Market Alive with Opportunities

Posted on 2/17/2009

This year’s FUN Convention was proof that the coin market is still alive and has evolved significantly, and collectors are finding plenty of promising opportunities.

A guest article from NumisMedia

Even though it lacked the enthusiasm of last year’s show, dealers and collectors were still quite busy at the recent FUN Convention. Nevertheless, the results from the show have established a downward trend with FMV prices declining in several areas of the market. Deep Mirror Prooflike Dollars saw many of the highest grades selling at 20 percent less than their purchase price from a year ago. Buyers for Early Type coins found some fantastic bargains relative to previous FMV price levels established at the ANA in Baltimore less than a few months previous.

In the last three weeks since FUN, there have been thousands of adjustments in nearly all series. Yet, not all of the changes are declines; many issues continue to rise. Copper is very strong, especially for accurately graded coins that do not appear on the market very often. We are seeing many increases for Half and Large Cents that have very low populations. Collectors for these coins are very aggressive and will continue to be so because they know that quality coins with problem-free planchets are few and far between. You can typically find many of these coins at auction with problems. Whether they are pitted, have scratches or are even repaired, they still attract lots of bidding attention and will usually bring about 25 to 50 percent of the current FMV for properly graded coins. With this much attention for problem coins, you just know that nice coins will bring out the more advanced collectors.

Indian and Lincoln Cents bring out some very aggressive buyers when the highest grades are offered in a major sale. In the Heritage Sale, an 1864 with L on Ribbon brought $11,500 for an NGC MS 66 Red. The only MS 68 1902 Red graded by either service brought $13,800 in an NGC holder. There were several lots of the key 1877 Cent in Red and Brown and in Red that realized $8,000 to $8,600 in MS 64. This is always a popular coin. In the Lincoln series, a 1922 No D Strong Reverse MS 63 Brown Cent sold for $16,580 in an NGC holder. A 1909-S VDB in MS 66 Red, certified by PCGS, brought $14,950, while a like certified coin brought $18,400 at the Heritage Sale in Long Beach this past September. It is tough to compare coins by grade and even tougher when they are made of copper. Nevertheless, it does suggest that the market may have hit a ceiling and buyers are now being a little more conservative.

Original Barber Half Dollars are always in demand. Heritage presented quite a few high-grade Barber Halves for auction, many the finest known, that brought prices well in advance of previous FMV prices. The 1911-D in MS 67 sold for $25,300; none have been graded higher. The 1907-D in MS 67 is one of the most spectacular coins we have ever seen. This original toned coin realized $53,188 and surely made an astute bidder very happy. The 1904-S is the most valuable Barber Half in all Mint State grades. This one graded MS 66 and brought $80,500, well above the previous FMV of $60,450. For more prices realized for the many Barber Halves, as well as the rest of this sale, please visit the Heritage Web site. The following list contains a few of the most important highlights from the Heritage Sale.

Denomination   Grade   Price Realized
1841 Seated Quarter   NGC PR 66   $299,000
1844 Seated Quarter   NGC PR 66    $299,000
1853 Arrows & Rays Quarter   NGC PR 66 Cam    $230,000 
1889 CC Morgan Dollar   PCGS MS 68    $531,875 
1892-S Morgan Dollar   PCGS MS 67    $460,000 
1893-S Morgan Dollar   NGC MS 65    $299,000 
1880 $4 Gold Coiled Hair   NGC PR 62    $575,000 
1815 $5 Gold   NGC MS 64    $460,000 
1930-S $10 Indian   PCGS MS 67    $299,000 
1933 $10 Indian   PCGS MS 65    $488,750 
1915-S Pan-Pac $50 Oct   NGC MS 67    $207,000 


The results from bourse sales and the Heritage Auctions are evidence that the market still has plenty of money available for the right coins. Heritage sold more than $50 million in their numerous sessions. Granted, a year ago, the prices realized may have been more than $60 million, but that was then and this is now. If you consider the fact that many millions of dollars of business were transacted between dealers and collectors at FUN, even in this slow market, you can see how far our industry has evolved. Twenty years ago, when the market retreated 20 percent, sales were very difficult to complete because buyers were virtually nonexistent, not interested at any price. Today, there are still plenty of buyers, just at new price levels. We have not seen a downward cycle like this for many years; it will be interesting to see how the market responds.

An inventory overload has created the bargains in today’s market. The excess is a result of the many economically depressed collectors who were forced into selling in a soft coin market. Some dealers have lowered their buy prices, especially for coins they already have in inventory, to reduce some of this excess. Many believe the coin market will begin to improve in the second quarter of the year. In the meantime, there are plenty of bargains out there. It is just a matter of your budget and being in the right place at the right time. The right place could be in southern California, as the Long Beach Coin Expo is the next major event on the calendar. Heritage will be in the limelight again, hosting another Signature Sale at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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.