Which Rare Gold Coins Will Be Demand in 2014?

A few years ago, when my blog was more of a newsletter, I used to write an annual piece entitled “What’s Hot, What’s Not.” I’ve never had the heart to go back and look at these; analyzing my analysis has never had appeal. But these were popular features and I thought I would bring them back - but with a twist. Instead of pondering about what will be “hot” in 2014 and what won’t, I thought it would be more interesting to speculate on what are some potentially in-demand areas.

1. Coins Priced Below $2,500

As I write this, the market for interesting gold coins priced at $2,500 and below is extremely strong. Case(s) in point: I used to run a weekly e-mail based sale of coins I called E-Specials which were two or three interesting gold coins priced in the $750-1,250 range. I used to be able to go to a major show and buy a dozen coins like this so the E-Specials would be pre-set for a month or more. Now, I can’t find many coins like this anymore, and I’ve punted the E-Specials.

So, what qualifies as an “interesting” gold coin in this price range? From my selling experience with E-Specials, I found that the parameters that always met with selling success were: PCGS graded, CAC approved, and dated prior to 1880. The interest factor for coins in this price range was greatly improved when I offered large sized issues; i.e., eagles and double eagles.

If I had to list a few specific coins in the $1,000-2,500 price range that I feel will be in demand in 2014 and may show some appreciation as a result, I’d include the following:

1852-D $5.00 PCGS EF45

  • Dahlonega half eagles in EF40 and EF45. The level of demand for nice D mint half eagles is very strong now, especially if they are choice, original coins. In the last few years values have crept up from around $1,600-1,800 to around $2,200-2,500+, and I see no price resistance to even higher numbers for the right coins.
  • With Motto New Orleans eagles in MS61 and MS62. I’ve written this before but if some clever marketer would quietly assemble a position in common and slightly better date With Motto (1888-1906) eagles from New Orleans, prices could go up 20-40% without anyone batting an eyelash. The possibility exists that set collecting could drive this series as no dates are rare and many are available even in MS63 and MS64.
  • Low grade scarce/rare date issues.  One of the major changes in the rare date gold market in the last three to five years has been the sudden surge in demand for affordable examples of tough dates. As an example, a coin like an 1861-S eagle is too expensive in higher grades for most collectors. But a nice Fine or Very Fine can be bought for a few thousand dollars and if the coin is worn but cosmetically appealing, it has a strong level of demand that didn’t necessarily exist a few years back.

2. Coins Priced in the $5,000-10,000 Range

Coins in the price range are my “bread and butter” but I would say this middle range (“middle” at least in the sense of rare gold coins) is the weakest part of the coin market going into 2014. Collectors who buy coins in this range are far more selective now than they were a few years ago, and a coin has to have an “it” factor to sell for $5,000, $7,500, or $10,000. I’ve invented a term called Multiple Levels of Demand to define what I regard as coins that have “it.”

As with coins priced below $2,500, coins priced at around $10,000 have to be interesting, and they have to have good visual appeal. Here are a few areas that I think will be in strong demand in 2014.

1841-D $5.00 NGC AU58 CAC

  • Properly grade AU58 branch mint quarter eagles and half eagles. Nice slider examples if southern branch mint gold coins remain one of the best values in all of 19th century numismatics. As I’ve explained before, a properly graded AU58 (not a coin that “looks like an MS64;” these don’t exist) is a coin that is being rewarded for positive eye appeal while a typical MS60, MS61 and even an MS62 is a coin with faults which are being punished. Most collectors would rather have a nice, natural AU58 Dahlonega half eagle at $5,000-6,000 than a “rubby” MS61 at $9,000-$11,000 and it is hard to blame them.
  • Better date Three Dollar gold pieces. This is a series that has been out of demand for too long and with a little bit of promoting, I could see some improved level of collector demand in 2014 and beyond. There are some great values in this series right now and, interestingly, there are more nice coins available in the $5,000-7,500 range than in many other comparably priced types.

1915 $10.00 PCGS MS65 CAC

  • MS64+CAC Indian Head gold.  From what I’ve seen, the quality of MS64+ Indian Head quarter eagles, half eagles and eagles is pretty nice and the typical example is visually better than MS64. As long as premium aren’t excessive over an average quality MS64, I can see the market expanding even further for these coins in 2014; especially when the price jump to MS65 is at least double or triple.

3. Coins Priced at $20,000 and Over

At this level, the air gets a lot thinner, but the market for nice quality expensive (notice I said “expensive” and not “trophy”) coins is as strong now as I can recall at any time since 2006-2007. Buyers of expensive coins are very discriminating (as they should be), but in my experience, the “right” coins in the $20,000-50,000 range are selling very well and will continue to do so in 2014.

There are a number of areas which fit into this category which I think have good upside in 2014. Here are a few of them.

  • Really exceptional branch mint gold coins in MS63 and MS64. If you look at auction prices from 1999-2001 and compare the values of a coin like an 1847-C quarter eagle in PCGS MS64 then versus now, you will typically see a slight overall decline. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that many coins have been graded MS63 or MS64 which are not nice. But in my opinion, a choice, original CAC-quality Dahlonega half eagle in MS63 or a beautiful, naturally toned Charlotte quarter eagle in MS64 is truly rare. These coins may not have date collector demand in these high grades but there are numerous type collectors looking for one or two great coins in all of these series. Watch for demand to increase in 2014 and beyond.
  • Rare date Proof gold in PR64 and PR65. Many of the Proof gold coins from the 1860’s, 1870’s and early 1880’s have tiny original mintages and fewer than half are known. Despite the rarity of a coin like an 1874 quarter eagle in Proof, the focus has been more on large denomination coins (eagles and double eagles) or super-grade pieces in the PR66 to PR68 range. While they are not often available, comparably “affordable” Proof gold dollars, quarter eagles, three dollar gold pieces and even half eagles seem to be increasing in demand and I see no reason that this will not continue through 2014 and beyond.

1863 $5.00 NGC MS60 CAC

  • Truly rare business strikes in Condition Census grades. The level of demand for formerly obscure business strike rarities will increase in 2014 as well. One thing I noticed in 2013 was that when I listed a choice, higher grade example of a truly rare coin on my website, I got multiple inquiries and not just from the “usual suspects.” As an example, I listed two very nice 1863 half eagles on my site in 2013 and I heard from numerous collectors for each of them, including two silver dollar collectors who wanted to buy an 1863 “just because it was cool” and a few dealers who I’ve literally never sold a coin to before.

4. Trophy Coins

In virtually all collectibles areas, the truly great “trophy” items are in huge demand and this will continue in 2014. The NGC MS63 Brasher Doubloon that will be sold by Heritage in a few weeks at the 2014 FUN auction could very well set a record for any coin - and there will be a number of million dollar+ coins in this sale and other auctions immediately afterwards.

A decade ago, the sale of a million dollar United States coin was front-page news; today it is relatively commonplace. As more “big money” discovers the coin market, I look for many exceptional prices realized in 2014, both at auction and via private treaty.

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Contact Doug Winter at (214) 675-9897 or by email at dwn@ont.com.

United States Gold Coins with Multiple Levels of Demand

A trend that I have noted in recent years is that a subset of gold issues which have what I refer to as Multiple Levels of Demand (MLD). These are coins with more than one potential set of buyers competing for them. As an example, a coin such as an 1838-D half eagle is sought not only by Dahlonega specialists but by Classic Head half eagle collectors, first-year-of-issue collectors, one-year type collectors and collectors who just appreciate cool coins.

1838-D $5.00 NGC MS62 CAC

An 1844-D half eagle, in contrast, has a smaller pool of potential buyers which includes Dahlonega specialists and type collectors looking for a single nice half eagle for their set. MLD coins have increased significantly in value in the last five to ten years and this makes sense. Coin values are largely the result of a basic supply and demand relationship: the greater the demand, the more prices increase.

In this blog, let’s take a look at coins which are already stellar MLD’s and also at issues which might be the next wave of multiple level of demand coins.


1861-D $1.00 PCGS MS61

If I had to choose the one single issue in this denomination which had the highest overall level of demand among collectors it would be hands-down the 1861-D. This scarce, low mintage issue is popular for a host of reasons: it is a coin with verifiable provenance from the Confederacy, it is the final issue from this mint (along with the similarly-dated half eagle) and the rarest gold dollar from any source. These facts (and others) have made it extremely popular and prices have soared as a result.

1855-D $1.00 PCGS MS61, Full Date

Other gold dollars which have a high degree of MLD include the Type Two issues: 1855-C, 1855-O, 1855-D and 1856-S. These four coins range from rare (1855-D) to relatively common (1855-O and 1856-S) but they have interesting stories attached to them and, in most cases, they are relatively affordable in circulated grades.

1849-D $1.00 PCGS MS62 CAC

What are the gold dollars which are most likely to become MLD issues in the future? I would suggest that the 1849-C, 1849-D and 1849-O will due to their status as first-year-of-issue from their respective branch mints (side thought: this would make a great three coin set in AU for the collector of average means). I could see the 1870-S becoming an MLD due to it being the final year of issue from the SF mint for gold dollars, its low mintage and the sexiness of this date in general. The 1875, due to its mintage figure of just 400 business strikes, is another possibility as well.


1839-D $2.50 PCGS VF35 CAC

As with many of the multiple level of demand coins, the list is dominated by Classic Head issues. The 1838-C and 1839-C have proven popular with collectors in the last decade as has the 1839-D. Of the three, the 1839-C tends to have the least MLD but this is partly due to the fact that many of the EF and AU examples which appear for sale are grossly overgraded and have problems. The 1838-C and 1839-D are both first year of issue with comparably low mintages and the latter is a one-year type.

A coin which is probably better classified as a Classic Rarity but which is also an MLD issue is the 1854-S. It has a tiny original mintage (246 pieces), very low survival rate and it is the first quarter eagle produced at the San Francisco mint. But this is already a solid six-figure coin and, thus, is not a realistic purchase for most collectors.

1808 $2.50 PCGS AU53 CAC

Other quarter eagles I regard as having a high MLD include the 1796 No Stars and the 1808; both are popular one-year types. The 1848 CAL is another obvious choice due to its status as a Gold Rush issue and as the first American commemorative issue.

1864 $2.50 PCGS EF45 CAC

What are the quarter eagles most likely to become MLD issues in the future?  I’d look at the four 1840 issues (P, C, D and O) as they would make a fun set to assemble, the 1845-O due to its status as the rarest issue of this denomination from New Orleans, and the rare Civil War issues from 1864 and 1865.


1854-D $3.00 PCGS AU55

I think there are really only two dates in this series right now that have MLD status: the 1854-O and the 1854-D and one of these (the 1854-O) has had a lot of its appeal ruined by blatant overgrading by the services.

The 1854-D is the clear MLD favorite right now. It is scarce in all grades but available enough to be a target for Dahlonega specialists, Three Dollar collectors, low mintage fans, and people who just like great coins with a real story to tell.

1855-S $3.00 PCGS MS61

If I had to choose the dates most likely to have MLD status in the future, they would be the 1855-S (due to its status as the first Three Dollar from the San Francisco mint), the Civil War issues from 1861-1865 (all are collectible and could be turned into interesting subsets) and maybe the 1873 Closed 3 (very low mintage).


There are more issues of this denomination with high multiple levels of demand than nearly any other and this includes coins from the 18th, 19th and 20th century.

1795 Small Eagle $5.00 PCGS AU58

The first issue I’d place in the MLD category would be the 1795 Small Eagle. It’s available enough to be realistically obtainable by advanced collectors and it has a high “cool factor” as a first-year-of-issue with a great design.

Nearly any sub-$10,000 early half eagle has a high MLD factor, especially if the coin is choice and original. The reasons are obvious: old, gold, semi-affordable and very appealing from an aesthetic standpoint.

1838-D $5.00 PCGS AU53 CAC

The 1838-C and 1838-D have oodles of demand due to their first-year and one-year type status. The 1839-C and 1839-D do as well but to a slightly lesser extent; both have, however, shown nice price increases in collector grades over the last decade.

1861-D $5.00 PCGS AU55

The 1861-D certainly receives consideration as an issue with lots and lots of MLD and its counterpart the 1861-C has suddenly become quite popular as well. Both of these issues have demand that far exceeds the Southern branch mint box which other C and D half eagles are trapped within.

1909-O $5.00 PCGS MS61 CAC

The 1870-CC, desirable as the first half eagle from this mint, is a coin with a high MLD. The same is true for the 1909-O as it is the only half eagle from New Orleans with the Indian Head design and it is a final year of issue. The 1929 Indian Head half eagle has become very popular in recent years due to its being the very last half eagle made.

1813 $5.00 PCGS MS64

Which half eagles have a good shot as showing high MLD in the next few years?  A few of my choices might surprise you. Due to its status as the only semi-affordable date of its type, the 1813 could have MLD. The same goes with the 1834 Crosslet 4 which is the key issue in the Classic Head half eagles; a set which is beginning to see appreciation by date collectors. The 1839-P is a neat, affordable one-year type coin which has lagged the market as has the first-year-of-issue 1840-O. The rare to very rare Civil War era half eagles from Philadelphia and San Francisco have new-found, widespread appeal and increased price levels to match.


1795 $10.00 NGC MS61

The first-year-of-issue 1795 has to be considered one of the most desirable eagles of any date or design. As with the similarly dated half eagle, it isn’t a really rare coin but it is an issue which “checks the boxes” for a host of collectors and has strong MLD as such. To a lesser extent, this is true with the 1799 as it is an 18th century-dated “big coin” which is still within reach of many advanced collector’s budgets.

1838 $10.00 PCGS EF40

The 1838 eagle has become exceptionally popular in recent years and it has soared in price. It is a first-year-of-issue with a low mintage and a very cool design which appeals to many different collectors. To an extent, the 1839 Head of 1838 has a degree of MLD but not as much as its earlier counterpart.

Many of the rare Civil War Liberty Head eagles have a high degree of appeal might they are probably not quite yet what I would consider MLD coins. An issue that clearly does have multiple levels of demand, though, is the 1870-CC which is desirable for a number of reasons. There are a few Indian Head eagles which have a strong MLD profile. The first is the 1907 Wire Edge, a coin of unparalleled beauty which has a great back story and which is rare but not impossibly so. The second is the rare and high valued 1933 which is the only American gold coin of this date which is legal to own.

1841-O $10.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

I can think of numerous eagles which could have expanded levels of demand in the coming years. The key New Orleans issues, 1841-O, 1859-O, 1879-O and 1883-O, are beginning to show demand which exceeds the specialist community. The ultra-low mintage Philadelphia issues from 1873, 1876 and 1877 are becoming very popular as is the 1879-CC which has the lowest mintage of any Carson City gold coin.


1861-S $20.00, Paquet Reverse, NGC AU53

You can make a case that many Type One Liberty Head double eagles have some degree of MLD as they are pursued by general collectors, specialists and “double play” investors. If I had to select one specific Type One issue as having the most widespread appeal, my experience would suggest the 1861-S Paquet Reverse. The Philadelphia issues from the Civil War years (1861-1865) are quite popular as well.

1870-CC $20.00 PCGS EF45

The rarest Type Two double eagle is the 1870-CC but this doesn’t have the widespread appeal that the similarly dated half eagle and eagle do because it is very expensive and tends to be found with poor eye appeal.

You can also make a good case that virtually all Carson City doubles eagles, from both the Type Two and Type Three series, have multiple levels of demand. This is especially true with the more common dates in collector grades.

MCMVII (1907) High Relief, Wire Rim, PCGS MS63

An obvious MLD issue is the 1907 High Relief. Yes, it’s probably overvalued but there are few American gold coins which have a higher level of demand from a more varied group of potential buyers.

Which double eagles have the potential to be added to this list in the coming years? Two which come to mind (and some observers might state that they already have MLD) are the 1861-O and 1879-O. The same probably holds true for the low mintage Philadelphia issues from 1881-1887 and 1891.

As coins become more expensive and harder to locate, buyers want an item which is special and which justifies what they are spending money on. Coins which have a nice design, a fascinating back-story, a very low mintage figure or some association with an historic event are the exact sort of piece(s) which people are now seeking and this is likely to continue in the coming years.

Do you want to purchase coins with multiple levels of demand? I specialize in such coins. Please contact me via email at dwn@ont.com and we can discuss how you can become a collector of these coins.