1908-D With Motto Saint Gaudens Double Eagle NGC MS66

Despite objections from President Theodore Roosevelt, Congress mandated that the motto IN GOD WE TRUST be added to the Saint-Gaudens double eagle and other U.S. coinage. While Roosevelt felt the motto distracted from the Saint-Gaudens design, he yielded to public outcry and Congressional will. All of the 1908 With Motto twenties (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco) are scarce in Gem Uncirculated condition and rare any finer, although the 1908-D Motto benefits from several high-grade examples found in Central America in 1983.

The NGC population is 10 with 9 graded higher.

Listed at $30,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $23,050

Only 3 Graded Higher – 1886 Morgan Dollar NGC MS68

The 1886 is a plentiful Philadelphia Morgan dollar issue with a mintage that approaches 20 million coins. Dave Bowers describes the distribution of 1886 dollars in his Silver Dollar Encyclopedia: “Quantities of 1886 dollars were released by the Treasury over a long period of years, with a large number coming out in 1951, 1952, and, especially, December 1954.” Even more were released during the early 1960s, further contributing to the date’s availability. And this issue is widely recognized for its collectibility in high grades. That includes coins in MS66 and even MS67. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, availability is much more limited in this ultimate grade.

The NGC population is 41 (two of which have been designated “Star”), with only 3 MS68+ representatives graded higher.

Listed at $14,400 in the CDN CPG and $16,500 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $7,300

Only 1 Graded Higher – 1941-S Walking Liberty Half Dollar NGC MS67

The 1941-S is the key issue from the “short set” of 1941 to 1947 Walking Liberty halves. The wartime West Coast issue is less rare than its reputation in grades through MS66, but Superb Gems, such as the one offered here, are unquestionably rare relative to Registry demand for the popular series. The NGC population is 52 with a single (MS67+) example graded higher. Listed at $38,400 in the CDN CPG and $15,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $8,500

Only 2 Graded Higher – 1854 Arrows Seated Liberty Quarter NGC PR65

All 1854 Seated Liberty quarters show arrows at the date to signify a weight change in the denomination that was instituted the year before. The 1853-dated quarters also displayed a glory of rays on the reverse, but that feature was eliminated in 1854 because of striking problems and die breakage. The Arrows design was continued in 1855, then eliminated, creating an extremely popular two-year subtype.

Accounts of the precise rarity of the 1854 Arrows quarter proof issue vary to a certain extent, but all agree that it is very rare at a minimum, with no more than 12 to 15 known (according to David Akers, writing for the Pittman catalog in 1998) or around 10 (according to Walter Breen). PCGS CoinFacts estimates 10 to 15 pieces known.

The NGC population is only 2 with 2 graded higher.

Listed at $21,600 in the CDN CPG and $25,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $21,900

1908 Indian Half Eagle NGC MS66

Collectors will find the 1908 to be among the most plentiful Indian half eagles in Gem and better condition, even while some other dates such as the 1909-D are more available overall. The higher Gem population of the 1908 is due to the first-year-of-issue status of this date, which historically resulted in more widespread preservation of examples due to the novelty of the new design. Even so, the 1908 Indian is conditionally rare in MS66, and just a handful of finer pieces are known.

The NGC population is 14 with 7 graded higher.

Listed at $24,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $20,300

Just 3 Graded Higher – 1883-S Morgan Dollar NGC MS65

Although heavily touted as a conditionally scarce date in Mint State, the 1883-S Morgan remains collectible in grades through MS64, and is frequently offered at auction in that range. It is the Gem grade level from where this issue draws its recognition. In MS65, the 1883-S Morgan is a grand rarity in absolute numbers, and in the context of the series, is truly rare. Including possible resubmissions, there are fewer than three dozen Gem or finer examples seen by the leading certification services.

The NGC population is 12 (3 of which have been designated “Star”) with 3 graded higher.

Listed at $28,800 in the CDN CPG and $30,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $25,900

Just 2 Graded Higher – 1884 Seated Liberty Quarter NGC PR68 Cameo

Only 8,875 quarters were struck in 1884 including 875 proofs, one of the lowest total production runs in the entire Seated quarter series. While this PR68 Cameo specimen is especially rare as a Proof, it is a piece of singular beauty and conditionally quite rare. Brilliant, glassy-mirrored silver fields surround frost-white devices on both sides of this exceptional example .

The NGC population is 3 with 2 graded higher.

Listed at $11,200 in the CDN CPG and $14,500 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $11,800

Very Rare 1870–CC 50C Seated Liberty Half Dollar NGC AU55

The Carson City Mint opened for business in 1870. That year, it struck 11,758 silver dollars and 54,617 half dollars. From those figures, one might conclude that the 1870-CC dollar is rarer than its half dollar counterpart. But more dollars were set aside, and the 1870-CC half is certainly the greater rarity, as can be confirmed by both the NGC and PCGS Population reports. It is, in fact, the rarest Carson City half dollar issue.

The NGC population is a mere 2 with 6 graded higher.

Listed at $38,400 in the CDN CPG and $44,500 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $34,000

Only 2 Graded Higher – Ever Popular 1856 S-9 Flying Eagle Cent NGC PR66

The most famous issue of the one cent denomination from the 1850s is the key 1856 Flying Eagle cent that was issued in extremely limited quantities during the transition from the large copper cents that were issued from 1793 to 1857. The Mint was looking for an alternative to the bulky and expensive-to-produce cents of prior years. After numerous trials, they settled on the small size that remains the same today, and they chose a composition of 88% copper and 12% nickel. The new composition resulted in a coin that was much lighter in appearance than the earlier coins.

Snow-9 is the typical variety encountered among proof 1856 Flying Eagle cents. Its availability, though, does not lessen its appeal to collectors, most of whom simply want a single, attractive example of this key date. The variety is also conditionally scarce at the Gem grade level, and it is rare finer.

The NGC population is only 3 with 2 graded higher.

Listed at $60,000 in the CDN CPG and $62,500 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $45,000

1907 Flat Rim High Relief Saint Gaudens Double Eagle NGC MS67

Numismatists are familiar with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ eagle and double eagle, but his oeuvre included statues, bas-reliefs, medallions, cameos, and works in other media. As a teenager he began his career with an apprenticeship to a cameo-cutter before he left for Paris in 1867. Although he was able to make some money selling cameos in New York City, by his own accounts they did not sell well in Paris, where other artists were more skillful. Saint-Gaudens would soon create works on a grander scale, but his experience with cameo-cutting would come in handy when he was commissioned to design medals and, later, coins.

It is impossible to say which of Saint-Gaudens’ many works was the most important, but certainly his statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman is one of the most lauded, and the figure of Victory (Nike) in the monument would later be used as a model for the double eagle. This statue also brought Saint-Gaudens into contact with Roosevelt, who was vice president at the time, and their collaboration would later result in the beginning of the American coinage renaissance.

Saint-Gaudens wanted his statue of Sherman to be positioned near Grant’s Tomb, which was completed in 1897, for artistic and historical reasons. Roger Burdette (2006) writes, “After a chance meeting on a train returning from the Buffalo Exhibition in May 1901, he sought the intervention of vice-president Theodore Roosevelt in an attempt to secure his preferred location of the statue.”

Although Roosevelt was unsuccessful and the statue was placed at the southeastern corner of New York’s Central Park, he did not forget his encounter with Saint-Gaudens. Less than four years later, Roosevelt would ask Saint-Gaudens to redesign some of the country’s coins. The coins were Saint-Gaudens’ final project, and the 1907 High Relief double eagle was the fitting capstone to the artist’s distinguished career.

The physical perfection of this coin makes one realize why Theodore Roosevelt was so proud of these pieces and why he used them for presentation purposes.

Most 1907 High Reliefs are a pleasure to behold. This one, however, is (even) much better than that!

The NGC population is 20 (two of which have been designated “Star” by NGC) with 5 graded higher.

Listed at $312,000 in the CDN CPG and $290,000 in the NGC price guide.

Offered at $208,100