By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner ……
At DWN, I get to handle many interesting coins. Some make it to the website; others don’t. In this article, I thought I’d share images and impressions of three particularly interesting coins that I handled in March 2019.
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1. The World’s Most Undergraded 1841-D Quarter Eagle
As of April 2019, only four Dahlonega quarter eagles had been awarded a Gold Sticker by CAC. And while I don’t know this for sure, I’m willing to bet that only one wasn’t in an older holder. The coin I am referring to is an 1841-D graded AU50 by PCGS.
1841-D $2.50 PCGS AU50, CAC GOLD STICKER. Images courtesy Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)
A little background is in order.
First, the 1841-D is quite rare as a date with fewer than 100 known. It is not often seen in AU grades and almost never with natural color and choice surfaces.
Second, a few words on how this great coin came to be. If you catch me at the right time at the right show and you are a good customer whom I like, I just might show you my new purchases from the show. I rarely show them as they typically include “secret” coins, coins not ready for public viewing or, more often, coins I want to sell from my website and not from the bourse table. A collector that I’ll refer to as “Blazer Fan” approached me at what must have been the exact right alignment of the planets.
Blazer Fan: Can I see your newps?
Me: (hemming and hawing) Ummm, ok.
Blazer Fan: (carefully going through a box of newps) This 1841-D quarter eagle is incredible. How much?
Me: (hemming and hawing) That coin is waaaaay undergraded. I don’t want to sell it. (remembering that I have over 100 new coins to grade/describe/image/sell) Oh, ok… it costs $X.
Blazer Fan: (waits less than two seconds to answer) Sold.
Cut to four years later when I buy Blazer Fan’s coins. I see this lovely 1841-D quarter eagle again and I still love it. And I’m still mystified as to how it could have ever graded AU50 by modern standards as I see it as a rock solid 55+ to 58–likely the nicest circulated example of this date in existence.
2. A Glowing Red Gem 1795 Half Eagle
I have a reputation as a dealer who really likes gold coins with exceptional original color and this is why a well-known dealer called me right after he purchased this 1795 Small Eagle half eagle graded AU53 by NGC and approved by CAC. He mentioned that the coin was really, really pretty and that I was going to really, really like the color.
1795 SMALL EAGLE $5.00 NGC AU53 CAC
OK, you may ask, why should I believe that the color is real? Why isn’t this another of those funky, botched, heat-treated pieces that you rail against on your website, Mr. Fancypants Gold Dealer (the exact name I got called recently by a coin expert whose 10 minutes researching his gold coin on the web apparently made him smarter than me)?
The first reason is the hue of this color. Heat-treated gold coins tend to show a bright orange hue (I’ve repeatedly referred to this as “Cheeto orange”). You’ll note this piece has more of a reddish hue. This color is very beautiful in person and it is still impossible to replicate in the lab. What causes it? I’m not exactly sure but I’m inclined to think it’s from long-term storage in an old wooden coin cabinet. The toning I refer to as “leather pouch” is more of a purple in hue.
The second reason is how the toning lays on the surfaces. You’ll note that it doesn’t totally cover either side as does fake toning. On this, the relief details are lighter in hue as one would expect from a coin with natural color.
One other important thing to consider is that the coin is in an older holder. Now, this is no guarantee that the color is original. But it does tell me the color is stable, and that it isn’t the result of chemicals that inevitably breakdown with the passing of time.
3. A Most Unusual 1851-O Half Eagle
If you aren’t a coin weenie, you might not want to read any further – but if you’re interested in New Orleans gold then bear with me.
1851-O $5.00 PCGS EF45 CAC
In my recent book on New Orleans gold I identified three varieties for the 1851-O. One of these (Variety 3) is very rare, with just a handful known.
I recently purchased an 1851-O half eagle graded EF45 by PCGS/CAC and was pleased to learn it was a Variety 3. When I studied the reverse, I was intrigued to note that not only is the mintmark clearly repunched to the southeast, but it also seems to be entered by hand into the die. While not as extreme as the famous 1854-O Huge O quarter dollar, this mintmark is crude and oddly placed, appearing much different than on any other New Orleans half eagle I have seen.
I’m not ready–yet–to declare that this is the gold coin version of the 1854-O Huge O quarter, but it is clearly an interesting variety that requires careful scrutiny.
Douglas Winter Numismatics handles a lot of interesting U.S. gold coins. Want to join the fun? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (214) 675-9897.
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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 United States 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 the recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins has 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 “Redbook”) 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.