fundamentally rare coin is one that had a very limited mintage.
All regularly issued business strike and proof coins with
mintages under 10,000 pieces are fundamentally rare in any
condition obtainable. This category includes all early gold
and silver coinage as well as some copper and nickel pieces.
For example all of the quarter eagles of 1796 to 1807 are
in this category.
The largest mintage was in
1807 with 6,812 pieces. Both PCGS and NGC have certified
254 pieces in all grades, and these numbers do not account
for crossovers or resubmissions. Obviously no more than
254 collectors could have one of these certified coins,
making them always in demand. Yet mintages of other years
are significantly lower. The next highest, 1804, is less
than half at 3,327. Both services have 147 combined including
both 13-Star and 14-Star reverses. All early date quarter
eagles are fundamentally rare and would make an excellent
choice for a box of twenty.
conditionally rare coin is one that has a large mintage
but saw much circulation and is common in circulated grades
but rare in uncirculated or almost uncirculated condition.
An example is the 1861 half eagle. It had a mintage of 688,084,
making it a fairly common date. In circulated grades it
retails for less than $600. Yet in Mint State 65 it lists
for $37,050 and in MS66 a whopping $71,500. Clearly upper
mint state grades of this coin are desirable because they
are conditionally rare. NGC has certified 1456 in total
but only 8 in MS65 and 2 in MS66. PCGS has 715 in total
with 7 in MS65 and 1 in MS66. While these examples are sufficient
to make the point, there are numerous other examples one
Some coins appreciate slowly
in value and others jump up quickly. For example, the 1860-O
silver dollar increased from $5,560 to $6,940 since July
2005; however, if we look at the 1860-O in MS65, we see
an increase from $16,880 to $35,930 in that same period
The foregoing are isolated
examples of the kinds of changes in value that quality selected
coins can undergo over time, and these examples are taken
only over the past five years. A box of twenty well chosen
pieces held over time will yield some spectacular results,
and the time to begin with your twenty might never be better
than it is now.