The year 2021 has been great for the coin market, with many coins realizing strong prices at auction. We’d like to highlight two significant coins and a 19th-century banknote, all of which recently sold at auction for outstanding prices.
1796 Draped Bust Gold Quarter Eagle, PCGS VF20
The 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle is highly important in numismatics, as 1796 is the first-year of issue and it is an overall rare early gold piece to boot. In 1796, the United States Mint struck two major varieties for the 1796 Quarter Eagle, one was a No Stars variety while the other was With Stars. The With Stars variety is much scarcer than the No Stars variety. The 1796 With Stars also has a one-year design type with 16 stars; the following year the design switched over to 13 stars. The 1796 With Stars Quarter Eagle has an extremely low mintage of just 432 coins, however, it is estimated that less than 50 examples exist in all grades. The 1796 Quarter Eagle seldom appears at auction in any condition, and when one does surface, it usually attracts a lot of attention. This was certainly the case on February 25, 2021, when Legend Auctions offered a PCGS VF20 example, which realized an impressive $73,437.
1895 Proof Liberty Gold Double Eagle, PCGS PR65DCAM
The 1895 Proof Liberty Gold Double Eagle has an extremely low mintage of just 51 coins. However, experts estimate there are only about 20 examples still in existence, making this rare coin even rarer. The 1895 $20 Proof is so rare that PCGS CoinFacts shows just 13 auction appearances since 1997. This means an example of this coin averages about one auction appearance every two years. Therefore, this is the type of coin collectors can’t be too picky about when attempting to buy one, since few pieces appear in the market. When an example does show up at auction, bidders raise their proverbial paddles, as took place on January 17, 2021 when a PCGS PR65DCAM fetched $199,687 in GreatCollections auction.
1861 Confederate $1000 PCGS Banknote Choice AU58
The 1861 $1,000 Montgomery Confederate banknote is a historically significantly numismatic piece issued when the Confederacy was attempting to separate itself from the Union. It’s estimated that about 140 specimens exist in all grades combined, making it almost unobtainable for most collectors. At the time, $1,000 notes were considered a very high denomination and were scarcely used in transactions. The front of the note depicts vignettes of John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson. After the Civil War ended and the Confederacy no longer existed, these notes became almost worthless. As a result, many were discarded or destroyed, making any example quite rare today. One example of the 1861 $1,000 Montgomery Confederate banknote graded by PCGS by Heritage Auction on January 25, 2021.