US Coins

Market Analysis: Top-graded Proof 1869 2¢ coin brings $43,200

The finest-certified 1869 2-cent coin graded Proof 67 red by PCGS realized $43,200 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ most recent auction.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The 2-cent coins were struck for circulation between 1864 and 1872, with a Proof-only mintage in 1873 concluding the series.

The “Red Book” estimates that more than 600 Proof 2-cent pieces were issued in 1869. Stack’s Bowers Galleries explains, “The mintage is unknown since Mint employees did not begin recording the number of Proof minor coins produced until 1878.” Approximate mintage figures are extrapolated from the number of silver Proof sets sold, and Q. David Bowers estimates that as many as 850 1869 Proof examples were struck.

Regardless of the number struck, one stands alone as the finest known of the date: a PCGS Proof 67 red example that sold for $43,200 on June 18. The catalog entry lists its virtues, stating, “The surfaces are extremely beautiful in vivid pinkish-rose color that remains as bright and fresh as the day of striking. The strike is as sharp as would be expected for the method of manufacture, with even the most intricate design elements fully rendered. Universally reflective in finish and silky smooth in appearance, it is nearly impossible not to be dazzled by this Superb Gem.”

The next-finest-known piece sold for $10,200 earlier this year and is graded Proof 66+ red by PCGS, providing another illustration of the current market’s preference for “top of the pop” coins that lead third-party grading service Population Reports.

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