US Coins

1993 $25 gold Eagle sets record at $22,825

This 1993-P American Eagle half-ounce gold $25 bullion coin graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by PCGS brought a record-setting $22,825 at a Dec. 22, 2013, GreatCollections auction.

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In a Dec. 22, 2013, auction by GreatCollections, five bidders drove a 1993-P American Eagle half-ounce $25 gold bullion coin graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service to $22,825.

It was housed in a PCGS slab having a special label signed by former U.S. Mint Director Edmund C. Moy. On April 23, 2013, another graded by PCGS in the same grade brought $16,450 at a Heritage auction, and on Nov. 1, 2012, Heritage sold one for $16,450.

The coin itself, even in its perfect grade, is not unique. Of the mintage of 43,319 Proofs, PCGS’s population report shows 32 in the perfect grade, although only one has a Moy-signed label.

Historically the issue has been expensive in Proof 70 Deep Cameo, evidenced by a January 2006 Teletrade sale of one for $10,304.

In a Dec. 31, 2013, press release from GreatCollections that cited the sale as a record price for a half-ounce gold American Eagle, the U.S. buyer commented: “This is one of the toughest in the whole $5, $10, $25 and $50 series — I am glad to have won the coin.”

Of course, this price pales in comparison to the king of the modern Proof American Eagle series. Last year GreatCollections sold a 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by PCGS for $86,654, establishing a record for a Proof American Eagle at auction. The firm sold another example for $55,550 on Sept. 29, 2013.

Beyond 1993, the 1990 American Eagle gold $25 coin is known for being rare in the top grade. Heritage sold a PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo example for $16,450 at an April 26, 2013, auction. That price is perhaps surprising, considering that PCGS has graded more than 70 peer examples. In a June 13, 2013, Heritage auction, a 1989 $25 example in Proof 70 Deep Cameo brought $3,642.50.

Today, many more Proof American Eagle coins are sent directly to grading services, so the percentage of Proof 70 Deep Cameos being graded is much greater.

Among the PCGS-certified population of Proof 1987 $25 gold coins, around 2.5 percent are graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo.

For 1993 that drops to around 1 percent of all PCGS-certified Proof issues. For recent $25 Proof issues, Proof 70 Deep Cameos can approach 50 percent, as the U.S. Mint is producing a higher quality product and there’s less handling since the coins are going direct to the grading services. ¦

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