Best Buy: Pre-Civil War Era Gold Sets For Less Than You Think
We are always looking out for the best opportunities for collectors of U.S. coins to acquire value through our Spotlight coin offers. This month, we have something special - Pre-Civil War dated sets of $5 and $10 Gold Liberties!
Our goal is to offer coins that interest a variety of collectors, at a price point that makes sense and gives you a strong value for your dollar. We look for coins that are undervalued and underappreciated. The coin business has cycles, just like any other major market. We look to take advantage of coins that have been historically important, yet are currently underappreciated in the market. This allows us to provide you, the collector, the best possible numismatic offerings we can find.
Earlier this year, we presented you with an offer of our Gold Rush Era $20 Gold Pieces. This has been our most popular coin this year BY FAR. Clearly, our message resonated with you. Now, we have an offer that can mesh well with coins many of you have purchased previously. More importantly, today’s offer works just as well as a great standalone set for those who weren’t able to take advantage of the Gold Rush offer.
It’s not every day (or every year, for that matter) that a group of pre-Civil War coins are available in an affordable set. Today’s offer brings you strong value, eye appeal and interesting coins that have stood the test of time.
American gold coinage can be divided into two distinct categories: pre and post-Civil War eras. Gold coins minted before the Civil War share three main traits:
1. Their survival rates are shockingly low. During the Civil War, as is often the case during periods of economic duress, the price of gold surged to an astronomical level. In fact, gold reached such a lofty point… most coins were worth more dead, than alive. That is, the melt value of a gold coin exceeded its face value.
As a result of this phenomenon, tremendous amounts of American gold coins were sent to the melting pot during the Civil War. The few specimens that survived would face another gauntlet in 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt banned the private ownership of gold.
Having faced two eras of mass melting, pre-Civil War gold coins are extremely scarce with a miniscule percentage of their original mintages still in existence.
2. They are typically found in low grade and/or damaged condition. Antebellum gold coins basically went straight into circulation; they were almost never kept as bank reserves, souvenirs or keepsakes. These coins were workhorses of everyday commerce and would only survive in high grades by accident. Tragically, a good percentage of pre-war gold coins in Uncirculated were salvaged from shipwrecks—and most of those coins are $20 gold pieces.
To find a pre-war $5 Half Eagle or $10 Eagle in Uncirculated is highly unusual. Furthermore, many coins were subjected to harsh cleaning, graffiti and other forms of damage.
3. They lack the motto “In God We Trust.” Americans became much more religiously oriented during the war — and some wanted to declare that God was on the side of the Union.
In 1861, a reverend petitioned U.S. Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase, to add a statement recognizing God on American coinage. Surprisingly, Chase agreed and ordered U.S. Mint Director, James Pollock, to add a motto or emblem along these lines to the money.
The Two Cent piece was the first to display “In God We Trust.” In 1866, this motto appeared on America’s $5, $10 and $20 gold coins. Most numismatists call pre-1866 $5 and $10 pieces 'No Motto Fives' and 'No Motto Tens'
Rarity and Values
Simply put, No Motto gold coins are prohibitively rare in all states of preservation — but are extreme rarities in high grades. NGC Population Reports reveal exactly how scarce they actually are. Of all 1839-1908 $5 Half Eagles graded by NGC, just 9% are No Motto. In other words, No Motto Half Eagles are approximately 11x rarer.
The stats are even more extreme for the 1838-1907 $10 Eagle. Fewer than 5% of all $10 Gold Eagles are of the No Motto variety, making them 20x rarer than the With Motto version.
These figures do not take into account the fact many With Motto $5’s and $10’s have not been certified. In actuality, No Motto $5 and $10 pieces are probably more than 15-30x rarer than their With Motto counterparts.
Studying the NGC population reports reveals another interesting fact - 88% of all No Motto Half Eagles certified by NGC are circulated, while 96% of all No Motto Eagles were assigned circulated grades. Meaning, finding a No Motto $5 or $10 in Uncirculated is a wildly difficult feat. The overwhelming majority of pre-Civil War Half Eagles and Eagles are well-worn and show obvious signs of circulation. Take a look at the population of the most common $5 and $10 Liberties (1881 and 1894 respectively) and compare them to the combined population from 1841-1861. The most common date by itself has more than double the existing population of the entire 20 year grouping of 'No Motto' Liberties.
|Year||Total NGC Population||Average X Rarer than 1881|
|Year||Total NGC Population||Average X Rarer than 1894|
Despite the extreme rarity of the pre-Civil War No Motto $5’s and $10’s, they remain surprisingly affordable in today’s marketplace. We were surprised to discover problem-free, lightly circulated pieces were trading for less than double the cost of a ‘generic’ With Motto specimen. For a relatively modest premium, one can buy a historic American gold coin from the 1840’s and 1850’s. We feel these No Motto pieces are an outstanding bargain, and we have been trying to locate them for over a year.
After searching every resource, we were able to assemble (30) two-piece No Motto gold sets. These sets consist of an 1839-1866 No Motto $5 Half Eagle, and an 1838-1866 No Motto $10 Eagle, both certified by PCGS or NGC in Extremely Fine (XF) or About Uncirculated (AU) condition.
We specifically chose problem-free coins with solid eye appeal and clean surfaces. Many of these coins are dated between 1849 and 1857, as this was when California gold began flowing throughout the United States economy.
As many of you will recall, we made available a group of Gold Rush Era $20 Liberties in September. These No Motto $5 and $10 gold pieces are mostly from the same era and would complement your Gold Rush $20’s quite nicely, allowing you to assemble a three-piece Pre-Civil War gold set.
All pre-Civil War American coins, regardless of metal, are quite scarce and difficult to locate. When encountered, they are typically in poor condition and many times the price of a common specimen. Pre-war gold coins were melted in massive quantities during the 1860’s and once again in the 1930’s.
Despite their extreme rarity, No Motto $5 Half Eagles and $10 Eagles remain surprisingly affordable. For less than double the cost of an extremely common With Motto coin, savvy investors and collectors can buy a dramatically rare No Motto specimen.
These two-coin sets represent a fantastic amount of value and history for the price. They contain two United States gold coins, both certified by PCGS or NGC, graded XF or AU. This is one of the most unique sets we’ve had the privilege to offer. Just like our Gold Rush Era $20’s, which sold out quickly, we expect this group to vanish in no time as well.
Finding pre-Civil War coins is hard enough. Finding pre-Civil War coins in a set, with great eye appeal and at an affordable price, doesn’t happen very often at all. We are always looking out for you when we present these offers and this one is no different. With clear collector ties to our previous offer in September, these coins give you a chance to obtain up to a 3-piece pre-Civil War set. This is a limited time offer with the following available:
(12) Sets: 1841-1861 $5 & $10 Liberty in XF Condition: Call for price & availability
(18) Sets: 1841-1861 $5 & $10 Liberty in AU Condition: Call for price & availability
Please note all coins sold will be NGC or PCGS certified. As with many of our offers, these coins will not last long, and they may not come around again for a while. Take advantage of this special offer by calling us at 800-831-0007, or by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Prices listed include shipping, handling and insurance, but prices are subject to change due to market fluctuation and product availability.