By Jim Bisognani – NGC Weekly Market Report ……
March is upon us and, at least according to the calendar, spring is a mere fortnight away! Not to jump the gun for winter weather fanatics, but I for one can’t wait for the new season.
The just-concluded Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Spring Expo announced the new season at hand just a tad in advance, but I’ll take it!
As always, this Whitman Expo gets high grades. Those attendees I spoke with had positive words about the show, and action on the bourse was described as busy throughout the show’s run.
The Stack’s Bowers host auction featured some truly marvelous high-grade rarities. As is often the case, gold coins were front and center. These two were the standouts.
A wondrous 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella, graded NGC PF 65 Ultra Cameo, raced to a solid $240,000 USD. A truly eye-appealing full gem of this always-sought-after big-ticket pattern, which is avidly collected alongside mainstream issues! The Ultra Cameo Proof Gem is certainly all of that and then some!
Wow! A truly rare opportunity in this 1797/5 Draped Bust Half Eagle, graded NGC MS 61, which realized $180,000. Tied for the finest graded by NGC. A mere dozen or so exist in all grades for this bold, iconic variety. This is one overdate that you don’t have to employ a magnifier to enjoy!
Internet Sale Opportunities Abound
If at all possible, there are even more opportunities to quench thy coin cravings! Internet-only sales offer ongoing excitement to wrap up your weekends with the weekly Sunday auctions hosted by Great Collections and David Lawrence.
Hey, if you missed something on Sunday night, Heritage can fill the void during the week with their US coins sales on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And to quench the Ancient and World coin buffs, be sure to take a look at the Thursday World and Ancient coin auctions.
The rest of the week, there is always eBay, the 24/7 coin store! This behemoth of a website now plays host to major dealers as well!
So where to start? Below is a quartet of selections from a pair of upcoming Great Collections and David Lawrence internet sales.
Sharing o’ the Green
Great Collections’ March 17 auction gives St. Patrick’s Day collectors some great ways to spend some green.
The famous Buffalo Nckel is represented here by the inaugural 1913-S Type I. Graded NGC MS 65, this wildly popular issue is secured in an older NGC holder. This Buffalo presents excellent eye appeal on both the obverse and reverse, as lustrous silvery steel over central devices lends way to luminous golden and lavender peripheral highlights. Strong strike to boot makes this coin an exceptional opportunity for the Buffalo specialist, or those looking to acquire a fabulous and most valuable Type I 1913 Buffalo.
Here we have an otherwise quite-pedestrian 1945 Mercury Dime. Although graded a rather lofty NGC MS 66 ★, I find that in the NGC Census there are presently 4,151 populating the MS 66 column, yet only another four have garnered the MS 66★. While the strike on the reverse of this 1945 Mercury is typically flatter than the proverbial pancake, the awe-inspiring rainbow toning on both sides of this ultra-gem is truly fantastic. This dime has to be one of the most unique of the slightly over 159 million deliveries from the Philadelphia facility for this last-year-of-issue Mercury Dime.
The David Lawrence Rare Coin March 17 Auction #1056 also offers some enticing ways to spend some cabbage, too.
My all-time favorite classic silver commemorative half dollar is the long-running Oregon Trail series! Here is the next-to-the-last year of the truly all-American-themed series that debuted in 1926 and ended in 1939! This 1938-D, graded NGC MS 67★, is a superbly preserved ultra gem from the scant original mintage of 6,005.
Totally original, the coin is boldly struck and all central designs are aglow in white satiny frost and the peripheral borders on both sides display a rich antique gold and bronze with a tantalizing rainbow effect!
The market for classic commems has been very quiet over the last decade and more. I spotted a like-graded NGC MS 67★ which sold for $1,380 at the ANA sale back in 2006! Presently, the NGC Price Guide is at $700 in MS 67! Only 265 have been graded 67, and of those, only five are designated with the ★ moniker.
Another half dollar that caught my eye was an 1858-O Liberty Seated Half Dollar, graded NGG AU 53. Although not a key date, this pre-Civil War delivery from our southernmost mint is a wonderfully fresh and original coin that enjoyed a brief stay in circulation! Perhaps she was pulled out of commerce just before the war! Solid eye appeal and some well-established color make this coin a wonderful acquisition for the type collector!
As always, have fun with your collection. Remember: There is no wrong way to collect. Find a series or type of coin you enjoy and explore the opportunities.
Until next time, happy collecting!
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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.