Market Analysis: Facets of Proof U.S. gold must be understood
- Published: Apr 25, 2020, 9 AM
Collecting Proof United States gold coins is a rarefied area of the hobby, with big prices for nearly all examples. In 1908 the U.S. Mint adopted a matte, or sandblast, finish for Proof gold coins, but contemporary collectors favored the flashier mirrored surfaces of the previous Coronet type.
Some well-heeled collectors at the time could afford to buy full gold Proof sets with all four denominations. Heritage recently auctioned a nine-piece 1908 Proof set, with the gold coins offered individually. Most expensive was the 1908 Saint-Gaudens, With Motto double eagle, graded Proof 66+ by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, a coin from a mintage of just 101, of which perhaps 60 to 70 survive.
Heritage writes, “After striking, the 1908 proofs were heavily sandblasted with a coarse grain of sand that produced a dark olive-gold patina, with none of the reflective fields and field-device contrast of earlier proofs.” The double eagle brought $180,000 on Feb. 20.
A matching 1908 Indian Head $10 eagle in PCGS Proof 65, one of just 116 distributed from a mintage of 500, sold for $58,800, offered in the previous lot.
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