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Category: Top 10

The Top Ten Mint State Saints

Much has been written about the $20 Saint-Gaudens series since it is quite possibly the most popular gold coin sought after today. I’d like to discuss the rarity/value relationship of the top ten scarcest dates, in mint state condition. I will exclude the 1933 from this discussion since there is only one coin legal to own and therefore unobtainable by the majority of registry collectors. Although most coins have appreciated in value over the last 10 years, the Saint-Gaudens series has been the area of some of the biggest increases. In compiling this list, PCGS and NGC population numbers are used as a starting point as well as CDN values over the last ten years. Needless to say, population report numbers are not entirely accurate due to resubmissions; however they do still represent a high degree of accuracy. The increasing popularity of registry sets makes such analysis important for current and future collectors. (All population data is current as of 2/2/07)

#10) 1908-S:

The 1908-S has the distinction of being the lowest mintage date (22,000) in the series (aside from the 1907 $20 High Relief) Since we are focusing on mint state examples today, some would be surprised to see this date in the top ten list, however with a certified PCGS population of 121 and an NGC population of 124 in all mint state grades I rank it number 10.

Most Uncirculated coins have soft satiny luster and an adequate strike. There are a small number of heavily abraded and unattractive lower grade mint state coins which came over from Europe in the last few years. None of those coins were above MS-63 in quality. This may be the reason that the CDN bid price has not adequately reflected this date’s value over the last 3 or 4 years. For example; 1908S has a current MS-63 CDN bid of $15,500. These have been trading at auction in the last year for between $19,578 and $21,850. The latter coin I purchased out of the ANR sale in Chicago, July of last year. Needless to say I resold the coin for a profit. The relative grey sheet value of the 1908S should therefore resemble the value of other key date Saints with equal rarity and population.

One date that comes to mind is the 1926-D. The combined certified population of both dates in MS-60-62 is 139(1908-S) and 123 for the 1926-D, roughly equal, yet the 26-D trades for over twice the price of the 08-S. Moreover in MS-63 the 1908-S has a certified population of only 31 while 1926-D has certified population of 50. (more…)

US Gold Coins: Top Ten Rarest Liberty Head Quarter Eagles

Top Ten Rarest Liberty Head Eagles

By Doug Winter – www.RareGoldCoins.com

The response to the article that I wrote last month on the ten rarest Liberty Head eagles was so overwhelmingly positive that I’ve decided to extend this format to other denominations of Liberty Head gold. This month’s topic: quarter eagles.

The Liberty Head quarter eagle series was produced from 1840 through 1907. Unlike the larger denomination issues of this type, quarter eagles were never produced at the Carson City or Denver mints. Thus, these coins were produced at five facilities: Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Charlotte and Dahlonega.

1854-S, 1864 and 1841 Quarter EaglesThere are numerous ways in which to collect Liberty Head quarter eagles. Most specialists focus on the issues from a specific mint. The most popular individual mint is Dahlonega, followed by Charlotte and New Orleans.

A small but dedicated cadre of collectors attempts to put together a complete set of Liberty Head quarter eagles. Such a set can be completed although at least two or three issues are very rare and quite expensive. This set is impossible to complete in Uncirculated due to the unavailability of at least one issue (the 1854-S) in Mint State. Every other issue, however, is known in Uncirculated although a number of these are extremely rare.

Some of the collectors who are attempting to assemble a complete set of Liberty Head quarter eagles also include significant varieties. These are generally limited to the ones that are recognized by PCGS and/or NGC.

One interesting way to collect this series would be to focus on the major rarities or key issues. But in the case of the Liberty Head quarter eagles, the most famous coins are not necessarily the rarest. Most readers of this article will be surprised that I have not included the famous 1848 CAL in the list of the ten rarest issues of this type. Even though this is clearly one of the ten most popular (and most desirable) issues, it is less scarce than generally acknowledged and it does not make the Top Ten list.

Without further ado, here are the ten rarest Liberty Head quarter eagles along with pertinent information about each issue:

1. 1854-S:

The 1854-S is the rarest Liberty Head quarter eagle by a fairly large margin. There are around a dozen examples known from the original mintage of just 246 coins. Something that I have always found interesting about this date is the fact that most of the survivors are extremely well worn. At least five or six of the dozen known either grade VF20 or less or show damage. In fact, I am aware of just two examples that grade EF (by my standards) and a single coin that grades AU. For many years, the 1854-S was overlooked and, in comparison to other great U.S. gold rarities, it was greatly undervalued. The first example of this date to sell for a six-figure price was Bass II: 472 (now graded AU53 by NGC) that brought $135,700 in October 1999. In September 2005, I purchased an NGC EF45 example that was previously unknown to the collecting community out of an ANR auction for $253,000. This record was broken in February 2007 when a PCGS EF45 brought $345,000 in a Heritage sale. My best guess is that prices will continue to rise for this issue and the next comparatively choice example that is made available to collectors will set another price record. (more…)

The Top Ten Rarest $10 Liberty Head Gold Coins

Top Ten Rarest Liberty Head Eagles

By Doug Winter – www.RareGoldCoins.com

This article is about the Ten rarest Liberty Head eagles. Notice that I didn’t say “the ten most popular” or “the ten most expensive.” Readers may be surprised that this top ten list does not include any Carson City issues (although I was tempted to include the 1870-CC) and just one from New Orleans.

In looking over the list you will note that six of the ten coins are from Philadelphia and at least one or two are probably not all that familiar to even the most advanced collector of Liberty Head gold. Most of these dates have very low original mintage figures (one, the 1875, has a mintage of just 100 business strikes!) and nearly all have remarkably low survival rates. To qualify for this list, an issue requires a total population of under 50-60 coins.

Liberty Head EaglesIn order of their rarity, here is my list of the ten rarest Liberty Head eagles.

1. 1875:

The Philadelphia gold coinage of 1875 includes a number of issues with exceedingly low mintages. Only 400 examples of both the gold dollar and quarter eagle were produced but the survival rate is higher than expected. The three dollar is a Proof-only issue that has sold for over $100,000 since the 1970’s while the half eagle is a major rarity with probably no more than 10-12 known from the original mintage of 200. I believe that the 1875 eagle, however, is the rarest of all these impressive Philadelphia issues. I have seen it stated that as many as 12-15 are known but I believe that this figure is on the high side and that the actual number is more likely seven to nine. I have personally seen two or three that I would grade AU including Superior 6/97: 1541 and B&M 3/98: 2207 that were graded AU53 and AU50, respectively, by PCGS. The all-time auction record is $74,750 for an NGC AU55 sold as Lot 2102 in DLRC’s Richmond I auction in 2004.

Every business strike 1875 eagle (and I haven’t seen once since Heritage offered a PCGS VF35 in January 2006) is characterized by excessively abraded surfaces and inferior eye appeal. Some of the coins that have been certified as business strikes by both services are actually Impaired Proofs. Proof 1875 eagles have a different date position than business strikes and use a different reverse with the top of the second vertical stripe in the shield incomplete.

I believe that this is an extremely undervalued issue and if it were part of a more popular series it would be a $100,000++ coin. (more…)

The Top Ten Best Coin Protection Products

By Razi – Wizard Coin Supply
Top Ten Coin Protection ProductsWizard Coin SupplyIf you have a valuable coin collection or you aspire to build one, it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect your coins and, ultimately, your investment. Much damage that is done through improper handling or storage of coins can not be reversed. As a result, each passing year sees fewer and fewer original, problem-free coins remaining.

The incremental cost of quality hobby supplies and tools for the proper storage and handling of one’s collection is marginal compared to the value of the coins in the collection. While there are countless products on the market that claim to offer the best protection for your coins, we have identified what we believe to be the 10 best coin protection products available today.

10. Flat Clinch Stapler

– One big category of coin damage we see is from staple scratches. Much of this damage comes from staples that are not completely clinched. Normal staplers leave a curl of the staple rising above the surface. This piece of staple can easily scratch adjacent coins as the coin shifts in a box or is removed or inserted from the box. Flat clinch staplers fully compress the staple into the surface of the holder leaving nothing behind to damage other coins. We like the Max HD-50DF because it is full size and uses regular staples. Max also makes half strip and palm size versions for collectors that prefer a smaller stapler. All three staplers completely clinch the staple as part of the stapling process.

9. Gloves

– A second big category of damage type we see on coins is fingerprints. The oils and acids present on one’s hands can damage coins if left on the surface of the coin for an extended time. Initially, they can cause a fingerprint pattern toned area that is unattractive and lowers the value and grade of the coin. Left unattended, these oils and acids can eventually etch the surface of the coin making the fingerprint permanent. Even handling coins by their rims still allows the dangerous compounds onto the rims of the coins. Using a pair of soft cotton gloves when handling raw coins helps protect all three surfaces of the coins. Make sure you get a pair of thin gloves so that you can still feel the coin. Bulky “work gloves” make it harder to handle small items and increases the risk of dropping the coin.

8. Silica gel

– Metal and water do not go well together! Almost everyone intuitively knows to keep their coins from getting wet but many collectors do not realize that even the moisture present in the air (humidity) can be enough to cause damage. Silica gel absorbs moisture that makes its way inside your safe deposit box, safe or other storage area preventing it from reaching your coins and causing damage. Silica gel can be easily reactivated in the oven when it has absorbed as much moisture as it can hold. Before shopping for silica gel, measure the size of the area to be protected and then buy the appropriate size of silica gel for storage space. (more…)

Top 10 Most Important Coin Grading Tips

By Scott Travers – USGoldExpert.com

With the advent of independent third-party certification, many coin buyers and sellers thought all their grading worries were over.

No longer would they have to scrutinize each coin they bought and sold to determine its level of preservation. No longer would they need to concern themselves with grading pointers, grading tips, grading advice–these mattered now only to the experts at the leading certification services.

From now on, all Mint State-65 coins would be created equal, as long as they got those grades from the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC) or ANACS.

In short, buyers and sellers no longer would need to think for themselves and exercise their own common sense. This is not entirely true.

Certification services have made–and are continuing to make–tremendous contributions to standardizing and stabilizing coin-grading standards. In the process, they have dramatically reduced the risk that buyers might suffer significant financial loss because they purchased coins that were overgraded.

But certification services aren’t infallible. And though they strive mightily for consistency, they–like the coins they grade–inevitably fall short of total perfection. Some coins graded Mint State-65 by PCGS, NGC or ANACS are indeed better than others; some might even qualify as Mint State-66. Others, by contrast, might get a lower grade if broken out of their holders and resubmitted.

Over a period of time, subtle shifts in standards or in their application can result in the existence of whole groups of coins that are undergraded or overgraded relative to the rest of the coins from a given grading service.

For example, in 1994, David Hall, founder and president of PCGS, admitted on my radio program–a weekly talk show called One-Hour Coin Expert–that during its early years, his company was reluctant to assign the grade of Mint State- or Proof-68. He candidly agreed that a number of the coins graded Mint State- or Proof-67 by PCGS during that early period might well receive a grade of 68 if submitted today. And that could increase their current market value by many thousands of dollars. (more…)

US Gold Coins: The Ten Rarest Early Quarter Eagles

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

During 2009, I wrote a series of “ten rarest” articles on all the major denominations of Liberty Head gold coinage. These articles were well-received and I enjoyed producing them. It’s a logical progression to apply this topic to the early gold series. Except it’s not quite that easy.

The eagle denomination is very short-lived (1795-1804) making a ten rarest study impractical. And the ten rarest early half eagles contain a host of issues that are so rare that collecting them becomes impractical. That leaves us, for the sake of practicality, with just early quarter eagles.

Five designs of quarter eagle were produced between 1796 and 1834. There are a total of 23 distinct issues and even the most available of these is rare by the standards of American numismatics.

Early quarter eagles have always been undervalued and under collected in comparison to their larger-size counterparts. This has changed somewhat in the last few years as price for early quarter eagles have risen; along with most early coins in general.

Each of the ten rarest early quarter eagles is very hard to locate and a few of them are even six-figure coins in most grades. But what is most intriguing about this list is the fact that a collector with a good deal of patience and a solid coin budget could actually assemble a complete top ten list; something that certainly can’t be said for half eagles.

dw_rarest_250_012110The list of the ten rarest early quarter eagles is as follows:
1. 1804 13 Stars
2. 1834 No Motto
3. 1797
4. 1806/5
5. 1796 With Stars
6. 1798
7. 1826/5
8. 1824/1
9. 1827
10. 1833
(more…)

Ten Underappreciated Early United States Gold Coins

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

early_gold_dw_100509I’ve written numerous articles about Liberty Head gold coins that I think are clearly undervalued or underpriced. I’ve never really written one that’s focused on early United States gold coins for one simple reason: it’s hard to brand coins that trade for $10,000 and up (in most cases) as “undervalued.” That said, there are a number of issues whose price levels do not make sense given their rarity.

I’d like to thank my good friend Paul Nugget, from Spectrum East Numismatics, who helped me prepare this list and whose expertise in the area of pre-1834 gold is unrivalled.

Before we start, the basic question to answer here is why are these coins undervalued or underappreciated or “underwhatever?” I think the answer has to do with collecting patterns in the early gold series. Because of price considerations, most collectors who do focus on early gold do it from the standpoint of type collecting. This makes sense, especially in a denomination like half eagles that contains a number of spectacularly rare (and expensive) issues. Also, I have noted that many more early gold collectors focus on the pre-1807 issues by date (or even die variety) while the issues struck from 1808 to 1834 tend to less actively pursued as such.

Here is my list of ten underappreciated early US gold and the reasons why I think they qualify as such:

1. 1827 Quarter Eagle.

The short-lived Capped Head Left quarter eagle type was produced for only five years from 1821 to 1827. All five issues are scarce but pricing guides typically lump the 1821, 1824/1, 1825 and 1827 together and accord them similar values in virtually all grades. I think that the 1827 deserves to be priced at least 10-15% higher than the 1825.
(more…)

The Ten Rarest Gold Dollars

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

During the last year or so, I have been working on a series of articles that discusses the ten rarest individual issues in each of the Liberty Head denominations. I haven’t done one of these articles since October 2008 when I wrote about the ten rarest Liberty Head quarter eagles.

Gold dollars are a series that is on my mind right now, especially considering I am selling a wonderful group of Type Three Proofs known as the Tri-Star Collection. This seems like a good segue into this article.

The gold dollar coinage was produced from 1849 through 1889. These are the smallest gold coins struck by the United States mints, both in terms of value and size. Coins were produced at the following mints:

  • Philadelphia: 1849-1889
  • Charlotte: 1849-1853, 1855, 1857, 1859
  • Dahlonega: 1849-1861
  • New Orleans: 1849-1853, 1855
  • San Francisco: 1856-1860, 1870

There are three varieties of gold dollar. The first, known as the Type One, was struck from 1849 to 1854. It is easily recognizable by the use of Longacre’s Liberty Head obverse. The Type One dollars have a diameter of 12.7 millimeters and weigh 1.67 grams. The second variety, known as the Type Two, was made in 1854, 1855 and 1856. It features an Indian Head obverse design with a small head. It has a diameter of 15 millimeters. The final variety, known as the Type Three, was produced from 1856 until this denomination was abolished in 1889. It has another variation of the Indian Head design, this time with the portrait larger in size. It is the same size and weight as the Type Two design.

As a series, gold dollars are more popular than many non-specialists realize. The natural inclination that most people have is that since these coins are so small, they are not readily collectible. I have found this to be untrue and I am aware of a number of people who either collect all the gold dollars by date or they specialize in one or two of the mints (usually Charlotte or Dahlonega). (more…)

The Best and the Worst of 2008

As 2008 winds down, one of the medias favorite preoccupations is to compile “Best Of” lists for the past year and “Predictions” of what may come to pass for the next. Having precious little ability to foresee the future we have decided to just stick with a short Top 10 List of some of the Best and Worst things that happened in the numismatic community during 2008.

Our choices are presented in no particular order, but each covers a topic that made us think about coin collecting and/or the hobby and business of numismatics in a different way. No doubt each of you may have your own choices, so contact us and let us know what items you’d put on your list.

Best Auction:

Arguably the massive FUN auctions and the offerings at the Summer ANA Auctions are are the biggest and most active, however in 2008 one auction stood head and shoulders above the rest for scope, importance and historical significance, Ira and Larry Goldberg’s, Millennia Sale held on May 26th.

In fact we were so impressed by the sale that CoinLink hired numismatic writer Greg Reynolds to produce a series of six articles reviewing the sale. In fact we could have written another 6 articles and still not completely covered the material entirely.

Reynold wrote: “While the Millennia collection will be forever remembered for its breadth, and for showcasing historically important coins, its primary characteristic is quality. A substantial number of Millennia collection coins are in the condition rankings for their respective dates and, more importantly, for entire types!”

The collection brought in over $20 Million, but more importantly provided a contextual framework to those who may not have been overly familiar with great world coins and the rich and diverse history that accompanies them.

Best New Coin:

Actually it was just an announcement, the coin will not be available until 2009, but our choice is the New 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin, announced at a meeting of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee by US Mint Directory Ed Moy on March 13th.

Moy proposed to recreate what many have called the nation’s most beautiful coin ever minted-Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ original ultra-high relief Liberty $20 Gold Piece. A 27-millimeter diameter gold blank, more than 50% thicker than other United States Mint one-ounce 24-karat gold coins, will be used, because of its historical significance and the opportunity it provides to achieve the greater depth and relief to which Saint-Gaudens had aspired.

We applaud Director Moy on what we consider to be his legacy running the US Mint, however this choice does point up the soft underbelly of the US Mints operations, a total lack of artistic vision where it is necessary to recreate the classics from 100 years ago rather than create new classics of our own. I suppose that this is a blessing in disguise since the talent that flows from the Franklin Mint to the US Mint has been shall we say, uninspired. (more…)

The Top Ten Mint State Saints

Much has been written about the $20 Saint-Gaudens series since it is quite possibly the most popular gold coin sought after today. I’d like to discuss the rarity/value relationship of the top ten scarcest dates, in mint state condition. I will exclude the 1933 from this discussion since there is only one coin legal to own and therefore unobtainable by the majority of registry collectors. Although most coins have appreciated in value over the last 10 years, the Saint-Gaudens series has been the area of some of the biggest increases. In compiling this list, PCGS and NGC population numbers are used as a starting point as well as CDN values over the last ten years. Needless to say, population report numbers are not entirely accurate due to resubmissions; however they do still represent a high degree of accuracy. The increasing popularity of registry sets makes such analysis important for current and future collectors. (All population data is current as of 2/2/07)

#10) 1908-S:

The 1908-S has the distinction of being the lowest mintage date (22,000) in the series (aside from the 1907 $20 High Relief) Since we are focusing on mint state examples today, some would be surprised to see this date in the top ten list, however with a certified PCGS population of 121 and an NGC population of 124 in all mint state grades I rank it number 10.

Most Uncirculated coins have soft satiny luster and an adequate strike. There are a small number of heavily abraded and unattractive lower grade mint state coins which came over from Europe in the last few years. None of those coins were above MS-63 in quality. This may be the reason that the CDN bid price has not adequately reflected this date’s value over the last 3 or 4 years. For example; 1908S has a current MS-63 CDN bid of $15,500. These have been trading at auction in the last year for between $19,578 and $21,850. The latter coin I purchased out of the ANR sale in Chicago, July of last year. Needless to say I resold the coin for a profit. The relative grey sheet value of the 1908S should therefore resemble the value of other key date Saints with equal rarity and population. (more…)

THE TOP TEN RAREST LIBERTY HEAD HALF EAGLES

By Doug Winter –  www.raregoldcoins.com

Top Ten SeriesI appear to have hit on a popular format as the last three articles I’ve written (a Ten Rarest Triumvirate on Liberty Quarter Eagles, Eagles and Dahlonega gold) have garnered considerable positive accolades. I personally like writing these kinds of articles and I like reading them as well. Lots of information in a tight, compact, format…what’s not to love?

This month, we’re going to look at Liberty Head half eagles. This design was first adopted in 1839, modified in 1840, modified again in 1866 (with the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse) and finally replaced in 1907. Liberty Head half eagles were produced at the Philadelphia, Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, Denver and San Francisco mints. This is the only denomination to have been produced at seven mints.Top 10 Liberty Half Eagles

The Liberty Head half eagle series is technically incompletable due to the extreme rarity of the 1854-S (see below for more information) but the rest of the issues are available. If a collector is condition-oriented, the half eagles of this design are a real challenge. There are a host of Liberty Head half eagles, especially in the No Motto design, that are excessively rare in Uncirculated and many are very rare even in properly graded AU55 to AU58.

I personally like this series a lot even though I would be the first to admit that assembling a complete (or near-complete) set would be daunting. I would probably suggest that a beginner or a collector on a budget form a specialized set or, more likely, focus on the issues from one particular mint.

For collectors who try to focus on legitimate rarities, there is no shortage of issues in this series that fit the bill. All of the following issues are rare in all grades and, as I mentioned above, all are very rare in higher grades.

In my opinion, the ten rarest Liberty Head half eagles are as follows:

1. 1854-S

As with the quarter eagle of this date, the 1854-S half eagle is a major rarity. But the 1854-S is considerably rarer and it is regarded as the rarest regular issue Liberty Head gold coin of any denomination as well as one of the rarest half eagles of any design. There were only 268 struck of which a grand total of three are currently known. One is impounded in the Smithsonian while the other two are in tightly-held collections. The finest known is owned by the Pogue Family in Dallas and it is ex: Eliasberg: 471 (where it brought $187,000) while the other is ex: Norweb, Wolfson and Col. Green. One of the bigger numismatic thrills I’ve had in the last few years was at a coin show where the owner of the Eliasberg 1854-S handed me the coin (still in its original clear Lucite display holder from the Eliasberg sale) and let me study it while he sat across from me at my table. (more…)

Top 10 Coins from Heritage’s Long Beach Sale May 2008

Auctions Top 10Below are the Top 10 coins sold in the recent Heritage Long Beach, CA Signature sale. Prices realized include Buyers Premium.

1. 1808 $2 1/2 MS61 NGC – $163,875.00

Photo Courtesy of Heritage AuctionsThe rarity of the 1808 quarter eagle is well known even to those who do not necessarily collect gold type coins. Struck in just this one year, only 2,710 pieces were minted and of that number it has been estimated that fewer than 2% exist today in all grades, with 35-40 pieces being a reasonable estimate of the surviving specimens. Breen speculates that the low survival rate may be due to the weak borders on all known coins which exposed them to undue wear. Every 1808 quarter eagle we have seen has had rim problems of some sort, probably due to the lack of raised detail evident around the margins. Also, all known examples show a die crack that extends from the cap through all six stars at the right.

Breen also points out that the date and letter punches used on the 1808 quarter eagle were reused on 1809 dimes. However, the bust and device punches were never reused. Typical for all of John Reich’s designs, the 13th star is notched, a “signature” of the short-lived German immigrant-engraver.

2. 1794 $1 VF30 PCGS – $161,000.00

Photo Courtesy of Heritage AuctionsWhen David Rittenhouse took over the responsibility as the Mint’s first Director, he had a twofold task to accomplish. The first was to begin production of silver coins, especially silver dollars, that would compare favorably in weight to the widely circulated Spanish (Carolus) dollars. Second, the coins had to present well. The dollars from 1794 all show varying degrees of weakness and misalignment because they were struck on a press meant for smaller coins. This weakness was noticed at the time of issue, but attributed to shallow engraving. But the experimentation had just begun with silver dollars, and in the next year the 1795 dollars show much coarser hair and heavier design elements on the reverse.

Even though all 1794 dollars were struck from misaligned dies, obvious attention was paid to the manufacture of these coins. Of the 125+ pieces known, there are five die states. This is a Die State III piece and is characterized by light relapping of the obverse die to lessen the clash marks that apparently occurred just after the first coins were struck. This is the most frequently seen die state and Martin Logies identified 84 different specimens from this state. (more…)

THE TEN COOLEST UNITED STATES COINS REVISITED

By Douglas Winter – CoinLink Content Partner

In June 2000, I wrote an article entitled ?The Ten Coolest United States Coins.? Let’s say you were a true Douglas Winter Numismatics cultist and you had decided to follow my advice to the letter. How would your seven year investment have performed? Are there any coins I would have deleted from this list? Some analysis and random thoughts regarding these ten coins follows.

1776 Continental DollarI. 1776 Continental Dollar

In 2000, I suggested purchasing an example of this popular, historic issue in Choice About Uncirculated and stated that an example would cost around $10,000. I think this amount represented a typo as, even back then, a Continental Dollar in AU would have cost at least twice the amount I listed.

My decision to include this coin was prescient, to say the least. This has proven to be among the most popular and in-demand early American issues in the last seven years. And how can it not have been? This issue has everything going for it: size, interesting history, unique design and the magical 1776 date.

Today, a nice AU 1776 Continental Dollar will probably cost in the area of $60,000. And if you had bought a really nice AU55 to AU58 back in 2000, the chances are better than even that this coin would be regarded as an MS61 today with an estimated value closer to six figures. Clearly, this would have been a very good purchase.

This is not a regular issue coin but, rather, a proposed or speculative issue. Varieties are known in silver, pewter and brass and with different spellings of the word CURRENCY. For this set, I would suggest a pewter piece with the spelling “CURENCY” and the lack of the designers initials (represented on this coin as “EG FECIT,” which is believed to signify that the design was by Elisha Gallaudet).

It is probable that these coins did circulate in colonial America and that they did have a recognized value. This fact makes them a legitimate candidate for the first “dollar” struck in this country as well as the largest coin, in terms of size, issued prior to the establishment of the United States. The magical date 1776 makes them even more desirable, in my opinion. And, finally, the charming design on the reverse (featuring thirteen interlinked rings with the name of each colony and symbolizing unity) is believed to have been suggested by Benjamin Franklin.

For this set, I would opt for a very slightly worn piece; perhaps in the About Uncirculated-55 to 58 range. I like the idea that the coin saw some light circulation during the colonial era but would want it to be lustrous and well struck. Such a coin would cost $7,500-$10,000; making it an exceptional value for such an incredibly historic issue. (more…)