US Coins

Increased interest in AU-58 1891 Coronet double eagle

The About Uncirculated grade encompasses a wide range of coins. At the low end are AU-50 pieces that are just barely better than Extremely Fine, with weak luster and blah overall eye appeal. At the high-end are AU-58 coins that are often much more attractive than their low-end Mint State counterparts. The incentive for collectors to clean or otherwise attempt to improve AU-58 coins with the hope of getting them into an MS-61 or MS-62 holder is great, and collectors are increasingly willing to pay strong prices for high-end AU-58 pieces.

Here's one of three examples from Heritage’s April 4 to 6 auction in Dallas that we profile this week:

The Lot:

1891 Coronet double eagle, PCGS AU-58

The Price: 


The Story:

Among expensive coins, the 1891 Coronet double eagle doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Yet, with a low mintage of just 1,390 coins of which perhaps 100 are known today, it is a true rarity and Mint State examples are particularly coveted (and expensive).

This puts pressure on About Uncirculated representatives, such as this PCGS AU-58 coin that sold for $54,080.55.

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Heritage writes, “Most examples of the issue known today survived by chance rather than via numismatic collections, resulting in the coins showing the abuse of circulation,” explaining, “The present example, a near-Mint coin with sharp motifs and satiny straw-gold luster, is an exception; no heavy abrasions are observed, and only light, scattered hairlines appear beneath a loupe to accompany trivial high-point friction.

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The fields offer a hint of reflectivity when tilted beneath a light.” Prices have slowly increased over time and Heritage offered a comparably graded example in the summer of 2014 for $52,875.

Check back for more of these "close, but no cigar" graded rarities later in the week!


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