The RYK Retort: More on the 1892-CC Eagle

Editor’s note: The following reply was received by me this morning and it was written by well-known collector Robert Kanterman about the blog I published yesterday. It is unedited and, I think, an interesting insight into the mind of a sophisticated, well-focused collector. I was the lucky buyer, and I will address DW's points from the previous blog.

1. Underpriced? Perhaps a little bit, not too much — okay, I thought it was a screaming bargain! I would have been interested up to the $1200-1300 range. Maybe even $1500 if I really needed it for a date or type set.

As recently as a few months ago, the basal value of any old Liberty $10 was approaching $1000. Perhaps I am living in the past, but I still view $10 Libs as $1000 or so coins.

2. CC gold is extremely popular. More popular than ever. Just when I think that interest is starting to wane, it seems to gather more steam. Good luck trying to find me some CC $20's in OGHs.

3. I love OGHs, and I am not afraid to admit it. Graded years ago, under perhaps different standards, and untouched by human hands for 20+ years, what's not to love? Add to that the fact that many filthy gold coins from European hoards were slabbed in the OGH era (more below). I also believe that the green of the label and the gold of the coin complement one another in a way that even art enthusiasts like DW should appreciate.

A wise coin dealer friend told me earlier this year that the PCGS Reconsideration service marked the death knell of the OGH. I am not so sure. The OGH is dead. Long live the OGH!

4. DOGs (Dirty Original Gold coins) are The Bomb among serious collectors of 19th century circulated gold coin and other numismatic vagabonds. DWN has certainly educated collectors about originality, in his books, website, and in person, and made them popular, but RYK invented the "DOG" and used his big mouth (or noisy keyboard, anyway) to spread the gospel.

5. Liberty $10's are a great series, chock full of rarities and interesting dates. There are numerous logical ways to collect them that do not necessarily bust your coin budget (or require you to sell your home). There is also no question that David Hall's finest ever PCGS registry set and its well-publicized sale a few years back has raised the profile of these coins. Here's a confession — the first coin that I ever purchased from DWN was an 1849-O $10. The second coin was an 1883-CC $10. The last two were also Liberty $10's, both in OGHs. I really like Liberty $10's a lot.

And The Winner For Most Popular Coin Is....

I bought a ton of coins at the recent ANA. They ranged in price from under $1,000 to close to $100,000 and nearly all have been sold on my website in the two+ weeks since the end of the show. One coin garnered more attention than any other. It was ordered no less than eleven times (by different individuals) until I finally marked it "on hold." I would have never guessed, when I bought it, that this seemingly mundane coin would have become my Most Popular New Purchase for the 2013 ANA. And the winner for Mr. Popularity was (drumroll)......???

An 1892-CC eagle graded EF40 by PCGS (and approved by CAC) in an Old Green Label Holder.

1892-CC $10.00 PCGS EF40 CAC

Priced at a whopping $1,000, this coin connected with a wide range of people. It was ordered by two dealers and nine collectors running the gamut from beginners to seasoned vets.

What was it about this coin that made people go gaga?

I have a few theories. Let's explore them.

1. It Was Underpriced

As I mentioned in the description, by today's standards this coin grades more like AU50 to AU53 than EF40. This made it more likely to have a final value of $1,250 or so as opposed to the $1,000 it was listed for. At least eleven people spotted that this was a good deal, if not an actual bargain.

2. It Was An Affordable But Nice CC Gold Coin

If you don't have a huge budget but want to own a Carson City gold coin with a good overall appearance, you don't have a ton of choices. The typical CC double eagle now costs over $2,000 - and at the $1,000 price point any half eagle that's not dated 1891-CC tends to be kind of boring. I can't remember the last time I had an interesting CC eagle that was priced at $1,000.

3. The Lure of the OGH Is Strong...

Collectors love OGH PCGS coins and it isn't hard to understand why. The purist in me appreciates that a coin graded back in the late 1980's or early 1990's is going to look the same in another 20+ years as it does now. In other words, if PCGS had missed surface enhancement(s) on said 1892-CC eagle, the coin would have already turned in the holder. The fact that it was dark and dirty was a pretty sure sign that it was "as is" and wasn't going to turn.

4. Nice, Original Coins Are In Demand

This coin was dirty and original and coins with this sort of appearance are in demand. I'd like to think I had a little bit to do with this...

5. Liberty Head Eagles Are In Demand As Well.

As I've pointed out a number of times in the last few years, the Liberty Head eagle series has gone from mildly popular to very popular. This denomination will never be as popular as its big brother the double eagle but the number of people who dabble or specialize in this denomination has grown dramatically since 2008-2009. And an interesting Liberty Head eagle priced at a grand isn't easy to find.

I would have to guess that this perfect storm of desirability and appeal was what made this 1892-CC eagle so popular. To the collector whose email I received first and who is now the happy owner of Mr. Popularity...kudos. And to everyone else who tried and failed to buy the 1892-CC eagle...thanks and sorry. We will do another deal and soon, I hope!