NumisMedia Market Report: Dealers and Market Adjusting to New Levels

Posted on 9/15/2009

This month, NumisMedia reports that there’s plenty of money for rare coins — if they are priced in accord with today’s levels. There are many exciting highlights from recent auctions, including issues that haven’t been available for many years.

There may not be as many record-setting auctions lately, but there are some true individual rarities that have attracted very intense competition. Heritage Auction Galleries hosted a pre-ANA sale that produced nearly $25 million; there is plenty of money for rare coins if they are priced relative to today’s levels. The 1880 $4 Gold Stella, Coiled Hair, in NGC PR 62, sold for $546,250. This was well above what dealers were offering to pay in the wholesale market for a coin that had not been on the market for quite some time. An 1856-O $20 Gold in NGC AU 58 realized $460,000. This is the rarest of all Carson City $20 Liberties and one of the rarest in this series. With an original mintage of only 2,250 coins, there are only 22 certified by NGC and PCGS. The following list of highlights from the Heritage Sale includes many issues that have not been available for several years.

Denomination   Grade   Price Realized  
1797 Lg Cent Rev 97 Stems NGC MS 65 BN $17,250
1858 Flying Eagle Cent LL NGC PR 67 Cam $41,400
1918 / 7 D Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS 64 $77,625
1794 Half Dime NGC MS 66 $69,000
1827/3 Bust Quarter Res NGC PR 66 $69,000
1841 Seated Quarter NGC PR 66 $207,000
1844 Seated Quarter NGC PR 66 $276,000
1839 Half Dol No Drapery NGC MS 65 $94,875
1795 Dr Bust Dollar NGC MS 64 $109,250
1884 CC Morgan Dollar NGC PR 66 Cam $126,500
1796 $2½ Gold W/Stars NGC MS 62 $172,500
1804 $2½ 13 Star Rev PCGS AU 58 $322,000
1854-S $2 ½ Gold NGC VF 35 $253,000
1795 $5 Sm Eagle S/D NGC MS 65 P/L $345,000
1920-S $10 Indian PCGS MS 66 $345,000
1933 $10 Indian PCGS MS 65 $460,000
1920-S $20 Saint PCGS MS 64 $138,000
1927-S $20 Saint PCGS MS 65 $126,500


Bowers and Merena Auctions conducted the official ANA Auction and reported sales of over $12 million. Included was a long run of Private and Territorial Gold. Many of these coins are quite rare in circulated condition so the entry prices are quite high. An 1852 Humbert $50 Gold sold for $70,150 in grade AU 58; a Wass, Molitor & Co. $50 Gold brought $33,350 and this coin was graded VF 30. A rare 1860 Mormon $5 Gold, in MS 61, went to the high bidder for $54,625. Below is a partial list of other rarities and the prices realized.

Denomination   Grade   Price Realized  
1864-L Indian Cent PCGS PR 64 Rd $94,875
1877 Indian Cent PCGS PR 66 Rd $14,375
1922 No D Lincoln Cent NGC MS 64 RB $46,000
1796 Dr Bust Quarter PCGS MS 64 $103,500
1823 Bust Half Dollar NGC MS 67 $21,275
1873 CC Seated Half N/Arr NGC MS 63 $23,000
1796 $2 ½ Gold W/Stars NGC MS 63 $163,875
1808 $2 ½ Gold PCGS MS 61 $161,000
1915 $2 ½ Indian NGC PR 67 $36,225
1862 $3 Gold NGC PR 66 UCam $74,750
1879 $4 Gold Flowing Hair PCGS PR 63 Cam $129,375
1915 S Pan Pac $50 Oct PCGS MS 64 $80,500
1915 S Pan Pac $50 Rd PCGS MS 64 $91,425

Coins from the Carson City Mint are more popular than ever. The Bowers and Merena Auction contained several Twenty Dollar Liberties that attracted some very competitive bidding from serious collectors. The 1877 CC in MS 61 sold for $20,700; the highest grade certified is MS 62. This coin had a lot of eye appeal. The 1878 CC in AU 58 brought $15,525, which seemed like a bargain to its new owner. This was thought to be the nicest 1878 CC for the grade that had been available for a few years and it cost considerably less than others that had previously sold. The 1891 CC was another coin that does not come on the market very often in AU 58 and higher. This coin sold for $17,825 and looked like it was totally original. Some Carson City Twenties did not sell in this sale, but it was most likely due to expectations that were too high for the current market.

Most dealers, even ones who did not have a great ANA, are still convinced there are thousands of avid collectors looking to buy coins. However, it appears that these collectors are not willing to pay for coins at previous price levels. Thus, we have seen an onslaught of declines over the summer months. Add to this an increasing amount of sellers in the coin market, more than we have seen in the last several years, and it is easy to see why some series are suffering harsh declines. This is obviously not a good situation for the owners of coins who have been forced to sell into this market. Yet, it appears to be a great opportunity for dealers and collectors looking to add to their inventories and collections.

Buffalo Nickels have been hit hard in the last few months. There are more rare dates appearing on the market than the current group of collectors can handle. As we have said before, when you remove the most competitive buyers from a market, bidding activity can fall 10% to 30% in most major auctions. Now, instead of rare issues selling at a premium, they sell at discounts. The competition may be just as intense, but at much lower levels as buyers take advantage of the current market atmosphere. The Heritage Sale contained many high-grade coins that were bringing premiums over a year ago. In this sale, many coins were selling at discounts. Yet, some of these rarities were still bringing prices within 10% of the reported FMV. As you can see from these auctions, buyers are not afraid to spend their money if they think the coins are rare, have good eye appeal for the grade, and are priced according to current market levels.

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.

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