US Coins

Problem coin with solder showing still tops $18,000

Among problem coins, some problems are worse than others.

On the scale of severity, coins obviously used in jewelry, with mounts, and those so heavily polished that little original surface remains are among the most problematic. These problem coins can provide an opportunity because they allow a collector to own a rarity that he or she may not otherwise afford, but they sell at a steep discount to coins without similar impairments.

In this Market Analysis series, we're profiling three expensive gold coins with major problems that were offered at auctions in the past year and provided entry-level examples. 

Here is one of them.

The Lot:

1850 Mormon pioneer gold $5 coin NGC Extremely Fine Details, Mount Removed

The Price:


The Lot: 

Mormon pioneer gold coins dated between 1849 and 1860 are all very scarce and very expensive. They were struck in the home of a Salt Lake City dentist, Dr. William Sharp. In 1849, gold coins in the $2.50, $5, $10 and $20 denominations were struck. It’s not exactly clear why the 1850 Mormon gold $5 coins were minted, but Don Kagin believes the mintage occurred shortly after March 15, 1850.

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The Mormon gold issues had a reputation for being underweight, so they circulated primarily in Utah and if they crossed over to California, they were typically discounted by merchants. This example was formerly mounted and the soldering is evident on the obverse, while the reverse is surprisingly clean. Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has graded it Extremely Fine Details, Mount Removed.

At the August 2016 American Numismatic Association auction, Heritage sold this 1850 $5 coin for $18,800, a relatively strong price considering the visually jarring nature of the remaining solder on the obverse.

Let's Analyze More Problem Coins:

Polished Indian Head gold eagleWhy a coin that can sell for $30,000 becomes a $9,000 opportunity: It represented the ultimate entry level opportunity for a buyer to purchase a coin that is generally priced well into the five-figure range.

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