1840 $2.50 Liberty PCGS Proof-53. Traced back to the June 1941 public auction sale of the W. F. Dunham sale conducted by B. Max Mehl. Appearing as lot number 1932 it was at that time described as “proof with cabinet friction” and hammered down at a very respectable $525.
Only two coins are believed to exist. An 1840 Proof is a fantastically rare coin and one professionals would never see in their lifetime. Even the business strike for 1840 is Very Rare, too, as it is estimated that only 100 coins remain in existence today. To-date, this is the only coin graded by either major service, PCGS or NGC.
The current market value for the 1840 $2.50 Liberty in PCGS Proof-53 is unpublished, but Collectors Universe shows a price of $200,000 in a grade of PR64. We note that nowhere does a published price appear anywhere except for Collectors Universe. We also don’t know why there is a published price for an unknown coin – perhaps the CU was thinking the Dunham specimen was a PR64??
Collectors Universe first published the PR64 price on January 2007 at $85,000. In August of that year it jumped to $100,000 and by January of 2008 it was $110,000 – only to rise and plateau to $120,000 in June of 2008. This is completely characteristic of some collector or dealer (or other entity) trying to coax a coin onto the market.
The published price plateaued at $120,000 until January of 2012. From there it began a systematic ascent one again…mirroring the former attempt at coaxing one (?) of these coin(s) out into the market. On January of 2013 the price went to $150,000. On January of 2014 the price went to $175,000. Lastly on January of 2015 the price went to $200,000 where it is today. And still no coin…there are no recent auction records for the issue at all.