US Coins

1883 Coronet eagle available at $5,287.50 due to impairment

A Proof 1883 Coronet $10 eagle with an Altered Surfaces designation certified by PCGS brought $5,287.50 at Heritage’s Oct. 9 Professional Numismatists Guild Invitational auction in New York City.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Dec. 29 issue.

Proof gold coins from the mid-to-late 19th century through the early 20th century have long been coveted by collectors and have always been expensive. Someone looking at an entry-level example should be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for a decent example.

As a general rule, larger denominations are more expensive and eye appeal is especially important for these Proof coins that have surfaces that are highly unforgiving toward imperfections. In recent years, collectors have warmed to the more exotic Matte Finish Proofs of the early 20th century.

Here is one of three classic Proof gold coins that Coin World is analyzing this week:

The coin: 1883 Coronet $10 eagle, Proof, Altered Surfaces

The price: $5,287.50

The story: Collectors looking for a Proof example of a $10 eagle or $20 double eagle for less than $10,000 will have to look to an impaired coin that has a problem.

This 1883 $10 Coronet eagle is graded as Proof, Uncirculated Details, Altered Surfaces by Professional Coin Grading Service

The Uncirculated Details description means that the Proof coin has no wear. 

Heritage notes that despite the unoriginal surfaces that resulted in the designation, “the effects [of the alteration] are not immediately obvious to the unaided eye,” and adds that there is moderate cameo contrast between the fields and devices. 

PCGS notes that Altered Surfaces can be broadly applied and “covers anything added to the surface of the coin to either ’improve’ its appearance or to cover marks” including coatings like lacquer, artificial haze, or puttying to fill in marks, scratches or other defects. 

The coin sold for $5,287.50 at an Oct. 9 Heritage auction, far less than an unimpaired example would bring. 

Read the rest of Steve Roach's "Under $10,000 Challenge" Market Analysis:

Toned 1898 Coronet quarter eagle comes in at $8,812.50

Matte Proof 1913 Indian Head gold quarter eagle brings $4,993.75

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