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Finding the Next Million Dollar Coin
We all know the story of the missing 1913 Liberty Head Nickel; lost in a car crash only to be found years later then certified and ultimately sold for over $3 million in a Heritage Auction in early 2013. The 1804 Dollar is called the “King” of all U.S. coins for good reason; it has logged more media attention than any other coin in history. Include the 1894 S Barber Dime in this trio and it goes without saying that these are three of the most recognizable million dollar coins. The mystery, the pedigrees, and the desire to own one of these rarities has challenged numismatists for many decades.
But how do you identify a future million dollar coin, or for that matter, any rarities that have the opportunity to increase in value in multiples of their current FMV? Obviously, low mintage is a good start, but that is not the most essential factor in determining potential returns. Low population and infrequent availability are near the top of the list of requirements for future advancement.
Take for example the 1876 CC Twenty Cent. This is a classic rarity that is very popular. The original mintage of this date was 10,000 coins, but the majority were melted and not released. Moreover, there are only 23 coins certified by PCGS and NGC combined in all grades. The highest grade is MS66 with just two coins certified. The current FMV is $734,500 in this top grade. The NGC census report does not list any coins certified in this grade.
The MS64 and MS65 grades of the 1876 CC Twenty Cent are the most likely to become available in the market in the near future. The MS64 has a total of 8 coins certified by both grading services and the FMV has risen over $250,000 in seven years. In August 2007 the FMV was $212,500 and today it is $468,750. The MS65 has a combined population of only 7 coins and it has increased $312,500 in seven years to today’s FMV of $562,500.
1876-CC 20C MS66 PCGS sold for $460,000 in Heritage Auctions CSNS U.S. Coin Sale in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 30, 2009
The last reported sale of an MS66 was in a Heritage Auction in 2009 at $460,000. The latest sale of an MS65 was in a Stack’s Bowers Sale in early 2013 at $564,000, the market has basically doubled in five years from the 2009 FMV of $281,250. Presumably, one of the MS66 coins could double as well, commanding something over $900,000 if offered in one of today’s major auctions. Of course, this also depends quite heavily on the competition for a coin of this stature. That we will leave to those advanced collectors who want the best that their money can buy.
To put our comparison in proper perspective we listed the FMV for the three known rarities we previously mentioned. We selected the PR64 grade for all three coins and included the FMV from August 2007 versus today’s FMV. We also listed the total coins certified in all grades by PCGS and NGC. Bear in mind that some of these coins could have been submitted to both grading services.
|Date/Denomination||FMV August 2007||FMV August 2014||Total Certified|
|1913 Liberty Head Nickel||$2,500,000||$3,993,750||5|
|1894 S Barber Dime||$625,000||$1,750,000||9|
|1804 Silver Dollar||$3,750,000||$4,437,500||12|
With such a small quantity of coins available within these three dates, the grade is not the important element; it is the availability. When any of these coins are on the market, the buyers will show up. As you can see, these coins have been a good investment over the years and they should continue to see great demand when they appear for sale.
This year’s World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois will feature sales from Heritage Auctions and Stack’s Bowers Galleries as both are the Official Auctioneers of this major event. The true beneficiaries of these tremendous auctions will certainly be those bidders taking the time to study their wonderful catalogues. With so many rarities in both sales there are bound to be some new record prices achieved and certainly the driving force for updated prices. Quite possibly we will see a few more million dollar coins. Below is a partial list of potential highlights from these two extraordinary auction houses.
|1793 Chain Cent AMERICA||PCGS MS64 BN CAC||$325,000|
|1796 Draped Bust Dime||PCGS MS68 CAC||N/A|
|1927 S Standing Liberty Quarter||PCGS MS66 FH||$243,750|
|1797 Bust Half Dollar||PCGS MS65+ CAC||$587,500|
|1870 Seated Dollar||PCGS MS66||$83,130|
|1859 $2 ½ Gold||NGC PR64 Cameo||N/A|
|1879 $4 Gold Flowing Hair||NGC PR60||$118,750|
|1795 $10 Gold 13 Leaves||PCGS MS65||$1,040,000|
|1854 O $20 Gold||PCGS AU50||$412,500|
|1856 O $20 Gold||PCGS AU53||$487,500|
|1861 $20 Gold Paquet||PCGS MS61||N/A|
|1866 S $20 Gold No Motto||NGC MS62||$325,000|
|Stack’s Bowers Galleries|
|1793 Wreath Cent Lettered Edge||PCGS MS64 BN CAC||$256,250|
|1828 Bust Quarter 25/50C||PCGS MS63||N/A|
|1802 Bust Dollar||NGC MS65||$243,750|
|1804 Bust Dollar Class III||NGC PR55||$2,437,500|
|1796 $2 ½ Gold No Stars||PCGS XF45||$125,000|
|1804 $2 ½ Gold 13 Star Reverse||PCGS AU50||$143,000|
|1836 $2 ½ Gold Classic||PCGS PR64 Cameo CAC||$206,250|
|1797/5 $5 Gold ||NGC MS61||$193,750|
|1797 $10 Gold Small Eagle||NGC AU58||$129,380|
|1852 O $20 Gold||PCGS MS62||$58,500|
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Our monthly article detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of U.S. Rare Coins