Numismedia Market Report: Assembling a Dream Portfolio of Rare Coins

Posted on 5/14/2013

If you had the opportunity to build a million dollar portfolio, you may dream of starting with the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. Of course, the reality is that this nickel is worth quite a bit more than a million dollars.

The Walton 1913 Liberty Head Nickel just sold for $3,172,500 in the Heritage Platinum Sale at the Central States Convention in Schaumburg, IL. This PF 63 nickel, authenticated in 2003 at the Baltimore ANA, had been lost for 41 years; in fact, at one time, it was mistakenly declared to be a fake. With only 5 coins known and its distinguished history, this is indeed a coin that dreams are made of and the attraction could certainly build a fresh fascination for new numismatists for years to come. The following graph shows the path of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel over the past eight years when the Fair Market Value was $2,500.000. With no trades the market was clearly waiting for the next signal for valuation.

Again, since there are only five known 1913 Liberty Head Nickels, we can’t include any of them in our million dollar portfolio, so let’s take a look at a few other options.

Today’s portfolios are a mixed bag depending on what approach you take toward collecting and investing. If you look for extreme rarities, it would not take many coins to fill your million dollar portfolio. However, if you want a little more diversity, you can spread the same amount of money into several areas of the market. Let’s begin with a six coin package of limited availability coins followed by a more reasonable approach to our million dollar portfolio. Listed is the coin with the grade and the number of coins certified by NGC and PCGS combined for the grade along with the current FMV.


Portfolio #1

Denomination Grade Total Certified NGC/PCGS FMV
1794 Half Dime MS 65 10 $88,400
1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel MS 65 4 $262,500
1796 Bust Dime MS 66 14 $115,630
1804 Bust Quarter MS 62 4 $162,500
1795 Half Dollar MS 64 9 $212,500
1795 Dollar Three Leaves MS 63 11 $175,000
Total FMV $1,016,530


Portfolio #2

Denomination Grade Total Certified NGC/PCGS FMV
1884 Three Cent Nickel MS 66 5 $22,750
1885 Three Cent Nickel MS 66 16 $23,400
1880 Shield Nickel MS 65 10 $66,950
1795 Half Dime MS 65 13 $42,250
1796 Bust Dime MS 65 14 $96,880
1805 Bust Quarter MS 64 8 $34,450
1795 Bust Half MS 63 16 $93,130
1799 Bust Dollar MS 64 24 $95,310
1851 Seated Dollar MS 64 7 $85,630
1878 CC Trade Dollar MS 64 12 $76,880
1884 S Morgan Dollar MS 64 22 $137,500
1802/1 $2 ½ Gold MS 63 14 $81,250
1800 $5 Gold MS 64 13 $70,850
1800 $10 Gold MS 63 19 $86,450
Total FMV $1,013,680

In reality, both of these two dream portfolios would be very difficult to fulfill. However, Portfolio #2 is much more attainable than Portfolio #1. The first portfolio contains coins that are very close to the highest grade available. The second group is mostly Early Type coins, with the exceptions of the Seated, Trade, and Morgan Dollars. Most of the coins in the second set were selected because there are multiple higher grades available. Finding gaps in the population reports and price charts in lower and higher grades can reveal strength in the current price and predict future stability in value.

While the coins in Portfolio #2 are more likely obtainable, there is still a question of market availability. These coins are not found in dealer inventories or in major auctions very often. But that is why they were selected; these are the types of coins that most collectors and investors are looking to put away for the long term. Most dealers would recommend coins that have stood the test of time, building a portfolio of traditionally heavy demanded coins. For true stability, the shrewd investor will consider areas where populations are low and supplies are not going to increase.

There are hundreds of other coins that could have been carefully chosen that would undoubtedly show eventual long term results and be just as effective as the coins selected above. Building a portfolio for the long term takes time and research.

This article is a guest article written by:

The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

More in this issue...