By CoinWeek …..
When the dust settled, four records had fallen.
On September 1, 2022, Stack’s Bowers Galleries held an unusual auction comprised of 700 lots, all 2021 American Gold Eagle and 2021 American Silver Eagle bullion coins.
Off the bat, auction prices were strong. Stack’s Bowers offered individual pieces from the sets as individual lots. Starting with the 20th-to-last Type 1 Silver Eagle struck and continuing to the very last pieces, collectors bid spiritedly at levels in excess of $1,500 USD per coin. With gold eagles, enthusiasm was also high–most sold for $4,000 or more.
As the coins hit the single digits of first and last struck, the prices begin to climb. The seventh new Gold Eagle ever struck brought $8,500. The fifth-to-last Type 1 Silver Eagle brought $12,000. As the numbers dwindled down, the strength and popularity of the numismatic side of the Eagle program became evident. The second-to-last Type 1 Silver Eagle ever struck earned $11,000, as did the second Type 2 Silver Eagle ever struck. The second-to-last Type 1 Gold Eagle ever struck pulled $13,000, but the second Type 2 Gold Eagle ever struck garnered $18,000.
The very last Type 1 American Gold Eagle one-ounce bullion coin ever struck sold for a record $77,500. The very first Type 2 AGE ever struck sold for a breathtaking record price of $100,000.
The perennial favorite Type 1 American Silver Eagle one-ounce bullion coin set new records as well. The last Type 1 ASE ever struck sold for $85,000–just shy of the $86,654 that a PR70DCAM 1995-W Silver Eagle brought in a 2013 GreatCollections auction. That, however, was a Proof strike; $85,000 sets the record for the highest price realized for an Uncirculated strike. The first Type 2 Silver Eagle ever struck hammered at a record $80,000.
The strength of the Dusk to Dawn 35th Anniversary sets continued even as Stack’s Bowers began to bundle them in pairs of two and four. The baseline price for a generic set in this offering ranged from $4,700 to $5,000. Given that the coins carry a bullion value of $3,600, a numismatic premium for a set of freshly minted coins should be evident. It certainly was to enthusiastic bidders on September 1.
What set these offerings apart was the historic nature of these particular bullion coins.
On April 10, 2021, the United States Mint held a special ceremony at the West Point Mint to mark the end of the series’ Type I reverses and the dawn of a new era for the 35-year-old program.
On hand for the striking of the final 500 Type 1 coins and first 500 Type 2 coins of each series were several senior officials, including then-Mint Director David J. Ryder, former Chief Engraver John Mercanti, current Chief Engraver Joe Menna, and West Point Superintendent Ellen McCullom. Director Ryder personally struck the very last Type 1 and very first Type 2 coins himself.
The Type 1 reverses have adorned the United States’ two most popular bullion coins since the program debuted in 1986. A change to the design was approved in 2019 by Trump Administration Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Replacing Mercanti’s iconic heraldic eagle reverse on the Silver Eagle is a new design depicting an eagle landing created by Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Emily Damstra. The new Gold Eagle reverse, replacing sculptor Miley Tucker-Frost’s (Busiek) Type 1 reverse, depicts a close-up view of a bald eagle’s head. This design was authored by AIP artist Jennie Norris.
The auction marked only the second time in history that the United States Mint has partnered with a numismatic auction firm to present a historic offering. In 2001, the Mint chose Stack’s to auction the only legal-to-own 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle. That coin sold for a then-record $7,590,020. Twenty years later, the 1933 sold for an astonishing $18.9 million when shoe mogul Stuart Weitzman consigned it to Sotheby’s for sale.
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