US Coins

Market Analysis: A harsh cleaning offers opportunity

Silas Stanley Roberts collected at a time when “finding a superior example was often less important than filling that hole” in an album, as the Stack’s Bowers Galleries June catalog points out.

“He is remembered by surviving members as something of trickster — pulling things out from behind his grandchildren’s ear and slipping them some cash saying ‘do you suppose you could use this.’ ”

Alongside his wonderfully preserved and pricey key dates were some more-accessible pieces, like a 1919-S Walking Liberty half dollar graded Uncirculated Details, Harshly Cleaned by Professional Coin Grading Service that sold for $1,980.

Stack’s Bowers wrote, “This more affordable example represents a significant find for the budget minded Walking Liberty half dollar enthusiast,” observing plenty of luster alongside “wisps of iridescent copper-apricot drift across both sides.” The surfaces show concentrations of hairlines, somewhat obstructing the original luster, leading to the PCGS qualifier that the service uses for coins that show evidence of severe and abrasive cleaning.

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