US Coins

Capped Bust half eagle with different '8' punches sells for $13K

An 1804 Capped Bust $5 half eagle graded AU-55 CAC sold for $12,925 at Stack’s Bowers’ Aug. 6 ANA auction.

Image courtesy Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Sept. 8 issue.

Breaking down the massive series of auctions by Heritage and Stack’s Bowers at the recent American Numismatic Association convention is a massive undertaking. This week, gold coin specialist Doug Winter helps by sharing his notes on three coins that he viewed and bid on in the auctions.

Doug’s most notable purchase was an 1861 Coronet, Paquet Reverse gold $20 double eagle that brought $1.645 million at Heritage’s Aug. 7, 2014, auction. But of course not all of his bids were for seven-figure rarities.

RELATED: More than $50 million in U.S. coins sold during Heritage, Stack's Bowers auctions at ANA convention

He explained his process for evaluating major auctions, which he tries to do before a show starts. “For me this means the following: my special coin lamp, music played loud over headphones, no distractions and plenty of time to take notes on the coins I’m most interested in,” he said. “I can’t do this at a coin show as, by then, my nerves are frazzled and I can’t properly concentrate. And when I don’t pay full attention, I make mistakes. In my level of dealing, a small mistake can equate to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, so I want to be cautious, careful and critical.”

Here’s an analysis of one of the three coins: 

Right on the money

This 1804 Capped Bust, Small 8 Over Large 8 $5 half eagle was graded About Uncirculated 55 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker. It brought $12,925 when offered Aug. 6, 2014, as part of Stack’s Bowers’ auction of the Dr. James A. Ferrendelli Collection.

It last sold at a 2011 Heritage auction for $12,650. 

The variety is notable for the obvious use of two different “8” punches in the date. The auction firm provided an estimated mintage for the variety of 7,500 to 12,500 coins with just 100 to 150 surviving today. 

Doug said that while he’s put the kibosh on many other examples of this coin due to quality issues, after examining this coin in person — described by the auctioneer as having “Pleasing orange-gold hues [with] a dash of copper mixed into the patina of both sides” — he knew that this coin would be perfect for a client who had been searching for a great example of this coin for nearly two years. 

Doug adds, “I told him I would gladly bid $10,000 to stock it in my inventory and won it at that bid. The collector texted me about 15 seconds after the lot had closed. When I told him the coin was his, I got back a short but rewarding text saying ‘YESSSS!!!!!!!’ ”

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Sept. 8 Market Analysis: 

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