Most collectors are probably pleased that an appeals court ruled Friday that 10 1933 $20 gold pieces should be returned to the Langbord family.
I am in that camp.
Trying to take the coins away from the family seems to be an example of government overreach.
One person who is probably not in this camp is the anonymous buyer of the 1933 $20 that was sold at public auction in New York City in 2002.
The price then was $7.59 million.
If another 10 of these pieces are offered on the market, what exactly are they worth?
Sure, they will be commercially graded by a premier third-party grading service.
They probably will be offered by a top numismatic auction firm.
There would be a wonderfully interesting public relations campaign to build up excitement.
My readers would be following closely the events surrounding such a public offering.
But what all of this probably won’t achieve is a price remotely equal to the $7.59 million price achieved in 2002.
The existence of 11 pieces with a reasonable probability that there might be a few more outside the United States might put a damper on the potential price of each piece.
It is logical to assume that the highest graded specimen would achieve the highest price as is the case even now with three of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels in public hands.
The most recent sales of these nickels range from roughly $3.2 million to $5 million. That is quite a variation among just three coins.
You would think a coin with a mintage of five with just three in public hands would be considered more valuable than a coin with potentially more than a dozen, yet none of these is close to $7.59 million.
There are arguments to be made to support higher prices. The nickel denomination is not nearly as popular as it used to be. Gold denominations have increased in popularity in recent years.
But no matter how the market is massaged, it is conceivable that the value of the 10 Langbord coins could in the aggregate barely match the $7.59 million figure achieved by the one coin 13 years ago.
Yes, I know that would put a $759,000 average price tag on each coin, which might seem low, but if you are spending your hard-earned money, how much would you risk on a coin with 11 definitely known and the possibility of more to come?
Fortunately for market makers, when the time comes to find out, experts will likely offer higher estimates than I do here and a managed sale of perhaps one piece to someone who made a fortune in the software industry can easily raise the price floor to a lofty level.
For one thing seems unchanging for those of us active in numismatics: whether we are average or big-time collectors, we show a marked preference to pay more for coins with interesting stories than for those without them.
Can anyone doubt that these 1933 gold $20s have an interesting story behind them?
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."