In a market that goes crazy for rare coins in high grades, auctions
provide many reminders that the price on low-grade rarities keeps
rising as well.
At Heritage’s Sept. 26 Long Beach auction, a 1794 Flowing Hair cent
of the legendary “Starred Reverse” variety graded Very Good Details,
Corroded, Net About Good 3 by ANACS brought $16,450. The cataloger
suggested a sharpness grade of Fine 12 with an Early American Coppers
grade of AG-3. Five years ago, low-grade examples could be found below
the $10,000 level.
But in 2012, a Professional Coin Grading Service Fine 12 example of
the rare variety — distinguished by the presence of 94 tiny stars
between, and sometimes under, the dentils — brought $74,750 at a
Heritage auction. Later that year another example graded Fine Details,
Environmental Damage, by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. sold for $28,200.
Another low-grade rarity at Heritage’s Long Beach auction was an
1892-O Barber, Micro O half dollar. Graded PCGS AG-3 with a green
Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, it brought $3,055.
Popular consensus is that a New Orleans Mint mark punch for a
quarter dollar was used instead of the half dollar punch. The result
is an unusually small O. A piece that was an exact comparable to the
coin just sold brought for $2,530 at a 2012 Heritage sale and that
same example from 2012 was resold for $3,055 earlier this year.
A low mintage of 54,617 makes the 1870-CC Seated Liberty half dollar
a key in the series and Heritage’s Long Beach sale featured one graded
PCGS AG-3 that brought $998.75. It may take some time for another one
priced below $1,000 to come to market.
Holed coins are always sold at heavy discounts, but when holed coins
are repaired with some skill, the visual impact of the hole can be
Such was the case with a 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar graded PCGS
Genuine, AG Details, Plugged. It was not an unpleasant piece, and
while it was repaired in multiple places, it featured a bold date,
strongly outlined devices on the obverse and a reverse that, while
showing extreme wear consistent with the grade, showcased solid
definition on the eagle.
It sold for $3,055 at Heritage’s Sept. 27 Long Beach auction and it
may be a while before another similarly affordable example of this
coveted one-year type crosses the block. ■