Heritage's June Long Beach auction: Not all rare coins are in top grades and top price brackets

Market Analysis Column from June 30, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 06/17/14
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Heritage Auctions’ June 4 to 8 auctions held during the Long Beach Expo brought more than $16 million. 

As is often the case with these major auctions, a gold double eagle led the bidding. An 1854-O Coronet $20 double eagle graded AU-55 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. brought $381,875. Heritage’s roster lists 21 known examples and this one is among the finest known. 

In an auction that offers more than 6,000 lots, many other scarce coins are offered that, while not the finest known, still provide solid values for buyers.

1892-O Barber, Micro O half dollar, Good 4, $3,525

Mint marks were punched individually into the dies used to strike coins at the U.S. Mint during the late 19th century. The “Micro O” on this 1892-O Barber half dollar is the result of a New Orleans Mint mark punch for a quarter dollar being used, in place of the larger half dollar Mint mark punch that was supposed to be used on half dollar dies. 

Heritage estimates that fewer than 100 pieces are known and cites Professional Coin Grading Service and NGC as grading just 66 examples in all grades. 

This variety has gained popularity in the past two decades, in large part because the distinction is easy to see without magnification. Its recognition has grown to the point that Heritage writes, “This variety is essential for the completion of a Barber half collection.”

Graded Good 4 by PCGS, it sold for $3,525. Another example in the same auction graded Good 6 by PCGS realized $4,406.25.

1804 Draped Bust quarter dollar, Poor 1, $881.25

When a coin is graded Poor 1, you know that it has some stories to share. This 1804 Draped Bust quarter dollar represents an unusual example in that the date is full, even though almost everything else — including virtually the entire reverse — is gone. It’s also unusual in that it doesn’t have major problems beyond a lot of wear.

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