NumisMedia Article Archives

Informative and educational articles from some of the hobby's leading numismatists

NumisMedia Online Dealer Subscription

Back to the NumisMedia Home Page

NumisMedia Monthly


Our monthly article
detailing specific areas
of numismatics for dealers,
collectors, and investors
of United States Rare Coins

October 2013

Where have all the Good Coins Gone?

     Over the past four decades we have seen some amazing rare coins cross the auction block and trade among dealers and collectors. During the past twelve months alone we have reported on several big ticket U.S. Classic Rarities that have found new homes in numismatic collections. The 1804 Dollar in PCGS PR62 sold for $3,877,500, the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel in PCGS PR63 sold for $3,172,500 (both in Heritage Auctions) and the 1894 S Barber Dime in PCGS PR64+ CAC sold in a private sale for just over $2,000,000. In addition, the highest graded 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar in PCGS SP66 CAC sold for $10 million in the Stack’s Bowers Cardinal Collection.

     There were many more easily recognizable rarities that sold this year as serious collectors and investors have been competing for the best coins on the market. When these coins change hands it usually means they will be off the market for many years to come, and those who placed second in the bidding are left to their dreams of acquiring one of the greatest rarities in U.S. numismatics.

     Let’s take a look at the FMV for the 1894 S Barber Dime since January 2007. We will use the grades PR64 and PR65. The population reports show a total of four coins in these grades; one in PCGS PR64 and three in PR65 with two certified by NGC.

FMV for the 1894 S Barber Dime since January 2007, grades PR64 and PR65.

     As you can see, the FMV for both of these grades remained stagnant for six years. It shows what can transpire when an extremely rare coin is off the market for such a long period of time and then is made available to a very aggressive group of dedicated buyers. When one coin trades, it brings attention to all of the grades for that coin. Potential buyers will look to purchase any that are available regardless of the grade.

     Another interesting point to note from this graph is that back in 2007 the PR65 had an FMV almost twice as much as the PR64. Now, the FMV is within 20%; the grade of these types of coins is not the most important aspect, it is the overall rarity.

     There are only so many distinctive coins that fall into this category. Others that come to mind are the 1870 S Half Dime, 1873 CC No Arrows Seated Dime, 1873 CC No Arrows Seated Quarter, 1838 O Reeded Edge Half Dollar, 1884 & 1885 Trade Dollars, 1849 C $1 Gold Open Wreath, 1804 $10 Gold Proof Restrike, and surely you could add a few to the list.

     When these top tier coins are removed from the marketplace, what other rarities may be available for future profits? Many dealers and advanced collectors will look for coins in all series prior to 1900 that are at the top of the grading spectrum or the next highest grade. They will look for coins that have low populations for the grade; they will look for eye appeal, CAC coins, and + graded coins. They will also look for wide spreads between two grades.

     For example, the 1855 Seated Quarter with Arrows has an FMV of $16,580 in MS66 and an FMV of $50,000 in MS67. There are a total of six coins certified in MS66 and only three in MS67. Knowing that there are only three MS67’s available, an advanced collector may look for one of the six MS66 coins that may come on the market.

     Below is a small list of Seated Quarters that could be the target of advanced collectors. The number of coins certified in this grade is combined PCGS and NGC; the number in parenthesis is the total number of coins certified in all higher grades.

DateGradeCurrent FMVNumber Certified in Grade
1846 Seated QuarterMS65$11,0603 (1)
1859 O Seated QuarterMS65$16,9004 (1)
1860 Seated QuarterMS66 $10,4405 (1)
1865 S Seated QuarterMS64$7,97014 (3)
1872 Seated QuarterMS65$8,3906 (4)
1878 CC Seated QuarterMS66$8,56012 (1)

     Not all rare Seated Quarters fit so nicely into this group. The 1842 O Small Date Seated Quarter would be a great addition to most collections but it is one that is not likely to be found in any Mint State grade. At this time there are only two certified in Mint State; one is MS61 and one is MS63. While the FMV for the MS63 is $76,880, it is very likely that if this coin were auctioned it would bring a much higher price.

     For those collectors who do not have the budget for higher priced coins, you can still look for modestly priced coins that have low populations; you may want to look for coins that are trend setters, those that are keys or semi keys to a series. There are always dealers willing to make a market in these coins.

Go to the Monthly Archive

Search NumisMedia

Keyword search all of our past and present numismatic articles

Custom Search

Online Banner Advertising

Brought to you by

E-mail questions & comments to
Copyright © 2019 Numismatic Interactive Network, LLC
All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use - About Us - Help Center

NumisMedia Monthly Archive

Best Kept Secret of Coin Dealers