Coin Specifications

Category: Modern Commemoratives (1982-Date)
Mint: West Point
Mintage: 281,465
Catalog: KM-223
Obverse Designer: Elizabeth Jones
Reverse Designer: Marcel Jovine
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 8.36g
AGW: 0.2419oz
Melt Value: $292.55 (5/27/2016)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF obverse 1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF reverse


  
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VarietyPlus®

There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

The summer games of the 24th Olympiad were held in Seoul, South Korea in 1988. Though the USA did not host any of the events, the issuance of commemorative coins was justified as a means of raising money for training our athletes. This argument did not convince everyone, and there was some considerable protest among hobby figures that this program was inappropriate and exploitative of collectors. Nevertheless, a bill was passed October 28, 1987 that authorized the coining of not more than ten million silver dollars and not more than one million gold half eagles. In addition to whatever price the U. S. Mint determined for these coins, surcharges of $7 and $35, respectively, were to be applied to each silver dollar and half eagle sold. This money would be forwarded to the United States Olympic Committee.

As was true of several of the modern commemorative programs, both coins turned out to be collaborative efforts. The silver dollar was designed by Patricia Lewis Verani (obverse) and Sherl J. Winter (reverse). Verani’s obverse features two torches held in upraised hands. The torch of Lady Liberty is seen lighting the Olympic torch, and both are framed by olive branches symbolizing peace. The date and the coin’s mintmark appear in the right field, while the initials ‘PV’ are seen below the arm at left. The reverse design by U. S. Mint Engraver Sherl J. Winter depicts the USA Olympic logo at center, flanked again by olive branches, though these are more natural in appearance than the stylized branches employed by Verani. Winter’s initials ‘SJW’ are placed below the stem of the right olive branch. The balance of both sides is comprised of statutory inscriptions.

An uninspiring work, the 1988 Olympic silver dollar looks more like an award medal than a United States coin. The uncirculated version was struck at the Denver Mint (letter ‘D’ below the date), while proofs were produced in San Francisco (‘S’). The list prices of these coins were $22 and $23, respectively, during the pre-order period, but these were later raised to $27 and $29 after May 15, 1988. Such figures applied to coins purchased singly or in small quantities. To encourage large sales, however, the Mint offered quantity discounts on purchases or 10,000 or more coins. A number of large wholesale and retail coin dealers took advantage of these options. A similar sliding scale was offered for the Olympic Half Eagle. In fact, the number and complexity of pricing and packaging options for this program were bewildering to many.

From an artistic standpoint the gold half eagle was far superior to the silver dollar. Indeed, it was among the very few highlights in an otherwise somewhat mediocre series of modern commemoratives. For the obverse U. S. Mint Chief Engraver Elizabeth Jones created a facing bust of Nike, the goddess of victory, adorned in a laurel wreath. The simplicity of this imagery, with just the date at left and LIBERTY superimposed across Nike’s neck, proves once and for all that United States coins are usually ruined through the placement of too much statutory text (the motto IN GOD WE TRUST is tastefully concealed on the ribbon that secures Nike’s laurel wreath). Marcel Jovine’s reverse is more routine, with a stylized Olympic flame beneath the USA Olympic logo, yet it is handled with such care that it transcends the typical treatment of these stock elements. The initials of Elizabeth Jones appear on the truncation of Nike’s bust, while those of Marcel Jovine are placed on the rightmost flame of the torch.

Both the proof and uncirculated editions of the Olympic Half Eagle were coined at the West Point Mint (‘W’). Like the dollar coins, they sold quite well, despite the convoluted sales program with its too many options. The half eagles were priced at $200 for uncirculated coins (becoming $225 after May 15, 1988) and $205 for proof pieces ($235 for coins ordered after May 15). The silver dollar was included in 1988’s Prestige Proof Set, in addition to the regular complement of cent through half dollar. These sets were priced at $45, the same as in the previous year, but sales were just over half of what they had been in 1987.

GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/26/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF Ultra Cameo
  GVGFVFXF5053555861626364656667686970
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 390 410 525

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 9606
Low Grade: 62
Average Grade: 69
High Grade: 70


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
10/17/2001 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Teletrade Auction 1495, 1495/Lot# 1755 $105.50
9/18/2006 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 105, 110/Lot# 1042 $299.00
9/23/2007 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 1813 $368.00
6/14/2011 NGC PF 70   Ultra Cameo Stack's Bowers The June 2011 Baltimore Auction, 92/Lot# 654 $379.50
9/18/2011 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131139/Lot# 20629 $431.25
11/17/2011 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions Thursday Modern Coin Auctions Session(1), 241147/Lot# 18226 $431.25
2/7/2013 PCGS PF 69   Ultra Cameo Heritage Auctions 2013 February 7 -8 & 10 US Coin Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(5), 1182/Lot# 8852 $440.63


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base63365568070572975678180983786789692692893093193393393593894110891641
64066368871373876479081884787790692792993093293393493693999012730
00000079081884787790692792993093293393493693999000
000000800828857886916927929931932933934937940104000
1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base68270573175678381184086889893096199199399499699799910011004100711631739
690714739765792821849878909940971992993995996998100010021005105913550
000000849878909940971992993995996998100010021005105900
000000859888919951981992994995997998100010031006111100
1988 W OLYMPICS $5 PF Ultra Cameo
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base733758785813840870900930961994102710601062106310641066106710691072107612391843
7417677948228508809109409721005103810601062106310641066106710701073113014400
0000009109409721005103810601062106310641066106710701073113000
0000009209509831016104910611062106310651066106810711074118400
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 1843
Owner: Alaska Coin Nut
 
Grade: PF 70 UC
Points: 1843
Owner: American Freedom
 
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