Imagine, if you will, that the coin market is a sushi bar. You look in the cases and you see the familiar fish: salmon, albacore, mackerel, and regular tuna. Off in the corner, in a special case there is the prized (and pricey) fatty tuna (or Toro) wrapped in special paper and brought out for special customers only. That fish, in our Numismatic Sushi Bar, is Proof Gold: rare, unusual, and very expensive.
Douglas Winter Numismatics, a Portland Oregon firm specializing in choice and rare United States gold coinage, recently sold an outstanding 1796 Eagle graded AU58 by PCGS and approved. The price was in excess of $100,000.
The impetus behind this article was a nice PCGS VG10 1864-S eagle which I recently handled. As I was writing this coin up, I got to thinking that I had handled an uncommonly large number of very low grade examples of this date…
Of the four denominations struck at the Dahlonega mint, half eagles are the largest in size and have—by far—the most struck; both in terms of individual dates and total produced. This denomination was made from 1838 through 1861, and there were a total of 26 issues.