US Coins

MS-66 1912-S Liberty Head 5-cent coin realizes $3,600

Two coins representing different ends of the condition spectrum topped Heritage’s nearly $10 million Nov. 2 to 4 U.S. Coins auction in Dallas. Representing the upper range, the top lot was a 1900 Coronet gold $20 double eagle graded Proof 66+ Ultra Cameo by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., selling for $156,000. Near the bottom of the spectrum was a 1792 Silver Center cent pattern, with its silver plug somewhat crudely replaced with a plug made of iron at some time during its history. The unusual pattern, among the earliest products of the U.S. Mint and graded NGC Very Good Details, Plug Replaced, Repaired, Scratched, sold for a still impressive $78,000. 

Here is one of three Liberty Head 5-cent pieces that impressed bidders in Dallas:

The Lot:

1912-S Liberty Head 5-cent piece

The Price:

$3,600

The Story:

The 1912-S Liberty Head 5-cent coin got some bad publicity last year when several original Mint State rolls entered the market, and populations at PCGS shot up, seemingly overnight. When it was suggested that grading services were artificially increasing populations by overgrading, PCGS President Don Willis wrote, “populations rarely go down. There are always hidden collections, accumulations or hoards that come out,” before explaining that in “2016 PCGS handled at least 2 fresh rolls of gem 1912-S 5c. These rolls were handled by some of the most knowledgeable dealers in the business.”

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The issue has a series low mintage of 238,000, and 1912 was the only year that saw production of the coin at the San Francisco and Denver Mints.


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The offered coin is one of just 36 graded MS-66 by PCGS, who has graded only two MS-66+ and none finer. Many of the 1912-S “V nickels” are relatively weakly struck and this one — while not fully defined — is stronger than most. It sold for $3,600.

 


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