NumisMedia Market Report: ANA Sets Mood for Year’s Final Stretch

Posted on 9/14/2010

In today’s market, buyers seem to be purchasing coins that are not typically available with better-than-average eye appeal.

This is one of the reasons many auction lots of the same date and grade sell for several different prices. Eye appeal is everything. The coin market’s depth of collectors is not what it was three years ago, but we do have many potential buyers with plenty of money to spend on the "right" coins.

The coin market may well be the best area of any financials for excess cash. However, an astute dealer, collector or investor is not buying just any quality coin. First, they are looking at specific series that are capable of providing genuine opportunities for growth. This typically means coins that were minted prior to 1900, although Barbers can fall into this category as well. Then buyers look for coins that have lower original mintages than over half of the coins within the series. Next, they look for coins where the census numbers begin to fall markedly as the quality increases. Finally, they look for coins that have a little extra eye appeal. These are not the only parameters that numismatists are using but it gives you an example of characteristics being used to determine potential profits.

At the ANA in Boston, dealers were very busy with wholesale while there was limited retail business. However, the fact that the wholesale market was so active proves that retail has been more than adequate back at dealer stores and offices. In addition, Heritage sold more than $34 million in US coins in their capacity as Official Auctioneer for this year’s ANA. The most newsworthy highlight of this important sale was the 1851 Humbert $50 Gold Slug. Two major dealers seriously competed for this rare Territorial. It graded MS 63 and realized $546,250. A set of Barber Halves was by far the most interesting collection in this auction. Coin after coin brought excitement as new buyers were thrilled with their purchases. The most exciting coin of this collection was probably the 1901 S in MS 67+ that realized $86,250. This set was assembled by Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor and contained many of the finest-known specimens in the Barber Half series. Many of these coins brought record prices for the date and grade. Listed below are a few selected highlights of this notable sale. Please contact Heritage Galleries for a complete listing of prices realized.

Denomination Grade Price Realized
1916-D Mercury Dime MS 67 FB PCGS $195,500
1796 Bust Quarter MS 65 PCGS $322,000
1895 Morgan Dollar PR 68 Cameo NGC $109,250
1797 $5 Gold 15 Stars MS 60 NGC $218,500
1907 $10 Gold Wire Rim PR 62 NGC $359,375
1876 $20 Gold PR 65 UCameo NGC $184,000
1931 $20 Saint MS 67 PCGS $322,000


There may be as many ways to collect coins as there are coin collectors. However, the methodology sometimes overlaps from collector to collector. Over the last several years, major collections have been cultivated based on several themes. New Orleans Mint Gold has become highly prized by numerous collectors, along with Carson City Gold, Civil War Gold, Dahlonega Gold and Charlotte Gold. During the past five years, the market for many coins within these categories has really taken off in value. In some cases, the FMV has not changed because coins have not traded in the last five years. Many of these coins are so scarce they just do not appear very often. Here are some examples of coins that have seen the FMV driven significantly higher since January 2005.

Denomination/Grade FMV Jan 2005 FMV Sept 2010
1855 O $20 Gold MS 60 $59,220 $87,750
1856 O $20 Gold MS 63 $585,000 $1,417,500
1860 O $20 Gold AU 58 $52,000 $89,120
1861 O $20 Gold AU 58 $42,250 $81,250
1870 CC $20 Gold AU 50 $215,630 $412,500
1871 CC $20 Gold MS 63 $162,500 $303,750
1848 C $5 Gold MS 64 $46,220 $61,750
1861 D $5 Gold MS 63 $156,250 $227,500
1838 C $2½ Gold MS 64 $46,580 $70,880
1861 D $1 Gold MS 63 $71,500 $89,050


It is interesting to note that most of these coins have very low populations above the MS 60 grade. The 1855 O $20 Liberty only has three coins graded in Mint State; two in MS 60 and one in MS 61, all by NGC. The 1856 O $20 Gold indicates zero Mint State coins and only two apiece in AU 58 by both services. NGC has graded five 1861 O $20 Gold in MS 60 and one coin in MS 61 with none higher. It is no wonder that these coins are so popular given the fact that very few collectors can actually own one, let alone put together a set of New Orleans Gold.

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.