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1924 Gold Double Eagle on Pawn Stars

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weerdsteev
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 Posted 02/09/2010  1:19 pm Show Profile Check weerdsteev's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add weerdsteev to your friends list Get a Link to this Message

I was watching my new favorite show on the History Channel last night, a show called "Pawn Stars". It's about a pawn shop in Las Vegas and the father-son-grandfather trio who run the shop.

In last night's episode, a woman brought in a 1924 $20.00 gold piece that she wanted to sell. The coin was in what appeared to be a vinyl flip. The shop owner (father) looked it over and said it looked nice and might even be in "mint state" but that the 1924 was one of the most frequently counterfeited gold coins ever. He was interested in buying it but wanted it checked by an "expert" before making an offer.

The woman agreed to this and the expert came into the store. He DID seem to be qualified but what I thought was really odd was that he removed the coin from it's holder with his BARE FINGERS and held it to his eye to be examined with a loupe.

When he got done examining it he proclaimed it to be authentic and said that he would grade it MS-64. The three of them talked about it a bit more with the naked coin between the three of them on the counter.

I would have thought a coin like this would deserve to be handled with cotton gloves or some other method to prevent the transfer of oils or anything else from the fingers? Also, with everybody talking around and over the naked coin, did "flyspecks" ever occur to this expert?

The shop owner made her an offer of $1500 and she took it. (She was only hoping for $600 when she walked into the shop!)

The shop owner, who seems to know a little bit about everything, also explained that even if the coin had been counterfeit, it most likely would still have been made of gold and thus still "worth it's weight" in gold...just not a truly collectable piece.

Does anyone know if THAT is true? And are my concerns about the way they were handling the coin justified?

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 Posted 02/09/2010  1:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add schmidty to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I watched it last night, too. I was really surprised about the way the expert handled it, also!

Another thing, she at first (naturally) wanted what the expert quoted as value. He (naturally) low-balled. She said she might take it somewhere else. He said "Where? Anyone else would want to get it professionally graded first, and that's not cheap" So, she took his offer. (I think she got him up a little from his first offer)

I didn't think grading was all that expensive? Especially considering the value of the coin?
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 Posted 02/09/2010  2:05 pm  Show Profile Check biokemist6's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add biokemist6 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I would have thought a coin like this would deserve to be handled with cotton gloves or some other method to prevent the transfer of oils or anything else from the fingers?

Not all that uncommon if you are experienced in handling coins, TPG graders do not wear gloves and they deal with coins more expensive that that one on a daily basis. It is fine as long as you only handle the edges of the coin but gold is also quite impervious to most forms of contamination compared to copper and silver. As for gold content if counterfeit, I do not know if 1924 is heavily counterfeited or not, it is a common date though. A number of counterfeits for the better dates are usually gold because the weight is difficult to fake. $1500 would be a pretty good buy offer for that coin, I am surprised they actually offered that much. Numismedia lists MS-64 @$1920 and that should represent retail value.
ANA R-3151318
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 Posted 02/09/2010  2:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add CoinHunter53562 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I dont think they necessarily meant 1924 was the heavily counterfeited year. I took it as meaning St. Gaudens are heavily counterfeited.

As far as the initial offer, I didnt think it was too off base. What so many people forget is that alot of dealing goes on dealer-to-dealer, so dealers have to buy coins under bid to make any money. I talk to dealers in this area frequently, and have been told on multiple occasions by multiple dealers that they are happy if they make $20-$30 on a gold coin.
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 Posted 02/09/2010  2:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add RPT to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I went to the Whitman coin show in Baltimore last year and was amazed no one handled any coins with gloves.
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 Posted 02/09/2010  2:57 pm  Show Profile Check weerdsteev's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add weerdsteev to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not sure, either, if he meant if the 1924 coin or if he meant the Saint Gaudens design was heavily counterfeited, but the thing that was amazing to me (if the store owner was RIGHT) is that they were counterfeiting the coins using REAL gold. Was it really worth a counterfeiters effort, back in the middle or late 1920's, to make a pretty good looking piece out of REAL GOLD that would only be worth $20.00...?
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 Posted 02/09/2010  5:44 pm  Show Profile Check trdhrdr007's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add trdhrdr007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think they were talking about comtemporary counterfeits. The counterfeits could have been made when gold was relatively cheap compared to the numismatic value of the coin.

I also watched the show & to tell the truth I thought the expert put at least one finger on the surface of the coin. Their offer of $1500 seemed high to me for an unslabbed example they expect to make a profit on. There's only $420 from there to retail & if their expert missed the slightest hint of rub it's a loss.
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 Posted 02/09/2010  7:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ratman4762 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I watched the show too. I think they were saying that in general, the St. Gaudens are heavily counterfeited.
On another note, The owner doesn't know as much about everything as he makes out. Last night he also told a guy his 5 1967 Topps Pete Rose baseball cards were fake because 1) the pictures were blurry and 2)they were in too good of shape and 3) he had 5 of them. Not one of those is a good reason to call those $90.00 cards fake. He should have called in an expert since he obviously isn't one on sports cards.
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 Posted 02/09/2010  9:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add afcop13 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
LOL @ blurry pics on pre-1982 baseball cards. I stopped collecting years ago - baseball cards got out of hand, but still have most of my 50's - 70's stuff. Plenty of blurry pics and Mint Plus cards.
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 Posted 02/09/2010  10:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ratman4762 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had many vending boxes of 1968 Football and 1969 baseball. I bet I had 30 mint Bob Griese rookies that ranged from a perfect portrait to blurry beyond all belief. Like I said...the guy should have called his expert...LOL.
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 Posted 02/13/2010  12:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add AMFCook to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I watch Pawn Stars every week.

I agree, I thought it a bit strange that an expert was handling that coin and the set it on the glass counter.

Atleast Rick left it in the flip to look at it with his lupe.
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 Posted 02/16/2010  09:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Finally saw the episode this past weekend. Rick just says "These are one of the most counterfeited gold coins" The expert clarifies this some when he said "This is the most counterfeited date in the Saint-Gaudens double eagles."


Quote:
the thing that was amazing to me (if the store owner was RIGHT) is that they were counterfeiting the coins using REAL gold. Was it really worth a counterfeiters effort, back in the middle or late 1920's, to make a pretty good looking piece out of REAL GOLD that would only be worth $20.00...?

In the 1920's NO, but the vast majority of the counterfeit US gold coins were made in the Middle East in the 1950's and 1960's and they were made with real gold. Usually they were full weight and proper fineness. They did this because Americans could not own gold or bring it back into the country, but they COULD own and import US gold coins. Gold was still $35 an oz, but the counterfeiters could take that oz of gold,form it into a double eagle, and sell it to the American tourists for $48 to $60 dollars making a profit of 50 to 80%. Sure they could have still made them light weight and/or lower fineness but that would be easy to detect leading to rejection (andno profit). Identifying them as counterfeit when they were full weight and fineness required specialized knowledge and so they were readily accepted by the tourists (who saw them as a great bargain as snapped them up.) The result was a FLOOD of fake gold into the US.
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 Posted 02/16/2010  10:04 am  Show Profile Check weerdsteev's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add weerdsteev to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Conder! I had about given up hope that anyone would answer that question for me!
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 Posted 02/16/2010  2:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oimcoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I too watched that show. The handling of the coin is not an issue. Gloves are not really that great of a thing for coins. My issue was the price. I do not understand how they paid $1500 for that coin. It could have easily been an MS62. How the dealer said MS64 and valued it at $2,000 was pretty premature in my opinion. Although Rick seems somewhat knowledgeable, I still think he paid too steep for this coin.
But hey, what a fun show to watch!
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 Posted 02/16/2010  3:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add schmidty to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I do not understand how they paid $1500 for that coin. It could have easily been an MS62. How the dealer said MS64 and valued it at $2,000 was pretty premature in my opinion.

Just to play Devil's Advocate:

That was Rick's expert. What if the coin was actually an MS 64?

The part I didn't like was how he insinuated to the woman that she would have trouble getting anyone else to pay good money for it. "Because they would have to get it graded, and that's not cheap"

I'm always amazed that people would bring a coin into a pawn shop. Especially in a city that must have many coin shops.
Edited by schmidty
02/16/2010 3:08 pm
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 Posted 02/16/2010  3:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oimcoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very true, but I believe it would be hard to get over MS60 Greysheet Bid ($1240) for this coin raw.
If you spend the roughly $100 for PCGS to say this is a 64 and still... currently $1535 Bid but prices have gone down since that was taped.
And Rick can be irritating by trying to get people to believe he is the only buyer for things... kind of cracks me up by how uninformed some people are. This is the age of information with all the resources on the net. If you don't do your research, I can't feel too bad for ya.
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