US Coins

David Hall’s colorful toned Morgan dollars sell at auction

Morgan dollars highlighted Legend Rare Coin Auctions’ Regency Auction XI, held Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, Nev. 

The select auction of 352 lots was held in conjunction with the Professional Coin Grading Service Members Only Show at The Venetian hotel

Laura Sperber, a partner in Legend Auctions, characterized the sale as spectacular, writing on her blog: “We are officially the auction firm of gorgeous toned Morgans. No question, between this sale and the Sunnywood/Simspon sale, we created more huge price records then anyone ever! This sale brought results for colored Morgans way beyond our wildest expectations.”

Among the most dramatic coins in the auction were some from David Hall’s collection of toned Morgan dollars. Hall is the founder and CEO of Collector’s Universe, parent company to PCGS, and the offering represented his lifelong collection of Morgan dollars. 

The catalog added that as a top buyer of rare coins for decades, “His resources and access are virtually unequaled, and his inner collector always emerged whenever he would see a gorgeously toned Morgan. If the color and quality were there, he paid the price, and these are anything but marginally toned coins.” 

Legend graded each coin’s color on a scale of one to 10. 

A “10” was lot 153, an 1880-S Morgan dollar graded PCGS Mint State 65, with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade, that sold for an astounding $10,868.75, flying past the estimate of $1,500 to $1,750. The coin was described as “Incredibly high-end quality and intense, electric gem bag toning!” 

For comparison, lot 152, another PCGS MS-65 CAC 1880-S dollar, was rated “9” and sold for $499.38 against an estimate of $1,000 to $1,100. It had toning that surrounded Liberty’s profile, creating an almost cameo type of effect. 

Typical untoned, brilliant PCGS MS-65 CAC 1880-S Morgan dollars sell for $150 to $170, based on recent auction results. 

One of the most gorgeous coins was lot 175, an 1882-S Morgan dollar in PCGS MS-65 CAC that sold for $14,100 against an estimate of $2,500 to $2,750. The coin was rated a 10 and the catalog gushed: “You don’t get much better than this! This high-end gem is truly out of this world and has to be seen to be believed!” The image in the catalog shows a rich blanket of jewel tones on the obverse, with just light toning on the reverse. 

Some of the coins had been purchased by Hall relatively recently, such as lot 183, an 1884-O dollar in PCGS MS-66 CAC that had sold for $2,937.50 at Legend’s October 2014 sale of the Sunnywood Simpson Collection of toned Morgan dollars. With color rated “9” and this time carrying an estimate of $2,250 to $2,500, it sold for $4,112.50.

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