Circulated U.S. coins are seeing market attention as well. Here's a press release from Gerry Fortin Rare Coins about recent Liberty Seated Quarter sales.
Collector Grade Liberty Seated Quarters Shine in GFRC Online Auctions
While the post-ANA convention auctions featured any number of multi-million dollar rarities such as the
Childs-Pogue 1804 dollar, which realized $7.68 million, or the Simpson 1794 dollar ($6.6 million),
collector-grade material is also drawing exceptional interest among Liberty Seated set builders. Struck in
widely varying quantities from 1836 to 1891, the Liberty Seated series presents a number of challenges
to collectors building date and mintmark sets of these 19th century economic workhorses. The dime,
quarter, and half dollar series are particularly extensive, with Guide Book sets consisting of over a
hundred examples. Many of these are lower mintage issues that do not trade at significant premiums
type coin prices, making the Liberty Seated series especially attractive for fans of rarity.
Following the trend of the overall numismatic market, eye appeal has become more of a determinant of
value in recent years, especially with the advent of the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), which
certifies PCGS or NGC-slabbed coins as premium for the grade. Collectors and dealers are noticing higher
prices for CAC-certified examples, and published price guides for CAC-approved coins fulfill demand for
the latest market data. This is especially important for Liberty Seated coinage, small change which
generally saw extensive circulation. Many survivors are lower grade or exhibit surface problems such as
scratches or environmental damage.
As a result, the Liberty Seated coinage market is beginning to exhibit bifurcation, with exceptional pieces
drawing increasingly strong premiums. A recent sale of CAC-approved Liberty Seated quarters, featuring
the Tenafly Collection and conducted by GFRC Auctions is illustrative. This sale, which closed on August
28, included a nearly complete set of CAC-certified, collector grade Liberty Seated quarters with an
average grade in the EF40 range. A noteworthy example was a CAC-approved 1867-S quarter graded
VF20 by PCGS, which sold for $3,250, vs. a CDN CAC valuation of $1,800. The appeal of this example is
obvious, with smooth, coin-grey surfaces and even, natural toning. While PCGS has certified 87 pieces in
all grades, CAC has approved only ten, and bidders responded accordingly, driving the price to a record
level for the grade.
Another notable example from this sale was the 1872 quarter, graded AU50 by PCGS and certified by
CAC. The mintage of this issue was ample, at 182,000 pieces, of which PCGS has certified 142 examples.
CAC, in contrast, has been much more selective and includes only 14 examples in its census. This piece
sold for $1,113, vs. a CDN CAC value of $673. A Civil War issue, the 1863 quarter, with a similar mintage
(191,600 coins), also sold strongly. Certified AU53 by PCGS and CAC-approved, this piece sold for $1,450,
while the CDN CAC guide lists it at $568. Again, a low CAC population, 29 pieces in all grades, appears to
be an important factor in the auction result.
GFRC Auctions president Gerry Fortin noted
our consignor was pleasantly surprised with the strong
bidder interest in choice Liberty Seated quarters. Attractive pieces are hard to come by, and substantial
bidder engagement demonstrates that the market has a healthy appetite for scarce and eye appealing
collector-grade examples. This sale was rightfully seen as an unusual opportunity to acquire better
pieces, and collectors responded accordingly with aggressive bidding activity, especially toward the end
of the sale.
For more information, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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