Classic American Coins – When Did Civil War Gold Become Popular?

Through Doug ……

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Thanks to the reader SIR from Virginia, who suggested this interesting concept, I will be writing a series of blogs over the next few months titled: When did (topic) become popular?

The concept of these blogs is quite simple. I will select an area of ​​the rare date gold market and discuss the how and why of its popularity. I will also choose some domains and discuss why they became unpopular during the last years.

For this first blog, I thought it would be interesting to discuss how and why Civil war gold the questions have become very popular.

Until the 1990s, the low circulation Philadelphia cream and San Francisco Gold issues minted during the Civil War era were not particularly popular and represented excellent value. I remember begging customers to buy a nice NGC AU53 1864 quarter eagle I owned it around 1993 for $ 10,000 and had to sell the part to another dealer for a loss.

Today that coin would likely have an AU58 grade and be worth $ 80,000 to $ 90,000.

1861-D $ 1.00 PCGS MS61.  Images courtesy of Doug Winter Numismatics

1861-D $ 1.00 PCGS MS61. Courtesy Images Douglas Winter Numismatics (DWN)

There were only three Civil War issues that were in high demand at the time: Proof-only 1863 quarter eagle, which was a $ 50,000 coin, and the gold dollar 1861-D and half eagle, who were key members of the Cult of Dahlonega and have had a strong following since the 1960s.

In the mid-90s there were maybe a dozen traders who really knew the dated gold market and were active participants. They knew that parts like 1864-S half eagles and Eagles were really rare, and they would pay more than current market prices when nice pieces arrived.

I think collectors eventually became aware of the problems of the Civil War around 1999-2001 when the Bass collection has been sold. There were several outstanding examples mostly dating from 1861-65, and the higher quality pieces brought record prices in many cases.

But collector’s items (i.e. those from the VF-EF range) have remained affordable.

Fast forward to 2010.

I had a brainstorm one afternoon. 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and what could be more natural than promoting Civil War gold? I quietly started accumulating coins and simultaneously started posting articles and blogs on my website touting them.

I remember selling pretty much every piece I had very early in my promotion and not being able to find much more for round two and three. Other merchants had the same idea as I did, and suddenly Civil War gold became popular.

In the following years, prices soared. Let’s look at some examples:

1863 PCGS $ 5.00 AU58.  Images courtesy of Doug Winter Numismatics

1863 $ 5.00 PCGS AU58

1863 Demi Aigle, AU58

  • May 2008 – NGC AU58 grossed $ 14,375 as Heritage 5/08: 3268
  • January 2014 – A PCGS AU58 grossed $ 30,550 as Heritage 2014 FUN: 6708

1862 $ 10.00 PCGS AU55 CAC.  Images courtesy of Doug Winter Numismatics

1862 $ 10.00 PCGS AU55 CAC

1862 Aigle, AU55

  • August 2003 – NGC AU55 grossed $ 2,185 in Internet Heritage sale
  • January 2011 – A PCGS AU55 grossed $ 6,900 as Heritage 2011 FUN: 7048

Reverse date eagle 1865-S, EF45

  • July 2004 – NGC EF45 grossed $ 5,750 as Heritage 7/04: 8360
  • February 2014 – NGC EF45 grossed $ 14,688 as Heritage 2/14: 4180

These double and triple price increases weren’t sustainable, but some really nice examples of really rare Civil War issues continued to work well.

Prices have not been as strong for gold dollars (except 1861-D), quarter eagles (except for 1864 and 1865 Philadelphia shows) and the three dollars due to their smaller size and, in the case of the Three, greater overall availability.

Half-Eagles and Eagles have done extremely well, and although high-end AUs and uncirculated coins are now billed at levels inaccessible to most collectors, beautiful collector-grade coins can still be obtained for many legitimately rare shows under $ 10,000.

Double eagles are a whole different animal due to the shipwrecks and European hordes that swelled populations.

1865 $ 3.00 PCGS AU58 CAC.  Images courtesy of Doug Winter Numismatics

1865 $ 3.00 PCGS AU58 CAC

In 2020, I would rank Civil War gold as one of the most popular ultra-specialties in American numismatics. There are still a number of questions which in my opinion are very underestimated (some examples are the 1864 and 1865 gold dollars, the 1865-S quarter eagle, the 1865 three dollars coin, and the 1865-S Normal date eagle), and it is still possible to put together an impressive set of these questions.

If you would like to work with me on a set, please do not hesitate to contact me by email at [email protected] or call me at (214) 675-9897.

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About Doug Winter

Doug_Hiver2Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; started collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the age of 10 buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York area.

In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his business specializes in buying and selling premium and rare US gold coins, particularly US gold coins and all mint shop equipment.

Recognized as one of the leading numismatic firms, Doug is the award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and the recognized expert on American gold. His knowledge and exceptional eye for properly classified and original coins have made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought-after dealer by collectors and investors seeking professional personalized service, d ” a selected inventory of irreproachable, fair and honest quality. pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all American coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be contacted at (214) 675-9897.

Doug has been contributing to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Redbook”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia on Dollars in United States silver and Andrew Pollock’s United States. Model and related issues

In addition, he is the author of 13 books on American gold coins, including:
  • New Orleans Mint Gold Coins: 1839-1909
  • Carson City Mint Gold Coins: 1870 – 1893
  • Gold coins from the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
  • Gold coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
  • The United States $ 3 gold coins 1854-1889
  • Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: An Update on the Scarcity and Condition Census
  • An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type 1 Double Eagles
  • A Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
  • An Eagle Collector’s Guide to Indian Headquarters
  • The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coins
  • Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
  • Gold coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: a history and numismatic analysis
  • Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis

Finally, Doug is a member of virtually all of the major numismatic organizations, professional trade groups, and major coin associations in the United States.

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