The Spouse Series May Be Coming to an End,
but the Demand May Just Be Getting Started
Posted: JULY 17, 2016
For the first time ever, a major auction house will auction off a complete collection of PCGS "70" grade Mint State and Proof "First Strike" coins from 2007-2015. The set is the complete collection other than the final three coins being offered by the Mint right now from 2016. That auction is the Heritage August, 2016 Anaheim Auction. The coins belong to a long time member of the PCGS Message Boards, and I wish him the very best with the sale.
This coin series has produced the lowest mintage Type coins by the US Mint in the past 100+ years! For the next couple weeks ahead of the sale, I plan to share some interesting facts about the PCGS 70 grade First Strike coins in this thread. I look forward to a meaningful discussion on the coins. I might even run a contest ahead of the Heritage auction - we'll see.
But, first, let's talk about the 2007 First Strike coins.
Beginning on June 19, 2007, the 2007 Washington and Adams Mint State and Proof coins were sold on a limited basis to households, but the US Mint still managed to sell out quickly nearly all the coins (20,000 Mint State and Proof examples of these two coins totaling 80,000 coins)! The initial Mint issue prices were $410.95 on the Mint State coins and $429.95 on the Proof coins. This is remarkable when you consider that just a few years later, the Mint then had trouble selling just 3,000 or so coins of each spouse in both Mint State and Proof.
PCGS has graded a whopping 2,098 PR69DCAM First Strike and 435 PR70DCAM First Strike Martha Washington coins as well as 1,023 PR69DCAM First Strike and 228 PR70DCAM First Strike Abigail Adams coins!
Then, things got just as crazy when the Mint on August 30, 2007 sold off the Jefferson Liberty coins (at the same prices) and sold them out quickly as well. Jefferson did not have a wife in office and, hence, the "Liberty Spouse" design. These first three gold spouse coins (Washington, Adams and Jefferson Liberty) were among the fastest Mint sellouts of a product in history at the time back in 2007 (if the Mint could have only seen the future of the 8 minute sell out of the 2015-W $100 Proof Platinum coin to come)! PCGS has graded 1,409 PR69DCAM First Strike and 623 PR70DCAM First Strike Jefferson Liberty spouse coins!
But, the strict household limits (and the enthusiasm for the series) started taking its toll when the fourth spouse came up for sale on November 19, 2007 - Dolley Madison. Due to a rising gold spot price, the Mint priced the coins nearly $100 higher than the earlier 2007 examples ($509.95 for the Mint State and $529.95 for the Proof coins). Sales were softer (around 18,000 or so on the proofs and only around 12,500 on the Mint State coins, but still very strong by today's standards) and submissions crashed down as well. In fact, PCGS has only graded 253 PR69DCAM First Strike and 131 PR70DCAM First Strike Madison coins to this day.
Many of the 2007 coins in the top grade of "70" with "First Strike" do not sell for large premiums to the raw coins. The Jefferson Liberty Spouse coins do command a decent premium, however, as does the Madison Proof coin. The Dolley Madison PR70DCAM FS coin "pop" of just 131 coins results in the coin seldom coming up for auction (especially problem free without spots). In fact, believe it or not, if my records are correct, in nearly 10 years Heritage NEVER auctioned off a single PR70DCAM FS Dolley Madison coin!
The coin set coming up next month will contain the first Madison PR70DC FS to ever sell at Heritage! Since GC started in the auction business, I believe they auctioned off a total of (4) Madison PR70DCAM FS all between $917.77 and $1,000 hammer (with the last sale at $917.77 hammer about (60) days ago). It should be very interesting to see what the Heritage example brings next month.
In the early going, demand for the PR70DCAM FS Washington and Adams coins (and MS70FS coins) was very strong and the coins sold for a huge premium to the PR69DCAM coins (hitting record highs of nearly $2,000/coin for these). Those premiums have since dwindled down significantly.
Collectors who started with the 2007 coins got a nice treat when Gold spot tested around $1,900/oz a few years ago as these 2007 coins sold from the Mint at under $425 each back in mid-2007. So, collectors did have a chance to more than double their money even on the low grade examples if they sold out at a few years later. Even at today's gold spot level, buyers of these early spouse coins are in pretty good shape if they want to even sell them off for "melt".
The "true" mintages today on these 2007 spouse coins are very uncertain. On March 10, 2008, Coin World reported that a major National coin dealer melting thousands of these 2007 spouse coins into gold bars. The national dealer had "identified little or no retail demand" for the coins and then decided the best option was to melt those spouse coins into gold bars. Just this single action alone may have removed upwards of about 5%-10% of the entire 2007 mintage on Washington and Adams coins (and possibly some Jefferson or Madison coins as well)!
I'll talk about the 2008 gold spouse / Liberty coins in the next part of this article, so stay tuned!
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