PCGS Graded Top 8 of 10 Most-Valuable U.S. Coins Sold in 2021

Overall, Professional Coin Grading Service claims 17 of the top 25 U.S. coins crossing the auction block last year, including the most-valuable coin ever sold

1933 Double Eagle PCGS MS65 (Image courtesy of PCGS)

(Santa Ana, California, January 12, 2022) – An incredible 8 of the top 10 most-valuable United States coins that crossed the auction block last year were graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com). Among these was the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, a classic United States gold coin with only one specimen available for private ownership and that broke all barriers as the most-expensive coin to ever trade hands when it hammered for $18,872,250. In all, 17 of the top 25 most-valuable coins to sell in 2021 were graded by PCGS.

“It just goes to show that the best coins always end up in PCGS holders,” asserts PCGS President Stephanie Sabin. “Year over year, the vast majority of the most valuable coins to hit the hammer at auction are in PCGS holders. This speaks to the trust and confidence collectors place in our consistent grading and ability to provide the maximum value, security, and liquidity for collectible coins.”

Here’s a rundown on the top 25 U.S. coins sold in 2021 and prices realized (including buyer’s fees):

  1. 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PCGS MS65 – Sotheby’s, $18,872,250
  2. 1787 $15 Wing Punch Brasher Doubloon, MS65 – Heritage Auctions, $9,360,000
  3. 1822 Capped Bust Half Eagle, PCGS AU50 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $8,400,000
  4. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, PCGS PR68 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $7,680,000
  5. 1861 Paquet Reverse Double Eagle, PCGS MS67 – Heritage Auctions, $7,200,000
  6. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, PCGS MS66+ – Heritage Auctions, $6,600,000
  7. 1804 Draped Bust Eagle, PCGS PR65+DCAM – Heritage Auctions, $5,280,000
  8. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, PR68 – Heritage Auctions, $3,600,000
  9. 1792 J-1 Silver Center Cent, PCGS SP67BN – Heritage Auctions, $2,520,000
  10. 1854-S Liberty Half Eagle, PCGS XF45 – Heritage Auctions, $2,400,000
  11. (TIED) 1885 Trade Dollar, PCGS PR63+CAM – Heritage Auctions, $2,100,000
  12. (TIED) Brasher 1786 Lima-Style Brasher Doubloon, MS61 – Heritage Auctions, $2,100,000
  13. 1893-S Morgan Dollar, PCGS MS67 – GreatCollections, $2,086,875
  14. 1921 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle Satin Special Strike, PR64+ – Heritage Auctions, $2,010,000
  15. 1880 Coiled Hair Stella, PR67CAM – Heritage Auctions, $1,860,000
  16. 1797 Draped Bust Overton-101A Half Dollar, PCGS MS66 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $1,680,000
  17. 1870-CC Liberty Head Double Eagle, PCGS AU53 – Heritage Auctions, $1,620,000
  18. 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle Stars, PCGS MS65 – Heritage Auctions, $1,380,000
  19. 1792 25 Cents J-13, AU58 – Heritage Auctions, $1,260,000
  20. 1776 Continental Dollar “CURRENCY” Silver, VF35 – Heritage Auctions, $1,140,000
  21. 1866 Liberty Seated Dollar No Motto, PCGS PR63+ – Heritage Auctions, $1,050,000
  22. 1794 Flowing Hair Overton 101A Half Dollar, PCGS MS64+ – Heritage Auctions, $870,000
  23. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, AU58 – Stack’s Bowers Galleries, $840,000
  24. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar J-18, VF25 – Heritage Auctions, $840,000
  25. 1943-D Bronze Lincoln Cent, PCGS MS64BN – Heritage Auctions, $840,000

1822 Capped Bust Half Eagle, PCGS AU50 (Image courtesy of PCGS)

PCGS also makes an honorable mention to an unusual piece the company graded and that sold at auction for a staggering sum, the 2011 25BTC Casascius Bitcoin. This novel piece of exonumia serves as the physical representation of 25 Bitcoins and was graded PCGS MS67. It sold for $1,698,750 in a GreatCollections sale. It should be noted that an astounding 22 U.S. coins surpassed the $1 million threshold in 2021 among the auction houses consulted for this year-end roundup of prices realized, and this confirms the robust strength of the coin market in 2021 despite a gyrating economy and persistent pandemic conditions.

For more information and images covering all of the top-selling coins of 2021, visit https://www.pcgs.com/top-selling-coins-2021. You can also view the top-selling PCGS coins of all time at https://www.pcgs.com/top-selling-coins-of-all-time.

About Professional Coin Grading Service

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 48 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $47 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.

PCGS Reclassifies Early American Fugio Cent as Regular-Issue U.S. Mint Coin

Professional Coin Grading Service announces its official redesignation of the popular early Federal-era copper coin

1787 Fugio Cent

This specimen of the 1787 Fugio Cent, a variety known as United Above, States Below, is highly coveted among collectors and belongs to a popular series PCGS is reclassifying as a regular-issue coin. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView.

(Santa Ana, California – January 3, 2022) – The Fugio Cent has long been one of the most enjoyed early American collectibles, and now numismatists can count it as the earliest of all United States regular-issue coins.

Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) is announcing the groundbreaking reclassification after an exhaustive study carried out by a team of leading numismatic experts including John Dannreuther, Gordon Wrubel, Craig Sholley, Brian Greer, Chuck Link, Tony Terranova, Chris Victor-McCawley, David McCarthy, and Erik Goldstein.

“The Fugio Cent is one of the most popular coins from the early Federal period, so it’s a big deal when new research sheds enough light to completely reshape the hobby’s understanding of an iconic coin like this,” says President of Professional Coin Grading Service Stephanie Sabin. “By officially recognizing the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue circulating coin based on the overwhelming evidence presented by our numismatic experts, we help enhance the hobby’s understanding of this important coin and its foundational role in the early United States monetary system.”

PCGS Director of Numismatic Education and Grading Team Leader Steve Feltner is intrigued at how much information lay beneath the surface of such widely studied and collected coins like the Fugio Cent. “Fugio Cents, long lumped into the same colonial class as New Jersey Coppers, Nova Constellatio Coppers, and Massachusetts Cents, are finally going to get the numismatic credit that they have deserved for nearly two and a half centuries!”

Feltner says the decision to reclassify the status of the Fugio Cent wasn’t something to be taken lightly. “When I was first approached about the idea of reclassifying Fugio coppers as Fugio Cents, I will admit I was skeptical. So much has been studied and written about them in the past that I couldn’t imagine anything warranting a change.” He concludes, “I was wrong.”

Adds Feltner, “The research and historical backing that was presented to me and my colleagues at PCGS was irrefutable. There were several times during the initial read-through that I caught myself saying, ‘that makes sense.’ It was an experience that I will never forget.”

Among the evidence warranting the reclassification of the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue coin is a measure passed by the Board of Treasury on April 21, 1787, noting that the Fugio Cents were to be “of the federal standard” per weight standards stipulated in the 1786 report for United States gold, silver, and copper coins. As part of these standards, cents were to contain 157.5 grains of pure copper. So, when Congress authorized the contract for Fugio Cents on this date, the intent was to produce coins that were needed in commerce.

April 1787 Journals of Congress

An extract from the Journals of the Continental Congress for April 21, 1787. Public domain image.

The reclassification of the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue coin isn’t the first time PCGS has led the way in properly recognizing coins that may have been numismatically miscategorized in the past. Years ago, PCGS was the first grading service to classify 1792 Half Dismes, once listed among pattern coins, as regular issues. A Guide Book of United States Coins (“The Red Book”) and others soon followed suit.

The reclassification of the Fugio Cent means PCGS will list them among regular-issue coinage, under the heading of “Federal Contract Coinage,” and they will retain their position among PCGS Colonial Registry Sets. Read the January/February issue of the PCGS Rare Coin Market Report for the full story on why PCGS is reclassifying the Fugio Cent as a regular-issue coin. For more information about the PCGS Set Registry, please visit https://www.pcgs.com/setregistry.

About Professional Coin Grading Service

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 48 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $47 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.

CORRECTION: The Fugio Cent can count as the earliest of all United States regular-issue coins, not “United States regular-issue coins” as initially reported. PCGS apologizes for the error.

Record Year For Million-Dollar Rare Coins, Reports Professional Numismatists Guild

(Temecula, California) December 30, 2021 – The market for high-grade, rare United States coins soared in 2021. A record 22 U.S. coins sold at auction for $1 million or more and hundreds of other historic coins and banknotes priced from $1,000 and up set new records, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org). The PNG is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the country’s top rare coin and paper money dealers.

Based on responses to a year-end PNG questionnaire, the aggregate prices realized for all U.S. rare coins sold at major public auctions in 2021 totaled more than $551 million, compared to nearly $369 million in 2020. Public auctions of U.S. banknotes in 2021 totaled more than $50.5 compared to $50.6 million in 2020, bringing the combined aggregate auction sales of rare U.S. coins and paper money in 2021 to nearly $602 million.

“Spectacular prices were realized for superb quality, historic, rare coins and banknotes as the numismatic market soared online and as collectors and dealers began to return to in-person shows and conventions across the country,” said PNG President Richard Weaver.

US 1933 Double Eagle

This U.S. 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record $18.9 million in 2021. (Photo credit: Sotheby’s.)

The most valuable rare coin sold in 2021 was a 1933 Double Eagle (U.S. $20 denomination gold coin) owned by shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. It brought $18.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction, setting a record price for any rare coin.

Heritage Auctions reported the largest dollar total of U.S. coins and banknotes sold at auction, $295.9 million, followed by GreatCollections Coin Auctions with $141 million, and Stack’s Bowers Galleries with $92.3 million in auctions of U.S. coins and banknotes.

“In addition to the 22 U.S. coins that sold for $1 million each or more at auction, about a dozen others reportedly changed hands in private transactions. The previous record year for million-dollar U.S. coin sales was 17 in 2015,” said Weaver. “Also, at least ten rare coins from other countries were sold for $1 million or more by U.S.-based auction houses in 2021.”

Participating auction firms were Alex Cooper Auctioneers, Bonhams, Early Cents Auctions, Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, GreatCollections Coin Auctions, Heritage Auctions, David Lawrence Rare Coins, Legend Rare Coin Auctions, Scotsman Coin & Jewelry, Sotheby’s, and Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Professional Numismatists Guild members must adhere to a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise. For a list of member-dealers, visit www.PNGdealers.org or call PNG headquarters in Temecula, California at (951) 587-8300.

Skyrocketing Gold Bullion Coin Demand, Soaring Rare Coin Values in 2021, notes Michael Fuljenz

Michael Fuljenz(Beaumont, Texas) December 29, 2021 – Although the price of gold fluctuated during 2021, the public’s demand for gold bullion coins such as the popular American Eagle series soared during the past year, according to Michael Fuljenz, president of Universal Coin & Bullion (www.UniversalCoin.com) in Beaumont, Texas. Known as America’s Gold Expert®, Fuljenz is the 2021 American Numismatic Association Dealer of the Year.

“For the first 11 months of the year, the United States Mint sold over 1.2 million ounces of Gold American Eagles, up 51 percent from the 794,500 ounces sold in the same period in 2020. This is on track for the best year since 1999. We’ve had significantly increased interest in gold as well as silver bullion coins from current, former, and many new customers,” explained Fuljenz.

“With rising federal spending and deficits, plus rising inflation and global uncertainty, I predict that gold prices will return to over $2,000 in the year 2022, and silver could go to $27 per ounce. The market for high-quality U.S. rare coins was extraordinary during 2021 and it can rise even more,” he added.

“The recent volatility in the Dow and Russell 2000 indexes are a reminder that gold is the only proven stable form of money for over 3,000 years,” he stated.

Fuljenz, who has taught counterfeit detection classes for the American Numismatic Association, warns potential buyers of bullion and rare coins to be wary of the many fraudulent advertisements appearing on social media sites.

“Some of these platforms repeatedly accept ads for counterfeit coins which are typically made in China. If you see an ad offering gold or silver bullion items at below their actual precious metal content’s value, ask yourself why would someone offer you an item for far less than they could receive selling it to a reputable dealer? Be cautious,” emphasized Fuljenz who received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from McNeese State University in 2015.

Universal Coin & Bullion President Michael Fuljenz has won dozens of prestigious national and regional awards and honors for his consumer education and protection work in rare coins and precious metals. A respected community leader in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, Mike also has served with distinction as a consultant to the Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General of Texas, United States Mint, and Royal Canadian Mint. He is on the Boards of Directors of the influential National Coin & Bullion Association, Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas, and is a member of the Professional Numismatists Guild’s Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program.

For additional information, visit Universal Coin & Bullion online at www.UniversalCoin.com, call 800-822-4653, or contact by email at info@UniversalCoin.com.

NGC-certified Vintage Chinese Coin Sells for Record $2.16 Million

A vintage Chinese coin just sold for $2.16 million, setting a world record for an NGC-certified Chinese coin. The ultra-rarity was featured in Heritage Auctions’ Hong Kong World Coins Signature Auction, held December 11–13, where a second NGC-certified Chinese coin also realized over $1 million.

The China (1928) Pattern Silver Dollar graded NGC MS 62 that realized $2.16 million more than quadrupled its pre-auction estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It also set a record for any Chinese coin offered in a Heritage Auctions sale.

A pattern is a coin with a proposed design, and this one shows Zhang Zuolin, also known as the “Mukden Tiger.” A warlord of Manchuria, he gained the presidency in June 1927 and ruled for just under a year before he was driven from power and assassinated.

The other coin to realize seven figures in this auction was a China (1911) Long Whiskered Dragon Silver Dollar graded NGC PF 63. It realized $1.2 million, well above its pre-auction estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.

The results were the 14th and 15th time in 2021 that an NGC-certified coin realized over $1 million.

“When given a rare opportunity to buy an ultra-rarity such as this one, bidders want to be assured that the coin is genuine and accurately graded,” said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Grading Finalizer of World Coins. “The marketplace has clearly embraced vintage Chinese coins that are certified by NGC, which are backed by the industry-leading NGC Guarantee of authenticity and grade.”

Read more at ngccoin.com.

Collectible Coins Being Circulated During #Coins4Christmas

Search change for rare coins during the holiday season

Holiday shoppers paying with cash may want to look at their change more carefully in the coming weeks. During the week of Dec. 13-18, officially dubbed Coins4Christmas, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the coin collecting community will spread holiday cheer by circulating collectible coins nationwide. Some coin dealers are even providing a free collectible coin to those that visit their coin shops on Saturday, Dec. 18, in honor of Free Coin Day.

“Coins are history that you can hold in your hand,” says ANA Executive Director Kim Kiick. “Coins4Christmas provides coin enthusiasts a chance to share their passion for numismatics with the public. The history behind every coin produced, the fascinating artwork and the insight to different cultures are just some of the reasons to collect coins.”

The event is inspired by the Great American Coin Hunt in 2019, which saw more than a million collectible coins introduced into circulation by collectors and dealers. According to Rob Oberth, founder of the Great American Coin Hunt and Coins4Christmas, getting collectible coins into the hands of the public is a great way to inspire interest in coin collecting. “We anticipate collectors and coin dealers using collectible coins for purchases and tips, and dropping some of them into Salvation Army kettles,” he says. “Collectible coins also make great stocking stuffers.”

Those interested in participating are encouraged to post on social media using the hashtag #Coins4Christmas. For more information on Free Coin Day, follow @FreeCoinDay on Facebook or visit info.money.org/coins4christmas.

NGC-certified ‘Una and the Lion’ Leads Impressive SINCONA Sales Results

With an “Una and the Lion” leading the way, a stunning collection of hundreds of rare English coins certified by NGC realized CHF 8.3 million (about $8.9 million) in a sale by renowned Swiss auction house SINCONA. In all, 21 lots realized over $100,000 in Auction 72: SINCONA British Collection Part 1, one of several sales held November 21–23.

Realizing CHF 528,000 (about $568,000), the top lot in the sale was a Great Britain 1839 Proof Set that included 15 coins ranging from the Farthing all the way up to the prestigious “Una and the Lion” 5 Sovereign. NGC is showcasing high-resolution images of the coins in this unparalleled sale in an image gallery on its website at NGCcoin.com/sincona.

“It was exciting to see the NGC-certified SINCONA British Collection realize nearly $9 million in this auction,” said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Finalizer of World Coins. “This ambitious group of coins is an epic tribute to the impressive and incredibly detailed history of English numismatics.”

In addition to the British rarities, a Russia 1808CNB OT 1/4 Rouble realized CHF 468,000 (about $504,000). It was one of 10 NGC-certified rarities that each realized prices over $100,000 in SINCONA Auctions 71 and 73.

Read more at ngccoin.com.

2021 American Eagle Bullion Production Completed; 2022 Production Underway

U.S. MintFinal production of all 2021-dated American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion Coins has been completed, and production of 2022-dated American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion coins has started.

The U.S. Mint has allocated final quantities of 2021-dated American Eagle Gold Bullion coins to its Authorized Purchasers (APs), with the stipulation that their purchase commitments must be completed by the end of the calendar year. Accordingly, the sales of 2021-dated American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins can continue until the end of the calendar year.

The Mint will make one final allocation of 2021-dated American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins on Monday, November 29, 2021, after which no additional 2021-dated American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins will be issued.

2022-dated American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion Coins will first be offered to the Mint’s AP network on Monday, January 3, 2022.

‘Una and the Lion’ Leads NGC-certified SINCONA British Collection

SINCONA British CollectionA phenomenal collection of more than 500 rare English coins certified by NGC is being offered this month by SINCONA. The auction includes gold rarities spanning 600 years of history, including an example of the beloved “Una and the Lion,” a coin issued to celebrate the young Queen Victoria. Bidding is already underway for SINCONA Auction 72: SINCONA British Collection Part 1, scheduled for November 21.

The Una and the Lion, which is graded NGC PF 63 Ultra Cameo, is being offered as part of a 15-coin Great Britain 1839 Proof Set. Widely regarded as the most beautiful British coin, its obverse shows the young queen while the reverse shows her as the character of Lady Una guiding a lion in a scene inspired by Edmund Spenser’s epic poem “The Faerie Queene.” The lot has a starting price of CHF 250,000 (about $275,000).

The coins in the auction were issued under more than two dozen monarchs, from Edward III in the mid-1300s to the current ruler, Queen Elizabeth II. To celebrate these special coins, NGC encapsulated them with a special label that combines the British flag and the Matterhorn, a Swiss mountain that represents the highest level of achievement.

“NGC is proud to have certified the SINCONA British Collection, the breadth of which is stunning,” said Ben Wengel, NGC Senior Finalizer of World Coins. “Not only do these coins tell the history of England, but they show the ascendant journey of numismatics itself from the Middle Ages to modern times.”

Read more at ngccoin.com.

Aloha! NGC-certified Hawaii Five-O Coin Sells for Over $4 Million

A 1913 Liberty Nickel certified by NGC — known as the Hawaii Five-O coin — has realized over $4 million in a private sale, one of the highest prices ever paid for a coin. The private sale conducted by Stack’s Bowers was the 14th time that an NGC-certified coin realized over $1 million this year alone.

Only five examples of the 1913 Liberty Nickel exist, none of which were officially authorized. Their origins remain shrouded in mystery, but there is no doubt that they stand at the pinnacle of numismatics today. At one point, “Colonel” E.H.R. Green acquired all five, but two are now enshrined in museum collections.

This example is graded NGC PF 64+ and displays “The Hawaii Five-O Coin” pedigree. That police procedural featured the ultra-rarity in a 1973 episode titled “The $100,000 Nickel,” which helped increase the public’s appreciation for coin collecting. NGC certified the famous nickel in 2004.

“None of the 51 million coins certified by NGC has captured the public interest in quite the same way as this one,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman. “NGC is proud of its long history of certifying exceptional numismatic rarities like the Hawaii Five-O 1913 Liberty Nickel.”

Read more at ngccoin.com.

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