Legend Rare Coin Auctions is conducting Regency Auction #38 on May 14 during a live webcast. CoinWeek breaks down several key lots from the sale and provides its commentary on lots you should know about.
Lots discussed in this video:
Lot 17: $1 1888-O SCARFACE. PCGS MS62 CAC
This is a nice example of a dramatic Morgan dollar variety that features a giant die break across Liberty’s neck and cheek. It would have been poetic justice if a few of these were hidden away in Al Capone’s vault. Sadly, the vault was empty and Geraldo Rivera did a giant facepalm in front of 30 million people.
Whoever ends up taking this coin, however, will have a great example of a popular variety… and probably at a price that would have been unthinkable three or four years ago.
Lot 43: $20 1858-O PCGS AU55
This 1858-O, one of two New Orleans gold $20s we talk about in our auction preview, is graded AU55 by PCGS. This is Eliasberg’s 1858-O and we can trace its pedigree back to the William Atwater sale of 1946. That sale sizzled and signaled the strength of the coin hobby in the aftermath of World War II.
This coin has lingered around the $25-$30k value for over a decade, which might scare off the investor types, but for the true collector, this is a satisfying piece to enjoy as you build that great New Orleans set or attempt to climb numismatic’s Mount Everest- the completion of the $20 lib date and mint set.
Lot 47: $20 1879-O PCGS AU53 CAC
The 1879-O is an important low-mintage issue in the $20 Liberty series.
In 1879, the New Orleans Mint reopened for the first time since it closed in the first year of the Civil War. The Morgan dollar was the principal driver for the Mint’s decision to reopen the Mint; Dahlonega and Charlotte saw no such love. In total, only 2,325 examples of this issue were struck. Nearly impossible to locate in Mint State. Dell Loy Hansen has the sole example graded higher than MS60. There are 21 recorded grading events at PCGS in grades over AU50. 44 at NGC. It’s likely that these numbers are inflated by regrades and crossovers.
Legend describes the present piece as fresh and the only example with CAC approval at this level to be offered in a public auction. Nearly every AU53 eagle that has been offered for public sale in the past two decades has obvious eye appeal issues that are not apparent in this example.
$66,000 is the recent high price for an 1879-O at this grade. It is my opinion that this is as nice, if not nicer than that example, and that justifies a price in excess of Legends 55-65k presage estimate. I value this piece at $75,000.
Lot 58: 1C 1922-D PCGS MS66+ RD CAC
The Philadelphia Mint did not produce cents in 1922. This is why the 1922 “NO D” mint error is such an important numismatic oddity. It represents itself as something that it isn’t.
At Denver, 7,160,000 cents were struck in 1922. This example is the plate coin at PCGS Coinfacts.
A PQ CAC-certified example with brilliant red luster. Four graded MS66+ at this point, two CAC certified. The other brought $19,975 at a 2017 Heritage auction. The current bid is $15,500.
Lot 60: 1C 1972 DOUBLED DIE OBVERSE. PCGS MS67+ RD CAC
The 1972 doubled die cent is one of the boldest and pronounced doubled dies in the Lincoln series and most certainly in the Memorial type. The pronounced doubling on the obverse runs north to south on the date and on the motto and east to west on the lettering of IN GOD WE TRUST. A naked-eye visible die gouge on the reverse just above the D in UNITED gives away that this is the FS-101. This is the most desirable of a slew of doubled dies for the year.
The last MS67+ RD sold at a June 2019 Heritage sale for $14,400. A more mellowed Rd with a CAC sticker- sold for $9,600 the year before. Bid here is $7,250 and reading the market right, I think this coin deserves to sell near or beyond the $14,400 number and the current bid of $15,500 speaks to the strength of this coin.
Lot 224: 50C 1964 NGC MS68
Ok, so here’s the deal, the 1964 Kennedy half dollar was struck in record numbers and hoarded upon release. In total 273, 304,004 coins were struck just at the Philadelphia Mint.
It’s an amazing thing to consider that this coin type was first struck on January 30, 1964- just two months after the president was slain in his Dallas motorcade.
The Denver Mint struck the coins first and then Philadelphia followed suit a week later.
A ceremonial first strike was held at both mints on the three month anniversary of Kennedy’s death. When the coins entered circulation, they were a national souvenir – a mortuary coin in the numismatic tradition.
In the 30 years since the modern grading industry has developed for the collecting market a better understanding of the strike quality of the 1964 Kennedy half dollar and to a certain degree the grade dispersal of original mint state coins that were spared damage from incidental contact with other coins.
The 1964 half dollar is not scarce in Mint States 65 or 66.
This does not dampen collector enthusiasm for them- at these levels, the coin trades routinely for between $30 and $60.
Scarcer are examples that meet the qualifications of MS67. To date, PCGS has reported 98 grading instances at the MS67 or MS67+ level. NGC reports even fewer, 73, including this example – the only one in their census at the MS68 level.
We did a little digging around on this coin and found out that it has been imaged and certified by PCGS before at the MS67+ level.
Now, let’s clear to you about this. The line between a 67+ and a 68 is subtle.
Both grading opinions can be right on the money and the typical market behavior of many premium coins in the plus grade is to ultimately find their true and final grade a half step higher. Any savvy buyer of this kind of material is going to do the homework we did on this coin and judge for themselves the value of the coin on its own merits.
NGC believes in this coin and has placed it at the pinnacle for the date. Bid accordingly. Current bid at $4,300.
Lot 271: $1 1922 PCGS MS62 CAC
We typically think of Morgan dollars as the monster toner dollar coins, but occasionally you see a flamboyant PEACE Dollar. This 1922 boasts exceptional natural toning and might be the prettiest MS62 peace dollar that you will ever see.
Current Bid is $1300 against an estimate of $2,000 to $2,500. I think it will exceed these numbers as Legend sold a PQ reverse toner for $3,643 in December 2019.