US Coins

Cleaning boosts classic gold coin's affordability

Missouri auctioneer Scotsman Auction Co.’s latest rare coin sale was held on July 29 as part of the Missouri Numismatic Society’s 56th annual coin show, at the Saint Charles Convention Center in metropolitan St. Louis.

As usual, Scotsman’s Midwest Summer Sale featured a diverse range of collector coins including a few standouts. But alongside these expensive rarities were many more lots of uncertified coins, complete or nearly-complete date and Mint mark sets in albums, and groups that proved ripe for discoveries from sharp-eyed collectors.

Here is one of three under-the-radar coins from the sale that we're profiling in this week's Market Analysis:

The Lot:

1804 Capped Bust gold $5 half eagle, Small 8, AU Details, Repaired and Cleaned

The Price:


The Story:

Gold coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint in the late 18th century and in the first several decades of the 19th century are always expensive. The mintages are generally low — especially when compared with silver and copper coins — as is the survival rate. Most relatively affordable representatives have problems, as did one offered at Scotsman’s 2016 Midwest Summer Sale.

Connect with Coin World:  

An 1804 Capped Bust gold $5 half eagle, of the Small 8 type, graded About Uncirculated Details, Repaired and Cleaned by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., sold for $5,750 at the auction.

The description notes, “At some point in the past, some sadly misguided soul decided to severely abrade all the open fields, perhaps in an attempt to eradicate unwanted contact marks. This is most unfortunate, since what remains of the coin presents delightful sharpness, and even appreciable flowline luster within protected areas of the periphery. Shame!”

Yet, that person who sought to improve the coin succeeded in making this coin much more affordable to a collector today than an unaltered piece of the same technical grade.

There's more to this Market Analysis of under-the-radar coins:

Untouted 5-cent pattern designed by Charles Barber features inventive design

Full head 1916 Standing Liberty quarter, an 'all-time classic,' draws handsome price

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