1936 Buffalo proof – sold for $99,000 !
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This 1936 satin proof Buffalo nickel, graded PR-69, sold for $99,000 on Feb 20.

https://www.greatcollections.com/Coin/1047859/1936-Buffalo-Nickel-Type-1-Satin-PCGS-Proof-69-Toned

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In 1936, there were 4,420 pieces sold for this date. They were split between the first issue in satin finish (2,614 or 59%), and the second (or “Type II”) in brilliant (mirror-like) surface (1,806 or 41%).

The first set of 1936 proof coins was sent to Mint Bureau employee Fred Chaffin on April 15 by assistant director Mary O’Reilly.

“I am enclosing $1.16 to cover the cost of the twenty-five cent piece you recently sent as a proof specimen and also $0.91 for the set of proof coins received yesterday. Thank you for your courtesy in providing these so rapidly. Please be careful that no duplicates of these proof coins leave your hands”

The coins were intended for President Roosevelt’s friend Louis Howe, who was in Walter Reed hospital, but Howe died before the coins could be given to him. The President and Treasury Secretary Morgenthau decided to produce additional proof sets for sale to the public and they were authorized on April 16. See my book United States Proof Coins 1936 – 1942 for much more information.

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Edited by RWB
Fix Formatting - as usual
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On 2/28/2022 at 11:26 AM, RWB said:

Likely a similar reaction in 1913-1916 to matte proofs.

Yeah....coin-wise, they are nice.  I just grew up with a different ideal of "proofs" and that to me is the highly-mirrored, polished surface we've had since about 1960.

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On 2/28/2022 at 11:26 AM, RWB said:

Likely a similar reaction in 1913-1916 to matte proofs.

For a modern gold Eagle coin, the appearance in regular vs. proof is striking.

For the matte proofs (I presume you mean Saints)....the difference vs. a regular business strike is less apparent, at least to me (I guess the dealers/collectors of that time kind of agreed).

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The Saint-Gaudens gold coins were sandblasted individually --  Only the Lincoln and Buffalo designs to 1916 are called "matte." They were made by sandblasting the dies before hardening.

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On 2/28/2022 at 11:20 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Nice coin, but the smaller fields and the lack of a mirror surface make the proof appearance a bit underwhelming.  At least to me. 

The biggest advantage is with the strike. Compare the strike on this coin to that of a regular business issue, and the difference is clear. 

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That's a real nice Bison, too -- for 1/10th the cost.

(The photos aren't good enough to really compare the two coins. The "69" label was what the buyer wanted.)

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On 2/28/2022 at 3:42 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Cost aside, is the 69 really that much better than the 68+CAC ?  

Buffalo experts ??

Define “that much better”. But it’s hard to imagine a definition which would lead to a “yes” answer to your question.

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On 2/28/2022 at 4:49 PM, MarkFeld said:

Define “that much better”. But it’s hard to imagine a definition which would lead to a “yes” answer to your question.

The only clear difference is in the quantity of ink used to print the labels.

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On 2/28/2022 at 4:49 PM, MarkFeld said:

Define “that much better”. But it’s hard to imagine a definition which would lead to a “yes” answer to your question.

I presume that 69 is the only pop in that grade or one of a few whereas the 68 has plenty of company ?

With the price going up 10-fold, I just assumed you got into some rarified atmosphere. 

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On 2/28/2022 at 5:32 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I presume that 69 is the only pop in that grade or one of a few whereas the 68 has plenty of company ?

With the price going up 10-fold, I just assumed you got into some rarified atmosphere. 

Quit presuming and look it up. And I don’t know that the relative populations necessarily answer your initial question.

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On 2/28/2022 at 7:20 PM, MarkFeld said:

Quit presuming and look it up. And I don’t know that the relative populations necessarily answer your initial question.

I was hoping for a Buffalo expert to chime in. xD

I see (?) 2 in 69....2 in 68+.....15 in 68.

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Mary O'Reilly lived to 84...she got an exemption for the mandatory retirement age of 70 direct from FDR.

They hired Leland Howard to help assist her....eventually FDR stopped with the exemptions....then Howard took over.  He's the guy who initiated the 1933 Saint crackdowns.

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On 2/28/2022 at 7:20 PM, MarkFeld said:

And I don’t know that the relative populations necessarily answer your initial question.

Relative authenticated populations could be somewhat useful, but only because proof Buffaloes have largely remained within the control of coin collectors.

The slab "grades" are opinions and that means reality falls to the opinions of the buyer. As with "prices," the labels are guides not absolutes. Mark is entirely on-point.

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On 2/28/2022 at 3:12 PM, gmarguli said:

So not worth $90000 more than this PR68+ (CAC) example.

I think the NGC Pf 68+ example has more attractive toning and possibly even the more desirable coin. Of course its possible that the current owner could lose 80 Grand when he sells (:

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On 3/2/2022 at 8:56 PM, Woods020 said:

Geez. I need to try and get mine a grade bump. I have a Proof 68 for this one, and it’s the most flawless coin I think I have seen. This one hurts your eyes to look at it. I love this coin, but I guess I could be persuaded to part with it for a steal at say $50k 😂. It’s currently at CAC, but I can easily ship it to you as soon as it gets back. 

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The T2 coin you have is much more rare especially in that high grade than the T1

Edited by numisport
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On 3/5/2022 at 10:28 AM, numisport said:

The T2 coin you have is much more rare especially in that high grade that the T1

Agreed. That’s why I was shocked to see the other go for that. And I really and truly would like for someone to point out how any graded higher are nicer. I’m sure it’s bias on my side since I own it, but I can’t find any issue with the coin.  

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On 3/5/2022 at 10:39 AM, Woods020 said:

Agreed. That’s why I was shocked to see the other go for that. And I really and truly would like for someone to point out how any graded higher are nicer. I’m sure it’s bias on my side since I own it, but I can’t find any issue with the coin.  

That Pf 69 grade is really just an appraisal by PCGS and how stunning to see a buyer among that group to throw around 'cheap' money like that

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This is an interesting coin, but a more interesting result. I don't know how I feel about the 69 grade, and I really doubt that the new owner would be able to tell the $90,000 difference between the coin they bought and a 68+ if it didn't say so right on the label. Very few numismatists could. So they probably bought it for a registry set and are perfectly content with it. That's great, if that's the plan. I personally don't think that there is any noticeable difference between this one and any nice 68+, and therefore don't think it deserves any premium.

At a minimum, this coin saw a few years of less than optimal storage, and could have seen up to 86 years of less than optimal storage, and it really makes one wonder how any of these coins survived in a 69 grade, if at all. Is there really any difference between the 1936 Brilliant coin and this Satin (excepting the finish) or the 68+ Satin posted in state of preservation? I personally think no. So why does this one deserve the $90,000 premium? 

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Compare the area between nose and eye on the mirror proofs, with the same area on satin proofs. Notice how polishing degraded detail. Also compare the ground on each version and bison's prepuce.

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The Satin proofs for this era will always offer the best detail with the exception of perhaps some cameo coins. Especially with 1936 when the mint learned that the collectors were opposed to the satin finish like they were in 1916, they polished the heck out of the dies going forward so the Brilliant buffalo nickels in general have really deep mirrors but lacking details like RWB pointed out. The 1936 coins in general have some of the deepest mirrors out of this era in my opinion, and the buffalo BillJones posted shows this. It is rare to find any proof of this era with that deep of mirrors in my experience, even amongst CAMs, and that is all a result of the Mint really making sure those dies shined going into the medal room, no matter how much detail was gone.

This lacking detail continues through all six years of this proof era, and good detail is part of the reason why advanced collectors prefer the Satins and CAMs. I personally prefer the Satin proofs as well, but the market loves the Brilliant coins as BillJones pointed out.

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Cameo proofs of this era are incidental to introduction of new dies - one that have had only one polishing. The relief frost quickly wore off and was not deliberately renewed. Thus, cameo coins were made only by new dies, which had been polished just once, and retained most of the original low detail. (See United States Proof Coins 1936-1942 for details, etc.)

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I haven't seen a cameo of the satin buffalo proofs in hand, but I bet it is an amazing sight. As Flying Al said with the reflectivity of those mirrors frosted devices would be gorgeous.

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Woods, there will never be any Satin CAMs, due to the fact that the dies were never polished. They were exactly the same as the dies used for circulation strikes, the only difference was that the coins were struck at higher pressure on a medal press if memory serves right. As a result, they will never have the contrast needed for CAM. Roger is exactly right that the CAMs of this era were accidental, one could even go as far to say that they were not desired and the Mint didn't want to produce them because the collectors wanted fully brilliant coins, and a CAM didn't fit that description. I would imagine that the mint would have gotten some angry letters if the cameos weren't so rare.

However, there are some nice 1937 CAM Buffs, one is below, I got this form Michael Kittle's website, I couldn't find it on CU's forums but an internet search turned it up:

 

 

 

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