US Coins

Market Analysis: Colorful gold coin in CNG auction, and it's not toned

Gold coins do not lend themselves to colorful toning as silver coins do, nor are they a broad spectrum of red to brown as seen on copper coins. The color found on nickel-alloy coins, which can have golden and pastel toning, is more exciting than the color typically found on gold coins, which is generally constant, though the 10 percent copper in most U.S. gold coins lends itself to occasional red colors and copper spots. 

Someone dedicated lots of effort to making a 1908 Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle more colorful with applications of enamel creating a rainbow of feathers on the Native American’s headdress. Classical Numismatic Group presented this example, which it graded Very Fine, enameled, at its recent Auction 111 on May 29. It realized $540. 

Considering that examples of the date formerly in jewelry sell for as little as $250, the price recognized what CNG called “High quality enameling.” It leads one to wonder what designer Bela Lyon Pratt would have thought of someone’s attempts to improve on his design, the design also used on gold $5 half eagles of the period.

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