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All Posts Tagged With: "us gold coins"

Carson City Double Eagles Gold Coins: An Introduction and Overview

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Carson City twenty dollar gold pieces, or double eagles, are the most available gold coins from this mint. Only one date in the series, the 1870-CC, can be called truly rare, although a number of other dates are very rare in high grades. Amassing a complete collection with an example of each date is an enjoyable pursuit. And if you decide not to include the 1870-CC because of its prohibitive cost, don’t despair; many collections do not include this date.

A collector of average means can put together a nice set of Carson City double eagles with the average coins in the Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated range. The collector will soon learn that only the 1870-CC presents a great challenge in terms of availability. There are an estimated 40-50 examples known in all grades. This means that no more than four dozen or so complete collections of Carson City double eagles could possibly exist. In comparison, the maximum number of Carson City half eagles that could exist is around five dozen while around three dozen (or a few more) eagle sets from this mint might be formed. In each series, the 1870-CC is clearly the “stopper” or key date.

The completion of an average quality Carson City double eagle set is somewhat easier than a comparable half eagle or eagle set, provided that the collector is willing to accept coins that do not grade Mint State-60 or better. There are just 19 dates required to form a complete set. Carson City double eagles are without a doubt among the most popular United States gold coins. Their large size, combined with their romantic history, makes them irresistible to many collectors. This fervent collector base is most evident when one examines the great popularity of the 1870-CC. This issue has increased dramatically in price and popularity since the last edition of my Carson City gold coins book was published in 2001. As this is being written (2010) there are a few examples actually available to collectors but a few years back it was nearly impossible to locate an 1870-CC double eagle at any price.

The greatest challenge for the collector of these coins is not finding specific dates but, rather, locating clean problem-free coins.

As with the other Carson City gold series, it is very challenging to pursue the double eagles in higher grades; in this case About Uncirculated-55 and higher. It becomes even more of a challenge when the collector demands clean, original coins with a minimum of bagmarks and abrasions. As a rule, CC double eagles are less rare in high grades than their half eagle and eagle counterparts (at least the issues from the 1870’s and 1880’s). This means that locating really choice coins is not as difficult as with the half eagles and eagles from the first decade of this mint’s operation. (more…)

1834-1844: A Decade of Great Change for U.S. Gold Coinage

The decade between 1834 and 1844 was the beginning of the modern era at the United States mint. The second half of this decade was especially interesting. A number of experiments and acts of legislation provided some of most attractive and popular issues in the history of American coinage.Classic Head Quarter Eagles

A combination of factors occurred in the early to mid 1830’s that led to these design changes and the introduction of new mints and new denominations. Large quantities of gold were discovered in North Georgia and western North Carolina in the early 1830’s. This led to the establishment, in 1834, of branch mints in Charlotte, New Orleans and Dahlonega. These mints opened in 1838 and by the end of the 1830’s, all three were producing gold coins.

First Steam Powered Coining Press Introduced in 1836An important technological advance was the introduction of the steam press in 1836. Coins were now able to be struck using a close collar which allowed for a thicker edge and a more precise diameter and sophisticated designs. It also meant that the quaint, “folk art” designs of John Reich were to be replaced with more modern, technologically savvy renderings.

Christian Gobrecht was named the new Mint Engraver in 1835, after the exodus of John Reich. Gobrecht was a talented artisan whose skill enabled the Mint to modernize its gold coinage. Beginning in 1838, he attempted to create a uniform Liberty Head design for all three of the current gold denominations. This design would remain, with minor changes, until 1907.

One of the first assignments that Gobrecht was given was to design a new gold dollar. A small number of experimental pieces were produced in gold (Judd-67) as well as in a gold alloy, silver and copper. Despite an attractive design, this experiment did not produce any immediate results and the gold dollar denomination was shelved until 1849.

As more and more gold was discovered in the south, the importance of the yellow metal in coinage increased. Conversely, large discoveries of silver in Mexico and South America meant that the price of gold bullion rose. The Classic Head quarter eagle was introduced in 1834 and it featured a design by William Kneass and John Reich. The weight of these quarter eagles was reduced to 258 grains (from 270) and the diameter was lessened from nineteen millimeters to 17.5. Most importantly, mintage figures rose dramatically. Between 1829 and 1834 around 25,000 quarter eagles were struck. In 1834 alone, over 112,000 of the new Classic Head pieces were produced.

Gobrecht’s experimentation with the Classic Head design began in 1835 when the head was made taller. In 1836, there are no less than three variations of the head: the original design of 1834, the taller head of 1835 (based on Kneass’ original design) and the head of 1837 (with the hair distant from the sixth star) which was actually executed by Gobrecht. (more…)

Finally…An Appeciation for San Francisco Gold Coinage

After decades and decades in the dumps, it looks like there are small signs of life in the San Francisco gold coin market. But the activity in this market area is sporadic, to say the least, and is being led by exactly the sort of coins that you wouldn’t think would be the pacesetters.

There are plenty of overgraded, unappealing high priced San Francisco gold coins on the market right now. You haven’t been able to give these away for years. You still can’t. San Francisco gold coins that are faux-rarities, uninteresting dates or processed with no eye appeal are impossible to sell.

The coins that are suddenly selling have three things in common:

1. They are genuinely rare dates and most are either from the Civil War era or the years right before the war (i.e., 1858 through 1860).

2. They are well-worn but problem-free coins in the VG to VF grade range. These are true collector coins and this little renaissance of interest is obviously collector-based.

3. They are in PCGS holders. There are a few exceptions to this rule but the people buying these coins seem to want PCGS graded coins. This may be because they are forming Registry Sets.

The denominations that seem to have generated the most interest are half eagles and eagles but from time to time a quarter eagle is included as well.

The recent Heritage Central States auction included a few early, rare San Francisco gold coins that nicely illustrate this new trend. Let’s take a quick look at each.

The first was Lot 3476, an 1862-S quarter eagle that was graded F15 by PCGS. This is a rare date in all grades with just 8,000 struck. It sold for $1,092.50 against a Trends value of $550 in F12. Why did it sell for double Trends? The reason is obvious: Trends is way too low for a coin as rare as this. I would have figured it was worth around $700-800 but even at a shade under $1,100 I think its great value. (more…)

The Story of America’s Most Beautiful Coin

By Dr. Thomas F. Fitzgerald, From Vol 4 Issue 4 of the California Numismatist

1933 $10 Indian Head EagleThe Cast of Characters President Theodore Roosevelt, artist-sculptor Augustus Saint- Gaudens, Henry Hering and the chief engraver of the United States Mint, Charles Barber, played pivotal roles in the creation of one of our most beautiful coins in the history of the coinage of the United States.

Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York in 1899 and ascended to the office of Vice President of the United States in 1901. With the tragic shooting of President William McKinley on September 6, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President and was inaugurated on September 14, 1901. He ran for the office and was elected President in 1904.

The parents of Augustus Saint- Gaudens migrated to the United States shortly after his birth in Dublin, Ireland on March 1, 1848. The family settled in New York. Saint-Gaudens always believed he was destined to become a sculptor and, at an early age, became a cameo cutter. He studied drawing at the Cooper Institute (1861-65) and was a student at the National Academy of Design (1865-66) receiving an Honorary LL.D. from Princeton.

Augustus Saint GaudensTraveling to Paris, Saint-Gaudens studied at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts (1866-70) and in Rome (1870-72). By 1885 he began to spend his summers in Cornish, New Hampshire and in 1900, he made his residence there.

Saint-Gaudens was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 1900 and he had been in treatment, including surgery, since that time. The cancer continued and grew worse. During the first six months of 1906, the artist struggled with the constant debilitating pain caused by this disease. He spent most of March 1906 in Corey Hill Hospital in Brookline, Mass. Upon his return home, he continued to work but was quite limited due to his poor health. He relied more and more on his assistant, Henry Hering. By May 1906 Saint-Gaudens had to rely on his assistant to do all of the relief modeling. His doctors were no longer able to treat his cancer by radiation and Augustus Saint-Gaudens slipped into a coma and died at his home on August 3, 1907

Henry Hering was born in New York City on February 15, 1874. He attended the Art Students League in New York (1894-98) and, like Saint- Gaudens, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1900 Henry Hering arrived in Cornish, New Hampshire where he served as an assistant to Saint-Gaudens. He remained in Cornish until the death of his mentor in 1907. (more…)

Rare Gold Highlights Platinum Night at Central States Auction

A 1921 double eagle, graded MS63 by PCGS and pedigreed to the famous Norweb Collection, is the signature rarity of the upcoming Heritage Auction Galleries U.S. Coin Auction, with floor sessions held April 28 – 30 in conjunction with the Central States Numismatic Society’s annual convention in Milwaukee, WI.

The Norweb 1921 double eagle, is an incredible coin in its own right but greatly aided by its pedigree. In our most recent auction in Fort Worth, the glamorous Norweb pedigree helped propel a 1911-D quarter eagle to the top of the Prices Realized chart, and the Norweb name is sure to aid this double eagle as well.

As with many later dates in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series, the 1921 was never released to circulation in significant numbers, making it scarce today. The Norweb 1921 double eagle is the most important coin in The Carter Family Collection, which contains a broad range of rarities. Additional highlights include lot 2352, a 1920-S double eagle graded MS64 by PCGS, and lot 2370, a 1932 double eagle graded MS66 by PCGS.

Another marquee coin among the Platinum Night gold is Lot 2234, an 1879 Flowing Hair Stella in gold, graded PR66 by NGC. The unusual denomination of four dollars has made this pattern a longstanding favorite, accorded a place of honor alongside regular-issue coins in many collections and numismatic publications.

In minor coinage, two prominent Featured Collections cater to different tastes: The Boca Collection, Part II is a continuation of the collection first offered in January 2010, containing a wide selection of proof coins to be sold individually. Important selections include Lot 2406, a Snow-9 1856 Flying Eagle cent pattern PR63 NGC, and Lot 2714, an 1895 Morgan dollar PR64 Cameo NGC.

Copper and silver coins offer plenty of choices outside of the Featured Collections as well. Lot 2033, a matte proof 1909 VDB Lincoln cent graded PR64 Red and Brown by PCGS, has great appeal for 20th century copper specialists. (more…)

Overdated United States Gold Coins

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

One of the most interesting varieties of United States gold coinage is the many overdated issues that exist. Some are very rare and others are common; some are well-known and some are very obscure. But all share a common trait: a high “coolness factor” that makes them desirable with collectors. What are overdates and how can the collector of United States gold coins focus on these issues?

An “overdated” coin is one on which two dates are present. A famous example is the 1942/1 dime. An overdate occurs when one of more digits from the current year is punched into an older working die. Overdates are often intentional creations and they may exist for a number of reasons.

In the early years of the US Mint, steel to make dies was scarce and funds were scarcer. The Mint operated on a shoestring budget and if any dies were leftover at the end of the year, there was good reason to reuse them. There are many overdates from the 1790’s and early 1800’s and many were probably caused by economic reasons.

Quality control at the Mint during the early years was often lax and some overdates appear to have been produced by accident. These accidents occurred when an engraver inadvertently employed a date punch that was not consistent with the die he was working on. This appears to be the case with some of the overdated coins produced during the 1830’s and 1840’s.

Let’s look at some of the more interesting overdates that occur on Liberty Head gold coins. We’ll save overdated early U.S. gold coins for another time as the list and scope of these is very comprehensive.

Gold Dollars:

There are no gold dollars that were overdated. It is interesting to note that there are very few varieties of note in this entire denomination. The branch mints, where one would have expected an overdate or two to have occurred, never produced one in this denomination.

Quarter Eagles:

The Philadelphia, Charlotte and Dahlonega issues from 1839 have been called 1839/8 overdates in the past but this is incorrect. The only genuine overdate for the Liberty Head type is the 1862/1. This is a clearly visible overdate that was probably caused by the stress involved with producing gold coinage during the most intense year of the Civil War. It was once believed to be extremely rare but now is only regarded as very scarce. In higher grades, the 1862/1 is very rare. I have personally seen two or three in Uncirculated including a PCGS MS62 that was the best of these. (more…)

The Numismatic Double Play: Revisiting A Buying Strategy for US Gold Coins.

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Say the words “double play” and most people think of Jeter to Cano to Texeira. But in the world of gold coins, the concept of the double play has another meaning altogether.

Back in the 1980’s and the 1990’s it was common to see large-sized U.S. gold coins marketed with the “double play” strategy. What this meant was that these coins had two inherent factors that contributed to their price structure: their intrinsic gold value and their numismatic value.

The double play concept became stale over the course of time and marketers moved on to find other way to peddle their product. But I believe that this is an idea with merit and one that should be revisited in today’s value-conscious market.

People who buy U.S. gold coins typically fall into two camps: those who are investors and those who are collectors. What if a third category became a factor in the market; an investor-collector hybrid who focused on semi-scarce to scarce issues that sold for relatively small premiums above their basal value(s)?

There are basically two denominations that are perfect for the investor-collector hybrid: the ten dollar gold piece (or “eagle”) and the twenty dollar gold piece (or “double eagle”). If you’re with me so far, I’m going to suggest that we narrow our focus to two specific issues: the With Motto Liberty Head eagle (produced from 1866 through 1907) and the Type Two Liberty Head double eagle (produced from 1866 through 1876).

Here are some basic facts about these issues. The With Motto Liberty Head eagle weighs 16.718 grams and it contains 90% gold. As I write this article (in mid-April 2010) gold is trading for a touch above $1156 per ounce. The trading levels for eagles are as follows:

MS60: $700
MS62: $740
MS63: $1,210

It doesn’t take a numismatic genius to immediately note that MS62 appears to be the best value grade for this type. At just a $40 premium above MS60 coins, you are talking around a 5% increase for what is generally going to be a much nicer coin. So for the sake of convenience, let’s stick with the MS62 grade for this denomination.

The “base line” date for Liberty Head with motto eagles is the 1894 as it has the highest PCGS population in Uncirculated and in MS62. There have been 18,116 examples graded by PCGS or which 6,013 are in MS62. These numbers are, of course, swollen by resubmissions but the ratio of around one-third of all 1894’s graded being in MS62 seems correct based on my experience. (more…)

The Best Values in Todays Rare Coin Market

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

There are many issues that face collectors in the coin market of 2010. A lack of quality coins is driving many collectors to seek new areas of specialization. Both PCGS and NGC have recently added “plus” grades which will no doubt change certain areas of the market as well.

More than ever, collectors are gravitating towards areas that offer value. The days of new collectors and uninformed wealthy investors arbitrarily throwing money at plastic rarities are over and we appear to be back to a collector-oriented market.

So what are some of the areas in this new market that offer the best value to collectors? I have chosen three price ranges ($1,000-5,000; $5,000-10,000 and $10,000 and up) and included some of the series and/or types that I feel are especially good values. Some are currently popular; some are not.

What I have tried to focus on are coins that are actually available in some quantity and issues that I gladly buy to put into my own inventory when they are available.

$1,000-5,000

a) Gold Dollars, 1865-1872:

The eight year run of gold dollars produced at the Philadelphia mint from 1865 through 1872 doesn’t include any real rarities but nearly all of these coins are scarce and undervalued in MS63 to MS64 grades. Most are priced in the area of $1,500-2,000 in MS63 and $2,000 to $3,000 in MS64 (the 1865 is rarer and more expensive in both grades) and they seem like good value to me. Take the 1872 as an example. Just 3,500 business strikes were made and only a few hundred exist in all grades. In MS64 this coin is worth around $3,000 yet it might take me months to find a decent example in this grade. Yes, gold dollars are small but this is a very collectible series and one with a number of really undervalued issues. (more…)

The Finest $10 Indian Head Eagle Gold Coin Registry Set: The Simpson Collection

The all-time finest set of Indian Head Eagles was among the first coins certified under the new PCGS Secure Plus (http://www.pcgs.com/secureplus.html) system.

Known as “The Simpson Collection” and now added to the popular PCGS Set RegistrySM, the 32-coin set was assembled with the help of Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey.

The set includes 18 of the finest known gem mint condition examples of their date and mint with none graded higher. Eleven of those are unique in their top grade including a 1920-S graded PCGS MS67+, the owner’s personal favorite coin in the set.

The set was displayed at the Professional Coin Grading Service booth during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas, March 25 – 27, 2010. The revolutionary new PCGS Secure Plus system was formally announced there on the first day of the show by David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe, Inc. President, and Don Willis, PCGS President.

“This is the finest $10 Indian set ever assembled,” said David Hall – Co-Founder of PCGS. “The quality and originality of the set are unsurpassed in numismatic history. In my opinion, the 1920-S is the most important $10 Indian in existence.”

The Simpson collection is ranked in the PCGS Set Registry as the All-Time Finest set of gold Indian Head $10 circulation strikes, 1907- 1933 (http://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/alltimeset.aspx?s=71313). It has a weighted grade point average of 66.335 and is 100 percent complete.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural set to be submitted through PCGS Secure Plus. Thirteen of the coins received the ‘+’ designation. Our entire team was blown away by the quality of these coins,” said Willis. (more…)

Coin Profile: The 1920-S Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle

The 1920-S double eagle is a prized rarity in the Saint-Gaudens series, and it holds a unique historical position in that assemblage. Before the United States entered the First World War, gold twenties actually circulated in the western part of the country. Coins from that early period are more available today than later dates such as the 1920-S.

The war brought inflation, with consequent rising prices in gold and other metals. Double eagle production in San Francisco was halted in 1916 and did not resume until 1920. A large mintage of 558,000 pieces was produced at the San Francisco Mint that year, but the commercial role of the double eagle had changed. The big gold coins no longer circulated freely, and ordinary citizens seldom saw them. Instead, the government and the banking system kept the coins in reserve. By this time, double eagles served two purposes: The government used some, stored in mint bags, to redeem Gold Certificates. Other coins were used as specie payments to foreign governments and banks.

Private ownership of gold became essentially illegal after the Gold Recall Act of 1933, and most of the government-held coins were melted in 1937, converted into gold bars, and transported to Fort Knox. The coins used in international trade largely escaped this fate, and many of them were found decades later in European banks. Enough circulated specimens of the 1920-S exist to suggest that a few bags may have reached circulation, but examples have never been readily available. Almost all of the mintage was melted. The 1920-S issue was the earliest date subject to this destruction, and it is demonstrably scarce today.

Collecting large-denomination gold coins became popular for the first time during the 1940s. Some of the greatest collections of that era included specimens of the 1920-S double eagle and helped establish the 1920-S as a rare and desirable coin. However, it was the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection, sold by B. Max Mehl in 1949, that really put the coin on the map.

Mehl’s usually terse lot description expanded to eight lines on this occasion. He noted that Dr. Green had purchased the coin at the Bell sale for $160 and asserted it was, “One of the most difficult dates and mints of the Double Eagles to obtain.” The Green sale had a dramatic effect on double eagle collecting in general. (more…)

The Carson City Gold Coinage of 1870

By Pinnacle-Rarities

The gold coinage from 1870 is among the rarest and most famous issues from the Carson City mint. It has a number of factors that make it very appealing to collectors: low original mintage figures, very small surviving populations, low average grade and numismatic significance as the very first gold issues from this historic mint.

Gold and silver were discovered in Northern Nevada in the late 1850’s and the area was experiencing a full-blown gold rush by the early 1860’s. In 1863, a mint was authorized in the Territory of Nevada. After experiencing some construction delays, a new branch mint opened in the booming town of Carson City in 1870. It actively produced coins until it was closed in 1893.

In 1870, the Carson City mint struck silver dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars. Three gold denominations were produced as well: half eagles, eagles and double eagles. All three are interesting and worthy of a closer inspection.

I. 1870-CC Half Eagle

A total of 7,675 1870-CC half eagles were produced. It has been estimated that 50-60 pieces are known today and this number can be broken down as follows:

Uncirculated: 4
About Uncirculated: 7-9
Extremely Fine: 13-15
Very Fine: 26-32

The half eagle is the most available of the three gold denominations produced at the Carson City mint in 1870. It is likely that a few were saved as souvenirs by local residents. Still, this is a rare coin in all grades. The typical piece is likely to show extreme wear, deep marks on the surfaces and poor luster as a result of mishandling. Any 1870-CC half eagle that grades Extremely Fine-45 or better is quite rare and properly graded About Uncirculated pieces are very rare.

Very high-grade 1870-CC half eagles (in this case AU-55 and above) are extremely rare and very desirable. These are the only 1870-CC dated gold issues that are known in this level of preservation (the eagle and the double eagle are essentially unknown above AU-50) which means that a number of condition-oriented collectors are actively seeking to locate a choice 1870-CC half eagle. (more…)

America’s Forgotten Coin Rarities: The 1842 Quarter Eagle

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In the second part of this series on coins that I believe are truly rare but not fully appreciated I am turning my focus on an issue that is very interesting to me: the 1842 quarter eagle.

1842 is, in general, an interesting year for quarter eagles. Four mints produced these coins: Philadelphia, New Orleans, Charlotte and Dahlonega. The mintage figures ranged from a low of 2,823 at Philadelphia to a high of 19,800 at New Orleans. With the exception of the 1842-O, all four are quite scarce in any grade and each is very rare in high grades.

Although it is not the most highly valued quarter eagle dated 1842 (that honor goes to the 1842-D), the 1842 is the rarest, both in terms of overall and high grade rarity. There are an estimated 35-45 known in all grades with most in the Very Fine to Extremely Fine range. I believe that there are six to eight in properly graded About Uncirculated and I think this date is unique in Uncirculated.

The most recent PCGS/NGC population figures show a combined total of fifty graded. This includes two in Uncirculated (more on these in a moment…) and eighteen in About Uncirculated. The population figures are, as usual, inflated, especially the AU coins listed by NGC.

This is generally a well made issue which shows good overall detail at the centers and borders. The luster tends to be semi-reflective but most 1842 quarter eagles are either worn to the point that they show no luster or they have been stripped and display little if any original surface. Most of the pieces I have seen have been abraded and at least a few are either damaged from having been scratched or show evidence of rim filing. The natural coloration is a bright yellow gold. (more…)

1834-1844: A Decade of Great Change for U.S. Gold Coinage

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

The decade between 1834 and 1844 was the beginning of the modern era at the United States mint. The second half of this decade was especially interesting. A number of experiments and acts of legislation provided some of most attractive and popular issues in the history of American coinage.Classic Head Quarter Eagles

A combination of factors occurred in the early to mid 1830’s that led to these design changes and the introduction of new mints and new denominations. Large quantities of gold were discovered in North Georgia and western North Carolina in the early 1830’s. This led to the establishment, in 1834, of branch mints in Charlotte, New Orleans and Dahlonega. These mints opened in 1838 and by the end of the 1830’s, all three were producing gold coins.

First Steam Powered Coining Press Introduced in 1836An important technological advance was the introduction of the steam press in 1836. Coins were now able to be struck using a close collar which allowed for a thicker edge and a more precise diameter and sophisticated designs. It also meant that the quaint, “folk art” designs of John Reich were to be replaced with more modern, technologically savvy renderings.

Christian Gobrecht was named the new Mint Engraver in 1835, after the exodus of John Reich. Gobrecht was a talented artisan whose skill enabled the Mint to modernize its gold coinage. Beginning in 1838, he attempted to create a uniform Liberty Head design for all three of the current gold denominations. This design would remain, with minor changes, until 1907.

One of the first assignments that Gobrecht was given was to design a new gold dollar. A small number of experimental pieces were produced in gold (Judd-67) as well as in a gold alloy, silver and copper. Despite an attractive design, this experiment did not produce any immediate results and the gold dollar denomination was shelved until 1849.

As more and more gold was discovered in the south, the importance of the yellow metal in coinage increased. Conversely, large discoveries of silver in Mexico and South America meant that the price of gold bullion rose. The Classic Head quarter eagle was introduced in 1834 and it featured a design by William Kneass and John Reich. The weight of these quarter eagles was reduced to 258 grains (from 270) and the diameter was lessened from nineteen millimeters to 17.5. Most importantly, mintage figures rose dramatically. Between 1829 and 1834 around 25,000 quarter eagles were struck. In 1834 alone, over 112,000 of the new Classic Head pieces were produced. (more…)

20th Century Gold Club Holds Fascinating Meeting During FUN Convention

By Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. Introduction to the Club and this Meeting

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, the 20th Century Gold Club conducted their fifth meeting at a hotel near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando where the January FUN Convention was held. In the field of choice and rare U.S. coins, the annual Winter FUN Convention is one of the leading events of the year.

This club is private, small, exclusive, and sophisticated. I am honored to have been invited to attend. Moreover, I feel privileged to have the cooperation of the founders for the purpose of writing about the proceedings and communicating the educational and other purposes of this club to coin enthusiasts at large. Some of the presentations and discussions at the event were truly fascinating and the enthusiasm of the members for coins filled the atmosphere. The event was stimulating and fun.

The current president, Jay Brahin, directed the meeting. The speakers were David Hall, John Albanese and John Dannreuther. David Hall is the primary founder of the PCGS and he is currently the CEO of its parent company. Hall is an expert in early 20th century U.S. gold coins.

Hall spoke about the new PCGS program of identifying coins that each have a market value of $1 million or more, the “Million Dollar Club.” I asked if coins in museums are included, and I was surprised that they are with rather specific estimated values. I also asked why the two unique 1797 Half Eagles in the Smithsonian are not on the list. Reportedly, these two 1797s are the only known survivors of two different, readily apparent varieties. Additionally, Hall voiced intriguing comments regarding PCGS estimates of the values of 1933 Double Eagles.

In the second part of David Hall’s presentation, he introduced the results of research at the PCGS regarding the market values in 1970 of Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. The tricky part of such research is determining how specific coins in 1970 have or would be later graded by the PCGS, so price appreciation of specific dates in specific grades can be tracked and analyzed. Though David Akers voiced a critical remark or two regarding such values, most of the members of the club were impressed by the data and astonished by how low the prices were for such terrific coins in 1970. As an aside, note that Dr. Duckor has long argued that gem quality, better-date early 20th century gold coins were not really appreciated until the 1980s. One of the purposes of the club is to bring about a greater appreciation of early 20th century gold coins. (more…)

Stack’s Sells Two Important Dahlonega Gold Coin Rarities

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In their recently concluded January 2010 Americana sale held in New York, there were two record-setting Dahlonega gold coins that I think are worth taking a closer look at. What were these two pieces and why did they sell for as much money as they did?

The first piece was an 1861-D gold dollar graded AU53 by PCGS. I had sold this exact coin a few years ago and was familiar with it. It was very high end for the date and grade and, by today’s standards, would probably grade AU55 to AU58. I expected that it would bring around $40,000 or so. It sold for $57,500. I believe that this is an all-time record price for a circulated 1861-D dollar.

This coin did so well for a number of reasons. The first, obviously, is that it was a nice coin. 1861-D gold dollars are not well-known for having good eye appeal and the last few that have been available have either been damaged or not terrifically appealing. The second is that there is currently an unprecedented demand for this date. The 1861-D dollar is an indisputably cool coin and a lot of people are looking for coins like this right now. Given the supply/demand ratio, it seemed likely that this coin would sell for a strong price but, again, I was pretty stunned at it bringing close to $60,000.

What would this coin have sold for in another environment? Probably a lot less. One thing about auctions is that it only takes two people to really want a coin and it can sell for a ton of money. If I had owned this exact 1861-D dollar and put it on my website, I’m sure my asking price would have been in the low $40’s and I might have not even expected to get that much money for it. But now that the bar has been raised for the 1861-D dollar, I expect that the next one offered will be priced enthusiastically, to say the least. (more…)

Astonishing 1907 Denver Mint Double Eagle ($20 gold coin) Sells for More Than a Half Million Dollars

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

I. The Sale of this 1907-D $20 Gold Coin

During the course of the January 2010 FUN Convention in Orlando, arrangements were finalized for the sale of a 1907-Denver Mint Double Eagle that is possibly unique in Proof format. It is NGC certified as “Proof-62” with a “Farouk” pedigree noted. It is thus indicated that it was formerly in the epic collection of King Farouk.

In November 2009, Carlos Cabrera, Executive Vice President of Park Avenue Numismatics, acquired it from a collector. This coin became the star of the FUN bourse floor. Cabrera then finalized the sale and handed it to a buyer of rare and important coins. Cabrera reports that the price “was well above a half million dollars.”

There is no evidence of another specially struck 1907-D Double Eagle ($20 gold) existing. It has been suggested that Proof 1906-D Double Eagles exist. I have seen the 1906-D that the PCGS has certified as “Specimen-66.” While that 1906-D Double Eagle is a wonderful coin with a very distinctive appearance, I find that this 1907-D Double Eagle fulfills the criteria for a Proof and that 1906-D does not. (more…)

Better Date Type Two Liberty Head Double Eagles: A Re-Evaluation

By Doug Winter – RareDateGold.com

As recently as a few years ago, collecting Type Two Liberty Head double eagles was very popular. A marketing firm located in the Southwest had actively promoted this series, other firms had jumped on the Type Two bandwagon and the series had caught on with collectors.

ha_1866_20_011910Then, with little warning, the aforementioned marketing firm shifted their focus onto other series and suddenly the Type Two double eagles were out of favor. This has left the savvy collector with an opportunity that I find very interesting.

Before I get specific about the Type Two double eagles that I feel are overlooked and undervalued, let me give you a little bit of background about this series. The Type Two double eagles were produced from 1866 until 1876 and they are so named due to having the second major design of the Liberty Head type; in this case the addition of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse. These coins were produced at the Philadelphia, San Francisco and Carson City mints. The CC issues are well-known and avidly collected. The San Francisco issues tend to be condition rarities (i.e., they are obtainable in lower grades but scarce in higher grades). It is the Philadelphia issues that, I believe, offer the best value to collectors.

Many of the Philadelphia issues of this design type are extremely common. Dates that fall into this category include the 1873, 1875 and 1876. But there are a few that are scarce in all grades and are priced within the price parameters of many collectors. With the value levels of even common dates double eagles soaring in the recent months, these Philadelphia issues seem like particularly good value right now. (more…)

Bonhams First Coin Auction Had Areas of Incredible Strength, Most Notably in US Gold

The December 3rd Coins and Banknotes sale, presented by Bonhams New York, was the first of its kind to be held at the auctioneers’ New York showrooms, numismatics from across the globe eagerly awaited the opportunity to bid on over 400 exceptional lots.

bonhams_panpac_50_120809“I am delighted to have been able to organize and hold our inaugural auction at Bonhams New York,” commented Director of Coins and Banknotes, Paul Song. “Although some parts of the rare coin and banknote market were selective, we had areas of incredible strength, most notably in the US gold, where we realized prices never seen before for US regular issue gold coinage of the 19th and 20th century. We look forward to our next auction in the spring of 2010”.

Clearly one of the most coveted lots in the sale was a 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific Round (pictured, above). Considered one of the most desirable of Classic Era commemorative coins, this is the largest official coin produced by the United States Mint and features the helmeted head of Minerva on the obverse and an owl on the reverse. With an amazingly limited number of defects, both sides are bathed in a shimmering velvet bloom. The rarity and importance of this issue, as well as the beautiful quality, resulted in a final price of $54,990.

Also drawing collectors was an 1851-O $20. Although coined in a large mintage of 315,000 pieces, the vast majority of these disappeared long ago. Only a mere handful exist in high grades, and perhaps just 100 or so are of as fine a quality of the present example. Touching off a round of intense bidding, this fine and seldom found piece drew the impressive price of $12, 285. (more…)

The Philadelphia Gold Coinage of 1870

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

The 1873 and 1875 gold issues from this mint have received considerable fanfare over the years but I think the Philadelphia gold coinage from 1870 is pretty interesting as well.

1870_us_gold_120609 Having recently sold a number of high quality 1870 Philadelphia gold pieces, I thought it would be interesting to present an in-depth study of these, going from the dollar all the way up to the double eagle.

Gold Dollars: A total of 6,300 business strikes were produced along with 35 Proofs. This is a reasonably common date in most grades with an estimated 250-300 known. Probably half of (if not more) are in Uncirculated grades and the 1870 gold dollar is almost never seen below About Uncirculated grades, indicating that it did not circulate widely. There are at least two dozen Gems known and a few incredible Superb Gems including a PCGS MS68 and a group of four to six MS67’s. The finest known is Heritage 3/06: 1714 ($18,400), ex Superior 2/05: 3424 ($14,375), Superior 11/03: 1166 ($15,525). Some of the PCGS MS67 pieces include Bass II: 175 and Childs: 567.

The 1870 gold dollar is typically a well produced issue with attractive color and rich soft frosty luster. The natural coloration tends to a medium to deep golden hue. Many are a bit softly struck at the centers and the 87 in the date may not be fully formed.

This is an affordable issue that is good value with decent quality Uncirculated pieces still available for around $1,000. Gems trade in the $4,000-5,000 range and seem like good value. (more…)

Gold Reaches New Heights at $1130 oz. Where Does It Go From Here?

This morning Gold has surged again to a record high of over $1130 per oz as safe haven buying and a continuing weak dollar fuel continued demand. But where is gold heading?

gold_bug_1In an interview with The Daily Telegraph during a London gold conference, Barrick President Aaron Regent said that one could argue that Earth has reached “peak gold,” as new supplies of the ore are increasingly difficult to find.

“The supply crunch has helped push gold to an all-time high, reaching $1,118 an ounce at one stage yesterday,” the paper noted. “The key driver over recent days has been the move by India’s central bank to soak up half of the gold being sold by the International Monetary Fund. It is the latest sign that the rising powers of Asia and the commodity bloc are growing wary of Western paper money and debt.”

Bloomberg reported that  “The metal seems set to extend higher as record low interest rates, inflation concerns, central-bank purchases and falling mine output draws a broad spectrum of investment demand,” said James Moore, analyst at TheBullionDesk.com, in a note to clients.

“We are looking to see if the dollar index breaks lower, which could push gold above $1,150 and on towards $1,180,” he said.

Another analyst stared that “This is a different type of gold rally, with support coming from both sides of the market — investment [and] fundamental,” said Darin Newsom, a senior analyst at Telvent DTN. “A certain portion of the buying interest has come from the continued weakness of the dollar, but there is more to it than that, there is some ‘safe haven’ buying as well, but with copper holding firm and the Baltic Dry Index rallying, the Chinese economy seems to be gaining strength,” boosting investor confidence, he said.

And further confirmation of the  retail demand for gold comes from Laura Sperber in her Baltimore Coin Show Market Report. Sperber observered that”if you had gold, you sold”. ALL gold, was selling briskly. The demand reminded us of 1980″.

Also, news from last week that India had purchased 200 tonnes of gold from the IMF was solid confirmation that demand may be here to stay. The view that central banks will continue to be net buyers of gold rather than net sellers (as has been the case for about the last twenty years) has many calling the Indian purchase at $1,045 an ounce the “new floor” for the gold price.

China has already doubled its gold reserves over the last six years, but the Indian move underscored how even the most traditional investors are shifting a portion of their assets into bullion.

So at this juncture, all indicators seem to point to the continued rise in gold prices, at least for the near term.