1920-D 5C MS (PCGS# 3945)

2012 January 4-8 US Coins & Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction- Orlando #1166

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1920-D 5C MS66 NGC. The 1920-D nickel was produced at the tail end of the 1916-1920 wartime economic boom and demand for minor coinage. It was the last nickel struck in Denver until 1924. As David Lange points out in his 2006 reference, there was a severe economic recession in 1921-22. "The U.S. Mint director's annual reports clearly reveal that there was simply a glut of coins during the early 1920s, and it wasn't until the latter months of 1923 that a demand appeared for additional pieces." For a coin with such a relatively high mintage of 9.4 million pieces, the 1920-D is remarkably difficult to locate above VF. Uncirculated pieces are seldom seen, leading one to believe that most were dropped into circulation and stayed there, as indicated by the quote above. The issue is notable for softness of strike. Presumably the Denver mint set the dies a bit further apart in order to extend die life, leading to overall softness of detail. Nevertheless, this issue is also known for small die cracks, two of which can be readily seen on the obverse of this piece: One extends from the obverse rim at 3 o'clock to the tip of the Indian's nose, the other almost looks like a spider-web network of cracks on the forefront of the Indian's head. The mint luster is bright and satiny, quite unlike the usual metallic sheen seen on most softly struck coins. The centers of each side are not quite brilliant, but close, and the margins are surrounded by deep iridescence. The strike itself is quite strong, especially so for a 1920-D. Only slight high-point softness is seen on the braid, the bison's head, and the tail. Only three MS66 examples have been certified, this is the only one at NGC. We have no record of this coin selling at public auction in recent years. However, two PCGS MS66 pieces sold in 2009 and 2007. Each respectively brought $74,750 and $97,750. From The Teton Ranch Collection.
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