Golden Opportunity at Goldberg Pre-Long Beach Sale
Posted on 8/31/2017
The end of August is here … already? Cooler temperatures at night and subtle color changes in the leaves are already evident, signaling the inevitable change of season is indeed at hand. As September rolls in, for most children, the serenity and seemingly timeless summer vacation has concluded, too: Ugh! School is back in session.
We in the numismatic world are continually doing our homework and other due diligence — always preparing, it seems, for another coindexter adventure. This time, our brethren are gearing up for the final Long Beach Expo of 2017, scheduled for September 7-9.
Yet, before we all begin to traipse up and down the convention center bourse, we have some business in Los Angeles. First up is the traditional Labor Day Weekend Pre-Long Beach Auction by the Goldbergs. Running September 3-6, this Pre-Long Beach edition presents many fine opportunities for collectors and dealers alike. Truly a superb sale and online catalog, it was hard but I have singled out a few prime lots that offer up key dates in exemplary condition that convey history and true rarity — primarily coins that don’t appear every auction cycle.
Nickels and Seated Liberties
First up is a scintillating 1925-S Buffalo Nickel graded NGC MS 65. This key date coin is a fantastic example of this extraordinarily tough Buffalo to locate in full gem. This piece delivers an exciting visual to boot, as color and strike are both strong! Not even a handful grade a point higher than this!
A wonderful array of fantastic Proof Seated Liberty minors (click here, here or here) should draw considerable attention from dealers and collectors on the prowl for top-quality type. Be sure to view the catalog!
An exquisite Morgan
Strong representation from the Morgan Dollar series is duly noted as well. One of the most popular collectors series of all time is headed by the ultimate collector or investor silver cartwheel: the 1893-S! This offering is for a fully Mint State prize graded NGC MS 60. Truly the king of the series, the original mintage of just 100,000 was one that seemed to have slipped past any collectors’ or dealers’ detection at the time of issue, as virtually all but a handful of highly coveted unscathed Mint State survivors entered circulation.
To put this in perspective, as of this writing (Aug. 31, 2017) per the NGC Census, only 27 coins grade higher than this MS 60. As there is only a single coin — this one, in the Goldberg sale — graded NGC MS 60, only 28 Mint State coins grace the NGC Census! In 30 years and out of 3,051 submitted, less than 1 percent, only 0.92% have been designated as Mint State!
Based on this fact, I felt compelled to check out this wildly popular collector series a bit more. As I researched other recognized keys from the Morgan Dollar series, I came up with the following data and percentages to ponder, courtesy of the NGC Census.
|Total NGC Graded||MS Examples||% of all graded in MS|
Of course, the 1892-S has long been considered a prime rarity in Mint State, and her status is confirmed with this data. While the total graded by NGC reflects a 33% increase vs. the 1893-S, there are also an additional 22 coins perched in Mint State, too. So Ms. Morgan’s one-year-older sibling is also her closest rival! While the other keys listed have larger populations (some surprisingly so), considering the vast scope of competitive collectors vying for quality coins within the series, when the opportunities arise to secure any of the above in Mint State, if finances allow, they would make wise and valued additions to any numismatists holdings.
A variety of gold
Gold $1 coins also showcase a solid variety for collectors, featuring many acknowledged rarities — including the desirable only Type II Large Indian Princess Dahlonega delivery: the famed 1855-D. From an original mintage of a paltry 1,811 coins, it is estimated that fewer than 80 examples exist today in all conditions. Of this total, around one dozen examples exist as fully Mint State.
The example in the Goldberg sale is graded NGC AU 58. Accordingly, this virtually uncirculated example is just that — just the slightest touch of wear can be observed on this otherwise lustrous golden example, which is surprisingly well struck (the strike is the bane of this issue). In fact, the coveted date “1855” is nearly fully struck up, which in itself puts this coin in a separate class.
Per experts, only nine examples exhibit the 1855 date fully struck. For reference, an MS 62 example that sold 13 years ago (and realized $56,350) did not exhibit as much detail in date and in overall striking when compared to this present example for sale! Checking the auction data, a coin of this caliber last appeared over seven years ago. I certainly expect spirited bidding when this lot appears.
The catalog is also chock-full of desirable Half Eagles, including some astounding Charlotte, Dahlonega and Carson City strikings! This 1861-D Half Eagle graded NGC AU 58, is a true prize for the Half Eagle Collector, or history buff. While there were 1,597 coins struck under the auspices of the US government, when this Georgia mint was seized by the Confederacy on April 6, 1861, it is assumed that an additional 1,500 or so Half Eagles were struck to help fund the Rebel cause.
Although a pair of obverse dies was shipped from Philadelphia, only one obverse die pairing for the coin is known! So, as for the 100 or so known remaining Half Eagles from the Dahlonega facility, there is no way with full certainly to claim under whose authority this coin up for bid (or any other 1861-D Half Eagle, for that matter) bears allegiance. The last auction appearance for a coin of this caliber was nearly a decade ago.
Another exciting opportunity for the Half Eagle specialist is the 1878-CC, and this coin is graded NGC AU 58. Although this western delivery is known for her lackluster strike and appearance, this example bucks that trend, displaying a very pleasing look further enhanced by the benefits of a more precise striking. Although this Carson City issue ranks behind the 1870-CC Half Eagle for overall bragging rights, this delivery reports in all grades with just over 100 coins in existence — including only a single example achieving full Mint State status, an NGC coin graded MS 63.
Hopefully, you can make it to warm, sunny Southern California to take in the Pre-Long Beach excitement in downtown LA this Labor Day weekend! If not, try to break away from the backyard barbecue and join me and all the excitement online.
Until next time, happy collecting!
Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst, having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.
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