US Coins

Early and late gold coins in demand in Legend auction

Quality continues to rule the rare coin market as a Chapman Type Proof 67 1921 Morgan dollar topped bidding Nov. 15 at Legend Rare Coin Auctions’s Regency Auction 29 in San Antonio, Texas, bringing $229,125. 

Legend said post-sale that the auction, held in conjunction with the Professional Coin Grading Service Member’s Only Show, was “a great success given the choppiness of the market,” adding, “Overall, the coin market is really two tier. Anything less than 100% and it simply will not bring a full price.” Founder Laura Sperber commented, “I was sweating out as to what direction this sale was going take. It wasn’t until the very last minute that collectors began appearing and really putting in strong numbers on the better coins. Right now it is all about quality.” 

December 2018 Coin WorldInside Coin World: Celebrating Christmas numismatically: The December issue of Coin World features several features with a Christmas theme and a look at paper money depicting people you might not recognize.


Early gold with eye appeal

A 1795 Capped Bust, Small Eagle gold $5 half eagle graded PCGS Mint State 62 with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker flew past its $120,000 to $130,000 estimate on its way to a final price of $176,250. Legend was enthusiastic about the potential of this coin, placing it on its catalog cover and writing, “If all 1795 $5 looked like this, they’d be $250,000 coins,” adding, “We wonder if it had been sent to PCGS on a bad day.” 

The issue enjoys broad popularity since it is the first U.S. gold coin issued for circulation, and with 12 different die varieties — this one is listed as BD-3 in Early U.S. Gold Coin Varieties by John W. Dannreuther and Harry W. Bass, Jr. — there is room for specialists to collect the issue by die variety. 

Another high-end early gold half eagle was an 1811 Capped Draped Bust $5 coin of the BD-2 variety graded PCGS MS-64 with a green CAC sticker that sold for $52,875 against a $45,000 to $50,000 estimate. 

Legend observed clean surfaces with unusually strong luster, noting, “Both sides have unquestionable and totally original ‘skin’ colors of deep yellow gold/orange gold (by the date) and faint greenish gold on the reverse.” The reference to the original surfaces help distinguish the subject coin from examples that have been dipped or otherwise impaired, which affects the eye appeal and often lends a dull, uniform surface. 

Two types of digits for the numeral 5 conveying the denomination on the reverse were employed at the Philadelphia Mint in 1811: a Tall 5 and a Small 5. The offered coin is of the more common Small 5 variety. Collectors in the 19th century were generally unconcerned with varieties, but by the early 20th century collectors began to distinguish between the two numeral types. 

Other highlights in Legend’s auction included an 1848 Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle with the famed CAL. reverse, one of 1,389 quarter eagles with a stamp in the reverse field above the eagle’s head celebrating the discovery of gold in California. The PCGS MS-62+ example of what some consider as the first U.S. commemorative coin sold for $135,125 on an estimate of $130,000 to $140,000. 

Also impressive was a Proof 67 1914 Indian Head half eagle graded by PCGS with a green CAC sticker that realized $108,687.50 while another Matte Proof Indian Head gold — this one of the $2.50 quarter eagle denomination — graded Proof 65 with a green CAC sticker sold for $88,125. 

Legend’s next sale is planned for Beverly Hills prior to the Long Beach Expo on Jan. 27, 2019. 

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