CoinWeek Staff Reports…..
Coming off of a successful and well-attended ANA World’s Fair of Money, California-based auctioneers the Goldberg’s offered a varied selection of US, World, and Ancient coins in the latest iteration of their Pre-Long Beach Auction series, which was held in Los Angeles from September 3-5. The results of the sale highlight several areas of market strength, especially in the area of early copper, a niche that Goldberg’s has historically represented very well. Other coins also outperformed estimates. Here are the takeaways.
In CoinWeek’s pre-auction analysis, we focused our attention on several late date copper cents that ranked high in the Grellman Condition Census. While there were a number of high ranked coins that we did not feature, we pulled out six lots that really stood out.
Lot 89 was an 1845 Newcomb-13 from the Dan Holmes Collection. The coin is an early die state example with copious amounts of original red color. Grellman has this example in a tie for second place on his census and as recently as 2016, a CAC-approved MS64RB brought $2,468. The present coin exceeded Goldberg’s pre-sale estimate of $1,000 and UP, realizing $1,140 with Buyer’s Premium.
Even more impressive was the $5,280 (with BP) that Lot 97 brought. Against a pre-sale estimate of $1,250 and UP, this 1846 Newcomb-13 with a Repunched 1 was graded MS64 Brown by PCGS. The PCGS population reports only one example finer than this piece and Grellman ranked it third on his Condition Census. Formerly in the Tom Reynolds and Dan Holmes Collections, this is a lovely example with clearly visible die markers. Hammer price put this coin squarely between the DuPont-Naftzger-Twin Leaf coin and the Newcomb-Starr-Hawaii example.
Lot 106, an 1848 Newcomb-12 more than doubled its presale estimate, selling for $1,860 with BP. So too, did Lot 123, a Newcomb-6 1850 cent. It brought $1,140 with BP against a presale estimate of $600 and UP.
Other sale highlights included an 1857 dollar in Proof, a choice AU 1793 half cent, one of the finest 1881-CC DMPL Morgan dollars in existence, and a rare Bechtler $5 gold coin, to name a few.
The 1857 dollar is one of five examples earning the grade Proof 65 by PCGS (one of these earns the Cameo designation). Nearly every original silver Proof coin from this period will exhibit dark toning, this example is no exception. The obverse and reverse of this example exhibit a dusky canvas of blue, purple, and orange. A curvilinear streak of white borders to the right of the eagle’s profile on the reverse. The pre-sale estimate was $20,000 to $22,000, which frames the sales price of two examples that sold in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Hammer price $25,200 with the juice.
The Bechtler $5 gold coin (K-20 Variety, PCGS MS60) brought a respectable price of $14,500 against an estimate of $16,000-$17,000. This estimate was quite strong as recent auction records for NGC examples of the same grade routinely fall in the $12,000 to $13,000 range. This may be the third finest example as certified by PCGS, but in the overall condition census of all known Bechtler K-20 $5 gold coins, this coin likely falls somewhere near the tail end of the top 15, as more examples of the type currently reside in NGC holders. NGC accounts for thirteen examples finer than this piece and this particular coin last sold at the February 2015 Stack’s Bowers sale, when it was housed in an NGC MS60 holder. Then it realized $12,925.
The choice AU 1793 cent, graded AU53 by NGC and EF45+ with a sharpness of EF40 by Goldberg’s in their lot decision brought $33,600. A strong price for this example.
Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach Auction Sale is a Barometer on the Market
In the longterm, the U.S. coin market has always been resilient to downturns and it appears that much of the damage that has been done in regards to the pricing of classic coins has been self-inflicted, brought about by over-emphasis of the commercial grade at the expense of the coin’s individual features. Quality coins with great eye appeal have held their own in the most recent market downturn, for the most part.
Evidence of this can be seen clearly in the early copper market, in early US gold and silver coins… essentially anything that is a pre-1838 type.
Other series have languished. The Goldberg’s sale offered not so much good news or bad news, but a clear sign of where the market is at the moment. Many coins outperformed estimates, while others seem to be adrift in the horse latitudes in a palace built to accommodate the classic commemorative series, but now also two cent pieces, three cent pieces of both compositions, and the Liberty Head “V” nickel.
Pockets of weakness in these areas are not dispositive that the overall mood of the market is on the upswing and most coins are now in the process of regaining much of the equity that was lost in 2014-2016.
You don’t have to take our word for it. If you set out to bid on any of these coins and even won a few, the lightness of your wallet proves the point.
Up next are two October auctions, one from Heritage and one from Stack’s Bowers. As these sales conclude, CoinWeek will look at the past year and tabulate the most interesting and valuable coins to sell in 2018.