Some of you may remember from my post about getting my MS65 1888 in early 2018 that, at the time I won that coin, I’d only seen one other coin of that date come up for sale that had been graded by NGC. That wasn’t too surprising given that, at the time, only 20 had been graded by NGC and, even now, only 22 have been encapsulated by NGC.
I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to check this before but PCGS has graded a total of 33. So, assuming there hasn’t been any that were cracked out and/or re-submitted without having the old labels sent in to have them pulled from the census, there’s at most 55 of these coins graded by the two major companies. Side note – but I’m a bit surprised that more of these have been graded by PCGS than NGC – I thought NGC tended to grade more World coins and had a better reputation with World coins but maybe collectors of this series prefer PCGS overall – or maybe they used to. It’s all hard to say for sure.
That other coin was an MS-62 that the seller wanted $875.00 for. I watched that thing I think for the better part of two years, wondering if it would sell and wondering if the seller would drop the price if it didn’t – they never did. In early 2016 – before I got laid off a few months later - I tried to offer the seller $650 for it - more than reasonable I thought at the time (I think the price guide at the time put it at about $575 in MS63). They still wanted over $800 and counter-offered with $825.
I passed. I had had a hard enough time just making that offer. I found the idea of an MS62 for that set fairly underwhelming. I really wanted MS65 or better for that set but I had been somewhat willing to accept it for that coin just because it was the key-date of the series.
That coin continued to sit in their inventory – until it didn’t! it went poof one day and I never knew (but always wondered) if someone finally bit the bullet and paid what they wanted for it or if they just gave up and pulled it off eBay.
Well… I think I might have found out!
The other day I got an email for my saved search on the 10G series and it was an 1888, in MS62, in the same generation of holder as that one from before (they were both in the newer generation of holder with the edge-view and the prongs). I can’t remember 100% for sure - it’s been a long time, literally years - but I think it was the same seller offering it for sale too. Except now, it wasn’t not listed as a BIN for $875. It was selling in an auction and the starting bid price of $0.99.
I guess, after about 5 years or so now, they’ve finally given up on waiting, wishing, and hoping they’d find someone willing to buy it at that price.
It reminds me of something “Just Bob” said on the chat boards recently – “you have to remember that, for many series, 600 pieces extant would be a huge hoard.” Even with only 22 graded by NGC (I have no clue how many of the original mintage of ~35,000 survive to this day), if the collector base is shallow enough, as it seems to be with this set, an MS62 could still prove to be a cheap coin that can be had for near melt. “Rare” is relative and “rare” doesn’t always translate into “valuable.”
Seeing this pop up like this immediately got my interest and my curiosity piqued. Obviously, my finances being what they are at this point, I have no interest in getting in on this. Even if I had the cash, I wouldn’t have to worry about bidding on this. I have the 1888 that I want already – fortunately this does not have to be salt in the wound right now. I got to watch this sell, never bidding, and smile the whole time, because I got to see what everyone else thinks this thing is truly worth. Even if I’m wrong and it isn’t the same coin or the same seller, I still got to see what this thing went for when the bidders get to set the price. (There’s only 6 graded by NGC in this grade, so I have at least a 16% chance I’m right, right?)
I knew going in that it wasn’t going to get anywhere that $875 asking price of yester-year. Even the MS65 I got only pulled in $500, so unless in the last two years a couple of collects with deep pockets that feel a burning need to get one of these coins that’s graded by NGC this wasn’t likely to exceed $500.
The end result?
$327.75 after shipping (a hair over 37% of that old original $875 asking price).
15 Bidders made 25 bids. So, you can’t say that it flew under the radar or didn’t get much attention.
It feels good to know / have it reconfirmed for me (as if getting the MS65 for cheaper wasn’t enough) that I was right to not go for this back in the day and that I was far from being alone in thinking that that asking price was too high.
Always go with your gut. If it feels wrong, if it feels like too much, it is. If it feels like a bad buy, it is. If you aren’t 100% thrilled to pull the trigger / enter the bid / hit “buy,” don’t do it. In my experience, if you aren’t happy in that moment, it doesn’t get better.
Now to go look at my MS65 1888 10G - which I still think is freaking awesome 13 months later.