US Coins

Market Analysis: Poor 1 1915 $2.50 has a bit of luster

A very well-circulated Poor 1 1915 Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagle sold for $600 on Nov. 4, a price that approaches what a solid MS-63 example might bring.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

Bela Lyon Pratt’s incused relief design for his Indian Head $2.50 quarter eagles and $5 half eagles makes grading the series challenging, but the design also allows details — and even a bit of luster — to be evident in even the lowest graded examples.

This Poor 1 1915 quarter eagle realized $600 in Stack’s Bowers Galleries Nov. 4 auction of Bill Fivaz’s “World’s Worst Type Set” collection, a price that approaches what a decent Mint State 63 representative might bring. The coin shows hints of original Mint luster in the recessed areas including the Native American’s neck.

PCGS writes succinctly on the Poor 1 grade: “Identifiable as to type, date and Mint mark” and “Hardly recognizable. May be damaged considerably.”

The introduction of “Low Ball Sets” in the Professional Coin Grading Service Set Registry has brought attention to problem-free, well-worn coins. Currently 2,149 registered sets are in this category.

A PCGS blog entry speculated, “Perhaps coins in grades of Poor 1 are much more desirable because they circulated heavily, and therefore have much more historical significance,” as one reason why these coins have captured the attention of the marketplace.

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