By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for CoinWeek …….
120 lots are heating up the July 19 session of the Legend Rare Coin Auctions Summer Internet Sale series. A variety of copper, silver, and gold coins take the stage in the latest installment of the Legend Rare Coin auction, with a concentration on classic type coins and other pre-1965 issues. Virtually all of the coins in this auction are stunners in their own rights, but there are five lots that certainly deserve their proverbial 15 minutes of fame. Here’s a rundown of those five coins and why they stand a cut above the rest:
Lot 3: 1937 Lincoln Cent PCGS Proof 66+ Red Cameo CAC Certified
This 1937 Lincoln Proof cent is a gem in every respect, with no evident spots or discoloration, vivid red color, and incredible cameo surfaces. The coin has been encapsulated by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and received a special designation from the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) for exceptional eye appeal and quality for the grade. The Proof 66+ grade is well deserved, given the coin’s deep-mirrored fields and electric red surfaces.
Among all regular-issue modern Proof Lincoln cents, the 1937 boasts the second-lowest mintage – 9,320 pieces, ranking behind only the 1936 Proof cent, of which just 5,569 pieces were struck during the first year of the U.S. Mint’s modern proof program. Among all red Proof 1937 Lincoln cents, this is just one of two that have been certified by PCGS as Cameo Proof 66+ and the only such piece stickered by CAC. The same coin brought US$8,813 in its previous Legend appearance in December 2015. PCGS notes four graded finer in Proof 67, including a PF-67 Cameo specimen that last sold at auction for $21,150.
Legend Auctions estimates the value of this coin to be between $7,500 and $8,000. There are presently zero bids for this lot.
Lot 20: 1947-D Jefferson Nickel PCGS MS-67 Full Steps
The 1947-D Jefferson nickel offered here is a rainbow-toned gem with exuberant pinks, yellows, and blues kissing the obverse and reverse devices. The prism of colors plays off the coin’s satiny, golden-russet canvas. Sharply-struck details help the design pop from the colorful, nearly-perfect fields, elevating this coin to a lofty PCGS MS-67.
1947-D Jefferson nickels were struck in huge numbers. A total mintage of 37,822,000 pieces was produced, though most of these coins experienced extensive use in circulation and surviving uncirculated specimens are generally found in the MS-60 to MS-65 range. Uncirculated 1947-D nickels are considerably scarce with the Full Step designation, a term that describes the complete articulation of the steps at the base of Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello on the reverse.
Only 23 MS-67 specimens have been graded by PCGS with Full Steps denotation, and just one has graded higher at MS-67+. In the past two years a handful of MS-67 Full Steps 1947-D Jefferson nickels have sold at auction, with prices for those pieces ranging from $646 to $1,528. At the time of writing, no bids have been entered yet for the 1947-D Jefferson nickel, which Legend Auctions estimates to have a value of $850 to $1,000.
Lot 46: 1964-D Washington Quarter PCGS MS-66
One of the most recent issues offered in the Legend Auctions is a 1964-D Washington quarter graded MS-66 by PCGS. This toner exhibits splashes of rainbow tones, with a prismatic effect arcing through the inscription LIBERTY on the obverse of the coin.
Obverse toning is nearly complete, save for a small patch of original white surface coloration over Washington’s chin, his throat, and the right-most part of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse, meanwhile, has peripheral rainbow toning in the areas along the rim, while the interior section over the heraldic eagle remains blast white.
A total of 704,135,528 Washington quarters were struck in Denver with the 1964 date, and they represent among the last of the 90-percent silver circulating issues. PCGS reveals a population of 640 1964-D Washington quarters in all MS-66 grades, with 67 grading higher in MS-67. Therefore, the monetary value of this 1964-D Washington quarter will be determined by the intensity and overall appeal of its rainbow toning.
MS-66 specimens without spectacular toning or other appealing features have sold for $35 to $65 in the past year. This piece has inspired collectors to bid far higher prices, however, with nine bids already reaching $300 – an amount that equals the low end of the $250-400 estimate on this superb piece.
Lot 60: 1942-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar PCGS MS-67
Walking Liberty half dollars are among the most popular United States coins and are widely considered America’s most beautiful silver coin – a lofty title that helped the coin’s obverse design (by Adolph A. Weinman) earn a spot on the nation’s silver American Eagle bullion coinage. This 1942-D MS-67 specimen is certainly a beauty in its own respect, offering lustrous, blast-white surfaces and sharp details. The only significant detractions on this coin are the die polishing marks that appear on the right side of the obverse.
As go all regular-issue Walking Liberty half dollars from the 1940s, this 1942-D issue is widely common in terms of its date – 17,487,200 were struck. Rather, this MS-67 1942-D Walking Liberty half dollar is a conditional rarity, with only 169 graded by PCGS in MS-67 and only five higher in MS-68. In the past year, PCGS-graded specimens in MS-67 have sold at auction for $617 to $1,175. Legend Auctions estimates this piece is worth $675 to $750 and at the time of writing has yet to receive any bids for the coin. At present, Legend is showing one bid at $350.
1954-S Franklin Half Dollar PCGS MS-66+ FBL CAC
Sharp details and rainbow toning are two of the selling points common among all of the coins listed in this rundown of Legend Auction highlights. This 1954-S Franklin half dollar has virtually everything a Franklin half dollar connoisseur would want in a coin, including Full Bell Lines in the Liberty Bell design on the reverse.
Legend Auctions’ photographs of the 1954-S Franklin half dollar reveal the most prominent rainbow toning on the coin’s obverse, which offers gorgeous concentric toning along the rim; a full-white center with subtle hints of color appears to spotlight Franklin’s bust. The reverse is much whiter throughout, though russet and rainbow colors marble the surface.
1954-S Franklin halves are considerably common, as 4,993,400 were struck. However, PCGS has assigned a grade of MS-66+ to just 123 Full Bell Lines pieces and only one 1954-S FBL example grades higher, in MS-67. Meanwhile, CAC has beaned just 19 MS-66 examples with Full Bell Lines. In the past year, at least two 1954-S PCGS/CAC MS-66+ Franklin half dollars sold at auction, with one claiming a final bid of $2,115 and the other selling for $2,497. At the time of writing, the example offered in this Legend Auction sale has received one bid of $1,000, which is about half of Legend’s estimate of $2,000-2,200.
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Whether or not you offer a bid on any of the coins featured here, at the very least this rundown provides a glimpse of the spectacular coins available among 20th-century U.S. coinage. Perhaps those building registry sets would be particularly inspired by the listings mentioned here, each of which could surely help a collector complete an astounding set of coins.