At one time, these entries ran on our US Coin
Values Advisor blog page, and have been archived here.
Dec 12, 2015
Coin Values Index Closes Out 2015 on a Modest Downturn
The Rare Coin Value Index moved down again in
December, falling 0.88 points to 372.79.
Since December 2014, the Index has fallen 11.60 points. Another way of
saying that is the Index fell 3.0% in 2015. Only in two months in 2015
did we see the Index rise
Yes, it was a down year for rare coins, but not at all catastrophic. On
a positive note, rare coin values held relatively steady in the midst
of an uncertain economy. It's good to see coin collecting has
maintained its broad appeal, and most likely will continue to do so as
far as the eye can see.
The Rare Coin Values Index is based on the price movements of 87 United
States coins deemed to be key dates by rank-and-file collectors, using
January 2000 as its baseline.
Nov 27, 2015
Recommendations for Coin Collectors
This time of year I usually get a few requests
from readers seeking advice on Christmas gifts for avid coin
The best stocking stuffer recommendation I can think of is a rare coin
destined to rise in value in the years ahead. That would be a cherished
heirloom for the ages. On the flip slip, if you're not careful, your
heartfelt gift may amount to nothing more than a lump of coal.
Thankfully, there are good options for coin gift givers of all means.
It is not necessary to spend a ton of money, though you certainly can
if you want to. For less than the price of a 32 inch flat screen TV,
your beloved collector can own something of sustainable intrinsic
value. It won't be obsolete in a year or two, yet will coveted by
future generations of collectors. Santa's elves are always making new
TV's, but there will never be more 1916-D Mercury Dimes than what we
So, if a coin is on your Christmas shopping list, congratulations on
being forward thinking. Now the next task is to chose wisely. I have
compiled a list of coins bound to generate smiles on Christmas morning.
Nov 12, 2015
Values Index Stays Put in November
The Rare Coin Value Index stayed put in
November, coming at at 373.67, no change from October.
Nevertheless, the Index remains at its lowest reading since November
2011. The Index charts the price movements of 87 United States coins
deemed to be key dates by rank-and-file collectors.
Although market activity at the base level of coin collecting has been
rather stagnant for several years. it hasn't been bad either. It is
encouraging to see the base of the hobby holding steady.
Nov 08, 2015
New Guidelines Posted for
Buying $1 American Silver Eagles
New guidelines to assist buyers of ungraded $1
American Silver Eagles have been posted.
For the last nine months, we've been gathering Silver Eagle data from
successfully completed eBay sales. In all, the results of nearly 5000
individual sales were analyzed and used as the basis for the
The guidelines are very easy to use. In the left column, look up the
row with the current silver bullion price. In the same row in the right
column, you'll find the estimated maximum bid price for a one ounce
Silver Eagle. The maximum price is based on the bullion value plus an
estimated premium, as determined from the data gathered during the
The goal of publishing the guidelines is to help Silver Eagle buyers
avoid overpaying. For many, it's like they have no clue how much a
Silver Eagle is worth and frequently pay 25% to 50% more than what most
other buyers are paying to acquire the exact same thing.
Oct 31, 2015
When Family Dinner, Sports,
and Numismatics Converge
When family dinner, sports, and numismatics converge, good things can
As I discovered recently, this unusual recipe can bear fruit. Score one
for dad (and daughter too!)
Oct 10, 2015
Coin Values Index Continues Slide in October
The Rare Coin Value Index continued its slide in
October, down to 373.67, its lowest reading since November 2011. The
Index charts the price movements of 87 United States coins deemed to be
key dates by rank-and-file collectors.
As ominous as this may sound, the Index is off its all-time high
attained in July 2014 by only 15.81 points, or 4.1%.
The positive takeaway is that the downward trend has not been dramatic,
but rather slow and gentle. In light of a shaky worldwide economy, it
is encouraging to see the base of the hobby holding steady.
Activity at the stratosphere heights of coin collecting is robust. The
Pogue auction held on September 30 brought in $26.1 million, well above
the most optimistic pre-sale estimate of $20.6 million. Pogue's 1794
silver dollar in MS-66+ sold for $4.99 million. The pre-sale estimate
pegged the coin's selling price at $3 to $5 million.
Oct 06, 2015
Report on 1875-CC
Twenty Cent Sleeper Coin: Just the facts,
From time to time, I like to write about Sleeper
coins. Because I keep so much data on historical coin value trends, I
know how to recognize a Sleeper coin when I see one.
For those who may not be familiar with the term "Sleeper coin", think
of it as a coin being sold temporarily at a bargain price. Sooner or
later, it will jump in price, but at the moment, it is being sold for
less than what it really should.
This time around, I'm focusing on the 1875-CC Twenty Cent piece. As is
my occasional wont, I like to intertwine Baby Boomer nostalgia with my
coin analysis. Fans of Sergeant Joe Friday and his TV series Dragnet
will quickly catch on. For those of you not fortunate enough to have
known Joe, I've provided a link to Youtube taking you back to 1967, so
you can better understand what you missed out on.
Sep 12, 2015
Coin Values Index Heads into Q4 on Weak Note
The Rare Coin Value Index tumbled another 3.22
points in September to 374.11, its lowest reading since January 2015.
Highlighting the September drop was weakness in several key date gold
coins. Over the last two months, the Index has fallen by more than five
points, very mild when compared to the major correction in the Dow over
the same period of time.
Despite its recent woes, the Index is down by only 3.9% from its all
time high in July 2014, when the Index sat at 389.48
Rare coin sales at the ultra high end of the price spectrum continue to
make news, but at the base level where most of us collectors live,
activity is rather mundane, on balance, over the last four years. Many
key date coins have fallen in value, some slightly improved, yet most
have gone "sideways".
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It's fair to say key date United
States coins are not overpriced, and in all probability, represent a
bargain compared to where they will be selling a few years down the
road. No need to shy away from buying just because the market isn't
skyrocketing, just be careful who you buy from
Sep 09, 2015
Was the Statue of
Liberty Face Influenced by the Morgan
Was the Statue of Liberty face patterned after
the Morgan Silver Dollar? It's easy to see the similarities, nor is it
surprising many people believe the two are one and the same woman.
Here is something many people do not know: At the exact same time the
faces for Liberty on the Statue of Liberty and Morgan Dollar were in
the design phase, their creators, Frederic A. Bartholdi and George T.
Morgan, were both located within a virtual stone's throw of each other,
in the city of Philadelphia.
Is it possible Bartholdi and Morgan collaborated on how the human
facial representation of Liberty should appear, or is it just a
coincidence they had many of the same ideas?
Aug 15, 2015
The Reconstruction Era
and United States Coinage
The primary mission of my site is to provide
long term pricing data to collectors who seek to acquire coins destined
to rise strongly in value.
However, I'm into more than just numbers and value trend lines; I enjoy
writing about United States history and how it connects to our coin
Recently, I completed another in a series of "Coins & US History"
chapters, this one covering the Reconstruction Era following the Civil
Historians generally define Reconstruction as the years from 1865 to
1877, when the last of the federal occupation troops were withdrawn
from the former Confederate states.
Though not as horrifying as the war years, Reconstruction proved to be
a challenging time on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
Aug 12, 2015
Coin Values Index Falls 1.84 Points in August
The Rare Coin Value Index stumbled 1.84 points in August,
Helping to bring the Index score down was the fall of the 1821 Half Eagle
and 1833 Large Date Half Eagle
. Previously, these
$5.00 gold pieces had risen literally off the charts. This month
they've lost a bit of altitude, but in terms of price performance, they
are still far above most coins tracked in the Index (and far above the
vast majority of United States coins, for that matter).
Following a poor Q4 2014 and a bad start into 2015, the Index has been
fairly stable since April, when it registered 377.71.
Our Rare Coin Values Index tracks a selection of 87 United States
collectible coins from Half Cents to Double Eagles. The goal of the
Index is to measure the pulse of the hobby at the grassroots level.
Jul 22, 2015
Is the 1793 Chain
AMERI. Cent a "Sleeper Coin?"
The 1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Cent was the
first United States coin issued for regular circulation.
The significance of this coin, in conjunction with its scarcity, has
made it a collector favorite for over 150 years, and it has one of the
best long term records of price increases to prove it.
Despite its glittering biography, the last few years have not been rosy
for this early United States copper, as it has lost one-third its
Can we now call it a "sleeper coin?" If so, bargains await for the
perceptive buyer, as this artifact from the earliest days of the U.S.
Mint is certain to make a strong comeback.
Jul 11, 2015
Valuex Index Rises in July
The Rare Coin Value Index rose to 379.17 in July, up 1.66
Following a poor Q4 2014 and a bad start into 2015, there was some
concern the rare coin market would display an extended period of
weakness, but those concerns have not materialized.
This is not to say we are heading into a strong market. To the
contrary, many coins tracked in our Index are mired well below their
highs from 2009, but their stagnation has been offset and then some by
strength in other areas, notably gold coins.
At the six and seven figure level, rare coin activity remains robust,
with a steadly pipeline of major auctions featuring fabulous rarities
in the offing.
Our Rare Coin Values Index tracks a selection of 87 United States
collectible coins from Half Cents to Double Eagles. The goal of the
Index is to measure the pulse of the hobby at the grassroots level.
Jun 21, 2015
Incredible Tale of the 1903-O Morgan Silver Dollar
The most memorable event from October 1962 is
the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world watched nervously as the Americans
and Soviets inched closer to war, stemming from the Soviet's decision
to place nuclear missiles on the island nation of Cuba.
Another story garnered a few headlines in October 1962 as well. Though
not as tensely followed as the showdown between the world's lone
superpowers, it set off an explosion still being felt today in the
Herein lies the incredible story of the 1903-O Morgan Silver Dollar. In
its heyday, it was viewed as one of the rarest and most valuable of all
Morgan Dollars. That all changed in the Autumn of 1962.
Jun 06, 2015
Values Index Dips in June
The Rare Coin Value Index dipped minimally in June,
falling 0.20 points
from 377.71 in May to 377.51 in June.
The Rare Coin Values Index tracks United States rare coin activity
across a wide spectrum of collectible coins, most of which are
attainable for collectors of average means.
While buying/selling trends have been stable for quite some time now,
trading in the six and seven figure stratosphere has been hot, with new
records being set with regularity. The ongoing Pogue Sale
strength at the highest levels of coin collecting.
May 17, 2015
7 Examples of US
Coinage Coming Face-to-Face with History
A major sub-theme of the US Coin Values Advisor
site is to put in plain words the connection between the history of the
United States and its coinage. Both influence and react to the other.
I believe that in order to reap the full benefits of collecting, one
must have an understanding of the historical significance of their
Let's look at seven examples of the coins/history relationship. They've
been listed in chronological order.
I could've come up with a lot more, but these more or less randomly
pulled off the top of my head.
May 12, 2015
Values Index Flat in May
The Rare Coin Values Index did not move in May,
remaining at 377.71, same as April. The Index is comprised of 87
collectible United States coins and tracks their performance as a
measure of the overall health of the US rare coin market.
April 25, 2015
Does the CAC Green
Sticker Add to a Coin's Value?
In today's coin collecting world, the CAC Green
Sticker has become an indicator of solid quality. Only a select few
coins earn this distinction.
Many observers claim, with some underlying logic, that the Green
Sticker makes a coin more valuable compared to non-stickered coins that
are otherwise virtually the same (i.e. coin type, grade, grade service,
Is there any data to support this claim, and if so, can we approximate
the value of the Green Sticker premium? This study attempts to do both.
April 11, 2015
Coin Values Index Begins U-Turn in April?
Since last October, the Rare Coin Values Index has
but that changed in April when the Index shot upward 2.94 points, the
best monthy gain since December 2011.
This is an abrupt reversal of the trend over the last six months. Now
we wait to see if this is the beginning of a full-fledged U-Turn.
As always, we remain confident in the long term strength of rare coins.
We have many decades of pricing history to base this conclusion.
Mar 29, 2015
$200 Million US
Coin Collection to be Sold
What is described as the most valuable coin
collection in the world held in private hands is about to put up for
sale. The collection of D.
Brent Pogue, consisting of 650 coins, mostly from 1792 to the 1830's,
is expected to fetch at least $200 million.
The Pogue collection required 40 years to assemble. The cumulative face
value of the collection is $969.14. If the pre-sale estimates hold true
(as they often do), the average Pogue coin is worth more than $300,000.
Many of the coins are in pristine, high quality condition. Survivors in
mint state grade from the infancy years of the United States are
exceedingly rare and coveted by numismatists.
A series of seven auctions will be held, the first of which is
scheduled for May 19 of this year. The final sale is slated for May of
2017. Sotheby's and Stack's Bowers Galleries auction houses are
conducting this truly historic sale. Forbes magazine has a beautiful video presentation of the
Many titans of United States numismatics highlight the event. Here are
but a few of them, courtesy of Stack's Bowers, Sotheby's, and PCGS Coin Facts:
There are too many extreme rarities to list. An astounding 20 coins
from the Pogue Collection are expected to sell for more than $1
D. Brent Pogue, along with his father, A. Mack Pogue, a Dallas real
estate developer, painstakingly amassed this fabulous collection. The
younger Pogue reflected on his decision to let go of the coins:
“The sale of my collection is bittersweet, but I feel now is the time
to pass the torch to a new generation of custodians, who can appreciate
the legacy of these great American coins. These coins conjure up many
fond memories, and I hope the new owners will enjoy them as much as I
There is some evidence of weakening prices for key date rare
coins in the lower to middle echelons of the coin collector universe
but at the stratosphere height, activity remains strong. This bodes
well for collectors at all levels for whom future value appreciation is
a central consideration.
I have been an avid observer of U.S. coin market activity over a period
of many years and can attest to the absolute enormity and importance of
the Pogue Collection. I've seen some big sales, (e.g. Garrett and
Eliasberg come to mind), but nothing approaches the magnitude of this
Mar 21, 2015
2016 Mark Twain Coin
Certain to Ignite Controversy
In 2016, the US Mint will be
releasing a silver dollar and half eagle
to commemorate American author and humorist Mark Twain.
Prospective designs for the 2016 Mark Twain coins were published
recently and touched off a wave of controversy. Expect the wave to
reach tsunami proportions as release of the coins draws near.
The movement to transform American tradition and culture into something
many of us could not have imagined during our youth has been dogging us
for quite some time now. The quest to eradicate the mention of God from
US money has been a spearhead of the pressure groups.
Up until now, the anti-religion crowd has failed in their effort to
remove the "In God We Trust" motto from our money. That hasn't deterred
them, however. They know from experience in other fronts of the culture
war that persistence eventually leads to conquest.
What seems to be emboldening them this time is the irony that Mark
Twain himself hated religion and mocked the appearance of God's name on
United States coinage.
Mar 10, 2015
Values Index Stabilizes in March 2015
For the first time in a few months, we are not reporting a
in the Index score. The March 2015 Index stands at 374.77, up a
microscopic .01 point from February.
No one is going to cut loose with a Tarzan-like yell over a gain of
.01, but at least for now, the sharp Index drops we've seen lately have
We await April with bated breath (sort of... not worried about the long
Feb 27, 2015
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel
Stumbles 27% Since 2010
Opportunities abound for coin collectors looking
to acquire rare date coins at temporarily depressed pricing.
The 1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel overdate is one such coin. In August 2010,
a Good-4 specimen was retailing in the $1500 range. Today, the same
coin can be yours for around $1100, down 27% since 2010.
As is the case with so very many rare coins, prices move in cycles.
Understanding what triggers the cycles is harder to pinpoint, but
general economic conditions and fluidity in collector preferences are
In looking at the pricing history of the 1918/7-D Buff in lower grades
(also the most widely collected) over the last 65 years, there have
been multiple up & down cycles. Losses of nearly 40% have happened
before, followed by gains of 400%. None of the cycles occur quickly;
one full cycle may take many years to play out.
2010 was the last peak. Will prices go lower? Maybe, but if they do,
don't expect them to drop much further. When will prices turn higher?
Don't know, but be certain they will, since the 1918/7-D is a crucial
key date of the venerable Buffalo Nickel series.
The blue line in the graph below demonstrates the plight of the
1918/7-D nickel. The red line charts the performance of the overall Rare Coin Values Index.
If you'd like to see some examples of the 1918/7-D for sale on eBay
that have been certified by PCGS or NGC, click
[Disclosure: if you link to eBay from here and buy something, I get a
We have a page that zeros in on the 1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel. Please
spend a minute or two there to better understand how this little guy
wormed his way into the hearts and minds of coin collectors for
Feb 21, 2015
Weekly Guidelines for
Purchasing $1 Silver American Eagles
Guidelines for purchase of $1 American Silver
Eagle coins are being updated weekly now. Buyers in the market for
MS-69 silver eagles graded by PCGS and NGC will have fresh data upon
which to set their ceiling spend limits. Ditto for Ungraded Silver
The guidelines are based on selling prices on eBay for the week, and
categorized by MS-69 (PCGS), MS-69 (NGC), and Ungraded. For each
category, the price range (low vs. high), as well as average and median
selling prices are listed.
It is obvious some buyers are acting blindly. Why pay $30 for something
whose true value is around $24? This does not seem logical, but it is a
If you are interested in Silver Eagles but unsure how much you should
pay, these guidelines were prepared with you in mind.
Feb 14, 2015
Coin Values Index Continues Falling In Feb 2015
The Rare Coin Values Index tumbled 2.14 points
in February 2015. This comes on the heels of a historic plunge of 7.48
points in January. The first two months of 2015 are the worst
back-to-back months since August-September 2009, when the Index fell
10.69 points combined.
There is no reason for collectors to think rare coins have lost their
allure. It is common for the market to step back a little and cool off.
The last time this happened was 2009, following an amazing rally that
lasted through much of the 2000 decade. In fact, the roller coaster
ride has been in effect as far back as we have data to chart progress.
Unlike a real roller coaster that eventually returns to its starting
point, the rare coin ride continues to trend higher. Each peak is
higher than the peak that preceeded it.
In my opinion, rare coin collectors should view the recent softening of
prices as an opportunity to buy at discount prices. It is a virtual
certainty someday prices will be significantly higher, presuming you
buy properly graded coins with a lengthy record of strong demand
Feb 01, 2015
1916-D Mercury Dime
Purchase at a 1978 Flea Market Turned Out
to Be a...
When I was a young collector, I took a foolish
chance and bought a rare 1916-D Mercury Dime at a seedy flea market.
This was long before the advent of reputable third party grading
services, so my actions were doubly risky. It was a "teachable moment"
Jan 31, 2015
Unknown 1794 Dollar Sells for $437K
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar that emerged
out of nowhere in
England (see blog entry of Nov 09, 2014) was sold on January 27 for
$437,100. The coin was graded AU-50 by NGC and earned a CAC sticker for
good measure. Spink auction house in New York city sponsored the
sale. In spite of the threat of an historic snowfall, the sale took
place as scheduled.
The British family who owned the fabulous rarity for almost 70 years
had no idea of the coin's true value, kept it as a good luck charm of
sorts. In the end, it most certainly did bring them good luck.
The 1794 dollar is one of the coins I carefully monitor. In Good-4
condition, it was selling for around $8000 in year 2000. In 2015, the
same coin commands a price tag of $65,000. That is stunning. That
computes to an increase of 14.98% annually. What is even more
astounding is that the 1794 dollar tickled the six figure sum 6-7 years
ago, so today's prices are actually a bargain for the buyer.
Jan 18, 2015
Tables Updated for 2015
Coin Value Tables for the following coin groups
have been updated for
2015: Mercury Dimes, Standing Liberty Quarters, Washington Quarters, Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Morgan Silver Dollars, and Indian Head ($10) Gold Eagles.
The tables show how retail prices have risen over time for individual
dates within the aforementioned coin groups, across a wide spectrum of
Collectors seeking to locate coin dates with best price increase
histories will find the tables an especially useful tool. As
experienced numismatists know, the coins that rise sharpest in value
are the key dates, and these are the same coins most likely to do so in
The image below is a snippet from the 1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar
table. The data demonstrates this key date coin has lost some steam
since its last peak in 2009. However, when its price changes are viewed
from various long term perspectives (i.e. since 1950, 1980, and 1995),
we see the coin has done quite well, in spite of the downturn in recent
years. This is how a typical key date coin performs.
The 1889-CC silver dollar has a proven record of bouncing back strongly
following a decline, and there is every reason to expect the same as we
enter the year 2015. The value trend data shows that NOW is a good time
to acquire this rare date at a bargain price.
Jan 12, 2015
Coin Values Index Suffers Historic Plunge In Jan 2015
The Rare Coin Values Index suffered its worst
one month loss in the
history of the Index, dating back to January 2000. The Index fell 7.48
points from December to 376.91, the lowest score since November 2011.
The previous worst month was September 2009, when the Index lost 5.45
points. Two of the last three months have seen steep losses for the
Index. Is it time to panic? To the contrary. We may be entering a
period of good buying opportunities.
Jan 07, 2015
1795 Time Capsule
The discovery of a 1795 time capsule from a
cornerstone of the
Massachusetts Statehouse, first reported here on December 12, was
opened last night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Details of what was inside are sketchy, but we do know they found five
folded newspapers, a George Washington medal, a silver plaque, a 1652 Pine Tree shilling and about two dozen other
coins, as well as the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The items will be carefully catalogued and put on display at the
museum. I will report back when the contents are more fully described.
Of course, I am most interested in learning more about the coins.
Massachusetts state Secretary William Galvin said he expects the items
will eventually be returned to its hiding place to be someday
discovered by a future generation of Bay State residents.
Jan 04, 2015
Technology to Better Serve Members
been a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) for over 30
years. During that time, among other activities, I have made use of
their vast numismatic library, as a valuable tool in researching coin
At times, I had the perception (perhaps incorrectly) the ANA wasn't
going to survive. Membership numbers were dropping. Leadership
mismanagement was capturing headlines (remember the Christopher
Cipoletti debacle?). Lack of enthusiasm and overall stagnation were
expected. To me, it seemed as if the entire organization was simply
These days, I don't worry about the ANA anymore. The organization seems
vibrant and is positioning itself smartly for the future by embracing
technology to better serve its members. Educational programs are
bountiful and easily accessible online. Youth outreach efforts are
reeling them in. Their fabulous Money Museum is being effectively
promoted. Costs are being controlled. Ambitious, but realistic
membership goals are being pursued. A newly designed website delivers
value and functions properly (finally!)
What jazzes me the most is their plan to digitize all 127 years of The
Numismatist (the ANA's monthly publication) in a searchable format.
I've been kicking around a few ideas for future coin articles, so you
can bet I will avail myself to this feature!
I endorse the ANA for all coin collectors wanting to "up their game" to
a higher level. Annual dues start at $28. Their dues have not been
raised in many years. When you consider the benefits of joining the
ANA, that is a terrific bargain.
Dec 29, 2014
12 American Coins Sell for over $1 Million in 2014: Overall
Market Activity Estimated at $5 Billion
The broader market for United
States rare coins was modestly higher
throughout most of 2014, as the monthly movements of the Rare Coin Values Index
demonstrated. However, the buying activity in the upper stratosphere of
rare coins took a decidedly positive turn in 2014, according to the Professional
Numismatists Guild, a leading industry organization.
“The prices realized for U.S. coins sold at major public auctions in
2014 totaled nearly $536 million, surpassing 2013’s record of nearly
$393 million, said PNG President Terry Hanlon.
Hanlon continued: "We estimate the overall coin market in the
U.S. at about $5 billion in 2014. That includes auctions and private
transactions made at coin shows, by mail order, online and at coin
stores, but does not include numismatic bullion items or the modern
coins sold directly by the United States Mint”.
At high profile public auctions, an astonishing 12 coins broke
the one million dollar barrier in 2014 (including buyer fees, if any).
One of them is shown at right, thanks to Goldberg
Coins. The dynamic dozen are:
- 1787 Brasher Doubloon with designer Ephraim Brasher’s “EB”
punchmark on the eagle’s wing, graded by NGC as MS-63: $4,582,500
- 1913 Liberty Head nickel, NGC PF-64: $3,290,000
- 1927-D St-Gaudens Double Eagle ($20 face value gold coin),
NGC MS-66: $1,997,500
- 1804 Draped Bust Dollar Class III type, NGC PF-63:
- 1861 “Paquet Reverse” Double Eagle, graded by PCGS as
- 1792 Pattern Cent (Judd-1, Pollock-1), NGC MS-63+:
- 1776 silver Continental Dollar, “CURRENCY” and “EG FECIT”
variety, NGC MS-63: $1,410,000
- 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PCGS MS-63: $1,292,500
- 1797 Half Dollar (Overton-101a), PCGS Secure MS-65+:
- 1792 Half Disme (Judd-7, Pollock-7 variety), PCGS Secure
Specimen 67: $1,292,500
- 1794 Half Cent, PCGS MS-67 red and brown color: $1,150,000
- 1811 Half Cent, PCGS MS-66 red and brown: $1,121,250
Things may be even better in the year ahead. Hanlon went on to say
"Several important collections will be offered at auctions in 2015, and
I anticipate we’ll again see record prices for so-called ‘trophy coins’
that combine historic significance, rarity and superb condition”.
Hanlon's confidence is well-founded. As I have been
documenting on this site since 2003, coins in scarce supply with a
proven, sustained demand over a long period of time in the past are the
coins destined to enjoy the strongest price increases in the future.
Dec 23, 2014
Update on 1795 Time Capsule
On Dec 12, we reported the recovery of a time capsule buried
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
jointly announced today the 10 pound metal box capsule will be opened
at 6PM on January 6th, 2015.
Check back here to find out what is inside. Should be exciting!
Dec 17, 2014
1907 Ultra Hi Relief St Gaudens Double Eagle Fails to Sell?
On November 30, I reported on a 1907 Ultra Hi Relief St.
Eagle scheduled to sell on December 16 by Bonhams Auction House. Today,
I checked the Bonhams' "Results Realized" publication and it seems as
if the prized coin did not sell. It was expected to bring up to $1.5
I will keep trying to find out what happened and report back here if
Dec 14, 2014
1877 Indian Head Cent Down 40% Since 2009 -- Now is the Time
1877 has been the key date in the ever popular Indian Head Cent series
since... well, since Indian Head Cents became peachy keen with
If you've been thinking about add the 1877 to your collection,
but for some reason, you've been putting it off, here is something for
you to consider.
The selling price of the 1877 in Good condition has fallen
about 40% since September 2009. What cost you over $1000 five years ago
can now be had for around $600 or so.
The blue line in the graph below illustrates the precipitous
plunge of the 1877. The red line charts the performance of the overall Rare Coin Values Index.
Does this mean the 1877 was overpriced to begin with? Hardly. The
consistent rise in value over a period of many years was based on real
demand vs. a limited supply. It's not all that uncommon that a bona
fide key date such as the 1877 takes a breather and pulls back in
Coin buyers should view this as an opportunity to haul in a
classic rarity at a bargain price. The 1877 will someday resume its
upward movement, so what we're seeing in late 2014 is a temporary
We have a page devoted to the study of the 1877 Indian Head
Cent, recounting the history of this famous key date and its solid
popularity with collectors for ages.
Dec 12, 2014
Time Capsule from 1795 Recovered -- with Coins
time capsule entombed in the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts
State House was brought to light on a cold and snowy Thursday afternoon
The capsule was originally concealed during a ceremony
attended by Revolutionary War heroes Paul Revere and Massachusetts
then-Governor Samuel Adams, when the State House was built in 1795.
Records show the contents may include coins dating back to 1652, an
engraved silver Paul Revere plate, newspapers, a Commonwealth seal and
a document from the Massachusetts Colony Records.
The capsule remained undisturbed until 1855, when emergency
building repairs forced officials to temporarily remove it from its
resting place. Once repairs were finished, the capsule was re-interred.
A water seepage problem necessitated removal of the
cornerstone on Thursday. After several hours of carefully chipping
away, a metal box measuring approximately 5 by 7 inches was recovered.
During the recovery process, four Seated Liberty dimes were dislodged
from the loosened mortar (assuming the dimes were almost new at the
time the mortar was freshly mixed).
Researchers speculate this discovery may be the oldest of its kind
unearthed in the United States.
The box will be opened next week by conservators at the Museum
of Fine Arts. Eventually, the artifacts will be placed on public
Dec 10, 2014
Rare Coin Values Index Closes Out 2014 on a Sour Note
The Rare Coin Values Index closes out 2014 on a somewhat
sour note. The
December Index score of 384.39 is identical to November, which had seen
the worst one month loss since August 2009. We were hoping to see a
Nevertheless, the Index is still near its all time high of
389.48, set in July 2014. Our Rare Coin Values Index traces price
movements of 87 collectible US coins since January 2000. The goal of
the Index is to measure the health and direction of rare US coin
Dec 07, 2014
Christmas Gift Recommendations for Coin Collectors
This time of year I usually get a few requests from readers
seeking advice on Christmas gifts for avid coin collectors.
The best stocking stuffer recommendation I can think of is a rare coin
destined to rise in value in the years ahead. That would be a cherished
heirloom for the ages. On the flip slip, if you're not careful, your
heartfelt gift may amount to nothing more than a lump of coal.
Thankfully, there are good options for coin gift givers of all
means. It is not necessary to spend a ton of money, though you
certainly can if you want to. For less than the price of a 32 inch flat
screen TV, your beloved collector can own something of sustainable
intrinsic value. It won't be obsolete in a year or two, yet will
coveted by future generations of collectors. Santa's elves are always
making new TV's, but there will never be more 1916-D Mercury Dimes than
what we have now.
So, if a coin is on your Christmas shopping list,
congratulations on being forward thinking. Now the next task is to
chose wisely. I have compiled a list of coins bound to generate smiles
on Christmas morning.
Dec 04, 2014
"Liberty Dollar" Man Not Going to Prison
von NotHaus, the guy who invented the "Liberty Dollar", is not going to
the Big House after all. See my Nov 16 blog entry for background
information on this case.
On Tuesday, December 2, District Judge Richard Voorhees of North
Carolina sentenced von NotHaus to six months of home detention, to be
served concurrently with three years of probation.
The 70-year-old convicted counterfeiter was facing the
possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars. Judge
Voorhees rejected the prosecutor's request for a prison sentence of 14
to 17.5 years.
The judge was lenient because he believed von NotHaus was
overzealously motivated by a desire to make a philosophical point, and
had no real criminal intent, as is usually the storyline with money
Perhaps now that von NotHaus' Liberty Dollar career have
ended, perhaps he will have more time to devote to another one of his
creations: the Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu.
A few days ago, a new scientific study was published showing
evidence that heavy marijuana use causes brain shrinkage. I am betting
one of their subjects upon which their conclusions were based was the
Liberty Dollar creator himself.
Nov 30, 2014
Spectacular Ultra High Relief St. Gaudens $20 to Hit Market
One of the rarest, most beautiful coins in
American numismatics is about to cross the auction block. It is a 1907
Ultra High Relief St. Gaudens $20 Double Eagle.
Basically, 1907 St. Gaudens $20 Double Eagles exist in three
distinct relief types: ultra high (technically a pattern coin), high,
and low. There are variants of the ultra high and high relief
varieties. Please visit our St. Gaudens Double Eagle page for additional
details on this remarkable coin group.
This particular Ultra High Relief is being sold by Bonhams
on December 16 in New York City. In all, there are estimated to exist
less than two dozen Ultra High Relief examples. The Bonham coin, graded
PF-58 by PCGS, is one of only two known exhibiting a sans-serif edge
inscription (i.e. lettering without serifs)
This exact same coin sold for $143,000 in 1992. In August
2012, it traded at $1.06 million. This time around, the stunning double
eagle is expected to fetch considerably more.
Nov 29, 2014
Premiums for GSA Morgan Dollars?
These days, many coin value guides include a "GSA" listing for
Morgan Dollar dates. They do this because GSA dollars are often priced
higher than their non-GSA counterparts of the same date and grade. It
wasn't that many years ago, no such distinction was made, because value
stratification based on GSA status was not widely recognized.
The snippet below illustrates how GSA listings appear. This example was
taken from Coin World, my favorite price guide
Exactly what is a GSA dollar? No, GSA is not an acronym for
"Good Samaritan Action", at least not in this sense. It stands for
General Services Administration, an agency of the federal government.
Let's take a look at the history of the GSA dollars, analyze
their premium values, and speculate on why coin buyers are willing to
pay more to acquire GSA examples.
Nov 16, 2014
"Liberty Dollar" Creator Proves Forrest Gump's Mom was Right
the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump", the title character's mother coined the
now famous axiom: "stupid is as stupid does", meaning veritable
stupidity is most clearly demonstrated by one's actions. The creator of
the so-called "Liberty Dollar", Bernard von NutHouse, errr, rather,
Bernard von NotHaus, has carried this truism to new heights.
In 1998, von NotHaus founded an organization called the
National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and
Internal Revenue Code, a.k.a. NORFED. Von NotHaus designed "Liberty
Dollar" currency and coins and openly placed them into circulation
throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The coins were inscribed
with the word Dollar, USA, Liberty, the motto Trust in God, and other
elements to resemble authentic U.S. Mint coinage.
NORFED's goal was for the "inflation-proof" Liberty Dollar to
compete against and reduce reliance on Federal Reserve notes. In all,
about $7 million in Liberty Dollars were produced.
Most people understand that manufacturing money outside
government authority defines the act of counterfeiting, a crime
punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Apparently, this simple
supposition was lost on von NotHaus, who boldly exemplified the Gumpian
adage in action. Stupid is as stupid does, indeed!
Von NotHaus can't be blamed for thinking he might get away
with his scheme, for it wasn't until 2005 the Justice Department
finally figured out von NotHous was doing something illegal. In
November 2007, government officials raided NORFED's headquarters in
Evansville, IL and shut down their operation. Von NotHaus was charged
with counterfeiting and fraud. In March, 2011, von NotHaus was found
guilty in federal court.
In his response to the guilty verdict, von
NotHaus asserted the verdict
was a perversion of anti-counterfeiting laws and reiterated he was only
trying to create an alternative to the Federal Reserve system. No
wonder the judge denied his appeal (perhaps while quietly pondering the
prescience of Forrest's mom).
The "Liberty Dollar" counterfeiter will learn his fate on December 2nd,
when he appears in court for sentencing. The 70 year old von NotHaus is
facing up to 25 years behind bars and a $750,000 fine. We may soon see
if he has better luck pitching his economic theories to a captive
I will report back following the sentencing hearing.
Nov 09, 2014
Ultra Rare 1794 Silver Dollar Found
an avid collector, every now and then I hear about a non-collector
discovering a fantastically rare coin in an unsearched holding passed
down through generations of family. I freely admit I feel a twinge of
jealousy when this occurs: why can't something like this ever happen to
Once again, I find myself green with envy. The November 24 edition of Coin World
reports the finding of a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar in England.
The London auction house Spink stumbled onto the rarity at a "valuation
event" on June 13 this year, somewhere in southern England.
The people who brought the coin in to Spink were clueless about
what they had. According to Spink numismatist Luke Mitchell "the family
had no idea as to the value of the coin nor how the coin had been
acquired. They did know, however, that it had been with them for at
least the last several decades."
The newly unearthed rarity is pictured to the right, courtesy of Spink.
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar happens to be one of the 87 coins
tracked in our Rare Coin Values Index. The long term value
appreciation of the 1794 dollar is literally off the charts.
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is one of the best coins to own
in U.S. numismatics. Of the 1,758 pieces struck (per Mint records),
fewer than 150 examples are known today. Even in a heavily worn
condition, the 1794 dollar commands at least $50,000. The finest known
specimen grades Mint State-66 (click here for a primer on grading) and set a record at $10.02 million for most ever paid
for a United States coin, when it crossed the auction block in January,
The Spink discovery is all the more remarkable in that the coin was
graded by NGC as Almost Uncirculated-50. Not only that, but the
Certified Acceptance Corp has slapped it with a CAC green sticker,
indicating the coin is at the high level of quality for that grade.
Imagine how the family reacted when told their 1794 dollar was worth at
least $300,000! Back flips indeed!
We won't have to speculate long on the true value of this
unexpected, remarkable addition to U.S. numismatics. The coin will be
auctioned off in New York by Spink on January 27, 2015. I will be sure
to report back here on the selling price.
Nov 03, 2014
The George Washington Cent?
experienced coin collectors know the first circulating United States
coin bearing the image of a U.S. president appeared in 1909, when
Abraham Lincoln was depicted on the one cent penny. Up to that point,
the placement of U.S. presidents on American coinage, most especially
those still in office, had long been considered a taboo subject.
Why was the practice of presidential coinage so totally
verboten in U.S. coinage law and tradition? After all, the monarchs of
Europe and elsewhere around the world commonly honored their current
leaders on coins. How did America evolve so differently?
The answer goes all the way back to President George
Washington's time. Let's make believe for a few moments and imagine
what President Washington might have said when he discovered plans to
put his image on United States coinage.
Oct 27, 2014
nique 1839 Seated Liberty Quarter Sells for $270,250
1839 No Drapery Seated Liberty Quarter in PR65 (NGC) sold today (Oct
27, 2014) for $270,250. There are only two proof No Drapery quarters
known, and this is one of them (the other is dated 1838).
It was one of the top prizes coming out of the Eugene H. Gardner
Collection II Signature Auction, hosted by Heritage Auctions.
This 1839 No Drapery Proof Quarter was last sold in April 2008,
when it brought in an incredible $517,500. It's a safe bet the seller
was disappointed with today's selling price.
Oct 26, 2014
Ancient Coins vs. US Coins?
coins have been around since.... well, since ancient times, dating back
thousands of years. In terms of popularity and selling prices, how do
the coins from these long bygone civilizations compare to collectible
To gain insight into this question, I isolated some completed
sales data from eBay. Every day, many thousands of coins are bought and
sold on eBay, so this is a good way to get a reading on coin collecting
Not surprisingly, my findings dispelled a common myth held by
many in the non-collecting community: that the age of coin has a direct
bearing on its value. The data gathered during this exercise strongly
suggests otherwise. But some of my other discoveries were news to me.
Oct 21, 2014
Are Modern US Commemoratives Good Investments?
commemoratives have been issued by the US Mint since 1982.
Commemoratives are intended to recall an event from history or perhaps
raise funds for a particular project. Sometimes politicians use them as
tools to pander to certain demographic groups.
Every year, the Mint is somewhat successful in marketing
commemoratives to the public. I have long wondered how many buyers of
these coins think they're making an investment that will pay off in the
With that question in mind, I started doing a little research. What I
found may surprise a few collectors.
Sep 15, 2014
Coin Value Tables Posted for Seated Liberty Dollar Series
have now posted coin value tables for individual dates for Seated
Liberty Dollars. Retail prices from 1950 to 2014 for individual dates,
in conditions ranging from Good to Proof, are reported.
should use the tables to identify which Seated Liberty dollars have
shown the best percent price increases over a long period of time.
Those dates with the strongest past price increases most likely will do
the same in the future.
Aug 10, 2014
A NEW Coins & History Chapter Added
For the first time in 11 years (yes, ELEVEN years), we have
added a new
chapter to our Coins & History section. The new chapter covers the
Reconstruction Era of 1865 to 1877, while exploring how the US coinage
system influenced post-war events.
Feb 08, 2014
$1 Silver American Eagle Retail Price Guide
American Silver Eagle Bullion coins: What are they really
Read this before buying. Updated frequently.
Jan 05, 2014
Coin Value Tables Updated for 2014
Coin Value Tables for the following US coin groups have been
to include 2014 pricing data: Flying Eagle Cents, Indian Head Cents,
Lincoln Cents, Buffalo Nickels, and Peace Dollars. Our Coin Value
Tables display pricing trends from 1950 to the present for individual
Sep 01, 2013
Ultra Rare Silver Dollar Jumps 66% in Value Since 2009
The highlight of the American Numismatic Association's summer
inChicago occurred Aug 15 when a stunning 1889-CC in MS-68 conditionwas auctioned off
for $881,250. This coin was last sold in 2009 for$531,875. The 66% rise
in value over a four year period suggests thatthe demand for top
rarities remains strong, even if the overall rare coin market is trending flat.
Aug 18, 2013
1804 Silver Dollar Sells for $3.88 Million
On August 9, 2013, an 1804 silver dollar was sold for $3,877,500 by Heritage Auctions.
The coin was actually minted in 1834 or 1835, and was intended by
President Andrew Jackson as a diplomatic gift to foreign dignitaries.
There are fewer than 20 dollars dated 1804
that are recognized by numismatists as genuine. All have their
genealogy traced back for many years due to their extreme rarity. This
example, named the Mickley-Hawn-Queller Class I dollar, is graded by
PCGS as Proof-62, and was sold in 2008 for $3,737,500.
Small wonder why they call the 1804 dollar the "King of American Coins."
Aug 04, 2013
1894-S Barber Dime Sells for over $2 million
Though the US rare coin market has slowed down in recent
months, high profile rarities continue to astound the numismatic
July 2013, an 1894-S sold for over $2 million, changing hands from
David Lawrence Rare Coins to Legend Numismatics.
More details can be found at the David Lawrence blog page.
This particular 1894-S is the third finest of the nine or ten survivors
of this date. In all, it is commonly believed there were 24 of the
1894-S dimes minted.
The $2 million+ figure is the highest price ever paid for a United
States dime, breaking the old record of $1.9 million set in 2007 for
the same date.
US Coin Values Advisor has a page dedicated to the study of Barber Dimes.
Jul 14, 2013
New US Coinage Coming in 2015?
If the American Liberty Coinage and Deficit
Reduction Act (H.R. 2535) passes into law, Americans will be seeing
new dimes, quarters, and half dollars in their pocket change starting
in 2015, to circulate alongside the familiar faces of Roosevelt,
Washington, and Kennedy.
Legislators are eyeing H.R. 2535 as a way to reduce the national debt
by at least $100 million over a ten year period. When you consider the
government is trillions of dollars in debt, this is very
inconsequential, but the proposal will more than pay for itself, its
Treasury will profit through a complicated process known as
seigniorage, defined as the difference between a coin's face and the
cost to manufacture and distribute it. In other words, the US
government realizes a little positive income for every coin (excluding
pennies and nickels -- for their production costs exceed their face
values) reaching the consuming public. Recall, the State Quarter program generated hundreds of
millions in seigniorage profits above and beyond what would have been
realized for quarter production, due to additional demand from
individuals who purchased quarters and set them aside for their
The proposed law calls for new Liberty-themed coinage with designs
"emblematic and allegoric of the concept of 'American Liberty.' " The
belief is that individuals would remove some of the new Liberty themed
coins from circulation for collecting purposes, spurring additional
coin production, and thus increasing seigniorage profits, in a manner
similar to what we saw with State Quarters.
The law, if passed, would mark a return to the allegorical Liberty,
rather than real persons from history depicted on modern coinage. There
will be more updates as they become available.
Jul 09, 2013
Ike Dollars in High Grade Gaining Popularity
Who says the collecting class has no interest in modern-era
Top grade Eisenhower Dollars are definitely trending higher these days.
Consider the 1973-D in MS-67 sold recently by
Heritage Auction. It brought an astounding $12,925! Two years ago, a
very similar Ike brought less than half this price. Other top grade
Eisenhower Dollars are seeing similar moves upward. Numismatic
observers attribute this movement to the maturation of the grading
service population reports. Over the years, a lot of data has been
gathered, and collectors are now able to estimate with confidence the
true scarcity of certain top grade Ikes. Because value (and higher
prices!) is attributable to actual rarity, don't view this activity as
a passing fad.
May 28, 2013
The 1933 Double Eagle is one of the most valuable gold
The story of the elusive 1933 Double Eagle is told. This gold
coin is worth millions of dollars.
Jan 30, 2013
US Silver Dollar Sells for More Than $10 million
A 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar sold for $10,016,875 on Jan
2013 at the Stacks Bowers Americana Sale. Researchers believe this
coin, graded MS66 by PCGS, is the first silver dollar struck by the US
Mint. The $10 million price is the highest ever paid for a US coin,
eclipsing the previous record of $7.85 million paid in May 2010.
Interestingly, it was this exact same 1794 dollar that set the record
Jun 18, 2012
US Coinage and the War of 1812
The War of 1812, often called the Second War for Independence,
began 200 years ago. As we observe the bicentennial of this lesser
known event from American history, let's also take a closer look at the
coinage from that time.
Apr 02, 2011
Our Civil War Coinage Page Updated
New information has been added to our "Money of the Civil War"
chapter. Write ups on the Confederate Cent and other Confederate
coinage are now included along with images.
Jun 02, 2010
U.S. Coin Sells for Record High Price
On May 14, a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar was sold for
million. This is the most ever paid for a coin. The dollar is believed
to be the first silver dollar minted by the United States. It is the
finest known example of this rare date, grading MS-66 by PCGS.
Mar 24, 2010
Announcing the Rare Coin Values Index
We have developed a new feature called the Rare Coin Values
The Index is designed to measure the overall direction of the US rare
coin market. The Index tracks price trends from the year 2000 to the
present. Updated monthly.
Jan 09, 2010
1913 Liberty Nickel Sells for $3.74 Million
On Jan 8th, a 1913 Liberty Nickel was sold at auction for
million. This nickel is known as the "Olsen specimen", and was once
famously owned by King Farouk of Egypt. Of the five known examples of
this exceedingly rare date, the Olsen specimen is the second finest,
grading PF-64 NGC with CAC sticker.
This particular coin gained notoriety
after appearing in the television series of "Hawaii 5-O" in 1973. The
name of the episode was The "$100,000 Nickel".
Jan 2, 2009
New Lincoln Cent for 2009
In observance of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, the US Mint
is issuing cents with reverse images depicting scenes from Lincoln's
life. In all, four reverse designs will be released.
Nov 1, 2008
Video Tour of ANA Museum
A young numismatist presents a video tour of the American
Numismatic Museum in Colorado Springs, CO.
Sep 15, 2007
The New Orleans Mint after Katrina
The historic New Orleans Mint, opened for business in 1838,
suffered damage from Hurrican Katrina in August 2005. This article
describes the efforts to get the venerable building repaired and open
to the public once again.
Aug 15, 2007
Cause of 2004-D Wisconsin Error Coin Revealed
A scientific inquiry into the extra leaf error on a small
2004-D Wisconsin State Quarters yields evidence of the probable cause.
Oct 1, 2006
2006 Old SF Mint Commemorative
The United States Mint issued the 2006 San
Francisco Mint Commemorative coins. Both silver dollar and five dollar
gold coins were made to honor the
old Mint's place in history, in particular its role in helping the city
of San Francisco recover following the devastating earthquake of 1906.
Jun 23, 2006
Buffalo Gold Coin Offered by Mint
The United States
is now producing the 2006 American Buffalo Gold Coin, signifying the
first time ever the government has struck pure (.9999) 24k gold coins.
The coin is available in both bullion and proof format, and began
selling on June 22.
The coin is closely patterned after the Buffalo nickel, minted from
1913 to 1938.
Jan 13, 2006
2006 New Jefferson Nickel
On January 12, 2006, the U.S. Mint released into circulation a
new Jefferson Nickel.
The 2006 Jefferson nickel is the first of its kind in how the
presidential portrait is seen.
Jan 05, 2006
Benjamin Franklin Commemoratives
Two new new silver dollars are being issued to celebrate the
anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin in 1706.
Nov 22, 2005
US Coins with a Bullish Future
A method of determining U.S. coins destined to rise in future
value faster than average is outlined.
Sep 14, 2005
Grandma's Mercury Dimes
Webmaster Daniel Goevert takes a nostalgic journey back to the
1960's to describe how his grandmother helped nuture his interest in
Aug 24, 2005
A Case of Coin Telemarketing Fraud
In the 1980's, coin telemarketing fraud was running rampant.
Webmaster Daniel Goevert explains how he got sucked in too.
Jul 17, 2005
The Top Morgan Silver Dollars
Morgan Silver Dollars rate near the top in terms of collector
interest. Surprisingly few dates advance solidly over time due to their
numismatic character. Here are some of the best.