Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo Charges Ahead!

Posted by Jim Bisognani on 9/19/2013

Stack's Bowers' Ford XXIV Takes Stage in Philly. Heritage Presents Collectors With Diverse US & World Offerings In Long Beach.

While demand for rare coins is still intense, the thundering hooves of the Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo are causing quite a stir within the market. All this excitement with the new release may have taken a little of the focus away from the rare coin market as many collectors and dealers are securing as many of the coins as possible.

Brian Hodge of LMRC concurs. “The market has been much softer on rare coins the last two weeks because of the launch of the Reverse Proof Buffalo, which is sold out from the Mint and has been, without a doubt, the hottest modern product to ever be released. However, now that supplies are shortening on the Reverse Proofs, I’m noticing that rare coin sales are picking up again as companies are switching their focus back and I expect Philadelphia and Long Beach will change the game again kick starting the fall.”

Certainly James Earle Fraser’s iconic rendering hasn’t seen such a stampede of action since the design was first introduced, replacing Liberty on the nickel a century ago.

Per Ian Russell, President of Great Collections, “The Reverse Proof Buffalo is extremely hot — there is demand from all aspects of the market. NGC coins in Proof 70 are selling for over $2,100 in our sales (or $460 above the US Mint issue price of $1,640).”

According to my research, NGC-certified PF 70 Reverse Proof Buffalo coins encapsulated with the 2013 Chicago ANA Pedigree have sold for as much as $4,500 on eBay! Current action reveals that the market is still quite lively with these coins going in the $3,500+ price range. According to the US Mint’s website a total of 47,836 Reverse Proof Gold Buffaloes were ordered as of the September 5, 2013 cutoff date. The production values from the US Mint are also quite lofty. As I write this, according to the NGC Census, 1,304 coins have been submitted and nearly 75% have been awarded the perfect PF 70 designation! Personally, nothing is as striking as the Reverse Proof Gold Buffalo encapsulated in the NGC black Retro Holder. This makes for an enormously impressive eye appealing display!

Ian also relayed to me that although some dealers have reported a few weeks of weaker sales, they have not experienced this. The well respected California dealer reasoned, “I guess our auctions are partially fueled by the coins on offer, and we've had some great coins over the past few weeks. We just secured the "Mastro" Collection of US Coins—a large consignment we have valued at $1.5 million—featuring more than 40 Proof Morgans and over 150 $20 gold pieces, etc. It will be sold mostly unreserved in our October, November and December auctions.”

Well-liked John Brush of DLRC relayed, “Business has been good for us the last few weeks. The upcoming Philly and Long Beach shows are unfortunately back-to-back which will affect the attendance from both, but we're hopeful that they will represent some good opportunities for buying some fresh coins. Philly is a great "coin town" and a lot of East Coast collectors enjoy traveling there, so we're hopeful that the retail presence will be strong.”

As world events seem to have tempered for the moment toward a more peaceful solution, the lure and safe haven of gold has been diminished. The yellow metal has reeled back much of the gains achieved over the last few months. Yet this mild falling from favor has not equated to a lack of demand for rare coins. As a well-known industry market maker told me, “The metals activity has not deterred the size and scope of my customers’ requests and demands. I have active want lists that are open for $500 to $200,000 coins. If anything, the brief so-called lull in the market expressed by some is just until the next wave of coins or major show is open for competition. Collectors' and investors' pockets are still deep and ready to buy for the long term.”

In my last report I referenced the Goldberg’s and Bonhams' SoCal auctions. This installment I will chronicle and highlight the host auctions of both the Philadelphia and Long Beach Expos giving my readers a chance to take advantage of these marvelous early fall offerings.

First up, the East Coast beckons with the Whitman Philadelphia Expo on September 19-21. Stack’s Bowers is the host auctioneer and offers a historic and eclectic blend of Early Federal issues, political medals, memorabilia and rare artifacts. As we go to press, Stack’s Bowers’ phenomenal Philadelphia Auction and the John Ford Jr. Collection, Part XXIV are underway at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the Whitman Expo.

Per Brian Kendrella, President of Stack’s Bowers, “As you know, the Ford Collection was graded by NGC. It is the highlight of the sale. There is also a good US coin section and token and medal section.”

Without a doubt The Ford XXIV is truly as advertised: “The sale of the Ford Collection of political Americana is the finest offering made to the public in the last eighty years..."

Certainly the scope and breadth of Ford’s material can never be replicated. These wonderful artifacts with illustrious pedigrees from the likes of Boyd, Ryder, John and Randall McCoy and such will excite the novice as well as the most sophisticated collector. Antiquities, memorabilia and exonumia from Jefferson to FDR await bidders. The collection of American political tokens, medals and badges is certainly a once in a lifetime event. Many of the historic relics have not been seen by the public since the candidates they depict were running for office! Good luck to all participating in the sale.

There are also numerous high grade and rare coins, Colonials, tokens and medals graded by NGC that appear in Stack’s Bowers’ Philadelphia Auction. Four live floor sessions of the fabulous sale will run September 18-20 with an Internet only venue ending September 24.

Several NGC standouts include:

  • 1900 Indian Cent NGC MS 67 RD
  • 1810 Classic Head Large Cent NGC AU 55
  • 1914-S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 66
  • 1806 Draped Bust Quarter NGC MS 64
  • 1825 Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC MS 66
  • 1869 Seated Liberty Dollar NGC PF 66 Ultra Cameo
  • 1879-O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 65
  • 1909-O Indian Half Eagle NGC AU 58
  • 1884-CC Liberty Double Eagle NGC MS 63
  • 1893-CC Liberty Double Eagle NGC MS 62
  • 1908 $20 No Motto Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle NGC MS 68

At the conclusion of the Philadelphia Expo the transition will be a swift one to the West Coast as dealers and collectors will take advantage of the upcoming pre-Long Beach sales and, of course, view the over 7,000 lots appearing in the Heritage Long Beach Signature Sale. Running September 25-29 the diverse catalog will include six live floor sessions. High grade and diverse US offerings include the following NGC-certified specialties:

  • 1864 L on Ribbon Indian Cent NGC PF 65 RD
  • 1867 Shield Nickel NGC PF 64 Cameo
  • 1830 Capped Bust Half Dime NGC PF 66
  • 1831 Large Letters Capped Bust Quarter NGC PF 66
  • 1853 Arrows and Rays Liberty Seated Quarter NGC MS 67
  • 1826 Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC PF 65
  • 1829 Capped Bust Half Dollar NGC PF 65
  • 1908 Indian Half Eagle NGC MS 67
  • 1861-O Liberty Double Eagle NGC AU 55
  • 1866-S Motto Liberty Motto Double Eagle NGC MS 62

World coins also take the stage in a big way in Southern California. On September 25-27 Heritage’s World and Ancient Coin Signature auction will feature nearly 5,700 lots up for grabs in four live floor sessions. Internet sessions on September 30-October 1 will round out the sale.

NGC world coin highlights include the following:

  • Bohemia 1637 Prague Ferdinand II 10 Ducats NGC AU 50
  • Brazil 1780-D Maria I & Pedro III Gold 3200 Reis NGC MS 62
  • China Republic (1916) Gold Dollar NGC AU 53
  • China Republic (1924) Gold Dollar NGC MS 62
  • Hong Kong 1865 10 Cents NGC MS 64
  • Hong Kong 1872-H 20 Cents NGC MS 66
  • Japan Showa (1930) Gold 5 Yen NGC MS 67
  • Mexico Republic 1835-Ho Cap & Rays 8 Reales NGC VF 30
  • Russia 1883 CNB Alexander III NGC PF 63 Cameo
  • Straits Settlements 1874 5 Cents NGC MS 65

The fall campaign is off and running in a big way. Wow! Four major auctions in less than a two week span! Enjoy the great hobby my friends and try to avoid jet lag!

Until next time, happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani has written extensively on US coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently resides in Southern California and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.

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