'First Strike' designation gives 1997 American Eagle gold bullion coin a boost at auction: Market Analysis

This week's Market Analysis focuses on the growing modern market of numismatics
By , Coin World
Published : 06/19/15
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The modern segment of the U.S. coin market continues to grow, and a large part of the demand is being driven by third-party grading services including Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. These firms have Registry Set programs that allow collectors to place their coin sets in competition with other collectors and First Strike and Early Release programs that acknowledge coins released by the U.S. Mint during the first 30 days of a coin’s issue. Here are three low population modern issues that recently brought exciting prices in auctions.

The Coin 

1997-W American Eagle $50 gold one-ounce bullion coin, Proof 70 Deep Cameo, First Strike

The Price 

$6,325

The Story 

PCGS began its “First Strike” program in 2005, and today the firm provides the designation for coins released in the first 30 days of the Mint’s issue date for a coin.

While the designation is most typically seen for modern American Eagle bullion coins and commemorative issues, it can also be used on coins that pre-date the First Strike program’s start date, if the coins are submitted in the original unopened shipping box from the U.S. Mint showing a postmark date prior to the specified PCGS cutoff date.

At a May 24 GreatCollections.com auction, one of two certified PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo First Strike 1997-W American Eagle 1-ounce $50 gold bullion coins sold for $6,325. The coin was recently submitted to PCGS in its original sealed shipping box from the U.S. Mint.

For perspective, PCGS has graded 229 other Proof 70 Deep Cameo examples of this issue not designated First Strike, and several of these have sold between $1,700 and $1,800 in recent auctions.

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