GreatCollections auctioned a 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar in
Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 70 Deep Cameo for $55,550 on
Sept. 29. That’s an impressive price, no doubt, but it’s also well
below several other recent well-publicized trades.
A key factor may be that the population of “perfect” coins has
increased dramatically in the past year. At just 30,125 pieces, the
mintage of the issue is extraordinarily low for the series. As of Oct.
3, PCGS has recorded just 19 pieces in the “perfect” grade per
population reports posted online at PCGS Coin Facts.
The auction record was set in March when GreatCollections sold
another example for $86,655. The lot description noted that just eight
were certified by PCGS at that grade level and the holder carried a
PCGS “Struck at the West Point Mint” label.
Ian Russell, the firm’s president and founder, said on April 1 that
the winning bidder for the March lot was a collector who was not
seeking to complete a collection of Proof silver American Eagles.
Instead he had waited for years to find a premium example of the
rarest date in the entire Proof American Eagle silver series and was
willing to “pay what it would take.”
Perhaps spurred on by that record price, on Aug. 21, Westminster
Mint’s branch office in Madison, Wis., announced that the firm had
sold an example privately for $90,000. The coin went to “a private
collector seeking to complete his collection of PCGS certified
American Silver Eagles.”
In an accompanying press release, Stephen Pfeil, vice president of
Westminster Mint, said, “To set a new record price so soon after the
previous record shows the current strength of the market for high-end
collector coins and the desirability of this coin.” The press release
noted that it was one of just 17 graded as such by PCGS at that time.
These American Eagles weren’t always so expensive. In August 2011
Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold one graded PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo for $19,550.
Considering that Proof 69 Deep Cameo coins can readily be found at
the $4,000 level and that nearly a dozen new PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo
examples have been certified since March 2013, one can see why buyers
would be hesitant to pay nearly six figures for a modern condition rarity.
Especially one that is appearing to become less rare as time goes