On March 31, GreatCollections auctioned a 1995-W American Eagle
silver dollar graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading
Service for an astounding $86,654.70 (inclusive of a 10 percent
For a coin that generally trades at the $3,500 to $4,000 level in
Proof 69 DCAM, and features a relatively large mintage of 30,125
pieces, it’s a mammoth price.
In total, 104 bids were placed in the online auction and three
separate bidders battled above the $50,000 level. Also interesting:
The winning buyer (bidder 21) placed his or her bid on March 29,
several days before the auction closed. One wonders how high that
bidder was willing to go to win the prize.
The 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar is a curious issue in that
its survival rate in this perfect grade is extremely low. Examples are
marred by frequent spots and often show evidence of handling as a
result of improper removal from their original U.S. Mint packaging as
part of a five-coin 10th anniversary American Eagle set.
Although PCGS has graded only eight examples of the 1995-W coin in
Proof 70 Deep Cameo, the firm has graded 543 1995-P issues as Proof 70
It’s not a unique coin, but it is infrequently traded, and as the
brief lot description noted, it has been several years since a perfect
example of this key issue has appeared at auction.
It is another example of how the “quest for the best” can make
these condition rarities increasingly expensive.
At Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ 2011 American Numismatic Association
World’s Fair of Money auction, the firm sold a 1995-W PCGS Proof 70
Deep Cameo example for $19,550. Two other coins graded Proof 70 Ultra
Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. brought $15,275 and $17,037.50 at
Heritage’s Jan. 10 Florida United Numismatists auction.
A primary component of the demand for the GreatCollections coin
likely stemmed in part from collectors battling for the top spot among
PCGS Registry Sets.
Of the 455 sets in the “Silver Eagles, Proof (1986-present)”
category, a dozen sets are tied for the top set with an average grade
of Proof 69.88. The stopper for each set, based on the displayed
information: a Proof 70 DCAM 1995-W. With this coin, one deep-pocketed
collector could get bragging rights to the numerically finest Proof
silver American Eagle set. ■