A FUN Start to 2007

Posted by NumisMedia on 2/1/2007

Numismedia reports on all the major highlights of this year's massive FUN show and how it might affect future coin prices.

The FUN Show was considered a tremendous success by the majority of dealers and collectors in attendance. Some thought the timing of the show could hurt overall sales because it was the first week of the year. However, attendance was strong throughout as buyers and sellers traded coins fast and furiously; retail sales were solid as collectors came to not only see what was available, but to purchase coins they wanted for their collections. Dealers catering to the public were very pleased with the final results.

Dealers buying and selling strictly with other dealers were very aggressive from the opening of the show until the very end. Most evenings, some dealers nearly had to be run out of the show because they were not done with the day's trades. If you could not make money in this market, it may be time to look for other employment. However, some dealers feel there is an air of suspense in this market. Which coins are primed to move higher and which are likely to struggle throughout the year? This is the question that will be answered as 2007 develops.

As for the major auctions held just before and during the FUN Convention, according to dollar volume, they will go down in history as the highest total of prices realized in a one-week period. Something in the neighborhood of $85 million in rare coins and currency were sold in three major auctions. Superior Galleries knocked down just over $2 million, while Stack's realized $7.4 million. Adding to this total is the newest record, set by Heritage Auction Galleries again, at slightly over $75 million, besting their previous record of nearly $62 million at the 2005 FUN Sale. Where does all this money come from and how does the market support this kind of volume?

With this much money spent in auctions, there are certainly a number of highlights to report. We will list a select few to show the willingness to spend big bucks on just the right coins. In the Superior Sale, an 1879 Flowing Hair $4 Gold sold for $82,800 in NGC PR58. They also sold an 1862 $5 Gold Liberty in PCGS PR64 Cameo for $47,150. The very next lot was an 1869 $5 Gold in PCGS PR65 Cameo that realized the same $47,150. Superior also auctioned two 1776 Continental Dollars, one in PCGS AU58 and the other in PCGS MS64; they realized $44,850 and $138,000, respectively.

The Stack's Sale was full of key date rarities and many brought levels that were near or above the current FMV prices. A 1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel in NGC MS63 realized $55,200; the 1918/7 S Standing Liberty Quarter in PCGS MS65 brought $100,625 and the same date in MS62 Full Head graded by PCGS sold for $57,500; a very rare 1922 Matte PR25 Peace Dollar graded by PCGS was sold for $27,600; a 1908 PR66 $5 Indian realized $63,250 as certified by PCGS; an 1801 $10 Gold in NGC MS63 was taken home by a happy bidder at $49,450; a superb 1866 with Motto $10 Gold in NGC PR66 Cameo was hammered at $109,250; but the highlight just maybe was the sale of the 1870 $20 Gold in PCGS PR66, which realized $368,000.

The Heritage FUN Sale was everything you could imagine when hosting an auction of this magnitude. The number of true rarities and the prices realized were phenomenal. The high-grade $10 Indian and $20 Saints will cause us to revise our FMV prices for these rare date issues. In some cases, we will be able to post FMV levels for the first time where we had no listings prior to this sale. The 1907 $20 Gold Ultra High Relief with Lettered Edge, in PCGS PR68 changed hands at $1,840,000 and the 1839/8 $10 Gold, Type of 1838, in NGC Ultra Cameo PR67 realized a healthy $1,610,000. Another High Relief in PCGS MS69 sold for $546,250; while a 1933 $10 Indian in PCGS MS65 finished at $546,250; a Rolled Rim 1907 $10 Indian sold for $402,500 in PCGS MS67; and a 1920 S $10 Indian was taken off the market at $402,500 in PCGS MS66. It was a wonderful week for collectors with the wherewithal to afford these coins. Please visit the Web sites of the auction companies to view the entire prices realized for each auction.

Over the last several years, millions of dollars have been pouring into numismatics as thousands of dealers, collectors, and (frankly) investors feel that this is one of the best markets for cash reserves. In addition, the potential for profits is well above any other form of savings or investing. Granted, you need to take baby steps as you learn about the nuances of buying coins; it is a tricky business and we all need to learn which coins have potential versus the ones that may remain stagnant or dwindle in value over time. As intelligent buyers, you need to know which grading services command the greatest respect and potentially the highest value for your coins. This is one of the easiest aspects of the coin business. Simply call around the country and ask dealers which coins they favor when it comes to buying and selling. The overwhelming answer is NGC and PCGS. Any other grading service is normally discounted from these two services.

Bear in mind, the leading factor in more buyers entering the coin market over the last few years is the confidence in the grading of coins by NGC and PCGS. Without their expertise and solid reputations, the coin market today would be little different than it was in the early 70s. Along with their grading expertise, we are afforded census reports that offer additional information about availability of all coins within a specific grade. These reports have become invaluable tools when it comes to searching out understated rarities. We have used these reports many times when trying to determine the FMV for specific coins when little information can be found. Sometimes the most common coins listed by their original mintage figures may be that rare diamond in the rough, so to speak. More and more dealers and collectors are using the census reports to identify future rarities that may still be undervalued as listed by our current FMV prices.

Earlier, we alluded to the overall condition of the coin market. After monitoring and speaking with numerous dealers and collectors in the last couple of months, it is obvious to most numismatists that the coin market is moving in the direction of tiers once again. The whole market is not on fire. There are various levels of activity within the whole of numismatics. The most common coins seem to be very flat as the majority of collectors already have these in their collections. We may see some drifting of the FMV for these coins for the rest of the year, unless there is a major movement into numismatics from outside sources. “Outside sources” refers to demand other than what we are currently experiencing. The softness in common coins may have been created when demand for the modern rarities picked up. There has been a major shift in demand to these modern rarities because the collector (and investor) receives the benefit of the value of the metal along with the grade of the coin. Many of these modern collectors feel there is little downside risk for most of these coins because they are quite confident that gold, silver, and platinum will continue to rise in the coming years. Built-in security is a wonderful thing as long as this holds true.

This article is a guest article written by:

NumisMedia

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