Certification and encapsulation services routinely list the origins
of coins from famous hoards on the encapsulation or “slab.”
Morgan and Peace silver dollars from one particular hoard in the
original holders usually command premiums: the Redfield/Paramount
coins. These coins came from the 407,000-coin stash found behind a
false wall in the basement of Reno, Nev., investor LaVere Redfield.
The hoard was acquired for $7.3 million in 1976 by Steve Markoff
of A-Mark Coin Corp. Markoff chose Paramount International Coin Corp.
as a primary distributor of coins from the hoard.
Paramount slabbed the coins in attractive plastic holders with red
or black inserts in two grades, Mint State 65 and MS-60, the only two
grades used at the time.
A certain allure is felt in acquiring a “Redfield” dollar in a
red-insert Paramount holder. In fact, the marketing format was so
popular that Paramount began putting its own cache of non-Redfield
dollars in similar holders.
So, Paramount dollars are sometimes mistaken for Redfield dollars.
However, holders for coins from the famous hoard are labeled “A Silver
Dollar from the Redfield Collection,” while nonhoard silver dollars
simply list a grade and the name of the company.
Several grading services encapsulate and certify Redfield dollars,
typically removing the coins from Paramount’s holders and listing the
provenance on their own corporate labels. Numismatic Guaranty Corp.
does not crack open the Redfield/Paramount holders but, rather, adds a
label indicating the coin’s origin, adding to the appeal because the
Redfield/Paramount holders have become as coveted by some collectors
as the hoard itself.
“We put NGC band labels on both Redfield and plain Paramount
holders,” says NGC’s Scott Schechter. “Only Redfield coins are
pedigreed. These old holders are popular with collectors,” he adds,
noting the bonus of retaining the provenance of these coins with an
NGC-assigned grade. “They also allow us to preserve some of the
history of our industry because these holders demonstrate the
evolution of grading and encapsulation.”
It is typical for Redfield holdered, NGC-labeled coins to sell for
a premium of $100 or more. Paramount dollars, sans the Redfield
pedigree, also sell for high premiums. The shrewd home hobbyist buys
an MS-65 Redfield or Paramount dollar for the retail price of what the
coin would bring if graded MS-64 by NGC.
Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor
at Iowa State University and also a member of the Citizens Coinage