Market Analysis: Examining three coins at $100, $500 and $1,000 at Heritage's Newman IV auction

Market Analysis column from June 9, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 05/27/14
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The fourth auction by Heritage of Eric P. Newman’s enviable holdings focused on Early American and Colonial coins. While the auction realized more than $11 million and was headlined by two rarities that each brought $1.41 million, many more affordable coins could be found within the nearly 700 lots. Here are three coins that sold at reasonable price levels that have great stories to tell. .

Undated George Washington, Double Head cent, Fine Details, Rim Damage, $117.50

Washington pieces are medals, tokens and proposals for circulating coins dated from 1783 to 1795. Many were of English origin and were produced later than the dates indicate. All depict George Washington. 

It’s a popular collecting area and more than a dozen distinct types are available in well-worn condition at around the $100 level.

Such is the case with this undated George Washington cent, popularly called the “Double Head” type since Washington’s profile portrait in military dress with a wreath crowning his head is depicted on both sides. The “Double Head” type has traditionally been grouped with several Washington token types that bear the date 1783 and this date is noted on Newman’s original brown paper envelope that housed the coin. However, it was potentially produced decades later. 

Heritage described the piece in the auction as “a plentiful and popular Washington piece.” This example, colored medium-to-dark brown with corrosion, rim bruises and a tinge of red patina, brought $117.50.

1787 Massachusetts half cent, Very Fine 20, $470

Where the aforementioned Washington piece had substantial surface problems — not uncommon to the pieces collected in the Early American copper series — many other coins in Newman’s holdings had gorgeous and smooth surfaces.

Such is the case with this 1787 Massachusetts half cent graded Very Fine 20 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. that sold for $470. Like the Washington piece, it is a popular and plentiful variety. 

Massachusetts struck coins, under the authorization of the Massachusetts General Court, dated 1787 and 1788 only, with only half cents and cents produced. The mint that struck the coins was abandoned in 1789.  

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