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HomeAuctionsStack's Bowers Spring 2024 Rarities Night Preview - Minor Coins

Stack’s Bowers Spring 2024 Rarities Night Preview – Minor Coins

Stack's Bowers Rarities Night Spring 2024 Showcase Auction - Minor coin denominations
Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek

By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek …..

On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, Stack’s Bowers will conduct its Rarities Night sale of the Spring 2024 Showcase Auction at Griffin Studios in Costa Mesa, California. I have actively reviewed major auctions dating back to my first years at CoinWeek in the early 2010s, and I must say that this is one of the most stacked auctions for important coins that I’ve seen. This sale has so much going for it that I worry that this auction preview will sell short how I truly feel about the offerings. There’s something here for collectors of both classic and modern coins. Rarities, conditional rarities, and PQ eye appeal pieces that fall squarely in the condition census are all on offer.

This is a collector’s auction, and if you are a serious collector, then you owe it to yourself to spend an afternoon with this catalog.

Minor Coins

Under the rubric of “minor” coins, the March 26 Rarities Night session offers important large cents, ultra-premium Lincoln Wheat cents, and at least three significant Buffalo nickels.

Lot 4008: 1793 Wreath Cap Cent, S-8, Vine and Bars Edge, MS64+BN (NGC)

1793 Wreath Cent, SB-8. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1793 Wreath Cent, SB-8. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

1793 marked the beginning of coin production at the Philadelphia Mint. By world standards at the time, the United States Mint’s early output was crude, and its designs amateurish. But beneath the homespun technique was a revolutionary type of money – a type that elevated the word “Liberty” to a personification of the human form. In 1793, three interpretations of Liberty were utilized in striking one-cent coins. The first frightful effigy was married to a Chain reverse; the second one, the Wreath design, ditched the chains for a wreath and softened Liberty’s frightful facade with a better-articulated mane of flowing hair. This wreath design stayed in production from April to July, and only 63,353 coins were struck. This accounts for less than five minutes of cent output by today’s Philadelphia Mint. In 1793’s final months, the Mint settled on a Liberty Cap design that would continue to serve the nation through 1796.

Interestingly, this middle design is most approachable to collectors today; it is rare in an absolute sense but less rare than the Chain and Cap.

The example being sold in Stack’s Bowers’ minor coin offering is a near-Gem NGC MS64+BN Sheldon-8. The curved sprig atop the date identifies the variety. Stack’s Bowers notes that this coin was purchased from coin dealer Abner Kreisberg many years ago for a Type Set. Some Type Set that must have been!

Read the CoinWeek Notes 1793 Wreath Cent Collector’s Guide to learn more about this coin type.

Lot 4009: 1794 Liberty Cap Cent, S-24, Apple Cheek, MS64+BN (NGC) CMQ

1794 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-24, "Apple Cheek." Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1794 Liberty Cap Cent, Sheldon-24, “Apple Cheek.” Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

The second large cent in the Stack’s Bowers minor coin section I’d like to bring to your attention is a near Gem: a 1794 Liberty Cap cent, Sheldon-24, the “Apple Cheek” variety. Of all the descriptive coin variety names throughout U.S. numismatics, which is more wholesome than “Apple Cheek?” This particular variety marries Obverse 7 with Reverse D and is the only occurrence of this die, as it develops a bisecting die crack. In this example, you can see the die crack forming from the dentils just to the right of the number four and extending into Liberty’s neck. This example has above-average eye appeal. The roughness near the date is characteristic of the variety. I expect the hammer price on this condition census example to exceed $100,000.

Before you bid, consider checking out CoinWeek’s massive Collector’s Guide to the 1794 Liberty Cap Cent. In it, we break down the coin by variety and offer an informative video that shows every variety in HD.

Lot 4023: 1918 Lincoln Cent, MS68RD (PCGS) CMQ

1918 Lincoln Wheat Cent. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1918 Lincoln Wheat Cent. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

PCGS has certified only three coins at the MS68 grade level to date. One of the other two examples is the Stewart Blay coin (PCGS MS68RD CAC #9726591), which sold in January 2023 for $66,921.75. The other is a coin that jumped from MS67+RD CAC to MS68RD in the summer of 2023. Whoever did that realized a five-fold increase in value from that coin!

Niddling things on both coins are apparent when you magnify them to fill the dimensions of an HD computer monitor. In reality, Lincoln cents measure 19.05mm, and it would take serious study under glass to find any real flaws with either coin. The PCGS MS68RD Stack’s Bowers offers in Lot 4023 is CMQ sticker approved, meaning that PCGS founder David Hall and Spectrum CEO Greg Roberts have approved its quality. Spectrum owns Stack’s Bowers.

This example is one of several Superb Gem Red early date Lincoln cents in the sale.

Be an informed bidder in the Stack’s Bowers rarities Night minor coin section by reading CoinWeek’s 1918 Lincoln Cent Collector’s Guide. In it, we discuss the history and value of the 1918 Lincoln cent and track recent auction data for the Condition Census coins.

Lot 4052: 1916 Buffalo Nickel, Doubled Die Obverse, MS61 (NGC)

1916/916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1916/916 Buffalo Nickel Doubled Die Obverse. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

I’m going to close out my auction preview of the minor coins from Stack’s Bowers’ Rarities Night, Spring 2024 Showcase Auction, with a small herd of Buffalos. The first one is the famous 1916/916 Doubled Die Obverse. Unlike many Cherrypicker’s Guide DDOs, where you need a strong glass to see doubled notches at the corners of the inscriptions, the doubling here is quite dramatic, with the looping 9 and 6 being most easily visible with the naked eye. Amazingly, this variety went undetected until Herbert S. Perlin of Pomona, California, reported its discovery in the July 1962 issue of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine–likely a testament to the variety’s absolute rarity.

Perlin’s discovery example was graded AU58 when the coin was submitted to NGC in February 2023. Usually, 1916/916 Buffalo nickels are offered in circulated grades, where even still, they sell for $20,000 to $30,000. This pleasingly toned example is graded NGC MS61 and is one of possibly 20 known examples in Mint State.

Lot 4060: 1936-D Buffalo Nickel, MS68 (NGC)

1936-D Buffalo Nickel. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1936-D Buffalo Nickel. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

I would not go so far as to say that this 1936-D Buffalo Nickel is monster-toned, as I’ve seen some technicolor dazzlers over the years. But this coin has an attractive rainbow target toning on the obverse against a fairly uniform goldenrod hue that covers the obverse and reverse. It is an iridescent piece with great eye appeal and is one of just two coins certified at the MS68 level by NGC. PCGS currently counts only three at the same level. Among the finest of the date, one would need all five examples in hand to order a condition census – but even then, that would be such a subjective thing to do.

A goldenrod opportunity for the serious Buffalo herder.

Lot 4061: 1938-D Buffalo Nickel, MS68 (PCGS)

1938-D Buffalo Nickel. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1938-D Buffalo Nickel. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

Late-date Buffalo nickels often don’t get the respect they deserve. It’s true that they lack the rarity of the early dates, especially the mint-marked issues of the 1910s and early ’20s. What they do have, especially fresh examples from saved rolls, is that flashy booming luster that sends the imagination on a timewarp to the year of issue and makes you wonder how fresh everything else looked.

I don’t know if you could find a better preserved or flashier 1938-D than this PCGS MS68. Crescent toning of gold, rose, blue, and turquoise wrap around the top of the coin’s obverse and, interestingly, outline the date. A similar toning pattern reaches in farther into the interior of the field and wraps around the bottom of the reverse. Six coins currently occupy PCGS’ top pop grade of MS68+. This example is the current plate coin. Each example illustrated on CoinFacts offers something different for the advanced collector. I advise the advanced specialist to look this one over during Stack’s Bowers’ lot viewing hours at the upcoming Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore.

Dig deeper into the story of the 1938-D Buffalo nickel by checking out CoinWeek’s informative Collector’s Guide. In it, we break down the coin and the popular D/S variety.

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That does it for my auction preview of the Stack’s Bowers minor coins in the Spring 2024 Rarities Night session. Minors cover lots 4005-4062. There were many coins that I did not cover worthy of your consideration. The Lincoln cent, three-cent silver, and Buffalo nickel sections are well-represented.

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Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of CoinWeek.com. Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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1 COMMENT

  1. There are a tremendous number of coins that can be sold at auction, but to attain the highest prices, one must have these coins encapsulated. Having said that, the difference between two identical coins, one raw and the other sealed and graded, is like Mark Twain said the difference between lightening and the lighten’ bug.

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