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All Posts Tagged With: "Us Gold"

NGC Certifies Historic Cache of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

These coins were part of a family’s possessions during World War II exile and remained together for more than 65 years.

NGC has certified a very interesting group of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that have remained in the possession of a family since prior to World War II. When purchased in Europe last month, their unusual history was revealed to the buyer. During the turbulent period prior to World War II, these coins were a trove meant to sustain a family through the worst possible situation.

Just subsequent to the Nazi invasion of this family’s home country in 1940, each of these coins was sewn into the lining of a leather coat. With great risk, they were spirited out to a safe-haven neutral country, where they have been kept ever since.

According to the gold buyer, who relayed the history of these coins to NGC, the family in possession of the coins elected to sell them this year because gold had risen to record price levels. The group of 200 coins has been encapsulated with the pedigree WWII EXILE HOARD.

While other US gold coins come from caches with similar histories, several features contribute to the significance of this group. When they arrived at NGC, many of the coins still had bits of leather still adhering to the coins’ rims.

At the submitter’s request, professionals at Numismatic Conservation Services expertly removed the leather so that the coins would be eligible for certification. Their unconventional storage imparted a number of the coins with a delicate reddish patina that was left untouched during conservation.

Another unusual feature is the uniformly high grade of these coins. Each graded from MS 63 to MS 67, with seven coins achieving this highest grade and a greater number grading each MS 66 and MS 66+. All are dated 1924 and 1925, with over three-quarters being from the latter date.

Is It Time to Buy an S.S. Central America Double Eagle Gold Coin ?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

For many years, it’s been no secret that I haven’t been a big fan of the 1857-S double eagles that trace their origin from the famous S.S. Central America shipwreck. I’ve written that price levels of these coins haven’t made sense to me and I’ve have had problems with their appearance. More than a decade after they were first released onto the market, has my opinion changed?

I believe that this is (finally) a sensible time to purchase an S.S.C.A double eagle. But there are some important parameters for the collector to follow when considering a purchase. Some of these are as follows:

1. Be Selective. There are over 5,000 1857-S double eagles from this shipwreck and they range in grade from Extremely Fine to Mint State-67. With this wide variety of grades, there are a tremendous number of coins to choose from. At any given major auction, there are typically three to five available and it isn’t terribly hard to find them in specialist dealer’s inventories. I have noticed a huge variation in quality for coins in the same grade. As an example, I’ve seen some in MS63 holders that I’ve loved and I’ve seen some in MS63 holders that I thought were horrible. Spend 10-20% more and buy a coin that is high end and attractive. In some instances, you will be able to buy nice, high end examples for little or no premium.

2. Find the Sweet Spot. In my opinion, the “right” grade range for one of these 1857-S double eagles is MS63 to MS64. There is not much of a premium for these two grades over AU and lower Mint State grades and when you buy a coin that grades MS63 to MS64 you are getting good value. In the current market, AU58 examples can bring as much as $3,500-4,000. An MS63 is worth around $7,000-8,000 while an MS64 is worth $8,000-9,000. It seems to me that an MS63 at around 2x the price of an AU58 is good value. And it also seems to me that an MS64 at around $1,000 more than an MS63 is good value as well.

3. Stick With Coins in Original Holders. It is important to focus on 1857-S double eagles that are in their original gold foil PCGS holders. And having the original box and other packaging is an added benefit. Avoid coins that are not in these holders and stay clear of NGC graded S.S. Central America double eagles. They may be nice coins but they have been cracked from their original holders and probably upgraded.

4. Avoid Coins That Have “Turned” in the Holder: All of the coins in this treasure were conserved after they salvaged. The conservation process has been well-documented and, in some cases, the work was outstanding. But there are other coins that have “turned” in the holder. These can be identified either by very hazy surfaces or unnatural splotchy golden color. Avoid these coins and look for pieces that are bright, lustrous and evenly toned. At this point in time, coins that haven’t turned are probably not going to.

5. Disregard The Die Varieties. All 1857-S double eagles from the shipwreck are attributed to a distinct die variety. There are over 20 varieties known. Some are probably rare but it is even rarer to find a collector who cares. I’d suggest not paying a premium for these.

6. If You Are Buying a PL or DMPL Example, Carefully Study the Market. A very small number of 1857-S double eagles were designated as either Prooflike (PL) or Deep Mirror Prooflike (DMPL) by PCGS. These are some of the most visually arresting coins from the shipwreck. I have seen a few pieces in the last few years bring extremely high premiums. These are no doubt very scarce and very flashy coins but I question the premium that they are currently bringing. If you do decide to purchase such a coin, carefully check auction prices for comparable examples and make certain that the price you are paying is in line with the last auction trade. (more…)

Coin Market: Generics slow to match gains of gold, silver

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report
First published in the November 8, 2010, issue of Coin World

Some of the coins that one would expect to rise such as generic Mint State Morgan silver dollars and Coronet and Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagles are showing only minimal gains, although they are trading at high volumes.

On Oct. 14, gold hit a historic high London AM fix price of $1,380.75 an ounce, and during intraday trading that day reached a record $1,388.10.

The same day the U.S. dollar sunk to lows not seen since January upon news that Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke indicated that another round of government monetary stimulus funding may be necessary to revive the U.S. economy.

As silver continues to flirt with $25 per ounce, MS-63 through MS-65 Morgan dollars – the bread and butter of the generic market – are showing some upward movement in price, with several dealers paying more than wholesale “ask” prices for MS-64 and MS-65 dollars, as long as they are “white or white-ish,” to fill large orders from retailers.

Retail prices may increase soon in kind, although some collectors will likely elect to sit out the silver coin market for a while, hoping that the price of silver declines and their wanted coins return to more affordable levels.

As an example, when a common silver quarter dollar is trading for almost $5, many collectors are in no rush to buy.

Circulated silver dollars are showing even more action, with several wholesale dealers paying $22 for Extremely Fine pre-1921 Morgan dollars and $29 for uncertified Mint State examples.

As the public continues to sell these coins to dealers in record numbers, a steady supply is created that should keep prices from escalating rapidly.

Prices for generic gold coins continue to lag behind gold’s ascent and most issues show modest if any price increases. Those prices still have not come close to the levels seen at the beginning of the year, despite the fact that gold is now 25 percent more expensive.

An increased supply of these coins is entering the marketplace, keeping prices in check, at least for now.

A Numismatically Significant 1859-D Quarter Eagle

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

I recently bought and sold a seemingly innocuous 1859-D quarter eagle that had a great degree of numismatic significance. Before I explain why, let me give you a little background on the specific coin and on this issue in general.

This 1859-D quarter eagle has been graded as Fine-15 by PCGS. It is the single lowest graded example of this date seen by either service. In looking back through my records, I have seen very few that grade below Extremely Fine and certainly can’t recall a non-damaged Fine example.

The example I sold is problem-free and actually quite attractive despite its extensive wear. It shows nice natural coloration and the obverse is a full Very Fine from the standpoint of detail.

This is the final quarter eagle produced at the Dahlonega mint. But, for all intents and purposes, the death knell for this denomination at the Dahlonega mint had been spelled as early as 1854 when mintages figures declined precipitously from the 1840’s. In 1856, only 874 were struck; making this the lowest mintage figure of any coin ever produced at this branch mint. In 1857-D, the mintage increased to 2,364 but no quarter eagles were made in 1858. 1859 saw a resumption of the denomination but only to the tune of 2,244 coins. None were struck in 1860 and when the mint closed in 1861, no further plans had been made to coin quarter eagles.

The 1857-D and 1859-D are interesting issues among the quarter eagles from this mint. The grade distribution is different for these issues than for nearly all other coins from Dahlonega. The coins from the 1840’s and early 1850’s have what I regard as a typical distribution of survivors: most are in the VF-EF range with AU coins being scarce to rare and Uncirculated coins being very rare to extremely rare.

But in 1857 and 1859, the distribution curve looks different. These two dates are almost never seen in grades below EF and are most often seen in About Uncirculated. Both are rare in Uncirculated but not as much so as their very low mintage figures would suggest. There are as many as ten Uncirculated 1859-D quarter eagles known as well as another four or five dozen in About Uncirculated. This doesn’t seem like a lot of coins but when you consider that there are only 150 or so known from the original mintage, the fact that nearly half grade AU or better suggests that this issue didn’t circulate as freely as the quarter eagles from the 1840’s.

I had long believed that the 1859-D was an issue that saw very little circulation. The existence of the coin shown above is proof that at least a few examples did circulate. I don’t believe that this Fine-15 example was a pocket piece as it shows all the hallmarks of extensive natural circulation. Ironically, it is more rare in this grade than it is in Uncirculated and, to my way of thinking, this is one of the neater Dahlonega quarter eagles to have come up for sale this year: a highly circulated example of a date that was hitherto believed to have never seen extensive circulation. Considering that this coin cost its new owner well under $2,000 I think it is an amazing piece of Southern gold history.

Coin Profile: An Analysis of The Johnson-Blue Collection of Liberty Head Eagles

by Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Every few years, an auction takes place that gives me a bad case of “Dinosaur Syndrome.” By this, I mean the coins bring so much more than what I bid that I think to myself that I’m a dinosaur and am out of touch with current Numismatic Reality. After I talk myself out of this and take a deep breath or two, I find that analyzing the sale is a useful tool for my bruised psyche.

Just prior to the 2010 Boston ANA convention, Stack’s sold a specialized group of Liberty Head eagles that they named the “Johnson Blue” collection. These coins were interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, they were clearly fresh to the market and, I am told, many of them were purchased by the consignor back in the 1980’s. Secondly, the coins mostly had original surfaces with a nice crusty appearance; a welcome change from the usual processed better date Liberty Head eagles that one sees available in today’s market. Finally, there were a number of dates that you typically don’t see much anymore (such as 1863, 1864 and 1865) in grades that were above-average.

I had a feeling that this was going to be a strong sale, but the final results were pretty stunning to me. In some cases my bids were close to winning a lot; in other cases they were laughably distant from the eventual final bid. Let’s take a look at some of the more significant eagles in this collection and ponder on their prices.

1842-O, Graded MS61 by PCGS. Lot 1094.

Stack’s sort of underplayed this lot in the catalog, but New Orleans eagle collectors knew that this was a special coin. There are just three Uncirculated examples known to me and this fresh example had excellent color and surfaces. The last Uncirculated piece to sell was Superior 5/08: 103, graded MS61 by NGC and pedigreed to the S.S. Republic shipwreck. It brought $29,900 but I discounted this price as the coin was not attractive. But given this prior sales record, I bid $40,000 for the Johnson-Blue example and thought I had a decent shot of buying it. I wasn’t even close. The coin brought $74,750 which, to me, is an incredibly strong price and one that shows me the depth of this market.

1848-O, Graded AU55 by PCGS. Lot 1101.

This was a nice example of a date that isn’t really all that rare in the higher AU grades. I figured it would grade AU58 at NGC. There have been at least seven different auction records between $5,000 and $6,000 in the last six years for AU55 coins and a nice AU58 is worth $7,500 to $8,500. This coin brought $12,650, or around double what I would have paid. And results like this set the tone for the whole evening. (more…)

The Story of the Two Greatest Gold Shipments In The History of the United States Mints

by Dr. Thomas F. Fitzgerald from the California Numismatist

Twice within a span of almost twenty-five years, all of the gold from the vaults of the 2nd San Francisco Mint, sometimes called the “Granite Lady,” was sent to the United States Mint in Denver, Colorado. Yet the story of these two operations could not have been more different. The first transfer was accomplished with so much secrecy that even the newspapers knew nothing of what was going on. But the second transfer was so well publicized that it included parades and search-lights calling attention to the shipments. This is the story of these two great shipments of gold.

The Very Secret Gold Transfer of 1908

In May 1897 newspaper editor and publisher Frank A. Leach accepted a political appointment by President McKinley to become the superintendent of the San Francisco Mint. He had wanted to divest himself of the newspaper business and this seemed like an ideal new career. Leach assumed his duties on August 1, 1897.

The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fires

It was a typical dawn in the Bay Area. Without warning a shaking of the earth occurred. It was 5:12 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, 1906! The “Great San Francisco Earthquake,” as it became known, was followed within seconds by a violent shaking that ruptured numerous gas lines resulting in dozens of fires. At the same time it was discovered the city’s water mains had been damaged. San Francisco, surrounded on three sides by water, could not battle the flames with water.

Just two years after the famous 1906 earthquake left the San Francisco mint’s surroundings in shambles, concerns about the mint’s storage capacity and security prompted the move of 331 million dollars worth of bullion to the mint in Denver.

Frank Leach made his way from his home in Oakland to the mint and, together with 50 mint employees and a squad of 10 soldiers, prepared to fight the inferno and save the mint. However, at the beginning of the struggle, the outcome was very much in doubt. The battle lasted for hours but shortly before 5:00 p.m. the fires were out and the building was saved. The men were able to leave the mint, return to their homes and reunite with their families.

More importantly for our story, the mint’s basement vaults that contained millions of dollars of gold and silver coins were saved. (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:

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 BULLS, THE BEARS, AND CALIFORNIA GOLD COINS

By Richard Giedroyc – HCC Rare Coins

Once upon a time gold was worth a paltry amount compared to the lofty figures it commands per ounce today. Since gold didn’t have such an incredible value, nor did it fluctuate much in price, it was practical to be used as a coinage metal.

California Fractional Gold CoinsThe United States is only one of many countries that over many centuries issued gold composition coins. As the United States expanded so did its need for circulating coinage. In 1848 gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California. People dropped whatever they were doing, sometimes almost literally, and headed for the west coast of what today is the United States to seek their fortunes. Believe it or not even the gold mines in the Carolinas and Georgia in the Appalachian Mountains were abandoned as people perceived that it would be much easier to mine the golden metal in California than in the east.

Some found what they sought. Others would be disappointed. One thing, however, was certain. If the population explosion in California was to be sustained economically either barter would have to be greatly expanded or a lot more coins than had been available were going to be needed in commerce.

The United States recognized the need for a regionally located mint to fill this need. Prior to the establishment of the San Francisco Mint facility in 1854 private parties, primarily jewelers and assayers, produced their own coinage to fill the void. Since gold was readily available while silver was not the private coinage issuers in California used gold to produce what today are generally referred to as Pioneer or Private and Territorial Gold issues.

Although most collectors will remember the more famous issues struck in denominations of $5, $10, $20, and $50, these same private minters struck fractional denominations as well. These “quarters,” “half dollars,” and “dollars” were also struck in gold, since silver was not generally as available. These coins are tiny, many of them being less than 20 millimeters in diameter.

These fractional denominations were useful in making small change, but they were also a nuisance due to their diminutive diameter. These small denomination gold coins were easily lost. There was little consistency to their designs or shapes. Some depicted the head of Liberty, while others depicted an Indian. Some were round, while others were octagonal. It was likely quite a relief once the San Francisco Mint was able to begin supplying sufficient quantities of small change coins to displace these fractional issues.

These small denominations first appeared in 1852. Some of them had as much as 85 percent of their face value as precious metal content, while others were gold plated. The Coinage Act of April 22, 1864 made all privately produced coinage illegal, however due to a lack of enforcement and poor wording of the legislation many of these small denominations continued to be issued simply without a denomination on them. For practical purposes the issues ceased after 1883, however after this date imitation tokens that were backdated to the 1850s continued to be issued right into the early part of the 20th century. (more…)

Unusual Items: US Mint ‘Gold Disks’ Made for Oil Payments to Saudi Arabia

One of the things we find most exciting about reporting on the numismatic marketplace is coming across those things we either didn’t know beforehand, or finding obscure and unusual numismatic items. Just recently we came across one such item, the Gold Disks produced by the US mint for ARAMCO oil payments to Saudi Arabia after World War II.

Below are excerpts from two different articles we located, one from 1981 and the other from 1991.

The Coins that Weren’t

“In Saudi Arabia, gold coins have always been important in the monetary system. For years, in fact, paper money was unacceptable, and to pay royalties to the government, Aramco once flew kegs of both gold and silver coins to jiddah. In 1952, when the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) was formed, the first coin issued was a Saudi sovereign – a gold coin equal in weight and value to the British sovereign – that was later demonetized and today sells for about $124.

To collectors, however, the most interesting Saudi gold coins weren’t coins at all; they were “gold discs” Similar to coins, they were minted by the Philadelphia Mint in the 1940’s for Aramco, and bore, on one side, the U. S. Eagle and the legend “U. S. Mint, Philadelphia, USA” and, on the other side, three lines on the fineness and weight. They looked like coins, they were used as coins, but, technically, they weren’t coins.

In the 1950’s, numismatists were puzzled by these “discs” until-in 1957 – the story emerged in The Numismatist. Aramco, required to pay royalties and other payments in gold to the Saudi government, could not obtain the gold at the monetary price fixed by the United States so the U. S. government specifically began to mint the “discs” – actually bullion in coin form for these payments. In 1945, for example, the mint turned out 91,210 large discs worth $20, and, in 1947,121,364 small discs worth $5, according to The Numismatist.

(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…)

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…)

Interesting Subsets for Gold Coin Collectors

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

dw_may09_5wvalueWhile I am personally still a fan of collecting gold coins by sets, I understand that this method is not for everyone. Some individuals find set collecting monotonous; others lack the patience to assemble anything but a short set. And other collectors simply do not have the financial resources available to work on a set that might not only have a long duration but may contain many expensive coins as well.

One interesting compromise is for a collector to work on a subset. This subset might take many forms. As an example, let’s say a collector really likes Type One Liberty Head double eagles but he is realistic enough to know that he will never be able to afford the expensive New Orleans issues that populate this set. The solution is to pick an alternative within this set that is completable. Later on in this article I will discuss an actual subset that I have worked on with a number of collectors that still allows them to finish a Type One set; just without spending $1 million+.

For the sake of brevity, I am only going to mention four potential subsets in this article. But there are many, many others that are highly collectible.

1. Civil War Era Gold Coins.

A set of Civil war gold coins is among the more challenging of the subsets that a collector might choose but it is certainly one of the most popular as well. A complete Civil War gold set would consist of the following:

-Gold Dollars (6): 1861, 1861-D, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1864

-Quarter Eagles (10): 1861, 1861-S, 1862, 1862/1, 1862-S, 1863, 1863-S, 1864, 1865, 1865-S

-Three Dollars (5): 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865

-Half Eagles (12): 1861, 1861-C, 1861-D, 1861-S, 1862, 1862-S, 1863, 1863-S, 1864, 1864-S, 1865, 1865-S

-Eagles (11): 1861, 1861-S, 1862, 1862-S, 1863, 1863-S, 1864, 1864-S, 1865, 1865-S Normal Date, 1865-S Inverted Date

-Double Eagles (12): 1861, 1861-O, 1861-S, 1861-S Paquet, 1862, 1862-S, 1863, 1863-S, 1864, 1864-S, 1865, 1865-S.

In total, there are 56 coins in the Civil War gold set. The coins range from very common to very rare and most are extremely hard to find in higher grades.
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The Great Branch Mint Gold Popularity Contest of 2009

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

I realize that the title of this blog sounds like an outtake from the Dukes of Hazzard but I thought it might be an interesting topic to take each branch mint and analyze it in terms of its popularity. Then, for the icing on the proverbial cake, I thought it would also be interesting to name the five or so most in-demand issues from each mint.

dw_102009Just as an FYI, I am not including Denver among the five branch mints as it is relevant only to 20th century issues and this article is primarily focused on 19th century gold coinage.

1. Dahlonega:

At this point in time, I’d have to rank Dahlonega as the single most popular of the branch mints. I am basing this on the following observation. Dahlonega coins, at least for me, seem to be as easy to sell now as they were a few years ago. There are certainly exceptions to this rule; namely overgraded examples priced in the $10,000+ range, high grade common date gold dollars priced at $10,000 and above and virtually any coin in any price or grade range that is not at least fairly original and appealing. But nice, properly graded and fairly priced D mint remains a best-seller for my firm.

I would have to rank half eagles as the most popular coins from Dahlonega right now, followed closely by quarter eagles. The price range that seems most in-demand is $1,500-5,000 but expensive Dahlonega gold will sell if it is a scarce, popular issue or if the coin is very high end. Coins with good pedigrees are popular right now and this is clearly an area in the market where many collectors are searching for CAC-quality coins.

The Five Most Popular Dahlonega Gold Coins in 2009: 1861-D gold dollar, 1854-D three dollar, 1838-D half eagle, 1839-D half eagle, 1861-D half eagle.
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Stunning Smithsonian Coins Exhibit in PCGS Video

The acclaimed, new traveling exhibition of the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection, “Good as Gold – America’s Double Eagles,” now can be seen on a free, new video available online courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.

pcgs_jim_hughes_101909The 7 minute program is on PCGS’ home page at www.PCGS.com. By clicking the full screen option, viewers get can get an up close ‘n’ personal with some of America’s greatest numismatic gold rarities that were exhibited for the first time together outside of Washington, D.C. at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money convention in Los Angeles, August 5 – 9, 2009.

“This stunning exhibition will be displayed at the next three ANA spring and summer conventions. We created this video in cooperation with the Smithsonian and made it available on our web site so that everyone can enjoy seeing and learning about these amazing coins whenever it is convenient to do so,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

Jim Hughes, Associate Curator of the National Numismatic Collection, gives viewers a “private tour” describing and showing on camera many of the 20 historic coins in the exhibit.
One part of the Smithsonian exhibit.

Highlights include an 1849 pattern Liberty Double Eagle, the first $20 denomination coin struck by the United States Mint during the early days of the California Gold Rush, and two of the Smithsonian’s three 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, representing the last year of production.

Hughes describes the 1849 pattern as “probably the highlight of highlights of the Smithsonian collection.”

The videos also shows examples from the exhibit of branch mint gold pieces as well as territorial and private gold coins, such as Clark, Gruber & Co. of Denver, Baldwin & Co. of San Francisco, and Mormon gold pieces struck in Salt Lake City. (more…)

Unusual Items: Lowest Graded Half Eagle Gold Coin to be Sold by Heritage

1857-S_5_pcgs_poor1_100509The mantra in almost all areas of collecting is Quality, Quality, Quality! High end coins are always in demand, regardless of the series. Dealers and well heeled collectors often go toe to toe at auctions chasing up prices for the finest graded, finest Known and condition census examples of both great rarities and classic coins.

However there is also another group of collectors out there. They search dealer boxes and online auction sites just as diligently, but usually little attention is paid to their acquisitions. However they are a growing group of “less is more” collectors, all looking for the lowest graded examples of coins they can find; The Low-ball registry set collector. The collectors who try to assemble the Lowest average grade sets, where PO-01 equals MS68-70.

In some respects, their search is harder than one might think. How many PCGS Fine graded Saints have you seen lately?

This month, at Heritage’s Dallas Sale on October 24th, these Low-ball collectors will get a chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to bid on the 1887-S Half Eagle in PCGS P-1.

It’s not only the single lowest-graded example of the date either major grading service has seen (PCGS Population (1/1535). NGC Census: (0/2464)), but it’s also the single lowest graded example of any coin in the entire Half Eagle series.

Interested in bidding on this item?, Click Here

The 1810 Half Eagles

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In a recent blog about undervalued early gold issues, I mentioned that the half eagles of 1810 were confusing enough (even to a specialist such as me) that this tends to suppress values for some of the rare issues that are known from this year. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the various 1810 half eagles.

1810_5_101409There are no less than four varieties known for the 1810 half eagles and each is distinctive. Two are reasonably available, one is very rare and the fourth is an extreme rarity.

1. 1810 Small Date, Tall 5. BD-1, Breen-6462, Miller-114. This is the second most available variety of the year. Dannreuther estimates that there are 150-225 known from an original mintage of approximately 20,000-30,000 coins. I think his number extent may be just a bit on the low side. This variety is reasonably easy to locate in all circulated grades although choice AU’s with original color and surfaces have become quite scarce. In Uncirculated, the 1810 Small Date, Tall 5 is quite scarce with an estimated five to six dozen accounted for. The finest known is a coin graded MS65 by PCGS that I have not personally seen. There are four to six known that grade MS64.

The Small Date variety can quickly be identified by its having the flag of the 1 in the date being at a steep angle that points downwards. The overall date size is also noticeably smaller than the Large Date. On the reverse, the 5 is placed low in the field and it appears to rest on the denticles. The three denticles below the 5 appear to be shortened and this exact reverse is found on the 1811 BD-1 half eagle.
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Collecting $10 Liberty Head Gold Coins

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

If you have deep pockets and lots of patience, assembling a set of $10 Liberty Head gold is one of the greatest challenges in all of U.S. numismatics. Even if you are lucky as far as locating the rarities in this series, you are looking at a $1-3 million commitment of funds and a time frame that should last at least three to six years; if not more.

dw_10lib_090409I once asked a $10 Lib specialist how he came to choose his set. To paraphrase his answer, he replied something along these lines: “gold dollars were too small, quarter eagles were too monotonous, three dollars and five dollars were incompletable (due to the 1870-S three and the 1854-S five) and double eagles were overpriced. That left the ten lib series…”

It’s hard to argue with brilliant logic like that. And there are a few more points to add. First, the coins are underpriced. As an example, there are a slew of issues that are really cheap (right now) when compared to coins like $10 Indians or Saints or even Liberty Head double eagles. The second is that these coins are big and contain nearly half an ounce of gold. So every time you buy a “boring” common later date issue you are still accumulating a nice chunk of this precious metal. Thirdly, you don’t (currently) have a huge number of collectors competing against you which means that if a rare undervalued coin comes up for sale, you just might be able to buy it very reasonably.

If I were a collector just beginning this series there are a few things that I would do right away.

The first is choosing a great dealer to work with you. Yes, this is a self-serving comment and yes I think I’m the right man for the job. That said, this is a long, complicated series that involves a lot of coin knowledge and good decision making. You can’t assemble a good set of $10 Libs with a mediocre dealer guiding you and you surely can’t do it on your own.
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