US Coins

1885 Liberty Head 5-cent piece essentially flawless

Two coins representing different ends of the condition spectrum topped Heritage’s nearly $10 million Nov. 2 to 4 U.S. Coins auction in Dallas. Representing the upper range, the top lot was a 1900 Coronet gold $20 double eagle graded Proof 66+ Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., selling for $156,000.

Their full report, 3D Fluorescence-Based Security Features by 3D Laser Lithography, can be read here.

Not all ‘mule’ coins are actually mule coins”Some ‘mule’ coins may not be mules at all Also this week, although its low price makes counterfeit sales less profitable, the American Eagle silver bullion coin's popularity makes it a target.

Near the bottom of the spectrum was a 1792 Silver Center cent pattern, with its silver plug somewhat crudely replaced with a plug made of iron at some time during its history. The unusual pattern, among the earliest products of the U.S. Mint and graded NGC Very Good Details, Plug Replaced, Repaired, Scratched, sold for a still impressive $78,000.

Here's one of three Liberty Head 5-cent pieces that impressed bidders in Dallas:

The Lot:

1885 Liberty Head 5-cent Piece, Mint State 67

The Price:


The Story:

Leading a choice selection of Liberty Head 5-cent pieces was an 1885 coin graded Mint State 67 by Professional Coin Grading Service. Though the issue has a relatively high mintage of 1,473,300 pieces, that is still the second-lowest mintage in the series (after the 1912-S issue). Additionally, the 1885 Liberty Head 5-cent coin has a relatively low survival rate, so that even problem-free, heavily circulated About Good examples cost around $200.

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In MS-67 the 1885 Liberty Head 5-cent coin is a true rarity, with PCGS just grading three at this level and none finer. Heritage wrote, “Delicate champagne, rose, and powder-blue hues decorate the surfaces. A 10x loupe fails to reveal a single notable flaw, although held at certain angles one can see the remnants of die polishing lines in the fields, indicative of an early die state.” It sold for $43,200, falling short of Heritage’s prediction that it might break the price record for the issue, set in 2006 when a different example in this grade brought $74,750 at American Numismatic Rarities’s auction of the Dale Friend Collection.

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