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Your opinion on buying an 1881 Gold dollar

5 posts in this topic

I suspect the 1881 gold dollar is the ultimate issue for type for the gold dollar series, certainly for the Type 3 coins. I'm wondering if you agree, and what you would pay in various grades from MS-63 - MS-66. Remember, this is for a type set.

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Why did you pick 1881, James? Some collectors want the 1880 because the mintage is 1,636 and the date brings only a minor premium over the other dates from the sale era.


The big attraction for a type collector for these coins is that the mintages are low, and many of the coins are nice proof-like pieces. The reason for P-L coins is that the dies did not get much use, and they hardly had time to get the polish worn off of them. Back in the 1970s you could find these coins at larger shows for around $400 to $450. I once owned a blazing P-L 1882 that would probably grade MS-66 or maybe 67 today. I traded it off to acquire one of my early coins. I forget which one.


As for prices, an 1881 (or any other date in the early 1880s) is actually a bit scarce in MS-64 or less. These coins did not circulate very much. As for prices, I’ll cite Coin Values magazine and the Gray Sheet. All prices assume that the coins are properly graded and don’t have ugly marks. Over graded and ugly coins MIGHT be purchased at “bargain prices” if the dealer is sane and the buyer is not stupid.


MS-64 $1,300 – Gray Sheet bid is $870, and I dare say you should find one for $950 or so


MS-65 $3,000 – Gray Sheet bid is $2,580, I’d say you have to pay $3,000 or so for a properly graded one.


MS-66 $4,500 – There is no Gray Sheet bid for this grade. I’d say the $4,500 is pretty close to what you would need to pay.


As for my type piece, here’s the one in my collection. 1889 is a hoard date, and it’s common in Unc. This piece is in a green label PCGS MS-64 holder. With "grade-flation" in force, I’ve seen worse coins in MS-66 holders, so you can go from there.



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Why did you pick 1881, James?

Actually, I haven't bought one, but am considering it, or more accurately, I'm considering purchasing an UNC gold dollar for type purposes, and I had heard that this was a good date to pick.

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As an old type collector, I'd say that date from the 1880s will give you the most coin for the money if you are looking for eye appeal and high grade. I'd generally stay away from the 1873 and '74 gold dollars. The mintages were high, which makes them common dates, but the mint pushed the dickens out of the dies, which resulted in poorly struck coins. These coins often come with the letters of the world "LIBERTY" missing or the whole thng missing entirely.


Getting hung up on ONE date for a type coin can prompt you to mess a good deal. It's better to open to a nice coin and not get hung up on the date.

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as per the below with these qualifiers


for a true way above average eye appealling AT LEAST solid for the grade


usually strongly prooflike 1881 gold dollar


with original orange gold fully original again prooflike surfaces


in other words NO low end problem dipped out average looking coins A REALLY SPECIAL "MICHAEL" COIN



in pcgs only!! fair retail


ms66 i do not know


ms 65 $2700.00


ms64 $1650


ms63 $900




now lets assume average eye appeal and average for the grade maybe dipped NOT wonderfully original with okie eye appeal nothing special but still ms 65 and pcgs/ngc but these coins if i was buying i would never buy


ms66 $2800

ms65 $1975

ms64 $1200 or less


ms63 $550 or less

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