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Buyer pays double for coin with story

An MS-60 1842-O $10 gold piece sold June 26 for $57,970 in an online auction conducted by GreatCollections.com.

Expectations were that it would bring $25,000 or so.

Could the effect of a good story motivate a bidder to pay double the estimate?


You see, the coin has been in the same family since it was purchased for $225 in the early 1960s.
The buyer was a secretary at the Central Intelligence Agency.

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After a long career with the CIA, the woman retired to her small hometown in Illinois. She died seven years ago, leaving her coins to her brother. Upon his death last year, the coins went to his son, who consigned them to GreatCollections.

“Any $50,000 coin is special. It’s rare or it’s quality, or it’s rare and quality in one, like this coin. For me, it’s a privilege to handle a coin like the 1842-O and being able to show it to early gold specialists, collectors and such. I am glad it found a good home. The buyer is very pleased with his new acquisition,” said Ian Russell, GreatCollections president.

The family is pleased, too.

The proceeds from the sale will go toward college expenses for the original owner’s great niece.

The coin was purchased from Woodward and Lothrop, a major department store in Washington, D.C. The original envelope, with the dealer’s handwriting notes “only 27,000 minted,” as well as the purchase price.

Her family said she bought all the coins in her collection at the department store, known as Woodies by the locals.

Although there were some other nice coins in her collection, nothing else comes close to the caliber of the 1842-O, Russell explained.

If you don’t believe magic played a part in the high price, it might have been the quality of the coin that motivated the buyer to pay well above estimate.

The Professional Coin Grading Service has graded just three examples as Mint State and this is the lone Mint State example with a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, Russell pointed out.

Visit www.GreatCollections.com for information about future auctions.

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