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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

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

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NumisMedia Monthly

July 2014

Auctions Have Improved With Age

       Back in the seventies, major auctions brought out some wonderful rarities and it was really the only way collectors could view and purchase so many amazing coins at one time. Most successful auctions had a total prices realized of two to four million dollars. Little did we know back then that the new century would bring auctions that regularly realize ten to twenty million dollars and more, and single coins selling for as much as some of those earlier auctions had totaled. The depth and breadth of these auctions have helped pave the way for numismatics to gain a superb reputation, an evolution that is nothing less than astonishing.

       Heritage Auctions recently featured the Eugene H. Gardner Collection in New York City. Prices realized nearly hit $20 million; and this is only part one of four sales. For over fifty years, Mr. Gardner has meticulously assembled one of the most historic collections of all time. He is not only a top-notch collector, he is also a historian who documents his coins and is more than willing to share his knowledge with anyone who takes the time to listen. Not only does this auction feature an abundance of true rarities, the coins are totally original with most showcasing patina that draws the eye to the exceptional quality of each individual coin.

       With so many quality coins assembled in one sale it is difficult to select any one as the ultimate highlight; however, if price realized dictates the selection, then it would be the 1796 Bust Dime. And this is not just an ordinary Bust Dime. This PCGS certified beauty grades MS67 and includes the CAC sticker. There are none finer for this variety and the final price was $881,250.

1876 CC Twenty Cent PCGS MS64

1796 Bust Dime MS67 PCGS CAC from Part I of the Eugene H. Gardner Collection sold for $881,250 in Heritage Auctions U.S. Coins Signature Auction in New York June 23, 2014

       Due to the rarity of the 1796 Bust Dime in MS67, with only two certified, there were very few trades over the last six years. In July 2008 the FMV was $184,380 and in July 2009 the FMV was listed as $275,000. Today the FMV is at $325,000 nearly doubling in value in six years. With its CAC verification, extreme rarity, and multiple bidders vying for the coin at auction, it is no wonder that this coin brought quite a bit more than the current FMV.

       Part I of the Gardner Collection also included a variety of early coins from Half Cents to Dollars. With so many rarities and varieties of specific dates, one could choose any number of coins to highlight. Your list of personal favorites could look completely different from the ones that we chose to include below.

Date/DenominationGradePrice Realized
1793 Half CentPCGS MS63 BN$95,175
1793 Chain Cent AMERI.PCGS MS63 BN$440,625
1793 Chain Cent AMERICAPCGS MS64 BN$396,563
1793 Wreath Cent Vine & BarsPCGS MS68 BN$329,000
1864 Two Cent Sm. MottoPCGS PR66 Red$105,750
1802 Half DimePCGS AU50$352,500
1837 Half Dime No StarsPCGS PR67 CAC$105,750
1800 Bust DimePCGS MS66 CAC$352,500
1822 Bust DimePCGS PR66 Cameo CAC$440,625
1858 S Seated DimePCGS MS66 CAC$88,125
1873 CC Seated Dime w/ArrowsNGC MS65$199,750
1876 CC Twenty CentPCGS MS64$470,000
1823/2 Bust QuarterPCGS PR64 CAC$396,563
1850 Seated QuarterNGC PR68$223,250
1871 CC Seated QuarterPCGS MS65 CAC$352,500
1901 S Barber QuarterPCGS MS67 CAC$258,500
1919 S Standing Liberty QuarterPCGS MS67 FH$235,000
1794 Flowing Hair HalfNGC MS61$152,750
1797 Draped Bust HalfPCGS MS63$282,000
1839 O Bust HalfPCGS MS66 CAC$129,250
1855 Seated DollarPCGS MS64 CAC$141,000

       As you can see there were quite a few CAC coins which contributed to some of the premiums paid for these rarities; there were as many as 350 CAC coins available. As we have learned from previous auctions, this has become a major selling point for most coins and especially for better rarities.

       The Gardner collection contained two 1796 Bust Dimes; one was an MS64 certified by NGC and the other the previously mentioned MS67 by PCGS with the CAC sticker. The difference in price realized was $840,000. This shows the power of demand for the highest grade available and the invaluable knowledge of the population reports. There are a total of 24 coins certified in MS64 by PCGS and NGC and 29 in MS65 & MS66. There are only two in MS67, the present piece and one certified by NGC.

       Many of the coins sold have truly remarkable pedigrees behind them indicating that prominent numismatists shared the history of some magnificent U.S. coins. There will be many adjustments to FMV prices from this fantastic sale over the next couple of weeks, be sure to check the Online FMV Price Guide for these changes.

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