US Coins

Why a coin that can top $30K sold for less than $9K

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:

1930-S Indian Head $10 eagle, NGC, About Uncirculated Details, Polished

The Price:


The Story:

While cleaning can have a gray area as to what is market acceptable and what isn’t, a polished coin is much easier to spot and define. At Stack’s Bowers’ 2016 Summer ANA auction, this 1930-S Indian Head $10 eagle graded AU Details, Polished, by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., had the fully unnatural luster and glossiness that one would expect from a heavily polished coin. It represented the ultimate entry level opportunity for a buyer to purchase a coin that is generally priced well into the five-figure range.

Indian Head $10 eagle

Indian Head $10 eagle: The $20 gold double eagle designed by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful coins ever struck by the U.S. Mint. Yet another Saint-Gaudens creation, the Indian Head $10 gold eagle, is somewhat overlooked in comparison. How much are Indian Head $10 eagles worth?

It too is very scarce, from a mintage of 96,000 coins, of which most were melted. Examples are usually found in Mint State grades and only a few hundred exist today. The $8,812.50 this piece realized represented another potential bargain for the buyer, since one graded AU-53 by Processional Coin Grading Service sold for $30,550 at a 2014 auction.

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Let's Analyze More Problem Coins:

1850 Mormon gold $5 issueEven with solder showing from previous mounting, this coin topped $18,000: Problem coins like this one can provide an opportunity because they allow a collector to own a rarity that he or she may not otherwise afford.

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