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Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

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NumisMedia Monthly

March 2014

$10 Gold Liberty - Identifying Potential Rarity

       Rare U.S. Gold still appears to be the number one attraction for most collectors and investors. And one of the best kept secrets in numismatics is the $10 Gold series, more specifically, the Liberty series. From the Bust type to the Indian, this denomination has so many rarities that it would be difficult to include them all in this article. Therefore, we will direct our focus on the dates from the With Motto series, dated 1866 to 1907. Many of these rarities trade very infrequently, but when a sale does occur, the trading information usually updates an FMV price which had not been changed for some time, and often quite dramatically. The populations for many of these coins is typically below 10 for the specific grade, and in most cases the population for all grades totals well below 100 for PCGS and NGC combined.

       A good example of a rarity that does not trade very often is the 1883 O $10. The original mintage for this date is just 800 coins. There have been only 48 total coins certified by PCGS and NGC in all circulated grades, with only one coin in Mint State, an MS61 by NGC. Take a look at the recent price history of this date in AU55.

1883 O $10 Gold Liberty AU55

       For nine straight years the FMV for the 1883 O $10 Gold in AU55 did not change. Not because collectors were not interested in this date, but primarily because there was no trading information. The few coins that were certified were in strong hands, the owners were not about to let them go for the then FMV levels. However, in 2010 we can see that the FMV moved up to $31,880, and then within one year jumped to $59,380 where it remained for the next three years, and is now currently at $76,880. There are only a handful of With Motto $10 Liberties that had an original mintage under 1,000 coins, but there are many that will attract the attention of the advanced collector and knowledgeable dealer. The following list is a small assortment of dates that may have the same type of potential as the 1883 O because of their low populations and even lower availability in the market.

DateGradeFMV# Certified by Grade
1867 S $10 GoldAU58$24,3803
1870 CC $10 GoldXF40$46,88016
1873 CC $10 GoldAU53$42,8107
1874 CC $10 GoldAU58$38,3506
1874 S $10 GoldAU58$20,6305
1876 $10 GoldAU58$40,6306
1877 S $10 GoldMS61$31,2502
1879 CC $10 GoldAU53$43,1306
1879 O $10 GoldAU58$38,35015
1883 O $10 GoldAU55$76,8804

       While the 1870 CC in XF40 and the 1879 O in AU58 have higher populations for the grade, these are two very popular coins with low mintages. The 1870 CC had an original mintage of 5,908 coins, but from the population reports we can determine that the total number of certified coins is only 82 coins in all grades from VG10 through AU55. There are only 35 coins certified above our listed XF40 grade which means there are only 35 collectors or dealers who can own one of these AU coins. Granted, it would be difficult to determine how many collectors there are in the world who potentially want one of these coins but we are certainly aware of at least 100 dealers around the country that would purchase any or all of this date if they were made available. Judging by the results from the latest auctions for any of the dates mentioned in the chart above, the FMV for an AU55 1870 CC at $122,850 would likely be adjusted upward if one was put up for auction. With only four coins available at the most, the demand for one of these would be significant.

       As for the 1879 O, this coin had an original mintage of just 1,500 coins; the total number of coins certified by PCGS and NGC is 85 coins. Two of those are MS61, one by each service. So the AU58 is virtually the highest available coin for this date. With 15 coins certified AU58, the current FMV is $38,350. We have no recent trading information for the MS61 and there has not been any buy prices available from any legitimate source.

       Four of the coins in our chart are Carson City coins and we could have included a few more. All of these coins share many of the same characteristics as to rarity, availability, low populations, and most importantly demand. However, when you add in the mystique of the Carson City Mint, the number of collectors increases twofold in just about any auction. When it comes to Mint State Carson City $10 Liberties, there are very few in the 1870's and not that many in the 1880's either. The only dates with significant Mint State populations are the 1890 CC, 91 CC, and 92 CC.

       We limited this report to a manageable number for brevity but there are many other dates and grades you may consider. Simply look at the original mintage, the current population reports, the FMV on both sides of the grade you are considering, and certainly check the historical FMV of the coin to see how it has evolved over the years. And if you find one of these rarities with particular eye appeal, the coin would have even more potential.

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