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All Posts Tagged With: "Proof Coinage"

Prices for Proof American Eagle Gold Coins Tumble

By Steve Roach – First published in the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of Coin World

Proof American Eagle gold coins have provided some sparks in the marketplace this past year, but the fast fall in prices over the past several weeks serves as a reminder that what goes up usually comes down.

Some major buyers have stopped buying these and prices have fallen sharply.

For some smaller dealers who were stockpiling the coins in anticipation of continued demand, the change in the market means they have lost substantial money, for now, as the coins are now worth substantially less than what the dealers paid for them.

During July, several large dealers were paying between $1,950 and $2,000 per ounce for Proof American Eagle gold coins in original Mint packaging – the inner and outer boxes, original capsules and original certificate of authenticity with the same year as the coins.

For example, on July 14 a major wholesaler was paying $2,025 per ounce; the dealer’s price gradually declined to $1,900 July 26. Then on July 27 the dealer’s buy price went down to $1,850. On July 29 in the morning the dealer’s buy price was $1,830 and by the afternoon it went to $1,800. On Aug. 3, the price hit $1,750 and then, with orders filled, that dealer stopped buying.

Incidentally, the price of gold on July 26 was $1,189 per ounce and the price on Aug. 3 was $1,184, meaning that the drop in demand was not directly related to the bullion market.

On Aug. 6, when gold increased to $1,205 per ounce, one dealer offered $1,650 per ounce for coins with original packaging, and for coins without the packaging, the price dropped sharply to $1,400 per ounce.

If those who are closest to the market are not buying at the high levels that have characterized these Proof issues for the last year, are they doing this because they know something that we at Coin World don’t know?

On Aug. 6, the U.S. Mint told Coin World that no decision has been made as to whether Proof 2010-W American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins would be struck.

If the U.S. Mint releases Proof American Eagle gold bullion coins in 2010, supplies will increase and less pressure will be placed on the current supply, likely ending the bull market for these issues.

Mr. Roach maintains a website/blog titled The Rare Coin Market Report

Stacks to offer a Curious Specimen 1914 Gold Eagle. Is it a Proof Coin without the Matte Finish?

The following is from the Stack’s Auction Catalog description offering this raw 1914 Gold Eagle as Lot 1228 in the upcoming August 8th Boston auction.:

“Here is a most curious coin. The strike is clearly that of a Proof, with a high fin or wire edge around most of the extreme edge and the familiar textured fields (imparted by finely acid etched dies) and bountifully struck devices. However, there is no matte finish that normally is present on Proof eagles of this year, none whatsoever.

Philadelphia Mint records note a mere 50 pieces were produced in Proof in 1914 of the eagle denomination, likely including the present coin. The finish is the Roman style finish that first appeared on the unique 1907 Rolled Edge, Periods example, popping up again on perhaps four of the Proofs of 1908 and on all the Proof eagles of 1909-1910 (aside from a couple of unusual Matte pieces coined in those two years).

Apparently the mint was trying out various finishes through the brief and fleeting run of Proof eagles. As noted in Renaissance of American Coinage 1905-1908 by Roger Burdette the method of Proof manufacture seems to point to a single step being left out on this particular coin; that of course being the matte process which imparts the darker finish to the coin through sandblasting, applied as a final step prior to sale.

Essentially, the gold Proofs of 1908 to 1915 were initially struck as Satin Proofs, using newly hubbed dies that produce lustrous non-mirror surfaces—the so called Roman Finish Proofs seen in 1909-10.

The Matte Proofs have an additional step, the application of a powder which produces the matte finish over the entire coin. Clearly this 1914 was a manufactured Proof struck in the normal Roman finish of 1909-10, but did not have the final matte process applied. Each coin was carefully inspected, and perhaps this particular coin was found faulty for some minor reason and set aside. Reportedly, excess Proofs that did not merit the sandblasting and matte process were placed in circulation. This may be such a coin.

Another possibility is that in 1914 one person requested a satin finish style and this particular coin was struck to fill the order, as this too would account for the present coin. Notice the edge of the coin, the chiseled stars and boldly defined edge characteristics are decidedly different than any Mint State coin, with a precision reserved only for Proofs. The devices and rims are full and sharp, the entire surface has the slightly textured appearance unique to Proofs. Compared with a normal 1914 Proof eagle, this lacks only the microscopic facets and the darker, coarser finish as produced by bronzing matte powder. It would seem unlikely that this unusual finish (for 1914) came about by some casual blunder by the coiner with such a small order to fill of 50 coins, and those being the all important Proofs, presumably this coin would not have escaped unnoticed.

Similar one-off gold Proofs exist for 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910 for the eagle series, and in the double eagles, multiple Proof finishes are known for 1907, 1908 and 1910 as well as a special striking as late as 1921.

Clearly unusual strikings were anything but unusual during this period. In our modern world the opinions of the third party grading services are highly prized. This particular coin was submitted to both NGC and PCGS in the past and neither service could render an opinion as to what to call it as it did not fit into the normal categories of the other known sandblast Proofs of 1914. (more…)

Heritage Summer FUN Rare Coin Auction Realizes $7.4 million+

Original 1867 Cameo Proof Shield Nickel Tops Sale at $57,500; demand for rare gold coinage steady

An original 1867 5C Rays PR65 Cameo NGC. Dannreuther-1A, State a/a, a highly desirable and celebrated rarity, brought $57,500 to lead Heritage’s $7,387,384 July Orlando, FL Summer FUN Signature US Coin Auction. Demand for high quality numismatic gold rarities continued in Orlando, with seven of the top 10 lots being gold rarities. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“We’re quite happy with the result of this auction,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “It was a small auction by Heritage standards, but quite focused, and collectors responded. The result was a very successful auction.”

More than 3700 bidders competed for the offerings, which saw a 94% sell-through rate by total lots.

The 1867 Rays Gem Cameo Proof Shield Nickel is a coin well known to specialists and advanced numismatists and the competition for this specimen was indeed heated before landing in the collection of a smart buyer. Though there may be more 1867 Rays proofs known than originally thought, many are known to be later restrikes, while this piece bears every hallmark of being one of the few – likely 10-15 total – true originals struck

A momentous 1829 Quarter Eagle, BD-1, MS64 NGC, Breen-6132, High R.4. followed the 1867 Rays Gem Cameo Shield Nickel, competing for top honors and almost nabbing the top spot in auction with a final price of $51,750, a mark that was equaled by an historic 1803 $10 Small Stars Reverse MS61 NGC, Breen-6844, Taraszka-28, BD-3, R.4.

One of the most hotly contested non-gold lots of the top 10 was a magnificent 1865 25C MS66 PCGS, CAC, Briggs 1-A, an exceptional example from the concluding year of the Civil War, and an important opportunity for the Seated specialist, one of whom added the coin to their collection for a price realized of $48,875.

A remarkable 1907 $20 High Relief, Flat Rim MS65 PCGS, was close on the heels of the 1865 25C, with a price realized of $46,000. This coin was a result of the numismatically inclined President Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted to create coins for the United States that would rival the beauty of those struck by the ancient Greeks. The result was the 1907 High Relief double eagle, considered by many to be the crowning achievement of Roosevelt’s coinage renaissance.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Bowers & Merena auction, Proof 1876-CC dime, and $150 million for the CAC

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #5

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I will not be discussing the most expensive or the rarest coins that are coming ‘on the auction block’ this week. Rather, I have selected a few that I find to be both newsworthy and particularly interesting. Admittedly, these are expensive. I continue to insist, though, that an understanding of rare coins, and of the values in the coin collecting community, requires knowledge of coins that most collectors cannot afford.

Suppose that this column was geared towards art enthusiasts rather than coin enthusiasts. Would it then make sense to discuss only the paintings that most art collectors could afford? Collectors who cannot afford great and culturally important paintings enjoy learning about them and often learn to apply their knowledge of famous painting to their interpretations of a wide variety of not-so-famous paintings. Likewise, coin enthusiasts, in general, appreciate coins that are great, famous, very rare and/or important to the culture of coin collecting.

Please see my discussions below of the following coins. The 1851-O trime is the only Three Cent Silver issue that was not struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Indeed, it is curious that the New Orleans Mint struck this denomination, as the Branch Mints tended not to manufacture small denomination coins in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Eighth-Dollar is certainly extremely rare and extremely curious. The 1926-S nickel issue is just incredibly difficult to find in MS-65 or MS-66 grade. As I discussed one in last week’s column, I could not resist mentioning another, as B&M will auction it this week in Baltimore. Similarly, I discussed a rare and historically important King James II English gold coin last week and B&M will auction a coin of the same design type this week. Plus, the unique Proof 1876-CC dime is one of the most exciting coins of all.

II. The CAC Surpasses $150 Million Level

It is widely known that the CAC approves (or rejects) submitted coins that are already graded by the PCGS or the NGC. Approved coins receive a green sticker, or, in rare instances, a gold sticker. It is not as widely known that the CAC will make sight unseen commitments to pay competitive prices for CAC approved coins. These are not ‘low ball’ bids. As of June 15, the CAC has purchased $154 million of coins, almost all of which are CAC approved.

The CAC was founded by John Albanese in Oct. 2007. CAC purchases have thus been averaging more than $4.7 million per month. The $150 million level was reached in early June.

Albanese was the sole founder of the Numismatic Guaranty Corp (NGC) in 1987. Around Dec. 1998, he sold his shares in the NGC to Mark Salzberg, who is the current NGC Chairman. (For more discussion of the CAC, please see my articles on CoinFest, Jay Brahin’s Coins, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter, the 20th Century Gold Club, and Dr. Duckor’s quarters.)

Although the CAC has acquired thousands of coins that are valued at under $5000 each, the CAC has approved and acquired some very famous coins. Among others, the Eliasberg 1870-S silver dollar and the finest known, Rogers-Madison 1796 ‘No Stars’ Quarter Eagle ($2½ gold coin) come to my mind.

III. Unique Proof 1876-CC Dime

Laura Sperber, of Legend Numismatics, acquired the unique Proof 1876-CC dime from a New Jersey dealer in early June. On Saturday, June 12, she sold it for an amount in excess of $200,000. It “went into a collection of Proof Seated Dimes,” Sperber reveals. It is certified as Proof-66 by the PCGS and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. (more…)

Original 1867 Rays Proof Shield Nickel to be offered by Heritage at Summer FUN Coin Show

The 1867 Rays Shield nickel business strikes are conditionally rare coins in the highest Mint State grades, but they are generally obtainable for a price. The 1867 Rays Shield nickel proof coins, however, are celebrated rarities, well-known to series specialists and advanced numismatists. Heritage will be offering a cameo Gem example in the upcoming 2010 July Orlando, FL (Summer FUN) Signature US Coin Auction #1142, taking place July 8-11.

John Dannreuther, director of research at PCGS, has delved extensively into the die diagnostics and Mint history surrounding the 1867 With Rays and No Rays proof issues — and reissues. Much of what follows is from the summation in the Bowers Shield and Liberty Head nickels Guide Book and from Dannreuther’s PCGS article, published in the June 2007 PCGS Rare Coin Market Report and reprinted on www.shieldnickels.net, titled “Third Obverse Die Identified for Proof 1867 Rays Nickel.

Dannreuther has established that three different obverse dies were used for the 1867 Rays proofs, which were restruck at various times, all paired with a single reverse die that was lapped on each reuse. The first obverse used, Dannreuther-1, shows the left base of the 1 in the date over the right side of a dentil. The earliest state of this die, as on the present coin, shows numerous markers, including:

  • All leaves are complete; none are “hollow.”
  • The 7 in the date is clearly recut and has not yet faded.
  • No die polish is evident in the lower vertical shield stripes.
  • All berries are complete and attached, with those at the inner right recut. The lowest inner-right berry shows a tiny die polish line to the adjacent leaf.
  • A die line runs from the seventh horizontal stripe, angling down through several stripes. A curly die line from the 10th horizontal stripe runs down through the left side of the shield, ending in the circle or ball ornament (a.k.a. terminal volute).
  • The left fletchings are detached at the lower right (lower front) portion (where they join the shield), but the detached part has not yet degenerated into a small lump or dot as on later die states.

The appearance of “hollow” leaves, a lump or dot at the lower-left forepart of the fletchings, the absence of visible recutting on the 7, etc. would indicate later die states and presumably coincide with a lesser degree of the marked field-device contrast also evident on this coin. The Reverse A, also from the earliest die state, displays:

  • A slightly weak center ray below the second T of STATES.
  • Full, rounded dentils from 3-5 o’clock, with no space between them. (more…)

Bowers and Merena to Offer 1879-O Class I Branch Mint Proof Morgan Dollar In Baltimore

The Second Finest of Only Four Specimens Known to Exist

Easily the rarest and also among the most popular Morgan Dollars with advanced collectors are the branch mint proofs–coins that are so rare, in fact, that many numismatists have never even seen one of these specimens, let alone been confronted with the opportunity to add one to their holdings.

Writing in the 1982 book The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook, Wayne Miller enumerates five classes of branch Mint proof Morgan Dollars. The claim that an individual issue has to branch mint status decreases as the class # increases; the Class V pieces, in fact, being described by Miller as, “coins rumored to be branch mint proofs which the author has seen and which are definitely not proofs.”

On the other end of the scale are the Class I branch mint proofs, which Wayne Miller describes as, “authorized, definite branch mint proofs. These are the…dates for which proofs were authorized and subsequently issued [emphasis author’s].” Only four branch mint proof Morgan Dollars qualify as Class I: 1879-O; 1883-O; 1893-CC; and 1921-S.

The 1879-O is perhaps the best known Class I branch mint proof Morgan Dollar, and it is also among the most instantly recognizable of all branch mint proof coins regardless of type or issue. Considerable documentation exists for the creation of these coins, according to which a mere 12 specimens were struck on February 20, 1879 to commemorate the reopening of the New Orleans Mint (the facility had ceased production in 1861 at the onset of the Civil War). Of the original 12 coins struck, only four specimens are known to exist. (more…)