Market Analysis: Gold coins headline $8.9M Bently auction

Market Analysis column from April 14, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 03/31/14
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This one, graded MS-60 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., in part due to a weak strike and numerous shallow marks, brought $38,187.50.

MS-60 1850-C Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle: $12,925

One area where low Mint State grades are accepted — often due to the absence of any alternatives — is with early southern Branch Mint gold coins. The coins from Dahlonega, Ga., and Charlotte, N.C., are known for being unevenly struck and have low survival rates from generally low mintages (especially when compared to their Philadelphia Mint counterparts). 

Take this 1850-C Coronet $2.50 quarter eagle with an original mintage of 63,591 pieces. It triples in price as one goes from an About Uncirculated 50 grade to a Mint State grade. 

Perhaps a couple dozen exist in Mint State grades. This one, formerly in the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg Jr., is graded NGC MS-60 and characterized by a better strike than usually seen on these crudely produced issues. It sold for $12,925.

Mint State 1875-CC Coronet $20 double eagle: $10,575

Coronet gold $20 double eagles, with their large open fields, coupled with gold’s softness, are prone to marks and abrasions. 

This 1875-CC Coronet $20 double eagle graded NGC MS-60 brought $10,575, a strong price for the grade when recent auction sales are taken into account. For example, a different example, also graded MS-60, sold for $6,900 in a June 2012 Heritage auction.

The flashy example had nice prooflike surfaces and solid luster, but the catalog notes the primary deficiency in plain language, writing, “An unfortunate grouping of abrasions in the left obverse field keep this sparkling Carson City twenty from an even higher grade.”

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