NumisMedia Market Report: + Grades Commanding Respect

Posted on 2/12/2013

Dealers use various adjectives to describe coins that are better than average in a grade. These include "premium quality," "superb eye appeal," "sexy" and "flashy," among others and are used to quantify coins that are well above the norm but do not quite make the next grade.

Over the last few years we have monitored the use of the + designation, offered by NGC and PCGS. The majority of the coins with these labels will typically command sizable premiums. Dealers and collectors have been pursuing these upper quality coins in a very aggressive manner for the last year or so.

The following list contains a variety of coins sold over the last month, mostly from the Heritage FUN Sale. For comparison we have listed the current FMV and the price at which it sold along with the + designation.

Denomination Grade Current FMV Price Realized +
1878 CC Seated Quarter MS 65 $4,810 $8,813 +
1878 CC Morgan Dollar MS 64 $600 $999 +
1879 O Morgan Dollar MS 63 $216 $411 +
1884 CC Morgan Dollar MS 66 $910 $1,116 +
1885 CC Morgan Dollar MS 66 $2,130 $2,820 +

As you can see the premiums for these coins can be substantial. It is all a matter of how many coins are available in a specific grade and how much eye appeal there is for the coin. As the market gravitates toward the + coins, the spreads between the FMV and FMV+ could widen substantially. Where the quantities of coins are high in a specific grade the spread between the FMV and these two premium coins will be much less. For example, the FMV for an 1881 S Morgan Dollar in MS 65 is currently $175. The FMV+ coin is $200.

In many cases, a variety of these coins with the same date and grade can sell for various prices. Every coin stands on its own and will trade as such. When there are five identically certified coins in an auction, the highest buyer will purchase the best coin and then he is removed from the buying equation. Now the four remaining coins will typically command less money. One of the few times an exact price can be pinpointed is when a one of a kind coin sells.

The level of interest in + coins has increased immensely over the last two years. Even though a higher premium is likely for a coin with a + designation, the market may be limited by the price of the next higher grade especially if the next grade is widely available. In the end, it comes down to the demands of the buyer and the seller and how much eye appeal actually appears on the coin. With either of these two labels comes an added assurance that most dealers will have interest in your coins when it is time to sell them.

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.