'Plugged, whizzed and damaged' 1796 Draped Bust quarter an accessible key issue coin: Market Analysis

Portion of Market Analysis column from Sept. 29, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 09/16/14
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The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Sept. 29 issue.

An oft-repeated adage in collecting is to “buy the best coin you can afford.” To many, this modus operandi excludes problem coins. 

Among the most stigmatized problem coins in the marketplace are coins that have been holed and subsequently plugged. 

But a collector who is willing to overlook the flaws of a problem coin can get a coin with substantially more detail for the same amount of money. 

Alternately, one can buy a rarity that he or she otherwise could not afford.

Coin World is profiling three holed and plugged coins sold at Heritage’s recent Long Beach Expo auctions, Sept. 4 to 6. Here’s one:

The coin: 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar, Fair Details, Holed and Plugged

The price: $2,585

The story: Holed coins can provide collectors a rare chance to buy a key issue that they perhaps could not otherwise afford. 

The 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar is a one-year type, and demand on existing examples from type collectors and early quarter dollar specialists is unyielding.

This example certified Genuine by PCGS is ungraded, but Heritage puts the details at Fair. It has been plugged, whizzed and damaged. The plug is large and is prominently visible at the 12 o’clock position relative to the obverse. 

It has some good qualities in that the upper half of the date is clear and there is solid detail remaining in the portrait. The surfaces are described as “stone-grey” and are evenly textured from the whizzing.

Whizzing is a process where a rotary wire brush is used to clean a coin. This is often used to simulate uniform luster to make lightly circulated coins appear uncirculated and the process can also be used on repaired, well-circulated coins to completely retexture surfaces.

Still, to find an example of this very tough issue below $3,000 is unusual, and this one sold for $2,585, making it one of the most affordable examples of the type to come to auction in recent years. 

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Sept. 29 Market Analysis: 

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