US Coins

Looking at Heritage’s Atlanta National Money Show auction

Heritage Auctions’ Feb. 27 to 28 floor auctions held in association with the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Atlanta, along with a separate March 2 online session, brought nearly $15 million total. Here are a few transactions that provide interesting teaching points on our hobby.

Some collectors love tab-toning

The 1936 York County, Maine, Tercentenary commemorative half dollar was one of more than a dozen commemorative coin programs in 1936. It honored the 300th anniversary of the founding of York County, Maine. 

It is an issue that “comes nice” and many surviving examples from the original mintage of 25,015 are preserved in high grades. This example graded Mint State 67+ with both a Numismatic Guaranty Corp. Star for eye appeal and a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker indicating quality within the grade brought just under $1,000 at Heritage’s Feb. 28 National Money Show auction. It has what’s called “tab toning,” which is a result of its original packaging and is considered a sign of originality that is coveted by many collectors.

A repeat performer at auction

In 1943, more than 16 million quarter dollars were struck at the Denver Mint. In circulated and in lower Mint State grades, it is a common issue. But in MS-68 it’s a condition rarity and PCGS has graded just a single example in this grade with none finer. It sold for $11,750 at a Feb. 27 Heritage auction. 

Surprisingly, it has been offered twice recently at auction. On Nov. 3, 2013, it sold for $12,925 and on Jan. 14, 2013, it brought $17,625. 

The stories this coin could tell

It is rather unusual to find an 18th century coin that’s worn down to  what Professional Coin Grading Service identifies as Poor 1 condition without acquiring severe problems along the way. 

This 1799 Flowing Hair dollar has virtually no design left on the reverse. However, the obverse has a strong date and, at $528.75, it represents an entry-level example of the Draped Bust dollar type. 

For reference, another example of a 1799 dollar in About Good 3 brought $763.75 at a 2013 auction, while one of the finest known of the type, graded Mint State 67, sold for $822,500 at Heritage’s Nov. 15, 2013, auction of selections from Eric P. Newman’s collection.

Trading problems for rarity

Sometimes to get an affordable example of a particular issue, one has to accept that a coin may have problems. 

This 1832 Capped Head gold $5 half eagle has unnaturally glossy surfaces from cleaning, and the obverse field has been smoothed near Liberty’s chin. While the rims are mostly obscured by encapsulation, ANACS has also identified filed rims as another problem. 

Although this variety — with 13 stars on the obverse and a Square Base 2 in the date — generally sells for $20,000 and up, the example in the Heritage auction brought $5,287.50 on Feb. 28, 2014, making it an accessible example of a rarity. 

Community Comments