Very Fine grade has the widest range of numerical grades in the 1 to
70 Sheldon scale that serves as the basis for grading coins today.
Grades can range from Very Fine 20 to 35, with the next grade being
Extremely Fine 40. It’s a tricky grade in today’s marketplace:
well-circulated, but not entry-point; nicely detailed, but with
virtually no luster. Here are three Very Fine coins that sold at
Heritage’s recent Central States Numismatic Society auction in
1909-O Indian Head Gold $5 half eagle, Very Fine
Indian Head gold $2.50 quarter eagles and $5 half eagles are
considered by many collectors to be the hardest coins to grade since
the incused relief designs don’t show wear in the same way as more
“normal” designs with standard raised relief. Examples of the type are
rarely seen in grades lower than Very Fine.
The 1909-O $5 half eagle is exciting in that it is the only gold
Indian Head piece struck at the New Orleans Mint and 1909 marked the
final year of coin production at that Mint. It also has a very low
mintage of just 34,500 pieces.
This one, graded VF-35 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a
green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the
grade, sold for $7,050. The Mint mark is weak, as is typically seen on
this issue, but is clear enough to be seen with some magnification.
Most known examples show circulation and the coin is infrequently seen
in Mint State. 1909-O Indian Head half eagles in mid-Mint State grades
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