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1926 Gold Piece Should Be Re-Evaluated

March 12, 1987|DON ALPERT

Question: I have a 1925 Sesquicentennial uncirculated $2 1/2 gold piece. It was given to me as a child by the then-commissioner of Philadelphia police, George Fritz. A number of years ago a coin dealer rated it at about $900 and offered to purchase it. I wonder what the value of the coin would be today.--H.R.B.

Answer: Your commemorative quarter eagle was issued in 1926 (not 1925 as you indicate) and features a standing Miss Liberty holding a torch in one hand and the Declaration of Independence in the other. The reverse depicts Independence Hall in Philadelphia. There is some controversy regarding the design, because John R. Sinnock has given it such low relief that even gem specimens are difficult to distinguish under magnification.

There are two known counterfeit issues attributed to this elusive coin by Swiatek and Breen in the Encyclopedia of United States Silver & Gold Commemorative Coins. Because of its size and design, it would be wise to have the coin authenticated. This can be done through the American Numismatic Assn., 818 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80903; or by some of the other grading and authentication services.

The $2 1/2 Sesquicentennial is a relatively low-mintage issue with 46,019 in the commemorative encyclopedia. Either way, it is desirable for collectors assembling a complete commemorative coin set. Interest in such sets has been rekindled with the recent release of Olympic and Statue of Liberty commemoratives and the pending release of coins marking the Constitution's 200th anniversary.

You were offered $900 for your Sesquicentennial at one time, so it's probably safe to imagine that it is in uncirculated condition. However, grading standards have tightened considerably in the last several years, so it would be best to have your coin re-evaluated. Currently, 1926 $2 1/2 Sesquicentennial uncirculated coins graded Mint State 60 to MS-65 are in the $425-to-$3,000 range.

Q: I have the following gold coins and would like to know the approximate value. Edward VII 1908 and 1910; U.S. $10 1888; a Russian 10 rubles 1899 and 10 rubles 1911; an Iranian 1 pahlevee 1334 and another dated 1337.--J.S.

A: Your gold English sovereigns are worth $95 each; the American eagle is $200 and up; the Russian rubles are $80 each, and the Iranian gold pieces are $95 each.

Q: Please give the values of the following coins: 1889 Morgan dollar; 1922 Peace dollar; 1900 Barber half dollar; 1906 Barber quarter; 1914 Liberty dime; 1899, 1904, 1905 and 1910 Liberty nickels; 1937-1947 standing Liberty half dollars.--J.E.

A: Your Morgan dollar is worth $9; the Peace dollar is $8; the Barber half is $3; the Barber quarter is $1.50; the Liberty dime is $1; the Liberty nickels are 25 cents each and the walking (not standing) Liberty half dollars are $1.50 each. Any or all of these coins can be worth considerably more than the minimum price I listed if they are in uncirculated condition.

Coin Calendar

Friday, Saturday and Sunday--The Las Vegas Numismatic Society expects 80 dealers at its 24th annual coin show at the Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas. A highlight will be a Young Numismatist table from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday featuring details on types of coins, condition and grading. Contact exhibit chairman Wyly G. Thompson (702) 453-6566 or (702) 733-3509.

Coin News

A panorama of United States coins ranging from Colonial and state issues through territorial gold will be featured in the Norweb Collection sale beginning in October and continuing through spring and autumn of 1988. More than 6,000 coins, many considered the finest known, will be sold, including the 1855 Wass, Molitor & Co. $50 gold piece (pictured). The collection was begun in the 1890s by Liberty Emery Holden and continued by various Holden and Norweb heirs. Seven different publications are being offered in connection with the Norweb Collection, including three auction catalogues and a reference book. Advance subscribers may order these publications for $149 from Auctions by Bowers & Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.

Special exhibitions prepared by the Smithsonian Institution will be featured at Sincon XVIII, sponsored by the Society for International Numismatics April 10-12 at the Hyatt Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport. The Smithsonian exhibits include "Medals Given to Revolutionary War Heroes" and "Signers of the Constitutional Convention." This will mark the first exhibit of most of these items in the Western United States. For information, contact George Russell, (213) 399-1085.

Don Alpert cannot answer mail personally but will respond to numismatic questions of general interest in this column. Do not telephone. Write to Your Coins, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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