Sweet Tea Currency Notes, Virtually Flawless 1936 Satin Proof Buffalo Featured in DLRC Auction #956 – Bidding Ends Sunday!
By CoinWeek .....
On 8:00 pm Sunday night, David Lawrence Rare Coins will wrap up Auction #956. Featuring 385 certified coins and 49 notes from the Sweet Tea Collection, the latest lot offering offers collectors of all budgets and interest areas an opportunity to add high-quality material to their collection without paying the high buyer’s premiums that other auction companies charge. In addition, David Lawrence Rare Coins offers free standard shipping for winning bidders.
Sweet Tea Currency Notes
The Sweet Tea Currency Collection features a variety of nearly uncirculated and uncirculated high-denomination notes, Treasury notes, and Educational notes, among other desirable pieces of vintage U.S. paper money in denominations of
10 cents to $1,000.
Of note to collectors of the quirky $2 denomination are examples from seven different types, led by a PCGS Choice Uncirculated 63 example of the 1896 Educational Note (Current Bid $4,601 against a DLRC presale estimate of $5,250 USD); an 1891 $2 Treasury Note, featuring the likeness of General James A. McPherson (Fr. 358 variety, Current Bid: $2,000 against a presale estimate of $2,275); and the well-known 1918 $2 Federal Reserve “Battleship Note” in PCGS AU55 (Current Bid $1,600 against a DLRC Pre-Sale Estimate $1,750)
1936 Buffalo Satin Proof PCGS PR68 CAC
For 25 years, production of James Earle Fraser’s Indian Head (Buffalo) nickel caused untold consternation for the engravers, production staff, and management at the United States Mint.
The five-cent coin, now considered by collectors to represent the pinnacle of American coin art, was a technical nightmare.
Fraser’s first iteration, referred to today as the Type I, had a number of design challenges, led by Fraser’s decision to render the coin’s denomination in relief atop a mound. As a result of this, the denomination--which needed to remain visible on service coins--was not protected against wear.
In addition, the date, which was also in relief on the shoulder of the Indian figure on the obverse, was also susceptible to wear – this explains why so many early date Buffalos are dateless – or date restored using a chemical process.
The situation of coin art getting in the way of practicality was nothing new for the U.S. Mint, or coin engravers in general. The Mint had issues with Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ designs for the $20 double eagle gold coin before, and would have them again three years later when Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s Standing Liberty quarter design debuted.
Despite the fact that the Buffalo nickels were so hard to strike up with full features, the design was popular and remains so to this day. And while collectors 60 or 70 years ago literally could have pulled nice examples out of circulation, collectors of today have no choice but to seek them out at auction or at their local coin shop.
Still, superior examples remain elusive.
If one wanted an example of the highest technical striking quality with full details and high states of preservation, a Buffalo nickel in Proof is one of the best options. Unfortunately, the Buffalo nickel Proof series is more limited in availability of dates and number of pieces on the market than its circulation strike counterpart.
The Buffalo nickel in Proof was struck for six of the series' 25 years of production.
The first run of Proofs were produced between 1913 and 1916. These coins were struck in incredibly low numbers (by today’s standards) and are generally more difficult to find than the 1936 and 1937 issues, which mark the only other dates where Buffalo nickels were struck in Proof.
By the numbers, the key to the series is the 1916, with only 600 struck. Approximately three-fifths of that number apparently survive.
For the second tranche of Proof issues struck in 1936 and 1937, the 1936 is scarcer, with just 4,420 Proof Sets produced in that year. PCGS denotes more than 800 grading events for the 1936 in Gem grades or better, with a paltry 42 in the grade of PR68, which is the same grade as the example offered by David Lawrence Rare Coins.
The piece has a current bid of at the time of publication of $7,500 against a Pre-Sale Estimate of $9,750. It has not yet met its reserve.
The last time this example sold at a public auction was in 2016, when Heritage Auctions offered it at the Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction (Lot 3780). In July of last year, the population of PR68s sat at 40 with just one higher. The coin brought $7,932.43.