By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
The Huberman Collection of Three Dollar Gold was the epitome of a fresh deal. Formed over a 35+ year time frame, this set had coins that ranged the gamut from pedestrian to amazing, and it had the eclectic feeling that these increasingly rare out-of-the-woodworks sets tend to display.
These coins would make for an interesting test of the Three Dollar market. With very few important business strikes or Proofs of this denomination having sold since last summer, the Huberman coins would let us know if the strength in the better date gold market included this denomination, as well as the various better-known types leading the current dated gold boom.
This was an odd set in terms of its consistency. It had pedestrian coins worth $2,000 alongside very rare high-five-figure-plus Gem Proofs. Having met with Mr. Huberman years ago in his old-school downtown Boston office (at the last Boston ANA show in 2010), I could have guessed this would be an interesting mix but even then, it was surprising to see the array of coins in person when I viewed them at the Stack’s Bowers office last month.
The sale was held on April 5, 2022, at the Stack’s Bowers Orange County offices.
The first big coin to sell was an NGC AU55 1854-D (Lot 3081) which I regarded as a very typical scrubby NGC 1854-D Three. It brought a strong $66,000, which tells me that, for the time being, a nice PCGS/CAC AU55 to A58 example of this date is likely to bring around $100,000 (if not more).
Lot 3094. Huberman Collection, 1862 PCGS PR65 DEEP CAMEO CAC. Images courtesy PCGS
The first really significant Proof to sell was an 1862 PCGS PR65 Deep Cameo (Lot 3094) with CAC approval. This was a lovely coin that was last sold at the 1976 ANA (my first ANA show!). It brought a very strong $108,000.
Lot 3098. Huberman Collection, 1866 PCGS PR66 DEEP CAMEO CAC
This result was overshadowed by Lot 3098, an incredible PCGS PR66 1866 Deep Cameo with CAC approval, which was the nicest Proof of this date I’ve seen. However, I certainly didn’t expect to see this coin bring $192,000 – easily a record price for a Proof of this date.
Lot 3100. Huberman Collection, 1868 PROOF
Lot 3100 was an odd coin: a seemingly really nice 1868 Proof that was inexplicably no-graded by PCGS with the dreaded “Unc. Details-Altered Surfaces” modifier. I looked at this coin very carefully and could see no traces of alteration. But even still, I was not expecting it to bring $69,000. Obviously, the buyer has confidence he can get the coin straight-graded and it’s likely he should be able to.
Lot 3104. Huberman Collection, 1872 PCGS MS66PL
My favorite coin in the collection was Lot 3104, a wonderful 1872 graded MS66PL. This was the only Gem of this date I’ve ever seen (I’ve never owned one finer than a single MS64), and I thought I’d have a shot to buy it at around $65,000. Wrong! It more than doubled my estimate at a staggering $132,000.
Lot 3105. Huberman Collection, Dished 1873 Closed 3 PCGS PR65
My second favorite coin was Lot 3105, the extremely rare Dished 1873 Close 3 graded PR65 by PCGS. I don’t have the time to describe the background of this issue here. I’ve been obsessed with these ever since I saw my first example back in the mid-1980s, and as far as I can tell there are not more than three to five (likely fewer) known. I was surprised that this coin wasn’t approved by CAC as I thought it was a real Gem; I graded it PR65 CAM. It sold for a very strong $156,000.
Another Proof that I loved was the virgin original 1877 graded PR66+ Deep Cameo. It was a bit aggressive on the grade but it was the best I’ve seen of this date—and one of just 20 struck. It brought a record $144,000, which proves that a great coin like this doesn’t have to be approved by CAC to still bring a strong price.
A week ago, I would have priced the low-end PCGS MS63 1881 in the sale (Lot 3115) at around $17,500-18,000 if it were in the DWN inventory. With the Huberman coin bringing $21,600, I’d obviously have to adjust my figure upwards by 20%.
What can be gleaned from this sale? I would suggest the following:
The market for rare Proof Threes is much stronger than I had thought. There are buyers for coins in the $100,000-200,000 range; coins that as recently as six months ago would have been regarded as tough sells.
For even the most mundane business strike in this series, prices are probably 20% higher than they were a year ago.
On truly great Threes—whether they be business strikes like the Huberman 1872 or Proofs like the Dished 1873 Close 3, buyers are willing to pay record prices for non-CAC PCGS coins as long as the piece in question is cosmetically appealing and the grade isn’t way inflated.
There are a number of important Proofs of this series coming onto the market in the upcoming months and it will be interesting to see if they continue to bring record prices. My gut tells me that many (although not all) will do just that.
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About Doug Winter
Doug 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 US Gold 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 a recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have 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 “Red Book”) 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.