CoinWeek Staff Reports …..
A conditionally-scarce 1934-S Peace dollar graded MS65+ by PCGS and CAC-approved is one of the highlights this week at GreatCollections Certifed Coin Auctions.
With less than five days to go, the lot has received four bids and reached a price of $8,501.00 ($9,563.63 with Buyer’s Premium). This coin is almost certain to garner additional bids in the days to come and has an expected market value, according to our analysis, of between $12,000 and $13,000.
The Market Today for Peace Dollars – A 1934-S Perspective
The Peace dollar was the last circulating U.S. $1 coin struck in 90% silver. The coin’s design was the result of an art competition that sought to find designs emblematic of peace. Medallic sculptor Anthony de Francisci won that competition with his elegant, yet stylized, portrait of Liberty in profile, which is mated with an obverse that features a bald eagle perched atop a rocky mound, an olive branch in its talons, and the word PEACE below.
The first coins in the series were struck in late 1921 after Treasurer Secretary Andrew Mellon approved the design in December of that year.
During the series short run, there was little need for a circulating $1 silver coin. This had essentially been the case since the Bland-Allison Act authorized the resumption of silver dollar coinage in 1878. That coin featured the popular “Morgan” design and that series, struck by the hundreds of millions, sat unwanted in Treasury vaults for decades until the Congress came to the aid of the United Kingdom and converted more than 270 million dollar coins into bullion so that the UK could recoin American silver into Indian Rupees and subsidiary coinage. The Pittman Act, which authorized the sale, also called on the Treasury to purchase the same quantity of silver sold from American mines and replace the melted dollar coins.
Morgan dollar coinage in 1921, struck using new hubs, accounting for 85 million replacement coins, the remainder, would be struck over the course of the next seven years using Francisci’s “Peace” design.
The Peace dollar is a shorter and more affordable series to complete than the Morgan dollar series. Most collectors have the financial capacity to complete a date set of Peace dollars in choice uncirculated grade as this 10-coin set can be purchased for the reasonable sum of $1550. A date and mintmark set in choice can also be pursued by a wide segment of the collecting base, although the cost for one example of each date struck at each mint will include the key date 1934-D issue. This coin will set collectors back about $4,250 in MS63, but the entire set, including this coin, will cost about $9,330.
It’s only when you get to gem quality coins and beyond does the Peace dollar series reveal itself to be a serious challenge for collectors, who may have a budget of $6,000 to $10,000 dollars per year.
A complete collection of Peace dollars in MS65 has a market value today of about $79,250, while a set in MS66 (with a 1925-S in MS65) costs approximately $250,000. Keep in mind that these prices are for sight unseen coins certified by either PCGS or NGC. Premium quality coins, including coins with high eye appeal, pristine surfaces, and CAC-approval may cost multiples of these amounts.
The present coin, offered by GreatCollections falls in between these two very important pricing tiers. At MS65+ it is a population 28 coin with 31 finer (top population is a sole example graded MS66+). The coin’s value in the market is an intermediate step between the $7,000 that an MS65 is expected to bring and the $28,500 that the market currently supports for an MS66.
Market behavior towards the 1934-S in PCGS MS65+ supports our conclusion that collectors view coins in this grade to be closer in line with a 65 rather than a 66 and the coin’s current bid would be a strong price for a superior 65 (in line with what a CAC-approved example with great eye appeal would trade for through a dealer).
Price analysts would do well to note the final hammer price of this piece as it is indicative of the overall health of the Peace dollar market in the important gem “investment grade” levels.
A strong price ($14,000 and above) would indicate healthy interest in the series, while a hammer that struggles to match the $13,200 realized in April by Heritage Auctions for a CAC-approved example of similar quality and eye appeal would indicate softness.
CAC founder John Albanese told CoinWeek recently that mega-collectors are still actively buying expensive rare coins. The problem, Albanese said, is that collectors who spend $6,000 to $10,000 a year are not at the moment.
The 1934-S Peace dollar in PCGS MS65+ falls outside of the range of Albanese’s “problem zone”, but is well within a market segment that is essential to the health and viability of the rare coin market.
If you want to get a good sense of where the market is right now, bookmark this lot and see how things play out. And if you are in the market for a great example of a 1934-S, what are you waiting for? Bid!