NumisMedia Market Report: Dealers and Collectors Hit the Ground Running as 2010 Begins

Posted on 1/14/2010

January’s official FUN Auction may not have had the record-setting potential of prior years but it sure boasted some tremendous highlights.

John and Sandy Gulde hosted the first show of the year January 3–5 at the International Resort & Spa, just down the street from the Orange County Convention Center, where FUN took place from January 7 to 10. Heritage Galleries hosted the Official FUN Auction January 6 to 10. It may not have had the potential of prior years for a record-setting auction of total prices realized but it sure revealed some tremendous highlights. The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel always brings an air of excitement, even when it is just on display but this one was for sale. This coin is known as the Olsen specimen, but has also been owned by such famous personalities as Colonel Green, King Farouk, and Dr. Jerry Buss, current owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. This coin has been certified as PR 64 by NGC.

The 1927-D $20 Saint Gaudens was also a major highlight of this sale. This Ralph P. Muller piece grades PCGS MS 66. The current pop reports show only eight coins graded MS 66 between NGC and PCGS with only one graded higher as PCGS MS 67. The original mintage was 180,000 but most were melted down during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. There have only been 13 coins certified by the two majors. This date is definitely the focal point of any $20 Saint collection. These sales will provide us with new pricing information for coins that do not trade very often. Other highlights are listed below.

Denomination    Grade   
1943 Lincoln Cent Copper PCGS AU 58
1853 Seated Quarter A/R NGC PR 65 Cameo
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS 65
1892-S Morgan Dollar PCGS MS 65
1879 $4 Gold Flowing Hair NGC PR 67 Cameo
1801 $10 Gold NGC MS 65
1870 CC $20 Gold NGC XF 40
1870 CC $20 Gold $PCGS XF 45

Just prior to the FUN Show, Bowers and Merena Auctions hosted the Orlando Rarities Sale on January 5 in conjunction with the First Show. As the “Rarities” title suggests, this sale was not loaded with multiple lots from every series, yet contained mostly specific dates within classic series. One of the more interesting highlights was the 1851 Augustus Humbert Fifty Dollar gold coin that has a previously unknown engraving error. For Territorial Gold, this PCGS AU 55 attracted the attention of many specialists. Early Gold collectors were interested in the 1802/1 Capped Bust $2 ½ Gold in NGC MS 63. There are only five coins that grade finer with none higher than MS 65. More highlights follow.

Denomination    Grade   
1916 Standing Lib Quarter NGC MS 65 FH
1796 Bust Half 16 Stars PCGS VG 10
1880 Trade Dollar NGC PR 68 Cameo
1879 $4 Gold Flowing Hair NGC PR 66 Cameo
1834 $5 Gold Classic Cr 4 NGC MS 61
1796 $10 Capped Bust NGC MS 61

At the start of 2009, Gold bullion was at $874.50. As the year progressed, Gold soared to over $1,220 and finished just under $1,100. The excitement that was created throughout the year helped produce a tremendous amount of sales for the coin industry, let alone the US Mint. The 2009 Ultra High Relief stirred lots of interest among collectors as well as drawing new collectors into coin collecting. Premiums were strong initially but fell off after the Mint allowed larger allocations to buyers. This flooded the market with more coins than buyers were prepared to accept at these higher premiums. It looks like the Early Release UHR’s will maintain good value because their populations are fixed for the specific grade and availability is limited. The other big gainer for the year was the Proof Gold Eagles with the original packaging. The most common one-ounce issues reached $2,720 FMV before they began to fall off the last couple of weeks of the year. They are now at $2,340 FMV. With the economy still in disarray, 2010 could see some very dramatic bullion swings and record sales for bullion-related coins.

Many dealers reported having their best year ever in 2009. Overall sales were boosted by the metals, which caused US Gold coins to rise substantially after the first half of the year. The year began with FMV for MS 65 Saints at $1,840 and ended at $2,850. MS 60s rose from $1,310 to $1,650. While Gold rose a little over 25% for the year, these coins advanced 55% for the MS 65 and 26% for the MS 60. Twenty Dollar Liberties exhibited like results for the year. FMV for the MS 65 started at $4,790 in January and wound up at $6,950, a hefty 45% increase; the MS 60 FMV was $1,280 and finished the year at $1,570. This was slightly below the increase for Gold bullion at 23% for the year.

The majority of dealers believe 2010 will be another good year for our industry. As long as the decision makers in Washington continue benefit programs by printing more money, our industry has the inside track on making profits for collectors and investors. Banks are now allowed to charge consumers extravagant interest rates of 25% and higher, while paying somewhere around 1% for savings. And some detractors think coin dealers charge too much money for coins when they try to make 10%. The Mint is always good for new products which they can advertise to millions of customers using our tax dollars to pay for the ads. Of course, this marketing also helps the bottom line for most dealers as coins are sent to the grading services in hopes of the ultimate grade.

As 2009 came to a close, it looked like Carson City Dollars would be getting a boost. A new book has been published titled Carson City Morgan Dollars. It is authored by Selby Ungar, Adam Crum and Jeff Oxman. This combined effort is a good read and is sure to attract new collectors to this area of the market.

We have already seen some increased activity on the dealer networks in anticipation of additional business in the coming year. Business looks good for 2010 and the FUN Show, as always, offered the industry a look into the New Year.



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Numismedia

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