US Coins

Morgan dollar sells for double retail value due to holder

Graded PCGS MS-62 and stickered by CAC, this Tail Bar variety of 1890-CC Morgan dollar realized more than double its retail value Jan. 11 because of its holder.

Images courtesy of GreatCollections.

A Tail Bar variety of 1890-CC Morgan dollar housed in a  Professional Coin Grading Service green Regency holder sold Jan. 11 in a GreatCollections Coin Auctions online sale for more than double the coin's retail value alone, mainly because of the PCGS holder.

The Mint State 62 coin, also stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp., with the 10 percent buyer's premium added to the closing hammer price, realized $5,225.

The PCGS Regency holder, measuring 5 inches high by 3 inches at its widest point, was introduced by PCGS in 1992 as a means for collectors to recognize special coins in their collections. The plastic holder was offered as a PCGS grading service option from 1992 through 1995.

The cost for the service was $30 plus $20 for the special holder and custom label description. The two-line inscription for the label was limited to 44 characters and spaces.

Ian Russell, founder and president of GreatCollections, said the final bid in the Jan. 11 auction was premised on the rarity of the holder.

"It's the holder. Supposedly 700 were produced," Russell said. "About half were Israeli coins for one collector. The rest were special U.S. coins. This had the tail bar variety. I think as a normal coin, it's worth about $2,000. The holder and certificate is the reason why it sold for over $5,000."

John Roberts, Morgan and Peace dollar specialist and variety attributer for ANACS, said the price paid for the Carson City Mint coin is "at least double retail for the variety in this grade. All about a rare holder."

The Tail Bar variety is attributed as VAM-4 in Leroy C. Van Allen and A. George Mallis' reference, Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars.

The variety takes its name from a wide die scratch, or “bar,” below the fletchings of the arrows near the eagle’s tail.

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