US Coins

2007-W American Eagle coin variety sells for $232,624

The second known example of the pre-production Proof 2007-W American Eagle, Frosted FREEDOM $100 platinum coin mistakenly released by the U.S. Mint realized $232,624.12 in an online GreatCollections sale that closed Nov. 13.

The auction drew 83 bids, according to GreatCollections tracking. Bidding started at $1.

The example was discovered recently by GreatCollections. It was afterward authenticated, graded and encapsulated Proof 70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service. The coin is one of up to 12 examples the U.S. Mint acknowledged striking in 2007 at the West Point Mint.

The coin was produced before the reverse design was modified to polish the FREEDOM inscription to a mirror finish to make the letters easier to read where they appear against  the ribbon draped over the shield. Coins to be offered to the public were intended to bear the mirror polished FREEDOM inscription.

However, during a routine inventory at the U.S. Mint, the “Frosted Freedom” coins were counted with all of the revised versions. After the inventory was complete, staff neglected to remove these early versions from the stock that was eventually shipped to customers, according to Great Collections.

Images of this pre-production version were inadvertently distributed in 2007 to news agencies as the regular issue, and the error was even published in A Guide Book of U.S. Coins.

A probe by Mint officials determined that 12 examples of the American Eagle, Frosted FREEDOM platinum $100 coins were released, now with a known census of two examples outside the Mint; 21 examples each of the Frosted FREEDOM $50 half-ounce coin and $25 quarter-ounce coin were minted. From that output, two examples of the $25 coin are known outside the Mint and one of the $50 coins.

The discovery example of the $100 Frosted FREEDOM coin was identified in January 2011 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and certified Proof 70 Ultra Cameo.

The discovery piece was described by NGC in 2011 as “an obvious die polishing error”; at that time, its true origin was unknown. Graders initially speculated that the reverse die used to produce the Frosted FREEDOM pieces missed the step that would have resulted in the incuse letters of FREEDOM being mirror polished.

GreatCollections auctioned one of the two American Eagle $25 coins, an example certified PCGS Proof 70 deep cameo, on April 27, 2014, and that coin realized $69,300.
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