US Coins

PCGS offers bounties for five numismatic rarities

Professional Coin Grading Service is offering $10,000 bounties on each of five numismatic rarities in hopes of ferreting out examples just for the privilege of authenticating and grading them.

PCGS initially offered the $10,000 reward for one of those coins — the 1964-D Peace dollar — in 2013. That reward is still standing.

Additional individual $10,000 rewards are now being offered for the 1873-S Seated Liberty dollar, 1894-S Barber dime, 1841-O Coronet, No Motto gold $5 half eagle, and the 1849 Templeton Reid $25 pioneer gold piece.

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Similar inducements have had positive results in the past. 

Bowers and Merena Galleries’s $10,000 offer in 2003 for the George O. Walton example of 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin spurred the rediscovery of the coin. It surfaced after more than 40 years in the hands of Walton heirs who in the 1960s were led to believe the piece was counterfeit. The coin was brought by the heirs to the 2003 American Numismatic Association convention where the four other examples were scheduled to be publicly exhibited. Numismatists at the show authenticated the coin after comparing it to the other pieces, and it was placed on exhibit with the other coins when the convention began.

The PCGS Proof 63 coin was sold at public auction in 2013 by Heritage Auctions for $3,172,500.

Each of the five coins for which PCGS is offering individual $10,000 bounties were produced for circulation, but due to various reasons ranging from inexplicably low mintage numbers to legislation, never reached the masses. 

According to PCGS, “To qualify for the reward, PCGS only asks for the opportunity to view in person and grade any of the coins at large. After authentication and grading, the coin, or coins, will be returned and the $10,000 reward tendered for each respective coin.”

PCGS attached the $10,000 reward to the 1964-D Peace dollar in 2013 to coincide with its list of the “Top 100 Modern Coins,” in an attempt to locate an example of the legendary coin.

No examples of the 1964-D Peace dollar nor photographs of one have been publicly seen. Mint officials state all examples were destroyed though rumors persist that a few examples survived. If any pieces do survive in private hands, they are subject to confiscation, according to the Mint. According to U.S. Mint records, 316,076 1964-D Peace silver dollars were struck at the Denver Mint in 1965, before they were classified as trial strikes and melted.

As was the case for the 1964-D Peace dollar, general circulation was thwarted for each of the four other numismatic rarities for which PCGS is offering the rewards.

The following details about the coins are provided by PCGS:

??1873-S Seated Liberty dollar — Although 700 were apparently minted, none has ever surfaced. It is assumed the entire mintage was melted as a result of the Mint Act of Feb. 12, 1873, which abolished the entire denomination in favor of the Trade Dollar. Numismatist Walter Breen reported in his 1988 Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins that one has been reported, but that remains unverified.

??1894-S Barber dime — Although Mint records report that 24 were struck at the San Francisco Mint, only 13 have ever been accounted for, leaving 11 at large. At least one is known to have entered circulation, where it remained for a number of years. 

??1841-O Coronet, No Motto $5 gold half eagle — Despite Mint records reporting 8,350 coined in 1841, current findings indicate that at least 8,300 of those were dated 1840. This leaves 50 possibly dated 1841. Over the years, two have been reported, but further investigation revealed that both of these were false reports — one being an 1841-C half eagle and the other a likely alteration that has since disappeared. 

??1849 Templeton Reid $25 pioneer gold coin — Only one original example of this privately produced coin was ever known, and it was in the U.S. Mint Cabinet Collection until it was stolen in August 1858. It is speculated the thief melted the coin down for bullion, rather than risk transporting the renowned coin. 

“If any of these coins is to surface, it would likely be the member of the ‘Big Three,’ the 1894-S,” Willis said. “There are 13 known, and one was even auctioned in January of this year. As far as the other coins go, we remain hopeful.”

For more information on the coins at large, visit

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