US Coins

Market Analysis: Toned coins surprise in Legend Las Vegas auction

While a colorful 1938-S Winged Liberty Head dime graded Mint State 68+ full bands by Professional Coin Grading Service was the star of Legend’s June 27 auction in Las Vegas, realizing a remarkable $364,250, other toned coins also attracted bidder attention. 

A splendid little 1797 Draped Bust, 16 Stars Obverse half dime graded PCGS MS-65+ with a green CAC sticker was no slouch, bringing $105,750. 

The United States was rapidly growing in the late 18th century, and craftsmen at the Philadelphia Mint prepared obverse dies with 13, 15 and 16 stars surrounding Liberty’s sturdy bust. 

A blend of gold, blue and green color blankets boldly lustrous surfaces. The obverse is well-struck, with the reverse showing typical striking weakness in the eagle’s feathers. The dies clashed at one point, perhaps understandable when considering the tiny size of a half dime planchet, and parts of the reverse wreath can be seen on the obverse. 

Legend estimated it at $110,000 to $125,000, considering another PCGS MS-65 piece that sold more than a decade ago for $82,800 and the D. Brent Pogue MS-66 example that realized $123,375 at Stack’s Bowers and Sotheby’s in 2016. Set in the framework of those two comparable sales, the price was reasonable for an undoubtedly exceptional coin. 

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