US coin market buoyant despite pandemic

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04 July 2020
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The market for rare United States coins remained active during the first six months of 2020 despite pandemic-related closures and the cancellation of dozens of coin shows and conventions, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild.

PNG President Richard Weaver said: 

"Even with economic uncertainty and the lack of face-to-face transactions and in-person floor bidding, major auction firms reported selling more than $167 million of U.S. rare coins in online public auctions during the first half of the year. Dozens of record prices were established for coins selling for five, six and even seven figures."

One of the many examples of rare coins commanding record prices was the $101,251 winning bid for the finest known 1905 Barber design silver quarter-dollar graded PCGS MS68 CAC offered by GreatCollections Coin Auctions. It sold for four times its price guide value.

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With a winning bid of $2,160,000, this 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was the most valuable U.S. rare coin sold at auction during the first half of 2020.

Over a half dozen coins brought $1 million or more. The two most valuable U.S. coins sold at auction so far in 2020 were:

  • A record $2,160,000 for a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens gold $20 (Double Eagle) graded PCGS Mint State 65+ CAC sold by Heritage Auctions
  • The $1,920,000 paid for an 1854-S gold $5 (Half Eagle) graded PCGS About Uncirculated 58 CAC sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries

In addition to the reported auction results, PNG conservatively estimates that least another $150 million of U.S. coins were sold by these auction firms in private transactions in the first half of the year.

“Sales of precious metal bullion coins, such as gold and silver American Eagles, also have been active and premiums over their intrinsic value have risen as supplies dwindled due to pandemic-related interruptions of coin production at the United States Mint,” said Weaver.

Auction firms responding to a PNG request for information were Bonhams (www.bonhams.com): Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers (www.GoldbergCoins.com): GreatCollections Coin Auctions (www.GreatCollections.com); Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com): Kagin’s (www.Kagins.com): David Lawrence Rare Coins (www.DavidLawrence.com): Scotsman Coin & Jewelry (www.scoins.com): and Stack’s Bowers Galleries (www.StacksBowers.com).

Additional information also was obtained through online auction archives at Christie’s (www.Christies.com); Legend Rare Coin Auctions (www.LegendAuctions.com); Sotheby’s (www.Sothebys.com); and Spink (www.Spink.com).

The PNG is a nonprofit organisation composed of many of the country’s top rare coin and paper money experts, find out more at: www.PNGdealers.org


Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle image courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service www.PCGS.com.