This week four major rarities will be sold from the Cardinal Collection at unreserved auction in New York City. They will each undoubtedly be sold for seven-figure price levels. These coins include the number one condition census 1793 Chain Cent for the “S-2” die marriage, graded MS-65 Brown by PCGS; “the single highest-graded early large cent of any type or variety” – the 1793 Wreath Cent, graded MS-69 by PCGS; the highest-graded 1792 Half Disme, graded as MS 68 by NGC and pedigreed back to David Rittenhouse, the first director of the U.S. Mint; and the finest 1794 Silver Dollar, thought to be the very first silver dollar struck by the U.S. Mint, graded Specimen-66 by PCGS and verified by CAC.
These are all landmark numismatic rarities – the very kinds of coins that appeal to the most astute and wealthy connoisseurs. The 1794 silver dollar being sold has been widely publicized as having sold privately to the Cardinal Collection in 2010 for $7.85 million – the highest price paid for a single rare coin. The market has now seen three rarities sell for more than $7 million: this coin; the only 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold coin legally allowed by the U.S. government to be privately owned; and the 1787 Brasher Doubloon, which is unique with the “EB” monogram on the eagle’s breast, that sold privately near the end of 2011 for a reported $7.395 million.
The rare coin market is strong and pushing against the next major barrier – $10 million for a single rare coin! Already another Brasher Doubloon, the highest graded, as MS-63 by NGC, and with the “EB” monogram on the eagle’s wing, has been offered for sale for $10 million. Recently I’ve been involved in negotiations for more than one major rarity near these price levels, and a few of my friends who have handled some of these ultimate rarities have told me in confidence that offers for certain rare coins, far exceeding $10 million, have been turned down by their owners!
This harkens back to 1989 when the famous Dexter 1804 Dollar, a rarity that I have a vested interest in, was the first coin to sell at public auction for the million dollar level – $990,000 to be exact. Since then, the rare coin market has seen more than 50 ultimate rarities exceed the million dollar price level. And when the $10 million dollar price level for an individual rare coin is breached, it will undoubtedly provide a breakthrough for more ultimate rarities to follow!
Why is this important? After all, 99 percent of collectors and investors cannot afford to own these types of rarities. It’s important because as the prices for these coins advance, they open the way for other high-end rarities to sell for increasingly higher price levels. The next lower price level tier advances as well…right on down through the whole coin market. And on the highest tier of the market the first coin to break through the $10 million dollar level will open the way for other rarities to sell for $15 million, $20 million, and most likely even more in the future.
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