Featured A dive into the toned Morgan market (via Legend Auction 7/27/23 vs prior sales at GC, etc)

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by ddddd, Jul 28, 2023.

  1. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Tonight was one of Legend's Regency auctions (the “boutique” sales they hold about once every two months) and there were plenty of Morgans (as usual). What I found interesting is that many of these were very familiar. I often have seen a few Morgans that I have previously bid on pop up but tonight there were many. So I figured it would be interesting to compare the results.

    The first is a nice semi-pl 1880-S. This coin I first saw on Instagram in an NGC MS 64 star holder. It was cracked out and sent to PCGS, where it also got an MS 64. Someone later upgraded it to an MS 65 and sent to Great Collections (April 2020), where it brought 1,293.75 (when including the buyer's fee). Tonight at Legend it ended at 1,204.38 (when including the buyer's fee). Given that the market was still queasy in early 2020 (before taking off in the following months of that year), this isn't a great result.

    GC (April 2020): 1,293.75
    Legend: 1,204.38



    Next up is one of the weaker results of the night. This 1880-S used to reside in an NGC MS 66 star holder. It brought an impressive $2,563.88 at GC in 2021. The coin was crossed to PCGS, where it down graded to MS 65+ but added a nice True View and what many consider a more marketable holder. That was not enough as the coin went for just $1,292.50. I considered the price at GC optimistic back in 2021 but I did not expect the coin to lose over $1k in what is still a strong market.

    GC (2021): 2,563.88
    Legend: 1,292.50


    Sticking with the early San Francisco dates, this 1881-S has had multiple auction trips. The first one I’m aware of was a July 2017 GC sale at $578.60-quite reasonable even though prices were lower back then. And that fact was proven true as it sold at Legend a few months later (October 2017) for $1,116.25. We next see it making a trip back to Legend in May 2019, where it brought less: $851.88 (possibly a combo of not being as fresh and just not as many people following it). Tonight it squeezed out a gain above any prior sale with a final hammer of $1,351.25. This result seemed about right for the market on a nice coin.

    GC (July 2017): 1,293.75
    Legend (Oct 2017): 1,116.25
    Legend (May 2019): 851.88
    Legend: 1,204.38


    Now something a little different-an 1885 rattler with what I would call fairly mild toning. I was surprised when it reached $535.50 at GC in 2021 since the color did not look special and it wasn’t a rare holder. Then I saw that the coin received a gold CAC! The combination of rattler and gold sticker makes people go wild and I figured the coin would bring something crazy. It did not meet expectations. The coin did better than before but not by much, ending at $793.13. That is strong given the coin but not as impressive given that Gold CAC MS 65 1938-D Buffalo Nickels with no color in rattlers bring close to $300. Maybe the market is beginning to slightly cool off in terms of certain holder plus sticker premiums or this was just one coin that wasn’t placed in the best setting to maximize the return.

    GC (2021): 535.50
    Legend: 793.13


    Here we have another rattler. The textile is a plus but the coin seemed a bit dark to me. It sold in GC before the 2020 price bump and was lacking a CAC sticker at the time.

    GC (Oct 2019): 766.86
    Legend: 1,233.75


    We finally reach a coin that I was seriously following. The 1889 date is less common for color and this was among the better examples I have run across. Being a two sided toner is another plus but the break on the obverse hurts a little. I was surprised that the Legend result was lower than GC.

    GC (Jan 2020): 1,881.00
    Legend: 1,762.50


    The 1890 was another coin I was following and again a less common date for nice toning. The lower grade (only an MS 62) likely limited the upper bound of this one. I felt that the GC result was extremely strong and expected the lower price at Legend (it still outperformed my estimate).

    GC (Jul 2021): 2,331.00
    Legend: 1,586.25


    The 1891 is an old friend. This is the only coin in the auction that I used to own. I was the winning bidder at Stacks back in 2020 at the $600 price. I later sold it on Instagram for $800. While I liked the coin and knew it was not an easy date for color, I felt I had better examples among my more common dates. I don’t plan to do a full date set either but I have contemplated doing a more narrow range like 1878 to 1891. So I was bidding but had set my limit at the $800 I had sold the coin for previously. Someone else liked it more or needed that date for their date set as the final bid was well over my expectation (and Legend’s estimate).

    Stacks (Aug 2020): 600
    Legend: 1,586.25


    A somewhat controversial example, this 1904 features what looks like a big “X” carved into the left field. When I saw it at GC, that turned me off. I was surprised how high it went back then. The coin was later sent in to add a VAM attribution and a TrueView image. It brought around the same amount at Legend even with all of that.

    GC (May 2020): 929.25
    Legend: 998.75


    Our biggest winner of the night, this pedigreed 1879-S really surprised me. It has nice color and added a plus since the last sale. Still there are more impressive examples of this date and I’m not sure what led to the bidding war tonight.

    Legend (Oct 2020): 1,938.75
    Legend: 6,168.75


    A few photos:
    upload_2023-7-27_21-17-38.png upload_2023-7-27_21-18-21.png upload_2023-7-27_21-38-36.png
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Joshua Lemons

    Joshua Lemons Well-Known Member

    I love seeing these comparison threads.
    eddiespin and ddddd like this.
  4. Dynoking

    Dynoking Well-Known Member

    Wow. You put a lot of time and effort into your Morgans. Thank you for sharing your insights. Excellent thread!
    ddddd and Morgandude11 like this.
  5. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    I love this thread, too. Given that I am a known toning enthusiast, tracking and following auctions is a blast. You did an excellent comparison for this thread. My conclusion is that the market for level 4 or so toners is softening a wee bit. Coins that were selling with impunity for $1500-2000 are now selling in the $1200-$1500 range. I do not know if it is a trend, or just Summer doldrums for the auction market. True raging beasts are still selling high—Level 5-6 toners and true monsters still bring outrageous prices. However, my opinion is that the market has softened slightly. By the way, 2 of the coins that you, @ddddd, posted belonged to me for a while, and were sold originally in my 2014-2015 toning liquidation. Let’s see if you remember any of them. They both have been turned over several times since then.
    Evan Saltis and ddddd like this.
  6. Fascinating stuff! I don't really track toned Morgans (though I collected toned Peaces for a little bit), but seems like GC auctions often end with very strong prices for them. I wonder if it's a viable strategy to just buy on eBay or Instagram, wait a little, and then consign on GC.
    Morgandude11 and ddddd like this.
  7. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    All of the coins mentioned above are pictured in order here (some are GC photos while others are from Legend):








    eddiespin likes this.
  8. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I would agree that this auction had many 4.0-5.0 toners (mid-high to high), with a lean towards the 4 range. And those might be softening compared to what we have seen in the prior two years. Then again it could be the summer doldrums and we'll look back and think this was a brief period to score a discount. I will also note that prices are still higher on average than what we saw in 2019 and earlier.

    As far as the two coins that you owned, I don't remember but my guess will be the 1881-S MS 65 and possibly the 1879-S Northern Lights/Roadrunner?
  9. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Toned Peace Dollars are another segment that has really taken off. Being that less of them come nicely toned (Morgan level toning is particularly scarce), when a nice one shows up the bidding tends to be very spirited. This auction I only noticed two Peace Dollars with color and both were so-so in my opinion. One did not garner any bids at the 750 level and the other ended at $734.38.

    As far as GC, they continue to get solid results. I have picked up some of my favorite coins there over the years but the last few years it is becoming harder to win much (in the way of high end toners) without spending moon money. If one can find a reasonably priced toned Morgan, I could see it doing well on GC. However, many of the coins that I see on IG or eBay were from people that won them on GC and are trying to resell for even more (occasionally successfully but more often not so successfully).
  10. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    You got one right, the 1881s. I sold it in 2015 for $900. The other one is, in my estimation a knockout—it is the 1889. That one, I sold for $875 back in the big consignment. It was originally a MS 63, but I thought wildly undergraded. I still think, given the outrageous toning, it should have been a bump to 65 for outstanding color, alone.
    ddddd likes this.
  11. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Batting .500 isn't too bad. :D Those are two very nice Morgans!

    I really liked the 1889 and that is a date I'm missing. I just didn't want to go as high as the final price (my max was around 1k plus fees but I would have likely bid one or two increments above that if it was sitting at 1k in the end).
    Morgandude11 likes this.
  12. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I wonder if we will see any of these up for sale again in the near future?
    My guess is that the 1880-S PCGS MS 65+ that went from GC (2021): 2,563.88 to Legend: 1,292.50 will show up and resell for a nice profit.
  13. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    I think the 1889 will sell again. The obverse is near monster, and the reverse has nice toning, too. A strong toner like that should sell over $2000. It really needs to squeak by as a 65, somehow. If I were the seller, I would submit it to NGC for the virtually certain star, and a 64+ to 65 grade.
    ddddd likes this.
  14. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    Impressive bit of research. Thanks. But also impressive is how much money auction companies and TPGs have made on many of these coins. Take the 1881-S with the following sales history:

    GC (July 2017): 1,293.75
    Legend (Oct 2017): 1,116.25
    Legend (May 2019): 851.88
    Legend: 1,204.38

    The above prices would have incurred more than 50% of the coin’s value in buyer’s premiums. Then there would have been shipping charges and possible seller’s fees. And of course, the coin has been to a TPG at least once. In my state (CA), each of those sales would have been taxed about 8% too.

    The coin may not have increased in value for collectors in 5 years. But auction companies, transport companies and at least 1 TPG did very well by it.

  15. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I just noticed that I messed up on the prices on that 1881-S.
    It was actually:
    GC (July 2017): 578.60
    Legend (Oct 2017): 1,116.25
    Legend (May 2019): 851.88
    Legend: 1,351.25

    Your point is a good one. At 17.5%, that is $494 in buyer's fees collected by Legend (if they did not give some portion of that to the consignor, which is possible when it's a large batch of coins). And at 10%, that is $52.60 in buyer's fees collected by GC (plus another $26.30 if they took the 5% seller's fee). The grand total of buyer's fees on the four sales is $546.60 with an average sales price of $949.
    eddiespin and calcol like this.
  16. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I can see it too. The color combined with a less common date will help.
    Morgandude11 likes this.
  17. Morgandude11

    Morgandude11 As long as it's Silver, I'm listening

    What I would do is take the 1889 to a busy show. I would either give it to a dealer on consignment or walk it myself, to the NGC table, and ask for a walk in grade. Before doing so, I would ask the representative if it had a shot at upgrade, and the star. I bet they would be receptive to an upgrade, with star designation.
    ddddd likes this.
  18. coin_analyst

    coin_analyst Member

    I live for this kind of analysis. Really well done.
    ddddd likes this.
  19. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Incredible data.
    ddddd likes this.
  20. eddiespin

    eddiespin Fast Eddie

    Players are flipping these like pancakes. But only sure winner is House.
    calcol, Dynoking and Tall Paul like this.
  21. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    The house often does well (as long as they don't win the coins themselves or the reserve is not met). And yes quite a few of these are bought to be resold. I've done it too with mixed results. Occasionally the initial intent was to resell but other times I find something better or don't like the coin enough to keep.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page