1865-S Coronet gold $20 double eagle that sold for $11,162.50 "the one that got away": ANA auctions analysis

Portion of Market Analysis column from Sept. 8, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 08/26/14
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The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Sept. 8 issue.

Breaking down the massive series of auctions by Heritage and Stack’s Bowers at the recent American Numismatic Association convention is a massive undertaking. This week, gold coin specialist Doug Winter helps by sharing his notes on three coins that he viewed and bid on in the auctions. 

Doug’s most notable purchase was an 1861 Coronet, Paquet Reverse gold $20 double eagle that brought $1.645 million at Heritage’s Aug. 7, 2014, auction. But of course not all of his bids were for seven-figure rarities.

RELATED: More than $50 million in U.S. coins sold during Heritage, Stack's Bowers auctions at ANA convention

He explained his process for evaluating major auctions, which he tries to do before a show starts. “For me this means the following: my special coin lamp, music played loud over headphones, no distractions and plenty of time to take notes on the coins I’m most interested in,” he said. “I can’t do this at a coin show as, by then, my nerves are frazzled and I can’t properly concentrate. And when I don’t pay full attention, I make mistakes. In my level of dealing, a small mistake can equate to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, so I want to be cautious, careful and critical.”

Here’s an analysis of one of the three coins: 

The one that got away

This 1865-S Coronet $20 gold double eagle in an NGC Uncirculated Details, Improperly Cleaned holder that sold for $11,162.50 was described by Heritage as “a lustrous and beautiful peach-gold and sea-green example.” 

Coins that have problems like cleaning often carry a stigma in the marketplace and Doug notes that he doesn’t generally buy “problem coins.” However, this piece was enigmatic in that while it was the first and only truly Gem example of this date that Doug had ever seen, it had been lightly cleaned. He said, “Without this cleaning, this was a slam-dunk MS-65 and, as an example with original surfaces in contrast to shipwreck coins, it could easily be worth $50,000++.” 

Doug added, “I will be on the lookout for this coin in the near future and I won’t be shocked if it is in a ‘regular’ MS-65 holder and priced at some crazy number.”

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Sept. 8 Market Analysis: 

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