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Looking Back: Four Areas of Strength in the 2017 Rare Date Gold Coin Market

Gold Coin Market

By Doug WinterRareGoldCoins.com ……

CoinWeek Content Partner ……
On a 1-10 scale in the rare date gold market, I would rate 2017 as a 5. This may not sound like anything special but it was better than most other segments. For dated gold coins, 2017 saw some surprises and some more-of-the-same. Let’s look at four areas which showed strength.

1. Liberty Head Quarter Eagles

I handled some really great quarter eagles in 2017 and I noticed a trend which began around 2015: a number of new collectors were seriously working on sets. These sets ranged from casual to obsessive and encompassed all of the mints which made this denomination.


The always popular Dahlonega Mint 1855 Quarter Eagle in PCGS AU58 CAC. Images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics

A few years ago, it was really only the Civil War issues and the Dahlonega issues which were strong. Today, it is virtually all pre-1890 dates as long as the coin in question is cosmetically appealing and priced properly.

I see no reason why this series will not continue to be strong in 2018. Many of the collectors I am working with have barely made a dent in their ultimate collecting goals, and I think the only thing which could hurt the momentum shown by quarter eagles is lack of available coins.

2. Coins with a Story

If a coin had a good story, it was a good seller in 2017. What do I think qualifies as a “good story”? My criteria include (but is not limited to): first-year-of-issue, one-year type, very-low-mintage figure, a great pedigree, historic connotation(s), etc.

1838-C $5.00 PCGS EF45 CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter

1838-C $5.00 PCGS EF45 CAC

Let’s look at a specific coin-with-a-story: the 1838-C half eagle. This is the only Charlotte half eagle with true multiple levels of demand as it is sought by Classic Head gold collectors and Charlotte gold specialists. It is, as well, a first-year type and a one-year type. Prices have risen considerably for this issue in VF and EF grades due to demand. But many collectors have been priced out. When a nice collector-quality 1838-C $5 was $4,000-5,000, most gold collectors could buy an example. Now, with the same coin priced at $8,000-9,000, many collectors can’t pay the tariff. Are further gains in price sustainable? I think so as long as the grading services hold the line on the coins they grade VF and EF for this issue.

New collectors are shying away from specialization and tending more towards general collecting. This bodes well for coins that check a number of boxes.

3. Expensive Coins

In a host of collectibles and fine arts categories, the really good stuff was in high demand in 2017. This was certainly the case in rare date gold, where I noticed a strong uptick for expensive coins (I’m defining “expensive” as $20,000 and up; your mileage may vary).

1859 $20.00 PCGS AU58+ CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter

1859 $20.00 PCGS AU58+ CAC

Coin collecting is increasingly becoming a rich man’s hobby, for better or worse, and I think we will continue to see increased demand for really cool, really expensive coins in 2018 and beyond.

If you collect $1,000-10,000 rare date gold coins, you may bemoan whales encroaching on your turf but I don’t necessarily believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. Interesting, affordable collector coins remain just fine, thank you…

4. Better Date Three Dollar Gold Pieces

I expect you didn’t expect to see this category listed as #4 in the strong areas of the 2017 dated gold market. Threes have been in the dumps for a decade, but I saw evidence in 2017 that this long death spiral may finally have ended.

1857 $3.00 NGC MS64+ CAC. Images courtesy Doug Winter

1857 $3.00 NGC MS64+ CAC

There is a lot to like about this series. The design is elegant, the denomination is quirky, and, discounting the Proof-only issues and the uncollectable 1870-S, you can realistically complete this series in AU and BU grades.

Now, not all Threes are showing signs of health. The common dates in Uncirculated just get cheaper and cheaper while overgraded, processed pieces are a hard sell, even if they are the “right” dates. My gut feeling is that we will see some new collectors in this series and that demand will quietly trend upwards.

5. Runners Up

  • New Orleans half eagles and eagles
  • Collector grade early gold
  • Classic Head half eagles

Would you like to begin collecting United States gold coins? Why not do it with a world-class dealer as your guide. Contact Doug Winter by phone at (214) 675-9897.

Doug Winter Numismatics, specialists in U.S. gold coins

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About Doug Winter

Doug_Winter2Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was 10 years old,  buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.

In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare United States coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.

Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and the recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins has made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality and fair and honest pricing.  Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small.  He can be reached at 214-675-9897.

Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Redbook”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins,  Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues

In addition he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
  • Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
  • Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
  • Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
  • Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
  • The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
  • Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
  • An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
  • The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
  • A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
  • The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
  • Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
  • Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
  • Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis

Finally Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.

Doug Winter
Doug Winterhttps://www.raregoldcoins.com
Doug Winter founded Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN) in 1985. The nationally renowned firm specializes in buying and selling rare United States gold coins. He has written over a dozen books, including the standard references on Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans gold coinage, and Type 1 Liberty Head Double Eagles. Douglas has also contributed to the A Guidebook of United States Coins, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars, and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues. He is a member of the PNG, the ANA, the ANS, the NLG, CAC, PCGS, and NGC - among other professional affiliations. Contact Doug Winter at [email protected].

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