While the top 1 percent of the market for early U.S. coins (Nov. 12
Market Analysis) is strong, a healthy demand is seen for quality coins
in more modest grades.
In Heritage’s recent Dallas American Numismatic Association National
Money Show auction, Oct. 18 to 21, top-quality problem-free early
coins performed exceptionally well.
The 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar is a one-year type and has long
been coveted by collectors. An example graded About Good 3 by
Professional Coin Grading Service featured a bold date and pleasing
even gray color. It realized $7,050 in the Heritage sale.
A one-year type coin doesn’t necessarily have to have a date to make
it into a problem-free PCGS holder, as evidenced by a 1793 Flowing
Hair, Chain cent that was rendered identifiable thanks to a relatively
clear reverse. The Fair 2 example in the Heritage auction sold for
$2,763.60, which is still a strong price for an example described as
“not all that bad.”
One’s mind wanders when seeing these early coins that have endured
years of hard circulation. A Fair 2 1795 Flowing Hair dollar was
endorsed by Certified Acceptance Corp. and was, perhaps, a textbook
example of a coin in this grade. It sold for $1,645, hopefully to a
collector happy to purchase a problem-free example of this generally
expensive early silver issue for less than $2,000.
If one judged the Flowing Hair dollar by only the first sentence of
the description, which stated, “The high points are cream-gray while
the open fields have deep lilac toning,” one would undoubtedly expect
a coin that graded substantially higher.
Collectors looking for a tough, early Carson City Mint Seated
Liberty dollar could find an 1870-CC dollar graded AG-3 by ANACS for
$705. The current market is taking a strong liking to Carson City Mint
coins and this auction offered five 1870-CC Seated Liberty dollars. It
is an unusual opportunity when a collector can purchase this issue for
less than $1,000 without having to deal with a coin that has obvious problems.
Collectors of 20th century coins could purchase a PCGS AG-3 Barber
quarter dollar with a full Good obverse for $2,232.50. While the
reverse showed heavy wear, one imagines that this coin once fit nicely
in a Good or better set, assuming that the reverse was concealed by
the coin being positioned obverse up in an old blue Whitman folder. ■