As we went about reviewing the activity in the series covered in this Quarterly issue, one trend became quite apparent: the volume of $10 Liberty coins, especially the low mintage dates, that have been sold over the past three months, and the corresponding prices paid. While a handful of intrepid collectors have completed sets of this type, this series has historically been the “third wheel” after Liberty half eagles and double eagles. The half eagle’s smaller size is appealing because they have an overall lower cost (there are exceptions of course), and the double eagle has the historic appeal of being the largest gold coin and highest denomination for regular circulation issued by the United States.

However, there was clearly some pent up demand for the better date $10 Libs, as evidenced by the recent prices realized. This demand was met, and perhaps fueled by, the offering of a few large collections such as the Twelve Oaks collection sold by Heritage. Branch mint coinage, especially from New Orleans commanded the most attention, as can be seen by the chart.

It can be argued that these coins have long been undervalued, and all it took were are few market participants entering at the same time for these scarce and desirable pieces to elevate to a new price level. Digging deeper into some statistics, from the first of September to this writing, there have been nearly 600 individual lots of $10 Libs sold at auction for a total realized price of more than $1.28 million. While much of this was common date material, the market readily absorbed this quantity, along with all the other coins of different types sold in the period.

Elsewhere, we observed softening levels for circulated $20 Libs, including for dates that have traditionally thought of as better. It is still not fully known how much U.S. gold resides in Europe, and as large hoards can hit the market at any moment, the picture can change rapidly with populations and prices. We made the decision to categorize certain dates as type coins based on recent prices realized. The San Francisco minted coins from the 1880s and €˜90s are ones to pay attention to in particular going forward.