I bought a framed, two-piece set of the 1892 Liberty Head Columbian
Exposition commemorative so-called dollars at an antique auction.
The frame has a wax seal on the back that reads “Artifacts
Limited.” I have looked online and cannot find a two-piece set of
these so-called dollars that are framed.
I was thinking about sending them out to be graded or is it better
to leave them in the original frame with the wax seal? Could you help
me determine their value?
While the decision to remove the medals from the frame is entirely
up to Mr. Burch, some factors may guide him in making that decision.
To be certain that the medals are authentic, they should be
examined, graded and encapsulated by a reputable third-party grading
service. Before spending the time and money to do so, however, it is a
good idea to estimate their condition, composition and overall
desirability to determine if their value matches the cost of having
From the photos Mr. Burch submitted to “Readers Ask” (not
illustrated) it appears that the two medals are similar to the piece
cataloged as HK-222 in So-Called Dollars by Harold E. Hibler
and Charles V. Kappen.
The HK-222 so-called dollar medal is composed of aluminum and was
struck in both Proof and Uncirculated finishes. Mr. Burch’s pieces
appear to have a Proof-like finish and may be Uncirculated.
As for the potential value of such pieces, auction results are a
good resource. On the high end, an HK-222 so-called dollar, graded
Proof 66 Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Grading Corp., sold in a Dec. 11,
2011, Heritage Auction Galleries sale for $1,035.
An NGC “Details, Uncirculated” HK-222 so-called dollar was sold by
Heritage for $149.50 on April 22 of this year.
Whether the pieces have a potential value of hundreds of dollars
or even more, the first step to establishing their approximate value
is having them authenticated.
If Mr. Burch does wish to have the his pieces authenticated and
encapsulated, it is advised that he contact a grading service
beforehand for advice regarding removing the pieces from the frame and
the proper packaging for shipment to the grading service.
The owner may also wish to consult with Numismatic Conservation
Services, which can conserve (remove the medals from the frame and if
needed, remove any residue from the medals or address other problems)
as well as authenticate the pieces.
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
returned unexamined. Please address all Readers Ask inquiries to email@example.com or call
800-673-8311, Ext. 274.