In their recent pre-Long Beach Elite Auction, Superior sold a nice set of Carson City half eagles and eagles. These coins were interesting due to the fact that they were in old green label PCGS holders and, as one might expect, a number of coins appeared to have considerable upgrade potential. The half eagles were led by an 1870-CC graded EF40 by PCGS. It was notable for its excellent strike and seemed to me to be close to an AU50 grade by today’s standards. It sold for $25,300 (note that all prices in this blog include the 15% buyer’s premium charged by the auction company). One of the most undergraded coins in the half eagle collection was an 1871-CC in an old EF40 holder. I really liked this coin a lot and it brought $16,100. An 1872-CC graded EF40 by NGC was bid to $14,950.
Not all green label holder coins are “lock upgrades.” An 1873-CC graded VF35 by PCGS had the detail of an EF45 to AU50 but it had been harshly cleaned at one time. Despite this, it brought a strong $12,650 to a “lucky” mail bidder. Other interesting results included a PCGS EF40 1875-CC at $9,200, an uncommonly nice PCGS VF35 1876-CC (I graded it AU50 by today’s standards) at $9,488 and a pretty 1877-CC in PCGS EF45 for $9,775.
I personally liked the Eagles in this collection better than the half eagles and one of my absolute favorites was a perfect, crusty PCGS EF40 1870-CC which was bid to $39,100. A lovely 1871-CC in NGC EF45 with dark, crusty surfaces sold for $14,950 while an 1872-CC in NGC AU50 was bid up to a surprising $26,450. One of the rarest dates in the series is the 1873-CC and the example in this collection was a superb NGC EF45 which had the appearance of an AU50 to AU53. It sold for $27,600.
Another Carson City eagle in this group that I thought had great eye appeal was a PCGS EF40 1875-CC with deep, dark green-gold color. It sold for a solid $14,950. I was not all that wild about a PCGS AU50 1878-CC but at least two other bidders disagreed with me and it sold for a strong $29,900. Probably my favorite eagle in the sale was a PCGS AU53 1879-CC that was one of just a handful I have seen with original color and surfaces. It sold for $35,650.
Two other Carson City eagles in this sale worthy of a quick mention were a nice 1883-CC in PCGS AU55 that sold for $6,900 and a crusty, original 1893-CC in NGC AU58 that was bid to a strong $7,475.
Overall, this was an interesting group of coins. Virtually every coin in the Carson City collection sold to knowledgeable dealers and I would be surprised if any of these remain in their current holders. This was a sale that a collector bidding strictly on Internet images and catalog descriptions had simply no chance for success, unless it was for a “trap” coin like the 1873-CC half eagle mentioned above.