Moments later, O'Neal bought another stunning, possibly undergraded
coin, the Kutasi 1915, MS-66, for $29,900 and the very next
lot, 1915-S, MS-65, for $74,750. Finding a gem 1915-S is extremely
difficult, and this same coin was in the Thaine Price and
W. T. Michaels collections before Kutasi acquired it.
The Kutasi 1920-S, MS-66, was also previously in the Michaels
collection, and now O'Neal has it. It is a cool coin with
a mix of rose, blue and green tones. It realized $402,500,
undoubtedly a record for a '20-S eagle. This same coin was
auctioned in January 2004, for $241,500. Another PCGS MS-65
example in May 2004 sold for $186,875. Has the one that PCGS
graded MS-67 ever been auctioned?
The big question is whether anyone will ever assemble a better
set of Indian $10 gold coins. Maybe Kutasi's achievement will
never be surpassed. Either way, several collectors enjoyed
adding Kutasi's coins to their sets, and many others enjoyed