US Coins

Market Analysis: Conditionally rare 1920-S and 1926-S 5-cent

A 1926-S Indian Head 5-cent piece graded MS-65 sold for $40,800 while 1920-S example in MS-65+ sold for $33,600 at Heritage’s offering of the Brighton Collection Feb. 8.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

The unnamed collector who assembled the Brighton Collection started by putting Indian Head 5-cent pieces in a Whitman album, trading them out for higher-quality certified examples over time.

Leading the consignment was a 1926-S “Buffalo nickel” graded MS-65 by Numismatic Guaranty Co. that realized $40,800. It’s the rarest non-variety issue in the grade and with a modest mintage of 970,000, is a semi-key date in the series. Few were well-struck, and this example was appealing, with Heritage observing, “The surfaces are satiny and smooth to the point of reflectivity in the fields, and iridescent lemon-gold, pink, and ice-blue hues exist. The reverse is noticeably sharper than the obverse,” along with a bold horn on the bison.

A few lots earlier, a 1920-S example of the same denomination graded MS-65+ by PCGS sold for $33,600. It had outstanding eye appeal and little evidence of the striking problems caused by overused dies seen on typical examples. PCGS has graded just five in MS-65+ and has certified only one finer.

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