Welcome to this edition of the RCMR Auction Highlights. The first coin is what many consider to be the rarest regular-issue coin struck in the 20th century; the 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. It’s extremely rare, and it can be many years before this coin again appears at auction or in the general marketplace. It is estimated that only about a dozen or so examples are known to exist, making it almost impossible to obtain. Surprisingly, for a very long time, the 1927-D Double Gold Eagle was quite underrated, as most collectors and dealers believed it was more common than the 1924-S, 1926-D, 1926-S, 1927-S and 1931-D Double Eagles.
As time went by, the 1927-D proved to be the scarcest existing regular-issue Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. Amazingly, a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was recently offered by Heritage Auctions at the 2020 FUN Show in January. The example offered at auction was in excellent condition, grading PCGS MS65+. The coin sold for an astonishing $2,160,000. Based on our auction records on PCGS.com/CoinFacts, this makes it the most expensive 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle to ever sell at auction. Without a doubt, it’s a magnificent coin deservedly realizing a record price.
The second coin is a 1796 Draped Bust Quarter. This coin has many great traits going for it. It is the first federally-issued quarter struck by the U.S. Mint, a one-year type design, and is also the only U.S. quarter that was struck in the 1700s. It would then take the U.S. Mint another eight years before striking a quarter for circulation again, as the next quarter it produced was the 1804 Draped Bust Quarter. Today, there are still a few hundred 1796 Draped Bust Quarters known to exist in About Uncirculated through Mint State grades. This is made possible by collectors who saved the coins when they were first issued. Because of its low mintage (6,146 pieces) and popularity, this coin is mostly unobtainable to the average collector, especially in higher grades. However, collectors do have the option of trying to buy the coin in low grades even as low as in Poor-01 grade. And this was recently the case when a PCGS P01 graded example sold for $5,760 at a Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction in November 2019. Astonishingly, the coin had most of its design missing, yet the date was still completely visible. It’s a very special coin indeed, as is a 224-year-old coin that circulated heavily. One can only wonder the stories it could tell, if only it were able to talk!
The final coin is a 1929-S Buffalo Nickel. Although it is considered one of the more common dates, examples grading above MS66 condition are considered very scarce. Meanwhile, examples in MS66 or under appear to be much easier to locate. However, once in a big while top-end specimens appear and, when they do, collectors will pay a big premium for attractive examples – even paying higher prices than the going trends. This was exactly the case when two different 1929-S Buffalo Nickels graded PCGS MS66 recently sold. The two examples traded in December 2019 via GreatCollections, where the first example took $3,125; a second example then sold for $3,250. Our five most recent PCGS CoinFacts® auction records show coins selling in the $480 to $604 range. However, due to the nice quality of the coins, collectors stepped up and paid a strong premium over previous auction records. This is a good reminder that, sometimes, collectors are willing to pay up when they really like a coin!
This article is from the current March-April 2020 Rare Coin Market Report. To continue reading this issue, please visit the digital version for the Current Issue. You will be prompted to input the email address linked to your PCGS account. All current PCGS Collectors Club members will have free access to the complete digital Rare Coin Market Report. To purchase a single print issue or 1-year subscription, please visit the RCMR Homepage. If you are not a PCGS Collectors Club Member and wish to join please visit the PCGS membership page at www.pcgs.com/join.