US Coins

1871 2-cent piece most difficult issue to acquire

This 1871 2-cent piece graded MS-65 red and brown with a green CAC sticker sold for $1,650.88 at an Aug. 5 Heritage auction.

Images courtesy Heritage Auctions

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the Sept. 15 issue.

Major auctions like Heritage’s U.S. coins auction at the recent American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money are composed of many different collections. These collections have often been put together over the course of decades and can provide guidance on specialized areas of the market. 

One such collection offered was the James E. Blake Collection of 2-cent pieces, each graded Mint State 65 red and brown by Professional Coin Grading Service. The consignor (who prefers to remain anonymous) started collecting Liberty Head 5-cent pieces as a child and he eventually formed high-grade collections of the same coins he enjoyed as a young collector. 

His advice to collectors: Buy the best grade you can afford and “buy the key dates first whenever possible since they likely will have gone up in value by the time you complete the set.” 

Regarding quality, he reminds collectors to buy the coin and not the holder, meaning that collectors should make evaluations on quality for themselves, although he does recommend buying coins with Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers that indicate quality within the grade when possible.

He further suggest that to maximize enjoyment, “don’t focus on the potential profit that your collection might yield when sold, but instead focus on the enjoyment of collecting and learning as much as you can about the coins in your collection.”  

Here is one of three analyses of recently sold 2-cent coins from the collection:

The coin: 1871 2-cent piece, MS-65 red and brown, CAC

The price: $1,650.88

The story: The consignor described this piece as the most difficult coin to acquire in the set, and it realized more than he expected at $1,650.88.

It is from an issue with a relatively low mintage of 721,250 pieces and the description noted that it is “elusive at the Gem level” regardless of the color designation. PCGS has graded 33 in MS-65 red and brown with none finer in this color designation. 

This example has a green CAC sticker. A different example graded by PCGS in the same grade without a CAC sticker sold for $1,410 at a July 13 Heritage auction. 

Another example graded MS-66 red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and with a green CAC sticker sold for $4,700 at Heritage’s Nov. 15, 2013, Eric P. Newman auction.

Read the rest of Steve Roach's Sept. 15 Market Analysis: 

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