US Coins

2021 American Eagle gold variety sells for big bucks

The first five 2021-W American Eagle, Reverse of 2021 quarter-ounce gold $10 coins struck with an unfinished Proof die and offered at public auction realized a combined $44,949.38 in a GreatCollections online sale that closed Oct. 31. Another five examples from the same consignor were being offered individually on the GreatCollections online auction site with a Nov. 7 closing date, while additional coins are offered in sales closing Nov. 14 and Nov. 21.

The highest price realized, including buyer’s fee, from among the first five coins was $15,811.38 for an example graded and encapsulated Mint State 70 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

The coins qualify as a mule error type — where a coin is struck from coin dies not intended to be paired together. Bullion American Eagles should not bear the W Mint mark of the West Point Mint where the coins are struck. Proof and Uncirculated gold American Eagles bear the W Mint mark within the sun’s rays below the date on the obverse.

The errors were struck on bullion planchets during bullion coin production, when an unfinished Proof obverse die was inadvertently employed. Standard Proof strikes exhibit laser frosted raised devices against mirrored fields, not the Uncirculated finish expected of bullion coins.

Sixty-one of the error coins were discovered by numismatist Gerald Medel from Lakeside Coins in San Diego, California, among coins he and fellow numismatist Todd Pollock from BluCC Photos in Sacramento, California, secured from multiple sources; the coins were purchased as bullion issues.

Forty of the 61 coins were yielded from a single tube of coins. The 16 coins consigned to the sales with Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 closing dates are from that discovery tube.

The five coins in the Oct. 31 GreatCollections sale comprised two PCGS MS-70 coins and three PCGS MS-69 coins.

The bidding activity and prices realized for the five coins follow:

  • PCGS, MS-70, 67 bids placed by 22 unique bidders, $15,811.38.
  • PCGS MS-70, 63 bids placed by 22 unique bidders, $13,500.
  • PCGS MS-69, 47 bids placed by 18 unique bidders, $4,387.50.
  • PCGS MS-69, 51 bids placed by 21 unique bidders, $5,737.50.
  • PCGS MS-69, 52 bids placed by 19 unique bidders, $5,512.50.

The Nov. 7 sale offers two PCGS MS-70 errors and three PCGS MS-69 coins. The Nov. 14 sale features six examples — five PCGS MS-69 coins and one PCGS MS-70 coin.

The GreatCollections buyer’s premium is 12.5% of the closing hammer price, but is discounted to 10% if payment is made by check or wire, according to GreatCollections President Ian Russell.

Russell said since the announcement of the discovery of the Unfinished Proof die strikes, he has been contacted by three additional individuals who have located an undisclosed number of the errors.

“This new discovery attracted a lot of interest from collectors and dealers,” Russell said. “It’s definitely the discovery of 2021. We received calls from only three collectors last week who discovered they had the error from bullion they had purchased in the past two months.”

One of those three collectors who contacted Russell consigned to GreatCollections’ Nov. 21 sale three of the nine varieties he has confirmed, offering two PCGS MS-70 coins and one PCGS MS-69 example.

Russell said the collector has not determined what he plans to do with the remaining six error coins he discovered.


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