Collectors continue to gravitate toward top-graded coins for
inclusion in the Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic
Guaranty Corp. Registry Set programs. This demand has placed pressure
on the finest-known grades of otherwise common coins, and the weekly
online auctions from firms like GreatCollections and David Lawrence,
alongside increasingly frequent online auctions by Heritage, Stack’s
Bowers Galleries and Legend Rare Coin Auctions, seek to satisfy
collector demand for “top of the pop” coins.
Exploring the source of a valuable hoard from
the American Gold Rush era reveals almost endless
possibilities. Also in this issue, what is a ‘full
torch’ designation as it relates to coins?
Here is one example of a 20th century half dollar that is the
finest grade certified by PCGS, from GreatCollections’ recent online
auctions of the Centurion Collection.
1970-D Kennedy half dollar, PCGS Mint State 67
The 1970-D Kennedy half dollar was struck only for inclusion in
Uncirculated Coin sets that year with none released for circulation.
If a collector wanted an example, he or she would have to buy a set.
That being the case, one would expect the average representative of
the sizable mintage of 2,150,000 to grade Mint State, and indeed, the
usual certified example grades MS-64 to MS-65. The population thins
substantially in higher grades, with PCGS recording 560 in MS-66, 16
in MS-66+ and only 14 in MS-67.
One of these PCGS MS-67 1970-D Kennedy half dollars sold for
$4,443.75 at a Feb. 4 GreatCollections auction. Surprisingly, just two
additional MS-67 examples have been certified at PCGS in the past four
years. Heritage sold a different example graded PCGS MS-67 in an
August 2014 auction where it was then one of just 12 similarly graded examples.
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It brought $4,112.50 and was reoffered at a January 2017 Heritage
auction, where it realized $3,760. Despite the large mintage, the
1970-D half dollar remains a key issue for registry set collectors.