Michael Bugeja

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Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Patriotic Patterns on American Silver Eagles

AmericanSilver Eagles often tone in especially vivid colors, but you might be on thelookout for a pattern reminiscent of the stripes on the American flag. I bid onthree coins from different sellers last week and won these three with bidstotaling less than $225. When holdered by PCGS, they can bring hundreds, as thepatterns are unusual and appeal to the patriotic impulse in collectors.

I discovered the patternabout two years ago on eBay, buying this 1992 coin raw. It slabbed at PCGS atMS68 ( certification 30365021 ) and ranks as one of my favorite coins. PCGS lists the value onlyat $20, because the company doesn’t appraise toning; but you can bet this wouldsell for hundreds if it went on the block.

Silver Eagles tone inother interesting patterns. We see what we want to see in many coins. I seeangel wings in this 1993 MS68 Eagle ( cert26164112 ) and a cross in thisMS69 1986 Eagle ( cert 33558341 ).

The most spectacularlytoned Silver Eagles often are found in older PCI slabs. I have written about this before for Coin World.  

If you are interested inbidding on raw toned Silver Eagles, especially on eBay, check the sellers’items. If you see many toned uncertified coins with the same colors (usuallydark purples, reds and blues), you might want to refrain from bidding, as theseare probably artificially toned.

Here's an example selling on eBay, with the seller accurately noting artificialtoning.

The safest way, ofcourse, is to buy toned coins slabbed by PCGS or NGC, although you will bebidding with others and paying high prices for these beauties. You won’t beseeing any of mine soon, but you can view my PCGS showcase by clicking here.

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