NumisMedia Market Report: 1804 Dollar Electrifies Auction

Posted on 6/16/2009

The recent auction sale of the 1804 Dollar is a strong indication that truly rare coins are still quite marketable. Read on to learn why this is a positive phase for astute collectors.

While the overall market continues to show softness compared to a year ago, the sale of the 1804 Dollar by Heritage Galleries at the Central States Convention is a strong indication that truly rare coins are still quite marketable. It is true that buyers are more selective in today’s market; however, this is a positive phase for astute collectors. Buying more coins for less money is always a good practice, especially when you can buy coins with a pedigree like the 1804 Adams-Carter Class III in AU 58. Now we can add the name of John Albanese to the lineage as the latest owner of this fabulous coin. The selling price was $2.3 million.

The 1804 was not the only high profile coin that changed hands at Central States. Total prices realized were over $45 million. Some of the other highlights include an 1870 S Seated Dollar in XF 40 that realized $503,125; a 1794 Bust Dollar in MS 61 sold for the same $503,125; and an 1876 CC Twenty Cent in MS 66 traded at $460,000. It is believed that there are less than 20 coins surviving today of this rarity and this is quite obviously one of the finest known. A few more major highlights follow.

Denomination Grade Price Realized
1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS 65 $253,000
1796 Bust Dime NGC MS 67 $253,000
1919 D Walking Liberty Half PCGS MS 66 $253,000
1794 Flowing Hair Dollar NGC AU 55 $345,00
1795 Flowing Hair Dollar NGC Ms 65 $276,00

For a complete list of prices realized, please contact Heritage Galleries in Dallas.

In any major auction, rarities will always attract a great deal of attention. For example, an 1879 CC Morgan Dollar in MS 65 will catch the interest of hundreds of Morgan Dollar collectors. If it is the only one in the sale it could attract many competitive bids. However, if there are several coins in the same grade, the prices realized can become diluted. The coin with the best eye appeal will bring the highest price and the other coins could suffer from discounting, sometimes substantially reduced prices realized. Once the best quality coin sells, 25% of the potential buyers could drop out of the bidding for the slightly lesser quality coins. In the Central States Auction, several coins sold and brought prices from $21,850 all the way down to $16,100. A year ago when the market was hot, the MS 65 had an FMV of $29,380. Today, it is searching for a lower FMV.

Carson City $20 Gold continues to be an area that is highly sought after. Collectors from all over the world have a strong affinity for coins from the "Old Frontier". The history behind these coins fascinates even those who cannot afford the luxury of owning these rare issues. The FMV for most of these dates has increased over the last several months. Grades from VF to MS 63 will bring many buyers into the competition when these coins are offered at major auctions. Like any other scarce coin, eye appeal will make the difference in the selling price of an average coin for the grade opposed to one that is middle to upper end of the grade spectrum. Many of the scarcest Carson City Double Eagles are up by over 20% since early 2008. The 1871 CC in MS 62 had an FMV of $110,500 and today it is $149,500. Other Mint State issues are higher in the same manner. While the market for these coins is very strong today, there are still some bargains available because the effects of the economy have reduced the number of potential buyers. However, the number of Mint State coins certified in the highest grades is very limited.

Activity in modern bullion coins seems to be spearheading much of today’s market. Bullion related items trading on the teletype between dealers looks to be about 75% of the action over the last few weeks. In addition, competitive buying and selling has forced the premiums to fall on Silver and Gold, which is very good for the ultimate buyers (investors). At the Long Beach Coin Expo, numerous dealers were trying to buy all the Modern Gold they could find at reasonable levels. Modern $5 Gold Commemoratives now have a minimum FMV of $288 in MS 69 or PR 69. As the show progressed, bullion continued to rise and many analysts feel Gold is poised to crack through the $1,000 barrier once again. As the summer activity unfolds the rise in metals will continue to have a major influence on the rare coin market.

As far as Modern issue coins dated after 1940, Lincoln Cents, Jefferson Nickels, Roosevelt Dimes, Washington Quarters, Kennedy Halves and all the Dollars, there is so much inventory in the market that buyers can be selective to the point that they can wait for the most attractive coin for the grade at today’s FMV. Even the Modern Commemorative Half Dollars and Dollars are suffering over the last few weeks. Mint State and Proof 70 coins have fallen considerably because there certainly are not as many buyers for these coins as there was a year ago. Most of these collectors already have many of the coins they need for their sets and the industry is not gaining new collectors at the same pace as we were the previous eight years. Modern issues certainly require new entrants into the collector community. The only caveat for these modern issues is that the highest grades with very low populations will still command very strong prices from Registry collectors.

This article is a guest article written by:


The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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