In an Uncool Coins! video segment, CoinWeek brought you the heartrending story of an 1850 Liberty $20 Double Eagle gold coin–graded MS-64 Prooflike by NGC (the only one of its kind)–that a buyer (who shall forever remain anonymous) cracked out of its holder and “made better”… despite the efforts and admonitions of Maryland-based coin dealer Julian Leidman of Bonanza Coins.
Mr. Leidman is a deft storyteller, and the yarn he weaves in the video is fascinating and tragic. No synopsis can do his delivery justice, so we highly recommend you watch the segment if you haven’t already. Suffice it to say that the enthusiastic yet stubborn and ill-informed collector in question ruined what was once a conditionally-rare six-figure gold coin.
A cautionary tale for the ages.
At any rate, as stated in the video, Mr. Leidman did in fact post the coin on eBay for 99 cents on January 13, 2016 in a true “no reserve” auction. But by the end of the first day, bidding had taken the price up to US $1,959.00.
Bidding then stalled but picked back up a week later, when it went as high as $2,968.50 on the 20th.
A day later, the coin was going for $5,018.50.
The final day of bidding (Saturday, Jan. 23) started at $5,250, and by auction’s close the winner of the melancholy 1850 Liberty double eagle was in for a grand total of $6,111.99. This represents an almost 617,273% increase in price from the starting bid for the raw and cleaned coin.
Additionally, at the time of writing the spot price of one troy ounce of pure gold was $1,107.70, making the .900 gold 1850 double eagle worth about $1,071.69 in melt.
Market analysts, take note.
But remember… to err is human and forgiveness–no matter how coarse our manners and culture have gotten in this day and age–is still divine, so have a little sympathy for the original buyer, who purchased the coin for $102,000 ($127,900 adjusted for inflation) at a Blanchard’s sale in 2004.