While there has been volatility in the market for gold bullion and silver recently hit a 19-month low, one tangible asset market continues to show immense strength: the market for the rarest United States coins.
This was proven out late last week when the finest-graded specimen of America’s “most beautiful coin,” the MCMVII (1907) Proof Ultra High Relief double eagle graded Proof-69 by PCGS, crossed the auction block on the evening of Friday, June 29. With the fall of the hammer a record price of $2,760,000 had been won at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore, Md.
The coin, minted in 1907, has the date expressed in Roman numerals as MCMVII. It is one of about 20 coins with Ultra High Relief or sculptured detail. The story goes back to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 when he employed Augustus Saint-Gaudens, America’s most famous sculptor, to redesign the coinage. The artist, working in his studio in Cornish, N.H. (now a National Historic Site), began with the $20 gold double eagle, the largest denomination gold coin.
For the obverse he created a bold image of Miss Liberty in the figure of Victory, striding forward holding a torch and palm branch with the U.S. Capitol in the distance. For the reverse, an eagle in flight was sculpted. In early 1907 about 20 coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint and given to the president and dignitaries. Later in the year the same design was modified to lower relief and 12,367 were struck.
Today, several of the MCMVII Ultra High Relief coins are in museums including one on display at the Smithsonian, and time and again surveys among numismatists have rated this as America’s most beautiful coin design. Only rarely is one available at auction. The coin auctioned on Friday opened at $2,125,000 and the room enjoyed excited bidding competition. This coin is considered one of the great icons of American numismatics; the example is the finest graded specimen known.
This coin now ranks as No. 7 in the top 10 prices realized at auction.
For more information on the market for ultra-rare coins, contact Coin Trader today.