U.S. Rare Coin Market Quite Active Despite Pandemic, Reports Professional Numismatists Guild

Donn Pearlman · Jul 6, 2020
Press Release Auctions Clubs & Orgs

The industry trade group reports that auction houses set records with over $167 million in winning bids during the first six months of 2020.





This 1927-D Saint Gaudens has the highest realization in 2020. The famous rarity sold for $2.16 million at Heritage Auctions in January.

(Temecula, CA)  – The market for high-quality, rare United States coins remained active during the first six months of 2020 despite pandemic-related closures of many retail locations and cancelation of dozens of coin shows and numismatic conventions around the country, 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 experts.

“Even with economic uncertainty and the lack of face-to-face transactions and in-person floor bidding, major auction firms reported selling more than $167 million of U.S. rare coins in online public auctions during the first half of the year. Dozens of record prices were established for coins selling for five, six and even seven figures,” said PNG President Richard Weaver.

One of the many examples of superb quality rare coins commanding record prices was the $101,251 winning bid for the finest known 1905 Barber design silver quarter-dollar graded PCGS MS68 CAC offered by GreatCollections Coin Auctions. It sold for four times its price guide value.

Over a half dozen coins brought $1 million or more. The two most valuable U.S. coins sold at auction so far in 2020 were a record $2,160,000 for a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens gold $20 (Double Eagle) graded PCGS Mint State 65+ CAC sold by Heritage Auctions [link], and $1,920,000 for an 1854-S gold $5 (Half Eagle) graded PCGS About Uncirculated 58 CAC sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries [link].

The Pogue 1854-S $5 quarter eagle was the second-highest coin to hammer so far this year. It realized $1.92 million at Stack's Bowers Galleries.

In addition to the reported auction results, PNG conservatively estimates that least another $150 million of U.S. coins were sold by these auction firms in private transactions in the first half of the year.

“Sales of precious metal bullion coins, such as gold and silver American Eagles, also have been active and premiums over their intrinsic value have risen as supplies dwindled due to pandemic-related interruptions of coin production at the United States Mint,” said Weaver.

“As always, to avoid counterfeits we recommend that buyers of rare coins or bullion coins should only purchase from reputable, knowledgeable dealers, such as members of the Professional Numismatists Guild and its Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program ( www.APMDdealers.org),” he emphasized.

Auction firms responding to a PNG request for information were Bonhams ( www.bonhams.com): Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers ( www.GoldbergCoins.com): GreatCollections Coin Auctions ( www.GreatCollections.com); Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com): Kagin's ( www.Kagins.com): David Lawrence Rare Coins (www.DavidLawrence.com): Scotsman Coin & Jewelry ( www.scoins.com): and Stack's Bowers Galleries (www.StacksBowers.com).

Additional information also was obtained through online auction archives at Christie’s (www.Christies.com); Legend Rare Coin Auctions ( www.LegendAuctions.com); Sotheby’s (www.Sothebys.com); and Spink (www.Spink.com).

Professional Numismatists Guild members must adhere to a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise. For additional information, visit www.PNGdealers.org or contact the PNG by phone at 951-587-8300 or email at info@pngdealers.org.

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Donn Pearlman



A former award-winning Chicago broadcaster and journalist, Donn Pearlman is a public relations executive and recipient of the 2015 ANA Farran Zerbe Award and the 2018 Professional Numismatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

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