Coin Rarities & Related Topics: News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #291
A Weekly CoinWeek Column by Greg Reynolds….
Last week, Heritage and Stack’s Bowers each conducted official auctions in conjunction with the American Numismatic Association (ANA) Convention near Chicago, in Rosemont, Illinois. The topic here is the results of the Heritage Platinum Night event on August 12, 2015, and the bearings those results have regarding overall markets for rare U.S. coins and condition rarities of relatively scarce, ‘better date’ classic U.S. coins.
Although paper money, world coins, medals, tokens and common coins were offered by both Stack’s Bowers and Heritage, all these cannot be discussed here. Coins in the Stack’s Bowers Rarities Night were covered over the course of the last two weeks, including an analysis of an important 1825/1 half eagle. I will analyze that sale further next week. The present discussion will be limited to business strikes offered in the Platinum Night sale.
Both the Platinum and Rarities Night events were successful and related market conditions are better than most participants pre-figured. In the realm of rare or conditionally-rare, classic U.S. coins, business strikes tend to be faring better than Proofs and are the present topic. Overall, after taking Spring and July auctions into consideration as well, along with information from private sources, there is no evidence of a downturn. Markets for rarities are stable.
A PCGS certified ‘MS-66-RB’ and CAC-approved Wreath Cent sold for $399,500. It was earlier part of Oliver Jung’s epic type that ANR auctioned on July 23, 2004. It then realized $207,000, which was a strong price at the time. This same coin brought $103,500 at auction in 2001. This $399,500 result is ‘right on the mark’ now, neither strong nor weak.
Those who have seen this coin in actuality are aware that it does not captivate the viewer to the same extent as some other 66 grade early large cents. It is true that a PCGS certified ‘MS-66+ Brown’ and CAC-approved Wreath Cent from Oliver Jung’s second collection, sold for $528,750, one year ago. It is called the Haig-Jung Wreath Cent, as at different times, Jung owned both the Wreath Cent that was just sold and the Haig-Jung coin that was in the Platinum Night event at last year’s ANA Convention.
Haig Koshkarian referred to himself as “Dr. Haig” and his type set was auctioned by ANR in March 2004. Some find the Haig-Jung piece to be more appealing than the Jung “MS-66RB” Wreath cent that Jung owned until 2004. In many cases, it is important to think beyond the certifications and to carefully inspect the coins themselves, as is done by many bidders or their respective consultants.
The $528,750 price for the Haig ‘66-Brown’ Wreath cent and the $399,500 price for the just ‘66-RB’ Wreath Cent are NOT together evidence of a fall in market prices. ANR auctioned the Haig ‘MS-66+ Brown’ Wreath cent for $241,500 in March 2004, five months before ANR auctioned the Oliver Jung, PCGS certified ‘MS-66-RB’ coin for $207,000. Moreover, the Koshkarian coin was NGC certified ‘MS-66-Brown’ in 2004.
So, in 2004, a NGC certified ‘MS-66-Brown’ Wreath Cent sold at auction for significantly more, $241,500, than a PCGS certified MS-66 ‘Red & Brown’ Wreath Cent, $207,000, although results were stronger overall in the auction that contained the $207,000 coin. In 2004, and during the 2014-15 period, I was not surprised that the certified “MS-66-Brown” Wreath cent realized more at auction than the certified “MS-66-Red & Brown’ Wreath Cent.
It is not practical to analyze the physical characteristics of these coins here. An immediate point is that, to understand auction results, it is important to realize that bidders take factors into account in addition to certified grades and designations. In some cases, however, leading bidders are very much accepting of the certifications.
The 1804 large cent in this auction was PCGS graded VF-25, and CAC-approved. It realized $8812.50, the exact same price another PCGS graded VF-25 1804 of the same die pairing (S-266) realized in September 2013.
The Mougey-French-Ralls 1807/6 cent was not fresh.
It had just been auctioned by the Goldbergs in January 2014 for $22,325, as part of the collection of Philip Ralls. This 1807/6 brought less this time, $18,212. The price in 2014 was a little strong and the current price is a little weak. Market prices for 1807/6 cents are about the same. Soon, an article will be devoted to the incredible 1807/6 cent that Stack’s-Bowers sold for $470,000 in the Rarities Night event.
The 1823/2 cent is a key date. The $18,800 result for the PCGS graded and CAC-approved MS-62 1823/2 cent is not strong, though the lack of strength might possibly be due to the reality that this specific coin has a deep gash above Miss Liberty’s hair. This gash is definitely annoying and is far more likely to bother copper coin collectors than a similar gash would bother collectors of gold coins from the same time period. Further, this coin has other problems. Maybe this coin brought an AU-58 level price, while in a holder that reads “MS-62,” because bidders fairly valued it at an AU-58 level?
Although 1877 Indian cents are definitely not rare, the 1877 is the key to the series of copper Indian cents, which are extremely popular. A PCGS certified and CAC-approved ‘MS-65-Red & Brown’ 1877 is highly sought after. This one brought $12,925, a price which is in line with other PCGS certified, and CAC-approved, ‘MS-65-Red & Brown’ 1877 cents that have been auctioned since 2012. Market prices for these have remained the same, more or less, on average.
Although 1926-S Lincoln cents are common, one that is PCGS certified as ‘MS-65-Red’ is at the top of population data. As I have not seen the coin, I am not commenting here on its numerical grade or its redness. It is a fact that it is one of only two 1926-S Lincolns that are so certified and none are PCGS graded above MS-65 with a full ‘red’ designation.
The $105,750 result is very strong. Although such a PCGS-certified ‘MS-65RD’ 1926-S was worth more seven to nine years ago, this $105,750 result is not an indication of a fall in prices for such a coin. Ten years ago, PCGS had certified just one 1926-S as ‘MS-65-Red,’ the Walsh Collection coin. That 1926-S sold for $149,500 in January 2006 and for $106,375 in December 2008. Markets for such coins were at high levels in January 2006,and may have been still rising. Market levels that prevailed, for ‘full red’ better date early Lincolns, from 2010 to the present have not been anywhere near levels that were reached during the period from 2004 to the middle of 2008.
Late in 2008, coin markets were falling substantially. The fact that there are now two 1926-S cents with the same PCGS certification is pertinent, however, as $105,750 now, given a doubling of the supply, is a very strong price. In the context of market realities and from a cultural perspective, this is not a good value.
Three Cent Silver & Half Dimes
The highest certified 1856 Three Cent Silver is PCGS graded MS-67 and CAC-approved. Neither PCGS nor NGC has graded another 1856 as MS-67. The $28,200 result is certainly a retail price. Is there a reason to believe that the market level for this coin has dropped over the last few months or over the last five years?
A PCGS graded MS-66, and CAC-approved, 1795 half dime brought $79,312.50. As best as I can remember at the moment, one of these certified as MS-66 has not been auctioned in a long time. The implications of the $79,312.50 result, if any, are not clear.
Curiously, there were two 1800 half dimes of the ‘LIBEKTY’ major variety that were both earlier in the Norweb Family Collection. The first, PCGS graded as “MS-65+” and CAC approved, brought $47,000. The second, PCGS graded as MS-66 and CAC-approved, went for $111,625.
A reason why these results are likely to be misinterpreted is that price guides have been valuing the LIBEKTY error coins much higher than those with normal letters. Ironically, Ron Guth emphasized in 2011 on PCGS CoinFacts that “current price guides value the two varieties almost exactly the same.”
Although I am not sure about Ron’s point here, I am suggesting that, in MS-64 and higher grades, two 1800 half dimes of the same quality and with nearly identical appearances would have approximately the same market value, regardless of die varieties. Most demand for gem quality, early half dimes comes from collectors assembling type sets, not from people collecting varieties. Although LIBEKTY coins are slightly rarer, there are probably not more than two people who would pay substantial premiums for gem grade LIBEKTY half dimes.
The $47,000 price for the PCGS graded “MS-65+” 1800 half dime is weak, while the $111,625 result is strong. The $152,750 result for the Pogue piece in May was very strong. Overall, market values for gem quality, early half dimes may have fallen so far in 2015.
There were two PCGS graded MS-67 1853 ‘With Arrows’ half dimes in this auction. I have not seen either. The one without a CAC sticker realized $7637.50 and the one with a CAC sticker sold for $18,800. Images suggest that both have natural toning. Although it is possible that market prices for these have fallen, my guess is that the $7637.50 result for the first one is a consequence of pertinent bidders believing that PCGS overgraded the coin or that its grade is clearly in the ‘low end’ of the 67 range.
As for the one that is CAC-approved, on October 30, 2014, Stack’s-Bowers auctioned this exact same coin for the exact same price, $18,800. It was fresh then, from the “1853 Collection,” and thus not fresh now. A coin that is publicly offered twice during a five year period is not fresh the second time, even if it is a terrific coin. Fresh coins tend, on average, to bring more than the exact same coins would if they are repeatedly offered during a five year period.
The case of the Gardner 1899-O quarter provides further evidence that market prices have not fallen and may possibly provide an insight regarding the value of plastic holders. On October 27, 2014, the Gardner 1899-O, NGC graded MS-67 and CAC approved, sold for $9,987.50. Before August 2015, it ‘crossed’ into a PCGS holder and was again CAC approved.
This time, it brought $12,925.
Although I did not view it in 2015, my guess is that this coin was not modified in the interim. It is the same coin in a different plastic holder.
1806 Half Dollar
The Garrett-Pryor 1806 half is PCGS graded MS-66 and CAC approved. Although it is hard to estimate a market value for an 1806 half at such a high grade level, I find the $182,125 result to be strong, a retail price. John Albanese disagrees, calling it “just a wholesale price.”
In January 2010, a PCGS-graded and CAC-approved MS-65 1806 was auctioned for $92,000. In May 2015, the Eliasberg-Pogue piece, which is also PCGS graded as MS-65, brought $82,250. The other PCGS graded MS-65 1806 half in the Pogue Collection realized $129,250. The Foxfire-Pogue, PCGS-graded MS-66 1807 Draped Bust half garnered $152,750.
According to data on PCGS CoinFacts, there exist 1806 halves that are PCGS graded as “MS-66+” and “MS-67.” To the best of my recollection, the current result of $182,125 is an auction record for an 1806 half with normal numerals. Has another sold for as much as $150,000?
At the recent Stack’s Bowers auction in Baltimore, the Hawn-Kaselitz specimen, PCGS graded MS-66 1806/5 realized $193,875. The 1806/5, however, is much scarcer than 1806 halves with normal numerals. The $182,125 result for the Garrett-Pryor 1806 is one of the more noteworthy prices in this sale.
1838-O Half Dollar
The Cass-Byers 1838-O half is PCGS certified as “SP-50.” It brought $253,000 in October 2006, at the Stack’s auction of the George Byers Collection. After being in one collection for more than eight years, it was consigned to this auction, in which it realized $293,750. which is not a strong price, though is a healthy result. Although this 1838-O half failed to receive a CAC sticker, John Albanese “bought it for fun, a nice original coin and the fifth 1838-O half that I have owned”!
1853-O ‘No Arrows’ Half
Another Great Rarity is an 1853-O ‘No Arrows’ half. The PCGS-graded VG-08 Howell piece was consigned to this auction. It was auctioned for the first time, by Stack’s Bowers, at the 2012 ANA Convention in Philadelphia. It was then a new and exciting discovery, and a realization of $218,500 was ‘big news’! Only three years have passed, too soon to offer a coin like this again. While an 1853 ‘No Arrows’ half is a famous Great Rarity, there are only a few people who seriously seek to assemble complete sets of Liberty Seated half dollars, which are a long series.
It is relevant that a PCGS-graded Good-06 coin was auctioned by Stack’s-Bowers last October. That coin brought $246,750. Although this PCGS-graded VG-08 Howell piece has more detail, the Good-06 grade coin is superior overall, especially in regard to surface quality and technical factors. So, the Howell piece was overshadowed and is no longer as exciting as it was in 2012. On August 12, 2015, it brought $199,750.
The Eliasberg-Gardner 1892-O half, with a normal mintmark, is NGC graded MS-68 and CAC approved. On June 23, 2005, ANR auctioned this same coin for $37,375. In June 2014, it brought $64,625 in the Gardner I sale, a very strong price. This time, less than fourteen months later, it went for $47,000, a moderate price.
The consignor this time, presumably the buyer on June 23, 2014, is the “Greensboro” collector. He has a reputation for aggressively bidding and paying strong prices for coins at auction.
The Greensboro set of business strike Barber halves is impressive and important. There should be an article devoted to it. When a set is assembled very fast and sold rapidly, however, prices realized for some of the same coins will be lower, even if underlying wholesale levels remain the same. I am astonished that I have so much trouble communicating this point to interested collectors.
If a collector goes on a rampage, relentlessly pays super prices at auction for coins to assemble a set in a short amount of time, and then abruptly consigns the rapidly formed set to auction, it is unsurprising that some of the coins will bring lower prices than the same coins did in recent auctions. A point is that stale coins are less likely to bring retail prices at auction than fresh coins, though stale coins will sometimes realize very strong prices.
The definition of fresh or stale is not related to the quality of the coin. Freshness is a function of the amount of time that has passed since a coin has been notably offered in the mainstream of the coin community.
On May 15, 2015, it seems that the collector known as “Greensboro” bought Gene Gardner’s 1906-O half that is PCGS graded as MS-67 and CAC approved. This same coin was just auctioned again on August 12, 2015. This 1906-O sold for $18,800 in May and $17,037.50 last week.
Eric Lane’s Walkers
As I said in a preview three weeks ago, Eric Lane formed one of the all-time greatest sets of Walking Liberty Half Dollars. Lane’s 1917-S with mintmark on the obverse (front) is alone in the PCGS population report at the MS-67 level and just three are PCGS graded as MS-66. The $152,700 result is very strong. The PCGS price guide value of $95,000 would have been a weak to moderate auction price.
This ‘Eric Lane’ 1917-S with mintmark on the reverse is not as important as the just mentioned 1917-S with mintmark on the obverse, though is a highlight of this collection. It is PCGS graded as MS-66 and CAC approved. Although PCGS had graded two as “MS-66+,” none have been certified as grading MS-67 and people who buy these tend to be heavily focused on certified grades, which may change over time. The $37,600 result was moderate to strong.
A PCGS-graded and CAC-approved MS-65 1918-D brought $35,250, another impressive price. This 1918-D was not in the Eric Lane Collection. Although it is not clear that market levels for gem early Walkers have risen in 2015, the results of this auction come close to conclusively demonstrating that such levels have not fallen.
Lane’s 1918-D was graded MS-66 by PCGS and CAC approved. The $99,875 result could not be weak, though it is hard to estimate market values for this coin.
“Seems to be strong, retail price, though it is possible that a dealer bought it to try for an upgrade,” John Albanese remarks.
Of the three 1918-D Walkers that PCGS has graded as MS-66, I do not remember any of the other two publicly selling or privately trading in the near past. An NGC graded MS-66 1918-D was auctioned for $25,300 in 2005. This is the only certified MS-66 1918-D that has a CAC sticker.
The 1921 Philadelphia Mint issue and the 1921-Denver Mint Walker are key dates. Lane’s 1921 is PCGS graded MS-66 and CAC approved. It brought $54,050, a moderate price. In October 2014, a very well struck, PCGS graded “MS-65+” and CAC approved 1921, with light even toning, brought $23,500. Is the Lane 1921 much better than that one?
There was a 1921-D in this session that was not part of Eric Lane’s set. It is PCGS graded as MS-64 and does not have a CAC sticker. This 1921-D sold for $18,800. In August 2010, at an ANA Convention in Boston, this exact same coin realized $14,375. It was in the same PCGS holder, with a faded blue insert that probably dates from some point between 1998 and 2003. This another bit of evidence that prices for condition rarities of classic U.S. coins have not been falling.
The Eric Lane 1921-D is PCGS graded MS-66 and CAC approved. It realized $94,000. In September 2006, a different PCGS-graded MS-66 1921-D was auctioned for $48,875. Market levels for gem Walkers in general were probably higher in September 2006 than such levels are now.
The Eric Lane 1921-S is PCGS-graded MS-65 and CAC approved. It sold for $117,500. “Strong, retail price, but not crazy,” Albanese finds.
The 1923-S half is another common coin that is a tremendous condition rarity in the gem quality range, MS-65 and higher grades. A PCGS-graded MS-65 1923-S in a pre-1999 holder with a green label, though no CAC sticker, was not in Lane’s set. That 1923-S brought $19,975. Over the past three years, PCGS graded MS-65 1923-S Walkers, without CAC stickers, have tended to realize prices from around $13,500 to $15,275.
Eric Lane’s PCGS graded MS-66 1923-S, which is CAC-approved, brought $25,850. This result is a little under the trend line for sales of PCGS graded MS-66 1923-S Walkers.
A slightly weak price is significant in that Eric Lane’s Walkers fared well, mostly because of collector enthusiasm for a collector-consignment of one of the all-time best sets of Walkers, not entirely because market prices for Walkers have increased. Market prices for gem Walkers have probably increased just a little.
Fresh coins will, on average, bring higher prices than stale coins. Moreover, accurately graded coins from named-collector consignments will, on average, bring prices higher than coins from unnamed consignments, even if the physical characteristics of the corresponding coins were identical. Collectors often become enthusiastic when pursuing coins that are in collections. (For more on this phenomenon, please refer to my article, What Are Auction Prices?)
DeMicco Peace Dollars
A 1926-D Peace silver dollar “from the DeMicco Family Collection” is PCGS graded MS-67 and CAC approved, another condition rarity. This coin is very important to collectors of gem Peace Dollars. At the CSNS Convention in April 2011, while part of the Paul Taylor Collection, this exact same coin sold for $37,375, around the time when silver bullion rose above $48 an ounce. On August 12, 2015, it realized $47,000.
A 1934-S Peace silver dollar “from the DeMicco Family Collection” is PCGS graded MS-66 and CAC approved. This representative of a famous date brought $32,900. A different 1934-S with the same PCGS and CAC certification, from the collection of Paul Taylor, was auctioned for $34,500 in April 2011. There are many variables that affect auction results. It is important to be careful when drawing conclusions.
Duckor One Dollar Gold Coins
“The Duckor gold dollars were very strong, certainly solid retail prices,” John Albanese exclaims. Albanese is the founder and president of CAC, which approved every coin in Duckor’s set.
The Duckor 1851 is PCGS graded as MS-68 and CAC approved. At the Stack’s-Bowers ANA auction in August 2011, this same coin brought $63,250, a price that was then considered outrageous. In 2015, it brought $94,000, which is, indisputably, an extremely strong price.
The PCGS graded MS-65 1851-O sold for $12,925. In April 2015 at a ‘Central States’ Convention, another PCGS graded and CAC approved MS-65 1851-O was auctioned for $6,757.43. It might be true that Dr. Duckor’s 1851-O scores higher in the category of originality.
The Bass 1855-D is one of the most famous of all One Dollar Gold pieces. The ‘Duke’s Creek’-Simpson 1855-D is also PCGS graded as MS-64. In January 2009, Stack’s auctioned the Duke-Simpson 1855-D for $143,750.
The Goldbergs auctioned the NGC graded MS-64, Bass-Duckor 1855-D for $149,500 in February 2007. Generally, market levels for U.S. rarities were higher in February 2007 than they have been at any time after August 2008.
In August 2010, in a pre-ANA auction, Spectrum-B&M sold this Bass-Duckor 1855-D for $115,000. It was still NGC graded as MS-64. By August 2011, it was NGC graded as “MS-64+” and CAC approved. It was then sold by Heritage for $155,250. It has since been PCGS graded as MS-64. On August 12, 2015, the Bass-Duckor 1855-D brought $164,500!
The 1856-S is the only San Francisco Mint, One Dollar Gold piece of the second design type and is the last of this type. The Duckor 1856-S is PCGS graded as MS-64. The exact same coin was PCGS graded as MS-63 when it was auctioned for $27,600 in January 2010. This time, it sold for $44,650.
The PCGS-graded, and CAC-approved, MS-68 1857 seemed to bring a strong price, $51,700. Although not a rare coin, the 1857 is an extreme condition rarity in grades above MS-65, and this has been the only PCGS-graded MS-68 1857 for more than twenty-three years. NGC does not currently list any as grading above MS-66. Before this auction, the PCGS price guide value for it was “$40,000.” The Duckor 1858 has the same certification and realized the exact same price, $51,700.
The 1858-S is an extreme condition rarity in grades above MS-62. The appearance of Duckor’s “MS-64” coin surprised me. So, I checked some auction records.
The Duckor 1858-S is the same as the PCGS-graded MS-63 1858-S, in a pre-1999 green label holder, that was auctioned in Tampa in January 2011. This same 1858-S brought $19,550 then, while PCGS-graded MS-63, and $25,850 last week while PCGS graded as MS-64. The images taken before the January 2011 FUN auction are clearer than the current online images.
The Duckor 1863 brought the highest price of any coin in the set, an astonishing realization of $193,875. Has an 1863 One Dollar Gold piece ever before been auctioned for as much as $30,000? This one is PCGS graded as MS-68, CAC approved, and of much higher quality than the other surviving 1863 One Dollar Gold pieces.
Two Gem 1855 Dollars
In this auction, there were two 1855 One Dollar Gold pieces that are PCGS-graded MS-66 and CAC-approved. These are important as type coins. ‘Type 1’ One Dollar Gold pieces are much scarcer, in relative terms, than ‘Type 2’ or ‘Type 3’ pieces. The second type of One Dollar Gold pieces lasted for just three years, 1854 to 1856, and many people collect One Dollar Gold pieces ‘by type.’ The Duckor 1855 brought $49,350.
The PCGS graded MS-66 and CAC-approved 1855 from “The Glacier Collection” went for $54,050. This is concrete evidence that not all of the premiums for Duckor coins were due to the Duckor name, as a One Dollar Gold piece from another consignment brought more than the Duckor coin with the same certification.
Earlier, the “Glacier” 1855 was in the FUN Platinum Night event of January 2012, in which it sold for $51,750. The fact that it brought more in 2015 than in 2012, even though it was competing with the Duckor 1855 in this auction, is another bit of evidence that market prices have not been falling over the past two to three years.
Indian Head Gold
The 1911-D is the key to the series of Indian Head quarter eagles. The PCGS-graded “MS-64+” and CAC-approved coin in this auction sold for $28,200. Heritage reports selling four other 1911-D quarter eagles, with this same certification and CAC approval, since 2011, for the following prices: $28,200, $30,550, $32,200, and $34,500. This is too small a sample from which to draw a conclusion, especially without focusing upon the differences among the listed coins. It is plausible, however, that market prices for such 1911-D quarter eagles could have fallen slightly over the last four years.
There was also a PCGS-graded MS-65 1911-D in this auction, without a CAC sticker, from an unnamed consignment. The price realized, $52,875, is roughly consistent with prices realized for other PCGS-graded MS-65 1911-D quarter eagles over the past three or four years.
Though extremely common in circulated grades, 1914-D quarter eagles are ‘better dates’ in the gem quality range. There were two PCGS-graded MS-65 1914-D coins in this auction, without CAC stickers, from consignments that were not named. One sold for the exact same price that another PCGS-graded MS-65 1914-D realized at the Long Beach auction in early June, $14,100. The second PCGS-graded MS-65 1914-D in this ANA auction brought the exact same price that still another one realized in January 2015, $15,275. Such results are circumstantial evidence that prices are unchanging, though, of course, do not firmly demonstrate a trend.
Though widely available in grades below 64, 1916-S half eagles are condition rarities in 64 and higher grades. A PCGS graded “MS-64+” 1916-S, with a CAC sticker, realized $11,750, a result which is hard to interpret. Another with the exact same certification, including a CAC sticker, went for $13,800 in December 2010.
The PCGS-graded, and CAC-approved “MS-65” 1916-S half eagle in this auction garnered $41,126.18, a strong price for sure. In January 2012, a different 1916-S with the same certification, including CAC approval, realized $34,500. Most other auction results for PCGS or NGC-graded MS-65 1916-S half eagles are under $30,000.
Extremely Rare Double Eagles
The 1854-O and 1856-O double eagles in this auction are extremely important; they are famous, major rarities in a very popular series. Curiously, they are each NGC-graded AU-55 and they each realized $340,750.
It is almost impossible to interpret the auction results for these without actually seeing the coins, especially since they lack CAC stickers or helpful pedigrees. The 1854-O has not been “traced” by the Heritage cataloguer and the 1856-O was in a Stack’s auction in 1971, before my time. These could be excellent coins or they could have been heavily doctored. They may have horrid contact marks or the magnitude of their respective contact marks and hairlines might be less than average for 55 grade coins of this design type. I do not know and I am not commenting on these coins here. For branch mint pre-1880 double eagles, numerical grades tend to correspond with a level of detail. Eye appeal, surface quality and technical factors should be incorporated into a process of estimating market values.
The 1870-CC double eagle is even more famous than the 1854-O and the 1856-O. The NGC-graded VF-30 coin in this auction brought $182,125. This is perhaps a moderate price. Even if it is a weak price, it is not an indication that market values for these have recently fallen. Market levels for these have not changed much over the last few years, and are much lower than the levels that prevailed from 2005 to 2008.
It is important to keep in mind that in order to draw conclusions about current market levels, it is necessary to consider thousands of bits of information. To someone who understands and actively follows coin markets, a list of auction prices may indicate the success of a particular auction. Much more information must be processed in order to form a hypothesis regarding trends in market levels overall.
In recent times, prices have fallen in some areas, particularly for pre-1856 Proof Liberty Seated coins. Prices have risen in other areas. Over the last five and a half years, there has not been a sharp movement downward. Markets for rare U.S. coins and especially noteworthy condition rarities have remained stable, for the most part, with some small up and down movements, since 2010.
©2015 Greg Reynolds