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DMP Dollars Shine
By Mike De Falco
www.numisvision.com

An extraordinary and very important collection of high quality Deep Mirror Prooflike and Prooflike Morgan Dollars were sold on August 1, 2008 at the Heritage ANA Signature Sale held in conjunction with the ANA World’s Fair of Money Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. The collection, named “A Gift of Undeserved Favor”, was assembled by a passionate Northern California collector over the last ten years. I had the privilege of working closely with this collector since 1997 and I sold him quite a number of the coins in his collection and I am very pleased to be able to discuss and analyze the results with you.

In my humble opinion, the overall quality and eye appeal of this collection would rival that of any set of DMPL and PL dollars heretofore sold at public auction and I’ve seen all of them, as a full time dealer in this specialized field for over thirty-five years.

To be sure this was an extremely important event in the realm of the Deep Mirror Prooflike dollar market with many exciting and memorable moments establishing numerous price records. Although the results of the sale were quite impressive overall — realizing a total of $1.4 million plus, this auction did fall a bit short of my pre-sale estimate which was a touch over $1.6 million. Regardless, there’s absolutely no denying that the very finest, most eye appealing specimens and/or rare dates were the subject of very strong demand and spirited bidding. These are precisely the type of coins that are capable of generating tremendous excitement and very high prices when offered for sale.

Following is a date-by-date analysis of this sale including opening bids, hammer price and total price realized including the buyer’s premium (BP). Moreover, I will share my personal assessment of each coin in relation to grade, designation and eye appeal based on firsthand examination of every single lot while in Baltimore. Although I sold many of the coins contained in this collection to the consignor there were a number of specimens that I had not seen prior to lot viewing at the ANA so I was treated to a few surprises — both ways. Some were even nicer than I had anticipated and some were a disappointment, so without further adieu following is my date-by-date commentary.

1878 8TF MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $14,000 and closed at $16,000. Total price realized including BP was $18,400 (CDN bid was $18,500). I was actually quite surprised that this coin didn’t sell for more money – my pre-sale estimate was $26,000. It is a very rare coin at this grade level. PCGS has certified just four as MS65 DMPL with a single coin graded higher. Although it appeared a bit subdued — the surfaces were well preserved and deeply reflective while the devices exhibited a slight creamy cameo contrast. This was a solid MS65 Deep Mirror Prooflike.

1878 7/8TF STRONG MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,800 and closed at $3,750. Total price realized including BP was $4,313 (CDN bid was $4,850 and my pre-sale estimate was $5,000). A solid MS64 DMPL with good cameo contrast. The selling price seemed a bit soft to me.

1878 7/8 TF WEAK MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,600 and closed at $3,000. Total price realized including BP was $3,450 (and my pre-sale estimate was $5,500). This was an exceptional coin with very deep mirror fields, snow white devices and very clean surfaces – in fact, the overall quality and eye appeal of this coin surpassed the Jack Lee MS65 DMPL (which was not really a MS65 in my estimation) by a comfortable margin. Actually, I thought this coin might easily sell for a couple thousand more than it did.

1878 7TF REV OF 1878 MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,000 and closed at $9,500. Total price realized including BP was $10,925 (CDN bid was $9,250 and my pre-sale estimate was $14,500). The obverse did not display any real noticeable contrast between the fields and devices but the reverse was a beautiful deep mirror cameo. This was a solid coin for the grade. The selling price here was close to being on par with a couple of others that sold in the past year.

1878 7TF REV OF 1879 MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $14,000 and closed at $24,000 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including BP was $27,600 (my pre-sale estimate was $26,000 against a CDN bid of $18,000). A very rare coin in this state of preservation, PCGS has certified four pieces at this level with none better. This specimen was deeply mirrored with creamy cameo devices and excellent overall eye appeal. The surface preservation was in line with what one would expect from this grade designation. This gem realized a strong price – a solid testament to its rarity and quality.

1878-CC MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $9,000 and closed at $12,500. Total price realized including BP was $14,375 (my pre-sale estimate was $10,500 against a CDN bid of $8,350). I sold this coin to the consignor in December 2006 for $9,000 – its dazzling visual appeal blew me away then and continues to do so. Wow, this coin is an exquisite ultra deep mirror black and white cameo prooflike whose quality on every level surpassed the three specimens that PCGS has graded MS66 DMPL. I know because I have owned all three of them at one time or another. This is the quintessential premium quality dollar with dynamite eye appeal. I would not be surprised to see this coin in an MS66 DMPL holder sometime in the future.

1878-S MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $12,000 amidst enthusiastic bidding. Total price realized including BP was $13,800 (CDN bid was $8,250 and my pre-sale estimate was $10,500). I was one of the “enthusiastic” bidders and ended up to be the fortunate buyer — I was prepared to go as high as $15,000 including the BP. To begin with this date is undeniably rare in this condition. PCGS has certified just sixteen coins at this level with three finer – and I’m very confident that this specimen would give any one of the aforementioned MS66 DMPL’s a strong run for the money. It’s a squeaky clean beauty with very deeply mirrored fields, frosty cameo devices and powerful visual appeal.

1879-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $9,000 and closed at $16,000. Total price realized including BP was $18,400 (my pre-sale estimate was $19,500 against a CDN bid of $12,750). Here again I was the fortunate buyer. I originally sold this coin to the consignor in September 2005 for $11,500 and haven’t seen another since. PCGS has graded a mere five coins at this level with a single coin finer so this is another legitimately rare coin. Quality-wise, this coin is superb and a strong MS65. The surfaces are exceedingly clean and the fields boast crystal clear deep reflectivity throughout and are contrasted by frosty white cameo devices. The overall eye appeal is absolutely marvelous.

1879-CC MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $22,000 and closed at $22,000 without any further bidding activity. Total price realized including BP was $25,300 (my pre-sale estimate was $32,500 against a CDN bid of $26,500). I had not seen this coin prior to lot viewing in Baltimore — and if I had, my estimate would have certainly been lower. This was a very nice MS64 to be sure, great cameo contrast and good eye appeal. However, the fields were not adequately reflective to qualify for full DMPL status in my opinion (obviously others shared this opinion as well). I believe that the price realized was an accurate reflection of the coins true market value based upon my assessment that it was a prooflike, not a DMPL.

1879-CC CAPPED DIE MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $47,500 and closed at $55,000. Total price realized including the BP was $63,250 (my pre-sale estimate was $60,000 against a CDN bid of $35,500). Although I technically graded this coin a MS64 minus there was no doubt in my mind that it would bring all the money. It was an absolutely no-doubt-about-it DMPL with very deeply reflective fields and striking white cameo devices – a classic black and white Deep Mirror Prooflike. Moreover, the date itself is not only rare – but excessively so in this condition based upon the fact that PCGS has certified a scant four coins at this level with none higher.

1879-O MS65 DPL NGC: Opened at $11,000 and closed at $14,000. Total price realized including BP was $16,100 (CDN bid was $24,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $10,000). This was another coin I had not seen prior to lot viewing in Baltimore. Upon viewing it in hand I graded it a MS64 plus prooflike, not DMPL. The coin was pleasant enough but the fields were nowhere near reflective enough to qualify as a legitimate DMPL. Having said that, I think that this coin realized a very high priced based upon my in-hand assessment of it.

1879-S MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,500 and closed at $12,000. Total price realized including BP was $13,800 (my pre-sale estimate was $15,500 and I actually thought that this coin might bring upwards of $16,000). Out of the eight coins (and I have seen ‘em all) that PCGS has certified as MS67 DMPL – only three of them qualify for that grade in my opinion. Five of them range in grade from MS65 plus through MS67 minus, but again, that’s only my opinion. As far as this particular coin is concerned, the quality is all there. The surfaces are pristine and the fields are deeply reflective with nicely contrasting creamy cameo devices and excellent visual appeal.

1879-S REV OF 1878 MS65 DPL NGC: Opened at $12,000 and closed at $12,000 without any further bidding activity. Total price realized including BP was $13,800, which I believe was a very strong price based upon the quality of the coin itself. By the way, CDN bid was $17,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $9,000. I originally owned this coin a number of years ago when it was in a NGC MS64 DPL holder and subsequently resold it to another dealer. As a MS64 DPL it was a really nice coin with ultra-deep mirror fields, snow white cameo devices and great eye appeal – but it had too many abrasions to merit a MS65 grade designation as far as I was concerned. Obviously NGC did not agree with my assessment at the time because it was later upgraded. In the end though, it appears as if the marketplace did agree with me based upon the price realized – a genuine MS65 DMPL (should one appear on the market) would easily realize $30,000 plus, and that’s probably a very conservative figure.

1880-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $6,500 and closed at $9,000. Total price realized including BP was $10,350 (CDN bid was $5,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $8,500).This was the Wayne Miller plate coin and was featured in his monumental work — “The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook” – which accounts in part for the very strong price realized. This was a marvelous coin overall (although there were numerous small abrasions on the obverse) with ultra deep mirror fields, snowy white cameo devices and dazzling eye appeal. Pedigree and strong visual appeal combined to help establish a new record price for this date and grade. By the way, this coin sold for $3,600 (a then record price) when the Wayne Miller collection was auctioned by Superior on January 27, 1986. For the record, Superior graded it MS65+ DMPL while I called it a MS65 DMPL in my February 1986 issue of my newsletter “MARKETWISE” wherein I reviewed the results of the auction (if anything, I am consistent).

1880-CC MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $7,000. Total price realized including BP was $8,050 (my pre-sale estimate was $9,500 against a CDN bid of $7,800). I placed what I thought was a conservative estimate based on the fact that I had not seen this coin prior to lot viewing. Had I seen it my pre-sale estimate would have even lower. In my opinion this coin was a MS65 minus in regard to its grade. Moreover, the fields were not reflective enough to merit a full DMPL designation. I believe those are the reasons that this coin sold for “Greysheet” money.

1880-CC REV OF 1878 MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $6,000 and closed at $7,500. Total price realized including BP was $8,625 (CDN bid was $4,750 and my pre-sale estimate was $12,500, which turned out to be overly optimistic). On the surface it appears as if this coin fetched quite a price – but I think it went cheap. Although the technical grade of MS64 was indeed accurate — this was the most mind blowing, aesthetically appealing example of this date I have ever laid my eyes on. The ultra deep mirror fields were crystal clear and black as coal while the devices were thickly coated with brilliant snow white frost that rendered an absolutely astonishing black and white cameo contrast. The overall eye appeal was spellbinding. This very same coin realized $11,500 including the BP a couple of years ago in the June 2006 Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale where I just happened to be the under bidder.

1880-O MS64 DPL NGC: Opened at $3,500 and closed at $4,000. Total price realized including BP was $4,600 (CDN bid was $7,100 and my pre-sale estimate was $4,000). In my opinion this coin was a MS64 Prooflike – not a MS64 Deep Mirror Prooflike. Although there was nice cameo contrast the fields were in no way reflective enough for this coin to qualify as a full DMPL, and the selling price reflected that.

1880/79-O MS64 DPL NGC: Opened at $1,750 and closed at $4,250. Total price realized including BP was $4,888 (my pre-sale estimate was $4,500). The same comments I made in regard to the 1880-O above apply to this coin as well. It just wasn’t a real DMPL in my opinion and obviously others agreed with this assessment.

1880-S MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $6,500. Total price realized including BP was $7,475 (and my pre-sale estimate was $9,500). Although this coin was an attractive black and white deep mirror cameo prooflike – its actual grade was MS66 in my opinion. There were just too many minor distractions to qualify as a MS67. I have owned numerous black and white MS66 DMPL 1880-S dollars that were fully equal to this coin on every level. Having said that, the selling price was rather strong as far as I’m concerned.

1880/9-S MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $10,000 and closed at $11,000. Total price realized including BP was $12,650 (my pre-sale estimate was $11,500). Personally this coin left me cold. I first saw this specimen (it is a PCGS population ONE) a couple of years ago when it was offered to me by a Florida dealer for $17,000. Upon receipt I was thoroughly disappointed. Deep mirror prooflike examples of this variety are well known for their ultra deep reflectivity and striking black and white cameo contrast — such was not the case here so I promptly returned it. The mirrors exhibited shallow reflectivity and the contrast left a lot to be desired. Moreover, it is my opinion that a realistic grade for this coin would be MS66 and would barely merit the DMPL designation. If this were a legitimate black and white MS67 DMPL it would have realized a much higher price (probably in the area of $20,000). Having said that, I believe that the final selling price was very strong based upon the actual quality of the coin itself.

1881-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $10,000 and closed at $18,000. Total price realized including BP was $20,700 (CDN bid was $17,500). Without having seen the coin my pre-sale estimate was $24,500. Upon visual inspection at lot viewing I was less optimistic. I felt that the grade and designation were not up to the standard they should have been. In my opinion the surface quality was MS65 minus, in other words, very low end for the stated grade. Furthermore, the surfaces didn’t quite possess the depth of reflectivity that I would expect from a coin designated as a DMPL. PCGS has certified a mere five coins at this level with none finer and I believe the final selling price was based in no small part on the plastic holder in which this (borderline) coin resided.

1881-CC MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $22,000 and closed at $55,000 amidst intense bidding. Total price realized including BP was $63,250 – establishing a new price record. My pre-sale estimate was $50,000 and this little jewel blew right past it. To begin with, this is the only 1881-CC dollar certified MS67 DMPL by PCGS and there are none finer. In my opinion this coin fully deserved the grade and designation it received. The surfaces were immaculately preserved and the fields were crystal clear and deeply reflective with sharply contrasting icy white devices. This was a superb coin in every respect with awesome eye appeal — and certainly well worth the selling price.

1881-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $26,000 and closed at $35,000 after a short battle. Total price realized including BP was $40,250 and I was the lucky buyer. My pre-sale estimate was $45,000, which I was fully prepared to go to. Without question this is absolutely the most gorgeous, mind blowing deep mirror prooflike 1881-O dollar on the planet and is without peer in my humble opinion. It is a strong MS65 to be sure, but it was the unparalleled eye appeal that carried this coin to the next level of desirability. The fields were unfathomably deep, watery and jet black while the devices were coated with exceedingly brilliant snow white mint frost that produced an extremely compelling stark black and white cameo contrast that would take your breath away. As far as I’m concerned, this is the 1881-O of all time. By the way, this is the third time that I’ve purchased this particular specimen during the last decade. As fate would interestingly have it, my competitor (and the under bidder) for this coin in Baltimore was dealer Gary Adkins of Idaho. Funny thing is, Gary was also the under bidder the last time I purchased this coin for $27,600 at the February 2005 Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale. I guess lightning can strike twice in the same place. Anyway, Gary and I had a good laugh about this in Baltimore.

1881-S MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,000 and closed at $4,000. Total price realized including BP was $4,600 (my pre-sale estimate was $5,000). Again, I was the very fortunate buyer of this coin. Although often overlooked and thought of as a common date, specimens of this quality with such awesome eye appeal are few and far between. This coin displayed incredibly deep mirror fields and bright snow white devices, the quintessential ultra deep mirror black and white cameo prooflike, which in reality is quite rare. Even MS65 deep mirror prooflike examples with the same amount of contrast and visual appeal are very elusive and are capable of selling for surprisingly high prices. Moreover, this particular coin is one of the finest MS66 DMPL’s that I have had the pleasure of owning over the years – it certainly resides in my top three.

1882-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,250 and closed at $5,250. Total price realized including BP was $6,038 (CDN bid was $5,450 and my pre-sale estimate was $6,500). I must have fallen asleep at the wheel because I had every intention of buying this coin and would have paid considerably more. This is without question the nicest example of an 1882-P dollar I have encountered in a MS65 DMPL holder. To begin with, the surface preservation was superb throughout. The fields were deeply reflective and the frosty devices rendered a pronounced cameo contrast. In my opinion this was a premium quality coin that rested on the cusp of the next grade level. As I’m writing this I am kicking myself again. Oh well, I guess you can’t have em all.

1882-CC MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $19,000 and closed at $24,000. Total price realized including BP was $27,600. My pre-sale estimate was $50,000 — based in part upon the fact that this was the only example thus graded by PCGS with none finer. When I examined this coin at lot viewing my opinion changed, dramatically. This was one of my least favorite coins in the sale. To begin with I didn’t agree with the assigned grade and thought MS66 DMPL would have been more appropriate (and accurate). Moreover, the fields were extremely hazy which diminished the contrast considerably. I felt the eye appeal was subpar and was disappointed by the overall appearance of this coin. Having said that, I believe that the price realized was quite strong based upon the actual quality of the coin itself rather than the designation on the holder.

1882-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $6,785 and closed at $8,000. Total price realized including BP was $9,200 (CDN bid was $5,450 and my pre-sale estimate was $7,500). This was a totally incredible coin from every aspect and is the single most eye appealing deep mirror prooflike 1882-O dollar that it has been my pleasure to examine. Although not as technically nice as the lone PCGS MS66 DMPL I had the opportunity to view a few months back, this coin blows it away in terms of sheer eye appeal. The surfaces are wonderfully preserved to be sure, but it is the incredible depth and clarity of the mirror fields along with the vibrant snow white devices that knock the MS66 DMPL off its pedestal in my opinion. Simply put, this is my favorite deep mirror prooflike 1882-O dollar of all time – another coin I really should have gone after.

1882-S MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $6,500 and closed at $11,000 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including BP was $12,650 (my pre-sale estimate was $11,500). I was fortunate enough to buy this coin and was prepared to pay a bit more if need be. I originally sold this coin to the consignor a number of years ago for $5,500 – certainly a strong price at the time. However, of the eight coins thus certified by PCGS (with none finer), this is the finest by a significant margin in my opinion. The surfaces are pristine and free of any but the most inconsequential imperfections. The fields are crystal clear and deeply reflective while the devices are amply coated with icy white mint frost rendering a striking cameo contrast. Most importantly, there is absolutely no staining whatsoever on the reverse, a problem that plagues the majority of deep mirror prooflike examples of this date.

1883-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,500 and closed at $18,000 amidst fevered bidding (I was the under bidder). Total price realized including BP was $20,700 – setting a new price record. This exquisite gem rocketed right past my presale estimate of $13,500 and justifiably so. The quality was nothing short of phenomenal. The glassy surfaces had been meticulously preserved throughout the years and exhibited a depth of reflectivity akin to a proof striking. The devices were covered in a layer of thick brilliant white mint frost rendering a profound black and white cameo contrast. Moreover, the eagle’s breast on the reverse was totally free of the die rust that so often plagues deep mirror prooflike examples of this date. The sheer power and impact of the visual appeal was truly awesome and I believe that this may very well be the finest know specimen.

1883-CC MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $16,000 and closed at $24,000. Total price realized including BP was $27,600 (my pre-sale estimate was $32,000). This was just one of two coins thus certified by PCGS with none higher. Although an impressive coin in terms of visual appeal, this was a MS67 minus in my opinion and barley qualified for the DMPL designation (in other words low end for the assigned grade). Nonetheless, the surfaces were quite clean and the reflective fields were nicely contrasted by frosty devices. All things considered, the selling price was quite strong in my opinion.

1883-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $5,500 without further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $6,325 (my pre-sale estimate was $8,500). As so often happens in auctions, a few coins slip through the cracks and I think this was one of them. This date is actually quite scarce in this condition as evidenced by the fact that PCGS has certified a scant twelve coins at this level with none finer. Moreover, the quality of this coin surpassed that of the majority of its like graded brethren (of which I’ve owned at least nine). The surfaces were exceedingly clean and the fields boasted crisp clear reflectivity while the devices were abundantly white and frosty, rendering a pronounced cameo effect. Another coin wherein I must have been caught off guard for I surely should have jumped in the bidding.

1884-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,750 and closed at $3,750. Total price realized including BP was $4,313 (CDN bid was $2,450 and my pre-sale estimate was $4,500). The winning bid was my internet bid placed prior to the live auction. To be quite honest I was surprised (and delighted) when there was no further action. In my opinion this is an exceptional example based not only upon its technical merits, but its visual attributes as well. The surfaces are solid MS65 quality throughout but it is the very deep clear reflectivity combined with the richly frosted devices that elevate this coin above and beyond other like graded specimens. The vast majority of 1884-P deep mirror prooflike dollars do not exhibit a great deal of cameo contrast – this one does and that’s what makes it a little extra special.

1884-CC MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $22,000 and closed at $33,750 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including BP was $38,813 – setting a new price record (my pre-sale estimate was $29,000, which was obliterated). Wow, this coin thoroughly enchanted me and was the most spectacular of the MS67 DMPL Carson City dollars offered in this sale as far as I was concerned. Not only did I feel that this was a true premium quality MS67 DMPL – but it had premium quality plus eye appeal as well. The surfaces were immaculate and the fields were brilliant and crystal clear with deep reflectivity while the devices were completely immersed in bright icy white mint frost rendering a powerful cameo effect. In a word, wow!

1884-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,750 and closed at $4,500. Total price realized including BP was $5,175 (my pre-sale estimate was $6,000). This coin was in a PCGS first generation “rattler” holder, which accounted in part for the strong price realized in my opinion. The surfaces of this coin were extremely well preserved but I felt that the depth of the mirror fields fell just short of what they should have been to merit the DMPL designation. The devices were well frosted and provided a strong cameo contrast and the overall eye appeal of this coin was excellent.

1885-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,750 and closed at $4,750 without further bidding. The total price realized including BP was $5,463 – not a record setter, but a very strong price to be sure and significantly higher than my pre-sale estimate of $4,000. This was a stunning coin with immaculate surfaces and very deep crystal clear fields that were contrasted by vibrant snow white devices. This specimen was definitely among the top tier in regard to its like graded brethren.

1885-P MS67 DPL NGC: Opened at $5,600 and closed at $5,600 without further bidding. The total price realized including BP was $6,440 (my pre-sale estimate was $8,000). Although it fell quite short of my pre-sale estimate I feel that this was a very strong price in relation to the actual quality of the coin itself. To be blunt, I think that the aforementioned PCGS MS66 DMPL absolutely blew this coin away — hands down! The surfaces of this specimen were MS66 quality and the fields were nowhere near reflective enough to honestly be designated as a deep mirror prooflike. Nice cameo contrast and eye appeal, but at the end of the day it just didn’t measure up to the assigned grade and designation in my opinion.

1885-CC MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $37,500 and closed at $45,000 amidst serious bidding. Total price realized including BP was $51,750 (falling a bit short of my pre-sale estimate of $60,000 – but another record setter nonetheless). I really liked this coin although I felt that the technical grade was MS67 minus. However, its exceptional visual merits far outweighed any nitpicking on my part. The surfaces were nicely preserved and the brilliantly clear mirror fields showed adequate depth of reflectivity throughout and the contrasting devices were beautifully frosted, providing a wonderful cameo effect. There was an ethereal quality about this coin that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, which sent it over the top for me. In case you couldn’t tell – I really liked it a lot. Coupled with the fact that this was just one of two specimens that PCGS has certified thus with none graded finer – and that it does indeed possess that ever present magical Carson City allure – it was bound to be the subject of heated demand resulting in a new record setting price.

1885-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,250 and closed at $4,500 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $5,175 (my pre-sale estimate was $6,000). I was the fortunate buyer of this coin and would have gladly paid my pre-sale estimate or even a touch more to obtain it. The surfaces of this specimen were squeaky clean and the crystal clear mirror fields exhibited ultra deep reflectivity throughout, which is atypical for this issue (in fact, this is the most deeply mirrored example I can recall seeing). Furthermore, the devices were thickly coated with bright creamy white mint frost, resulting in a powerful cameo effect. This is the quintessential ultra deep mirror black and white cameo prooflike and one I believe has few peers.

1885-S MS64 DPL NGC: Opened at $3,250 and closed at $3,350 without further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $3,738 (CDN bid was $4,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). NGC has certified seven examples of this date as MS64 DPL – unfortunately none of them really meet the deep mirror prooflike standard in my opinion and this particular coin is a prime example. In terms of the grade itself this is a MS64 plus in my opinion. Where things begin to fall apart is in regard to reflectivity. The obverse fields are adequately deep and there is a pronounced cameo contrast but the reverse falls woefully short. There are abundant striations present that dramatically diminish reflectivity to the point where it can only be categorized as prooflike at the best. For a Morgan dollar coin to honestly merit the DMPL designation both sides must meet the same standard and that just wasn’t the case here.

1886-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,750 and closed at $5,500. Total price realized including BP was $6,325 (my pre-sale estimate was $6,900). In terms of its numeric grade I felt that this coin was a solid MS66, but the depth of reflectivity fell a bit short as far as I was concerned and barley qualified for the DMPL designation. To be fair, it was a relatively nice specimen overall but not really anything special, particularly considering the company it was in.

1886-O MS64 DPL NGC: Opened at $9,500 and closed at $9,500 without any further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $10,925 (my pre-sale estimate was $16,000). This coin surprised me because I really liked it and actually thought it would surpass my pre-sale estimate. To begin with it was a really nice quality coin for the assigned grade. The surfaces were quite reflective and were close to those of a deep mirror prooflike. Moreover, the devices were creamy and provided a distinct contrast. I honestly don’t know what happened here other than to speculate that it may have been in the wrong holder. Had this coin been certified by PCGS I think it’s safe to assume that the results most likely would have been much different.

1886-S MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $7,000. Total price realized including BP was $8,050 (CDN bid was $7,350 and my pre-sale estimate was $9,000). Another coin I hadn’t seen prior to lot viewing – and when I did I just wasn’t overly impressed with it. The fields were adequately mirrored and the devices were lightly frosted (providing a noticeable contrast) but unfortunately the surface quality wasn’t quite up to MS64 standards in my opinion due to a preponderance of small abrasions and scratchiness. Nonetheless it did realize about ten percent more that the CDN bid price, which I believe could be considered strong in relation to the overall quality of the coin itself.

1887-P MS67 PL PCGS: Opened at $4,000 and closed at $4,750. Total price realized including BP was $5,463 (my pre-sale estimate was $7,500, which appears to have been overly optimistic). To be honest I’m really not in tune with the PL market so please take any comment I make in regard to value with a grain of salt. This was the Ex: Dier/California Collection specimen. Personally, I thought the coin was accurately graded with excellent eye appeal. The fields were adequately reflective and the devices were well frosted, rendering a nice cameo effect. Oh, PCGS has graded only three at this level with none finer. An undeniably rare coin in this condition, but perhaps potential buyers for PL’s are rarer because of the relative availability of deep mirror prooflike examples of this date for collectors working on PCGS DMPL/PL Registry Sets. This is as good a guess as any I suppose.

1887-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,250 and closed at $3,500. Total price realized including BP was $4,025 (my pre-sale estimate was $5,500). There was certainly no real excitement here and I attribute that to the fact that this was an average quality, nondescript example of this date in my opinion. The surface quality was that of a MS66 and the fields were adequately mirrored but there was no really appreciable contrast between the fields and devices leaving me somewhat blah in regard to eye appeal. I guess the old adage is true – average quality coins sell for average prices. I can’t help but wonder though, what happened to the deep mirror black and white cameo prooflikes that were part of a 280 coin hoard that I purchased in 1977 (and later mentioned by Wayne Miller in his “The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook” on page 115)? I selected the best forty coins from this group (all of which were very deeply mirrored black and white cameo’s) and distributed them over lengthy period of time. In fact, Wayne bought the finest specimen (which is pictured in his book) for $1,000 in the late 1970’s. I haven’t seen a single one of these monsters in a PCGS (or NGC) holder in many years. I wonder where they are. I’d sure like to buy a few of ‘em.

1887/6 MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $22,000 and closed at $24,000. Total price realized including BP was $27,600 (CDN bid was $37,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $40,000). What a disaster! I have no clue as to what happened here. In regard to important varieties this is a major rarity in this condition. PCGS has only certified a total of thirteen 1887/6-P dollars in the DMPL category and only three have achieved the MS65 DMPL level with none graded higher. I have seen all three coins and this is the finest example by leaps and bounds. The pristine surfaces rest at the very threshold of the next grade level. The brilliant fields are deeply reflective and the devices exhibit a creamy cameo effect – everything you could want and more. I’m completely baffled and can come up with no plausible explanation for the exceedingly low (in my estimation) selling price. In my honest opinion, someone got a really great deal on this coin.

1887-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,000 and closed at $12,000 amidst strong bidding. Total price realized including BP was $13,800 (CDN bid was $9,050 and my pre-sale estimate was $11,500). This is probably the nicest of the six 1887-O MS65 DMPL dollars graded by PCGS and is certainly an extremely tough date to locate in top flight condition. The wonderfully preserved surfaces rest at the upper end of the grade designation – stone original and premium quality to be sure. The fields were clear, brilliant and very deeply reflective while the devices were bathed in icy white mint frost, providing a pronounced cameo effect. Top quality generally yields very strong prices as was the case here.

1887-S MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $2,400 and closed at $2,600. Total price realized including BP was $2,990 (my pre-sale estimate was $2,500 although I thought this coin could sell for significantly more to the right buyer). Apparently I was mistaken. This was a very nice coin and a strong MS64 all day long. The depth of reflectivity displayed in the fields was very close to that of a full deep mirror prooflike and the devices were well frosted rendering a lovely cameo contrast. This was a great coin that I thought would realize a higher price. Maybe it has something to do with that PL thing I mentioned earlier.

1888-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,390 and closed at $5,500 indicating that the majority of the action took place on the internet prior to live bidding. Total price realized including the BP was $6,325 (CDN bid was $2,350 and my pre-sale estimate was $4,000). Another record setter! This is definitely the most outrageously eye appealing 1888-P DMPL dollar that I have ever laid my eyes on. It blows away all nine MS66 DMPL’s and I know this from firsthand experience because I’ve owned ‘em all. I sold this coin to the consignor a number of years ago for $2,500 and subsequently sent him each of the PCGS MS66 DMPL’s to compare for possible upgrade. He rejected all of them and rightly so. The surfaces of this coin are superb, but that’s not what sets it apart. The fields are crystal clear and display a depth of reflectivity one would only expect to encounter on a proof striking. Furthermore, the devices are thickly coated with blindingly brilliant white mint frost that renders a striking black and white cameo contrast that has few peers in the world of DMPL dollars. The extraordinary quality, eye appeal, flashiness and pizzazz no doubt accounted for the record price established here.

1888-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,750 and closed at $5,500. Total price realized including BP was $6,325 (CDN bid was $2,250 and my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). This was another record setter and rightly so. Once I saw this coin in hand at lot viewing I threw my estimate out the window and decided that I had to buy it, period! As with the previous lot (the MS65 DMPL 1888-P dollar) – this is the most mind blowing DMPL 1888-O dollar I have ever seen, even surpassing the four coins that PCGS has graded MS66 DMPL. This may very well be (and I’m quite sure it is) the one and the same black and white monster deep mirror prooflike I sold to dealer Louie Moreno in 1974 for the then outrageous sum of $150 – if it’s not then it is a identical twin. To begin with PCGS under graded this coin in my opinion. The surfaces are MS66 quality and then some. The mirror fields are crystal clear, ultra-deep and inky black with blazing bright snow white devices that provide a profound cameo effect second to none. The sheer visual appeal is breathtaking and I am absolutely thrilled to have been the winning bidder. I am quite confident that this exquisite coin will one day reside in a MS66 DMPL holder as well it should.

1888-S MS66 PL PCGS: Opened at $12,000 and closed at $14,000. Total price realized including BP was $16,100 (my pre-sale estimate was $30,000). I was the winning bidder on this lot and was fully prepared to pay all the way up to my pre-sale estimate plus the BP – obviously I purchased it for considerably less. In fact, prior to selling this coin to the consignor I purchased it at the October 2006 Bowers and Merena Las Vegas Sale for a total of $22,138 (substantially more than I paid for it here). This coin was pedigreed Ex. Cajun and is the only MS66 PL to have been thus certified by PCGS with not a single piece having been graded higher. It is the finest known prooflike. The surfaces were impeccably preserved over the years and the pristine fields exhibit abundant reflectivity throughout. The devices are ever so lightly frosted providing a slight contrast. I am absolutely amazed at how little it took to acquire this magnificent coin – the undisputed finest known example. Perhaps this was not the proper venue in which to sell prooflike dollars. It seems as if the DMPL’s garnered all the real attention anyway and were wholly responsible for the excitement generated by the sale of this collection.

1889-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,100 and closed at $11,000. Total price realized including the BP was $12,650 (my pre-sale estimate was $25,000, obviously far too optimistic). This is another example of what the heck happened? To be quite frank this coin wasn’t very exciting in terms of visual appeal, but that seems to be the nature of this particular date because they are normally rather subdued in nature. I think this coin was properly graded from a technical perspective and more than adequately reflective in regard to the DMPL designation. Moreover, it is legitimately rare in this condition considering the fact that PCGS has certified a mere four coins at this level with none finer. This coin either slipped through the cracks or the lack of pizzazz had a negative impact on the selling price – I’m not quite sure which.

1889-CC MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $47,500 and closed at $82,500 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including the BP was $94,875 (CDN bid was $53,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $85,000). Although the surfaces were solid MS64 quality and the mirror fields were deeply reflective with well contrasting frosty white devices – I was not all that enamored with this coin. To be honest, the obverse surfaces didn’t appear to be completely original to me – something wasn’t quite right. Clearly, another dealer (the successful bidder) thought differently and stepped up to the plate and paid a very handsome price for this coin. Personally, this date is one of the few DMPL’s that I think is overrated as well as overvalued – but again, it’s just one man’s opinion.

1889-O MS65 DPL NGC: Opened at $7,500 and closed at $7,500 without further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $8,625 (CDN bid was $11,550 and my pre-sale estimate was $7,500). I thought that this coin was quite attractive and properly graded numerically. In fact, I thought it was a strong MS65 in that regard. However, the fields did not quite possess the depth of reflectivity required for today’s strict DMPL standard. The devices were well frosted and there was a pronounced cameo effect but in the end it wasn’t enough to warrant full DMPL money.

1889-S MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $22,000 and closed at $33,750 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $38,813 (CDN bid was $31,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $45,000). I originally purchased this coin at the February 2005 Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale for $20,700 and subsequently sold it to the consignor. This coin is a marvel of superb quality and awesome eye appeal. The surfaces are exquisite and rest at the upper end of the grade level. The gleaming mirror fields are crystal clear and very deeply reflective while the devices have an abundant coating of dazzling white mint frost which provides a powerful cameo effect. This is an absolute monster black and white deep mirror cameo prooflike that is considerably nicer than the (only) other PCGS MS65 DMPL, which I had the good fortune to buy and sell twice several months ago.

1890-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $11,000 and closed at $19,500. Total price realized including the BP was $22,425 (CDN bid was $16,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $19,000, both of which prices were surpassed). I think that this coin brought very strong money because I didn’t find it overly appealing in my estimation. This is what I would categorize a “plastic” coin, one whose selling price is more of a reflection of the holder in which the coin is encased in rather than the coin itself. In my opinion this was a MS65 minus (or low end for the grade) coin – it was a touch too rough for my taste. However, the fields were adequately reflective and there was a reasonable degree of contrast – it just didn’t float my boat and I didn’t find it very visually appealing.

1890-CC MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $12,000 and closed at $16,000. Total price realized including BP was $18,400 (CDN bid was $13,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $18,000). Much to my delight I was the winning bidder. Most certified MS65 DMPL 1890-CC dollars have a dull washed out look to them, which I find most unpleasant. Fortunately, this coin was the exception to the rule. The surfaces are solid MS65 quality all the way. The fields exhibit ultra deep clear reflectivity throughout and the devices are richly coated with snow white mint frost that provides a striking black and white cameo contrast. It’s been a long time since I’ve come across a deep mirror prooflike 1890-CC of this caliber.

1890-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $7,000 and closed at $9,000. Total price realized including the BP was $10,350 (CDN bid was $7,200 and my pre-sale estimate was $9,500). Again, I was most fortunate to be the winning bidder on this lot. The surfaces of this coin were immaculate and comfortably rest at the uppermost end of this grade level – a premium quality coin to be sure. The gleaming mirror fields are clear and deeply reflective while the devices display an ample coating of icy white mint frost, rendering a strong cameo effect. Seldom does one encounter a deep mirror prooflike example of this date that has been so wonderfully preserved with such stunning visual appeal.

1890-S MS66* PL NGC: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $7,000. Total price realized including BP was $8,050 (my pre-sale estimate was $15,000 and I was fully prepared to go to that number if need be). For reasons beyond my explanation I was the winning bidder at about half of what I was willing to pay. I not complaining mind you – I’m stunned! This is without a doubt the finest 1890-S dollar I have personally seen. To begin with, if this coin came to me in a MS67 PL holder I would have been thoroughly satisfied and thrilled to death. The surfaces knock at perfections door. Furthermore, the dazzling mirror fields are tantalizingly close to full DMPL standards and the devices display light icy mint frost. The sheer brilliance and eye appeal of this coin are phenomenal to say the least. I cannot imagine a nicer 1890-S dollar.

1891-P MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $5,500. Total price realized including BP was $7,475 (CDN bid was $6,450 and my pre-sale estimate was $8,000). From a numerical grade standpoint this was very nice MS64 quality. However, the depth of reflectivity left a bit to be desired in my opinion. The surfaces were reflective and the devices were well frosted providing a nice cameo contrast, but I felt that this coin barely met strict DMPL standards.

1891-CC MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,000 and closed at $5,000 without further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $5,750 (CDN bid was $4,750 and my pre-sale estimate was $8,500). This one definitely slid through the cracks as far as I’m concerned. This was one of the two finest 1891-CC MS64 DMPL’s that I have seen, surpassing in quality a specimen that was sold in the November 2004 Heritage Palm Beach Signature Sale for $11,213. The surfaces of this coin were very close to MS65 quality and it could rightfully be categorized as a premium quality example. The fields were crystal clear and deeply reflective while the devices displayed an abundance of icy white mint frost rendering a striking cameo contrast. This coin possessed exceptional eye appeal and flash. I originally sold this coin to the consignor in June 2006 (my cost at the time was $7,850 and I sold it to him for $8,500).

1891-O MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $2,200 and closed at $3,000. Total price realized including BP was $3,450 (my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). I really like this coin and thought it was a very nice MS64. The surfaces displayed a depth of reflectivity very close to that of a DMPL and the creamy devices provided a mild contrast. This was a solid eye appealing coin and I’m sure the winning bidder was quite pleased with his purchase.

1891-S MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,500 and closed at $13,000 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $14,950 (CDN bid was $16,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $21,500). I had not seen this coin prior to lot viewing and was a bit disappointed when I did. I thought the overall quality was MS65 minus rendering it low end for the assigned grade. The fields on this coin were quite deeply mirrored and the devices were lightly frosted — but there were numerous milky spots scattered about that I found to be distracting. I bought and sold a PCGS MS65 DMPL earlier this year that I considered to be a full grade point better than this coin and maybe that’s what accounts for a lower than anticipated (on my part) price realized.

1892-CC MS65 PL PCGS: Opened at $7,500 and closed at $8,250. Total price realized including BP was $9,488 (my pre-sale estimate was $16,500). This coin was originally purchased by PQ Dollars at the September 2004 Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale for $10,063 and subsequently sold to the consignor shortly thereafter. In my opinion this was a really nice coin and a strong MS65 in regard to its numeric grade. The fields were quite reflective throughout and were ever so close to being deserving of a DMPL designation. The devices were coated with icy white mint frost providing abundant cameo contrast and the eye appeal was excellent. Perhaps another victim of the “PL” curse that seems to have plagued this particular sale.

1893-P MS61 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $8,500 and closed at $13,500. Total price realized including BP was $14,950 (my pre-sale estimate was $18,500). This was another coin I had not seen prior to lot viewing and I must admit that I was not overly impressed when I did. It was deeply mirrored with frosty devices that provided a nice cameo contrast — but that’s where my positive comments come to an end. To be absolutely blunt, this coin is a lightly cleaned AU58 DMPL in a MS61 DMPL holder in my estimation. There is field friction on the obverse and very light friction on the highest points (i.e., AU58). Moreover, there are definitely telltale signs of a light cleaning as well. Now, having said that — I think that this coin realized a very strong price in relation to its actual quality (another prime example of a “plastic” coin in my opinion).

1893-CC MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $13,000 and closed at $28,000 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including BP was $32,200 (my pre-sale estimate was $35,000). Finally a prooflike that I was close on, will wonders never cease? Actually I was the winning bidder so maybe that had something to do with it. This was a very cool coin, and unlike so many 1893-CC dollars, this one was sharply struck and it was a very strong MS64. The fields were more than adequately reflective in regard to its prooflike status and the lightly frosted devices provided a lovely cameo effect. I’m very pleased to have won this coin.

1894-P MS64 DPL NGC: Opened at $18,000 and closed at $18,000 without further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $20,700 (CDN bid was $45,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $40,000). I was the under bidder at $32,000 when this coin sold at the Bowers and Merena November 2007 Baltimore Sale for $37,950 to CAMI and was subsequently resold to the consignor. I liked this coin, obviously! In my estimation it was a strong MS64 with just a few wispy lines holding it back. The clear fields were adequately mirrored with deep brilliant reflectivity throughout. As would be expected of this date there was no noticeable contrast between the fields and devices. Nevertheless I found it to be very attractive and eye appealing. Why there was seemingly no real interest in this excessively rare deep mirror prooflike dollar continues to mystify me. Could it be the holder in which it resides? And to be candid, there was some discussion and a difference of opinion among knowledgeable individuals in regard to the possibility of this coin having been cleaned.

1896-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,250 and closed at $5,000. Total price realized including BP was $5,750 (my pre-sale estimate was $9,000). On the surface the selling price appears to have been a bit soft but I believe it was the result of a slightly subpar look. I won’t argue the technical grade of this coin; I thought this was MS66 quality. Moreover, the fields were deeply reflective and the devices exhibited a hint of creaminess although there was no real appreciable contrast. Unfortunately, the eye appeal was a bit below average in my estimation when compared to other like-graded examples of this date and so I believe that may have served to hold the price down somewhat.

1896-O MS61 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,000 and closed at $16,000 amidst very active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $18,400 (my pre-sale estimate was $18,500). I saw this coin a couple of years ago when first offered to the consignor at around $33,000. I told him that I did not really care for the coin and strongly advised him not to purchase it. Not only did I think the price was far too high (he had a lovely MS62 DMPL in his hand about a year earlier at $15,000) but I thought the coin itself was vastly over graded. In my humble opinion this coin is an AU58 DMPL in a MS61 DMPL holder. The fields exhibit very deep reflectivity and the devices are richly frosted rendering a most impressive cameo effect – but, there is abundant (and very obvious) field friction on the mirror surfaces of the obverse. Moreover, there is distinct friction across the high points as well. I was strongly convinced that this was nothing more than a “plastic” coin that was a recipe for (financial) disaster somewhere down the line. Unfortunately, my initial assessment appears to have been correct.

1897-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,800 and closed at $2,800 without further bidding. Total price realized including the BP was $3,220 (CDN bid was $3,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $4,000). This is another instance where the selling price appeared to be a bit soft, but I think it was more of a quality issue. To be perfectly frank, I thought the numeric grade of MS65 was accurate but the depth of the mirror fields concerned me. In my opinion they did not meet the standards for the DMPL designation. This date is known for its below average eye appeal in DMPL condition, but I have bought and sold two deeply mirrored MS65’s with nicely frosted cameo devices (and saw one other) – so they do exist. I may have been too hard on this coin but the price realized seems to lend validity to my comments.

1897-S MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $30,000 and closed at $33,500. Total price realized including BP was $38,813 (my pre-sale estimate was $60,000). There may have been forces at work here intended to hold the price down. I thought this coin would easily surpass the $50,000 mark. This is the single finest specimen graded by PCGS. Although I thought this coin rested at the low end of the MS67 grade level it was nonetheless quite a striking coin. The crisp clear fields were deeply reflective throughout and the moderately frosted devices provided a lovely cameo effect. This exquisite coin was brilliant and vibrant with stunning visual appeal. Oh, just for the record the pedigree for this coin is Ex. California.

1898-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,500 and closed at $6,750 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $7,763 (my pre-sale estimate was $7,500). From the standpoint of numeric grade this was a very nice MS66 in my opinion. However, I personally found the mirrored fields to be a touch shallow although adequate enough to meet the DMPL standard. The devices were lightly frosted and provided a mild and welcome contrast. Overall this coin had decent eye appeal and realized a strong price in the end.

1898-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,600 and closed at $3,000. Total price realized including BP was $3,450 (my pre-sale estimate was $4,000). This was the Ex. Naples II coin. The surfaces of this coin were extremely well preserved and I felt that this was a high end example for the grade. As is so often the case when it comes to this issue, the reflectivity of the mirror fields was quite shallow and left a bit to be desired in my opinion. On the plus side, the devices were coated with icy white mint frost and provided a distinct cameo contrast. Had this been and ultra deep black and white cameo (and they do exist) the price realized would have been much higher.

1898-S MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $9,600 and closed at $10,000. Total price realized including BP was $11,500 (CDN bid was $14,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $18,500). Had I seen this coin prior to lot viewing my pre-sale estimate would have been much lower. Rather than beat around the bush I’ll get right to the point – the cheek of Liberty had been thumbed at one time. The telltale signs lay in the pale brownish-beige residue faintly visible on the central part of the cheek. Even without evidence of alteration I felt that this coin was a MS64 plus at best because there were just too many small abrasions and scratches. Had this been a genuine MS65 DMPL it would have sold for considerably more money.

1899-P MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,500 and closed at $5,500. Total price realized including the BP was $6,325 (my pre-sale estimate was $7,000). This coin was a solid MS66 and it was a legitimate DMPL but there’s not much more to say. There was very little contrast and the overall eye appeal was a little below average. All in all not a very exciting coin.

1899-O MS67 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $9,500 and closed at $14,000. Total price realized including the BP was $16,100 (my pre-sale estimate was $15,000). This coin actually exceeded my expectations. Here is another coin that I saw prior to the consignor buying it (he shipped it to me for my opinion). Although it was an undeniably lovely coin with deep mirror fields, moderately contrasting devices and nice overall eye appeal – it did have one drawback. There is a fairly significant nick (or small scratch if you will) in the cheek that is readily apparent to the unaided eye. As far as I’m concerned a legitimate MS67 cannot have such an obvious distraction in a prime focal area. Had it been hidden in the hair or somewhere else not as apparent – no problem, I wouldn’t nitpick. Unfortunately that was not the case here and I believe that the “nick” cost the consignor a few bucks.

1899-S MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $7,500 and closed at $24,000 amidst very strong bidding. Total price realized including BP was $27,600 (CDN bid is $18,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $24,500). I was the winning bidder on this coin and couldn’t be happier. I originally purchased this coin for $12,650 at the February 2006 Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale and subsequently sold it to the consignor shortly thereafter for $15,150. As was the case with the PCGS MS65 DMPL 1881-O dollar mentioned earlier in this article – the under bidder for this coin was the very same collector who was the under bidder back in 2006 – quite a coincidence, huh? Anyway, this is an absolutely exquisite coin. The pristine surfaces are fully deserving of a MS66 grade. This is not only a premium quality coin but I sincerely believe an under graded coin as well and I am confident that the under bidder would agree with me. The gleaming mirror fields are deeply reflective and the devices are creamy although there is no pronounced contrast. Furthermore, this coin possesses exceptional visual appeal based upon its nearness to perfection. Without a doubt this is a truly extraordinary coin on a number of levels.

1900-P MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $20,000 and closed at $45,000 amidst furious bidding. Total price realized including BP was $51,750 (CDN bid was $30,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $75,000). I was the winning bidder for this coin, and to be perfectly honest I was more than willing to go all the way up to my pre-sale estimate if necessary to obtain it. As far as I’m concerned this was “THE” coin of the sale and one of the two most important rarities in the “A Gift of Undeserved Favor” collection. I originally purchased this coin for $18,400 at the January 2004 Heritage FUN Signature Sale and subsequently sold it to the consignor later that year. This coin is a major rarity when it comes to DMPL dollars as evidenced by the fact that PCGS has graded a total of just four DMPL’s in twenty-two years of service – two MS64’s and two MS65’s. I recently had the privilege to examine the other MS65 DMPL (which is a beautiful coin to be sure) but this one blows it away by leaps and bounds. From the perspective of its technical grade this is a solid MS65 DMPL no questions asked – but that’s not why I think this coin is so special. It’s the bone jarring, mind blowing, jaw dropping visual appeal that has me panting. The dazzling mirror fields display crystal clear deep reflectivity throughout while the devices are abundantly coated with icy snow white mint frost, rendering a powerful black and white cameo contrast that will take your breath away – all attributes that you would not expect to encounter with a DMPL dollar from this era. Although top quality and deeply mirrored with slightly creamy devices – the other MS65 DMPL can’t hold a candle to this one because of its shimmering brilliance and compelling eye appeal.

1900-O MS65 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $3,750 and closed at $9,500 amidst spirited bidding. Total price realized including the BP was $10,925 (CDN bid was $4,800 and my pre-sale estimate was $6,500, both of which were shattered setting a new price record). I originally purchased this coin from Don Rinkor in February 2003 for $2,100 and promptly sold it to the consignor for $2,500. Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity to compare it side-by-side with the Jack Lee MS66 DMPL and this coin won out hands down. The surfaces were far cleaner (actually I thought the Jack Lee specimen was optimistically graded) and there was absolutely no comparison in regard to the depth of the mirror surfaces. The fields on this coin exhibit very deep oily reflectivity throughout and the devices are lightly frosted providing a modest contrast between the fields and devices. This is an altogether exceptional example.

1900-S MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $7,500 and closed at $15,000 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including the BP was $17,250 (CDN bid was $16,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $19,500). The price realized may have been a trifle soft on this one, but then again I thought that this coin was just an average quality MS64 due to a preponderance of tiny abrasions scattered about. However, the mirror fields were deeply reflective and the devices somewhat creamy though there was no appreciable contrast. This was a pleasant enough coin, but not one that I would expect to generate a great deal of excitement.

1901-O MS66 PL PCGS: Opened at $1,700 and closed at $1,700 with no further bidding. Total price realized including BP was $1,955 (my pre-sale estimate was $2,500). I thought this was an average quality MS66 PL with adequately reflective surfaces and slightly contrasting devices. Again, nothing special to push it over the top and make prospective bidders want to raise their paddles.

1901-S MS63 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,000 and closed at $14,500 amidst strong bidding. Total price realized including BP was $16,675 (CDN bid was $8,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $15,500). The surfaces of this coin were MS63 plus quality but some striking softness in the center limited the grade. The fields exhibited deep reflectivity and the devices showed a touch creamy contrast. Although pleasant enough on the eyes, I believe the primary factor that made this a hotly contested item is its extreme rarity in DMPL condition. PCGS has certified a scant five coins as deep mirror prooflikes: one MS62; two MS63’s; one MS64 and one MS66 – now that’s rare! The fact is you never see this date offered in DMPL, so when the opportunity presents itself you must be prepared to go to the mat. I was the under bidder and sincerely wish to congratulate the winner on his astute (and I believe a new record setting) purchase.

1902-P MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $2,800 and closed at $3,250. Total price realized including BP was $3,738 (my pre-sale estimate was $2,500). I was underwhelmed when I saw this coin at lot viewing. I thought it average at best and nothing to really write home about. It was a MS64 PL – period! Then why the strong selling price? I happen to know that the winning bidder thought he was bidding on and won the following lot (the MS64 DMPL 1902-O). It wasn’t until sometime after the auction that he realized what had happened. He bought a coin he had no intention of buying and missed out on a coin he really wanted. Sometimes things like this happen during the frantic pace of an auction. UPDATE (08/29/08): I was just perusing the PCGS message boards and came across a thread discussing this particular coin. It seems that the bidder who “mistakenly” bought this coin was somehow able to squirm out of the deal with Heritage, who then contacted the under bidder, and in his (the under bidder’s) words – “offered it to me under my max bid.” This story just gets better and better – I can’t wait to hear what the consignor has to say. Moreover, I’d really like to know what it sold for so I can report an accurate price.

1902-O MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,000 and closed at $2,200 with little fanfare. Total price realized including BP was $2,530 (CDN bid was $2,050 and my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). I was the winning bidder and was prepared to go substantially higher, but thanks to the aforementioned bidding error — I was able to acquire it for one increment above the opening bid. This is another date that you rarely see offered for sale in a PCGS DMPL holder. I originally sold this coin to the consignor in October 2003 for $1,500 and haven’t seen one since. The surfaces are solid MS64 quality throughout and the mirror fields are ultra deep and glassy, which is very unusual for a post-1900 DMPL dollar. There is no appreciable contrast between the fields and devices but that is to be expected. This is a very cool and desirable coin nonetheless.

1903-O MS65 DPL NGC: Opened at $2,800 and closed at $3,500.Total price realized including BP was $4,025 (CDN bid was $5,000 and my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). Actually the selling price of this coin was very strong considering the fact that it was in a NGC holder. It is not my intention to denigrate NGC by this comment, but NGC DPL dollars generally sell for about half the price that a similarly graded PCGS DMPL dollar would sell for (like it or not that seems to be marketplace reality). Furthermore, I was not overly impressed by the quality and thought that this specimen was average (on all levels) at best.

1903-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $4,500 and closed at $10,000 amidst active bidding. Total price realized including BP was $11,500 (my pre-sale estimate was $22,500). I honestly believe that this coin sold very cheaply and I have no real explanation as to why except for the possibility of pre-auction deals having been made (this does happen on occasion). The surfaces of this specimen were solid MS66 quality and the mirror fields were very deeply reflective throughout with no appreciable contrast between the fields and devices. However, there were five or six small spots on the obverse which may have dissuaded potential bidders. Personally I believe that these spots could easily be removed by PCGS by means of a “Spot Review” submission.

1904-P MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $2,400 and closed at $6,500 amidst strong bidding. Total price realized including BP was $7,475 (my pre-sale estimate was $5,500). This was a pretty impressive coin overall. The surfaces were strong MS64 quality and the fields were surprisingly reflective in regard to the PL designation. Moreover, the devices were lightly frosted rendering a soft cameo contrast. I think these attributes and the excellent overall eye appeal accounted for the very strong price realized.

1904-P MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $26,000 and closed at $47,500 amidst very enthusiastic bidding. Total price realized including BP was $54,625 (CDN bid was $48,500 and my pre-sale estimate was $80,000). I was the winning bidder and was surprised that I was able to acquire it at such a reasonable level. In all honesty I thought I’d have to pay at least $75,000 for it and was fully prepared to do so. This was one of the two most important coins in the sale in my opinion, and was certainly the rarer of the two. PCGS has certified just two deep mirror prooflike examples of this date – one MS64 DMPL and one MS65 DMPL. I originally purchased this coin from a dealer named Alan Bell in 1975 for $800 (an insane price at the time). I subsequently sold it to a collector at a Long Beach coin show for $1,500 and then lost track of it for many years. I purchased it again in 1997 or 1998 via private auction for $3,000 – it was in a first generation PCGS MS63 DMPL holder. I sold it to Laura Sperber for around $6,000 and sometime thereafter it was resubmitted to PCGS where it upgraded to MS64 DMPL. I lost track of it again for quite some time until I purchased it from collector John Coxe in April 2008 and subsequently sold it to the consignor. My, I’ve had a lengthy history with this coin and will hopefully continue to do so, Lord willing. This is a very strong MS64 quality coin with just a few faint lines separating from the next grade level. Although there is no appreciable contrast, the fields are clear and deeply reflective throughout and this specimen has been blessed with strong visual appeal. I am thrilled to have been the winning bidder on such a rare, desirable and important DMPL dollar.

1904-O MS66 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $2,400 and closed at $3000. Total price realized including BP was $3,450 (my pre-sale estimate was $4,000). Although legitimately rare in this condition (PCGS has graded just nineteen coins at this level with only one finer) this issue just doesn’t seem to inspire any genuine excitement. I’m sure that has something to do with the fact that even the highest graded specimens almost always seem to lack good eye appeal and this coin is no exception. The surfaces are MS66 quality to be sure and the fields are clear and deeply reflective but there is no pop or pizzazz due to a barely perceptible pale grayish cast that seems to plague this issue – even the lone MS67 DMPL, which I saw a few months ago.

1921-P MS64 DMPL PCGS: Opened at $5,500 and closed at $8,000. Total price realized including BP was $9,200 (CDN bid was $6,950 and my pre-sale estimate was $12,000). Actually this coin brought a little less than I anticipated, but it was toward the end of the sale and I’m sure a number of prospective bidders may have been spent out. This was a very nice coin overall with deeply mirrored brilliant fields and lightly frosted devices rendering a moderate cameo effect. The only real negative (which may have impacted the selling price as well) was a prominent and quite distracting nick in the left obverse field. Personally I tried and tried to overlook it — but couldn’t quite do it (maybe others were similarly affected).

1921-D MS64 PL PCGS: Opened at $2,000 and closed at $3,250: Total price realized including BP was $3,738 (my pre-sale estimate was $3,500). This was solid MS64 quality throughout with adequately reflective prooflike fields and frosty devices that provided a nice cameo contrast. I thought it to be a very attractive coin overall.

Upon thoughtful consideration of the final results of this sale there are a few noteworthy points that merit mention in my closing commentary.

Genuine rarity, accurate grading and exceptional eye appeal were without question the most important factors contributing to the high and/or record prices realized in this sale. The coins that were capable of taking one’s breath away were the specimens whose prices reached the stratosphere.

The monster black and white PCGS MS65 DMPL 1881-O dollar that realized $40,250 against a CDN bid price of $24,500 is a prime example. The extremely rare PCGS MS65 DMPL 1900-P that set a new price record selling for $51,750 while the CDN bid price was pegged at $30,500 is yet another. Yes, quality and rarity did indeed reign supreme at the sale of “A Gift of Undeserved Favor” collection.

Specimens that I refer to as “plastic” coins (those that are low-end or over-graded) did not perform well at all. Witness the PCGS MS64 DMPL 1879-CC dollar – a classic example of what I’m talking about. It was an attractive MS64 PL to be sure, but the plastic holder in which it was housed indicated that it was a MS64 DMPL. The mirror fields were not reflective enough to qualify for the DMPL designation that appeared on the label; therefore I would categorize it as a low-end or “plastic” DMPL dollar. This coin realized $25,300 against a CDN bid price of $26,500 – more than a thousand dollars less, which I’m certain would not have been the case if this were a no-doubt-about-it Deep Mirror Prooflike dollar.

With few exceptions (one of them a mistaken bid) Prooflike coins did not fare well overall in this sale regardless of rarity, quality or eye appeal. I think the best example of that in this auction was the PCGS MS66 PL 1888-S dollar, which was a population one, finest known specimen.

I was the winning bidder at $16,100 in Baltimore. Prior to selling it to the consignor — I purchased this very same coin for $22,138 in an October 2006 Bowers and Merena sale, paying significantly more than it realized here. I don’t know if the low selling price at the Heritage sale was the result of actual softness in the Prooflike dollar market or if those bidding in this sale were focused primarily on the Deep Mirror Prooflike specimens, but I suspect it was probably the latter.

The few NGC certified DPL and PL dollars in this collection realized low prices for the most part in relation to current Greysheet (CDN) bid for the assigned grades. Consider the NGC MS65 DPL 1879-O that realized $16,100 against a CDN bid of $23,000. Or how about the excessively rare NGC MS64 DPL 1894-P dollar that sold for $20,700 in the face of a $45,000 CDN bid.

There most certainly appears to be an anti-NGC bias when it comes to Deep Mirror Prooflike and Prooflike dollars. Again, I am not trying to denigrate NGC in any way whatsoever — but this does seem to be a marketplace reality based upon major auction results over many years.

To be perfectly honest, there are some really great DMPL dollars in NGC holders – you just have to get them in a like-graded PCGS holder (via crack-out or crossover) if you wish to realize top dollar for them.

In closing I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this analysis and found it to be both informative and useful as you pursue your interest in this specialized area of numismatic endeavor. If you glean absolutely nothing else from this article I would hope that it will encourage you to further study and comprehend the direct (and ever so significant) correlation between rarity, quality, eye appeal and value.

Since the inception of the PCGS (and later NGC) Set Registries there has been a very unfortunate over emphasis placed upon the assigned third-party grade designation within the plastic holder. In their quest to be number one, many collectors have neglected the most important consideration of all when it comes to future resale – that is, the actual quality of the coin itself rather than the grade on the insert.

May I now suggest that you not allow ego and/or pride to influence your buying decisions, but rather let discretion reign and buy the coin, not the holder.
 



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