Some Spring in Your Step

Posted on 4/4/2019

Kagin's sale in Pittsburgh provides some nice energy as seasons change.

Well, spring training is over; now the new season has begun. Oh, you thought I was referring to MLB. Well, that too, but it always seems that around the end of March/early April is when the numismatic market kicks into full gear.

It is the end of the first quarter and most dealers are in tune with prevailing trends and are making buying decisions based on their professional insights and market instincts. As one well-known dealer said: “Everyone is out scrounging at local and regional shows looking for any fresh deals, large or small, that come to market.”

The same modus operandi is in place for major venues like the just-concluded ANA National Money show in Pittsburgh. According to an attending Florida dealer, he readily concurred with that sentiment and added: “The market remains very strong for PQ rarities and is piping hot for any fresh deals.”

While Pittsburgh may not have been the ideal location for a collector family getaway this time of year, the show did provide consistent floor traffic and most dealers applauded the efforts of the ANA. As one collector advised me: “Pittsburgh in the spring, it’s better than you think.”

Per ANA sources, the show was well-attended and Saturday was the busiest day of the show.

The Pittsburgh National Money Show auction hosted by Kagin’s offered up a true numismatic feast for the Coindexters and numismatic brethren, as well! All told, nearly 1,500 lots were available to avid collectors and dealers who made the trek to the Steel City – everything including medals, patterns, early Colonial script, US and world currency, Colonial coins and a superb presentation of fresh US federal issues.

Per Don Kagin’s assessment of the sale, “I was hoping for $2 million in proceeds, just under $2 million was my preliminary estimate. It brought over $2.5 million, not including the online-only session! My consignors who were there, who I did talk to, were delighted – very pleased! And the buyers were pleased with their purchases. Although most of them had hoped that they would buy more, what they bought they were pleased with. So it doesn’t get better than that.”

I asked Don if he noticed any particular bidding strategy. “We had good activity on tokens, medals, as well as a lot of interest in the type coins, especially the ones from the Centennial collection.”

Dr. Kagin’s personal take of the show itself in Pittsburgh: “I think it was very steady; it was below the activity we expected for the first day, but it picked up and it was above expectations for the last day and a half, so it turned out to be a pretty good show for us overall. We were pretty much nonstop.”

As for the state of the current market for Kagin’s business as we had into the second quarter of 2019: “We are known for Pioneer coins, private gold coins and paper money, and that’s been doing very well. Nice fresh original material has been doing quite well. Conversely, some of the other material that has been around for a while – producty stuff – has not. Hey listen, if you got fresh and rare and nice material, it sells! Both coins and currency!”

Below are a handful of exciting NGC lots sold at the Kagin National Money Show Sale. Something for every collector’s budget, I believe! All were also great buys, in my opinion.

Click images to enlarge. (Images courtesy of Kagin's)

1867 Three Cent Nickel, graded NGC PF 66+ Cameo, realized $900. This dynamic post-Civil War Three Cent Nickel is an absolute joy to behold! Wonderfully icy frosted devices offset by deep mirror pools give this coin a very striking, truly black-and-white effect. This odd denomination, last produced in 1889, has been undervalued for some time, especially in proof format, I believe. This coin in Proof reports in with an original mintage of only 625 and, according to the NGC Census, only a handful of coins within this designation grade higher numerically!

Click images to enlarge. (Images courtesy of Kagin's)

1834 Capped Bust Half Dime, graded NGC MS 63, realized $930. What a great type coin! The diminutive Capped Bust Half Dime has long been a favorite of mine. The cameo-like Ms. Liberty dominating the obverse is the recipient of a strong strike and is endowed with a glowing satiny white luster which gives way to a delightful blend of rainbow coloring visiting the peripheries. The reverse featuring the proud and protective Eagle is also the heir to similar patination. To me, early federal coins in this grade are great values at this price point.

Click images to enlarge. (Images courtesy of Kagin's)

1872-CC Seated Liberty Dime, graded NGC AU 50, realized $10,200. Here is a coveted dime from the always-popular Carson City facility. Steely gray, and well preserved, this lightly circulated coin was plucked from circulation perhaps by a numismatist of the day! From a scant second year’s mintage of only 35,480 produced at the proud Old West mint, this survivor is one of the higher echelon. Amazingly, only 38 coins in all grades of this Carson City date have been certified by NGC and only 3 have been awarded a higher grade, that being AU 55. A truly rare coin bearing the wildly popular CC mintmark.

Click images to enlarge. (Images courtesy of Kagin's)

1934-S Peace Dollar, graded NGC MS 65+, realized $10,200. This delightfully preserved and totally original key to the popular Peace Dollar series last appeared for sale 5 years ago as a lot in the Eric P Newman Collection Part II (November 2013). In that sale, this lovely coin captured $14,100, which is just about where the market should be today for a coin of this caliber. So I believe that the buyer just made a phenomenal purchase.

Click images to enlarge. (Images courtesy of Kagin's)

1849-D Gold Dollar, graded NGC AU 58, realized $2,880. Here is a delightful first year of issue of the type bearing the always desirable “D” mintmark from the famed Dahlonega, Georgia, mint! A truly scarce issue as only 21,588 Gold Dollars were struck. This particular coin exhibits an exemplary obverse striking endowed with a semi-proof like surface; the coin appears somewhat three-dimensional! The reverse, also well struck, featured a bold and centered mintmark along with several modest die cracks indicating the later state of the well-used die.

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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