Jeff Garrett: 1858-1915 Proof Type Coins

Don’t overlook rare coins from the early Proof Sets

By Jeff Garrett for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) ……
We have all read the headlines about the astonishing sales performance of mega coins in the last few months. Every major auction seems to have more than a few six- and seven-figure coins that sell for a record price. Coins at the lead end of the market are clearly in demand, but the reality, of naturally, is that very few collectors can always hope to purchase coins in this price range .

Until recently, coins in the middle separate ( $ 500 to $ 5,000 USD ) of the numismatic grocery store had declined in price about across the control panel. Some have fallen to prices not seen in 30 years. There are a lot of factors to explain this, the simplest being the law of supply and demand. In the past five to 10 years, a LOT of collections have come onto the market. There have not been enough collectors for some segments of the market to absorb the material being offered, specially early on Colonial issues .
The enormous success of specify register collect has had a negative impact on coins in less-than-stellar condition. A mint in Proof 65 is not desired by those who need a Proof 67 to improve their set stand. The lapp scenario plays out for many series of United States neologism in a wide range of grades. This miss of necessitate has driven down prices on many series to what are now incredible bargains .

In the last few years, one of the most out-of-favor segments of the rare coin market has been 1858-1915 US Type Proof Coins. Prices for decent examples have fallen to levels last seen in the 1980s. At the 1988 Heritage ANA Mid-Winter Sale, an 1892 Barber Half Dollar Proof 65 sold for $ 1,500. An NGC-graded Proof 65 of the same date recently sold for around $ 1,600. At the acme of the market in 1989, Proof 65 Barber Half Dollars sold for over $ 8,000 .
Most people are companion with the Proof Sets produced annually by the United States Mint. They are our circulating neologism struck for collectors using cautiously polished dies and planchets. What many do not realize is that the Mint has been striking these specially train coins since at least 1821. In the early years, just a few examples were struck for presentation purposes or for placement in the Mint cabinet. many of these incredible coins still reside in the trays of the Smithsonian Collection .
In 1858, the Mint began striking a identical circumscribed number of arrant Proof Sets for the fledgling numismatic community, a drill that has continued to this sidereal day. Most of the Proof Sets from the 1858-1915 era have been broken up over the years. occasionally, an original put that has stayed together for over a century will enter the market, and, as you would expect, bring a brawny price .

individually, however, Seated Liberty and Barber Proof coins from 1858 to 1915 can be found in Choice condition for relatively meek sums. many coins can be purchased for under $ 1,000 that have a mintage of fewer than 1,000 coins. Seated and Barber coins of the era were struck in the pursuit denominations : Half Dime, Dime, Twenty Cents, Quarter, Half Dollar, and Dollar. The entire number of coins struck for all denominations is less than 200,000 coins ( by comparison, closely 500,000 1909-S VDB Cents were struck in one year ). Of the 251 different issues in the series, 209 tout mintages below 1,000 coins .
Regular-issue US coins with a mintage below 1,000 pieces typically sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Proof Seated coinage besides fits the budget of most collectors as closely every issue can be found in grades from Proof 60 to Proof 69. Another significant agent to note is that other than the 1895 Morgan Dollar, there are no mega coins in the series that would keep a collector from pursuing this part of the market.

I in truth love Proof Type coins, and I have handled thousands of coins over the years. The coins are beautifully designed, and evening if you can afford just one model, your collection will be enhanced .
As mentioned many times about anything you collect, try to find coins with good eye invoke. This is particularly significant with silver coins struck over a century ago. many coins found on the market have dark or unattractive tone. search for coins with courteous color or brilliant blank surfaces. These will be a lot easier to market when it ’ mho clock time to sell .
One complicate factor for Proof Seated and Barber coins is trying to figure the correct premium for Cameo and Ultra Cameo examples. Prices can range wildly, and you should do your inquiry before paying an exorbitant premium. Check NGC Census data to understand rarity when it comes to Cameo and Ultra Cameo. many coins are about adequate rarity in Cameo. Ultra Cameo coins are quite rare in most instances and can sell for astounding prices .
Proof Type coins are just one part of the market that has been ignored in recent years. I will continue to explore areas of american numismatics that are undervalued and that should be considered by those who appreciate the classical “ contrarian ” meet .

Recommended Reading: United States Coinage – A report by Type. Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, Whitman Publishing. Guide Book of United States Coins ( Mega Red ). R.S. Yeomen, Whitman Publishing .
Jeff Garrett bio
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