What do you think of KP's World catalogues??
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281 posts in this topic

 

I also believe it is false that people are going to collect simply for the sake of collecting. I do not believe either you or anyone else can demonstrate that at all.

 

 

People collect coins for various reasons but people who spend most of their time working to secure enough food for themselves and their families don't have the time or money to collect and certainly not rare old silver and gold. People love to collect coins and those who are predisposed to collecting and exposed to coins will often collect coins if they have ample time and money.

 

A certain percentage of people with the time and money to collect will collect and most will collect coins of their home country for at least their first couple or three decades of collecting. Then many will branch out to other times and places as a collecting goal. This is just the way it is. People are alike all over. As the middle class expands there will be more people who collect.

 

More collectors, yes that is apparent. Anything close to the number in the US spending the same amount of money in the aggregate, no. Not unless it is disproportionately on NCLT and bullion issues made in the future. It sure isn't going to be on their classic equivalents. And in making this claim, I am referring to the rest of the world combined.

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What is your definition of "rare" and in "high grades"? If you are talking about a "conditional" rarity, that is "rare" almost always by definition. If you are talking one grade below that (I believe MS-66), the coin is "scarce" today in the sense that PCGS listed about 70 the last time I checked. And if you are talking about an MS-65, there are hundreds in the census. For the latter two, none of those numbers are scarce.

 

I believe it's entirely possible that no true Gem 1982-P quarters exist!

 

I got off topic in our discussion but I do not believe that this changes any of the conclusions I have because it doesn't impact prices generally.

 

Regardless of the criteria you want to use, to most others, you are describing a "conditional" rarity which is "rare" by default under the criteria used in the US today.

 

There are generally from one to a very small number of these listed in the census for any one coin and my estimate is that from a handful to maybe slightly over a dozen (occasionally) are really competing for these coins at open market prices. I make the last claim to contrast it with the substantially larger group who are also trying to find these coins in bank rolls through "cherry picking".

 

Personally, I cannot be bothered with such minutia because under this standard, almost none of the coins I collect exist as “fully struck gems”. I consider these differences completely trivial (regardless of the coin) as do 99%+ of all non-US collectors and like them, will never pay an outsized premium anyway.

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You call a type 'b" reverse a "niche market" but the demand here is too low to consider "niche". Furthermore it presumes that clad collectors won't want varieties. There are many reasons to think clad collectors will go for varieties much more than say buffalo nickel collectors. Clad varieties mostly all went into circulation and most have wear. Most are scarce. (3pcs. -100,000 available).

 

I just don't understand why anyone would believe that these can't become popular. Who would have imagined 15 years ago that Whitman would sell tens of millions of albums for states quarters ands MILLIONS of albums for the old clad quarters? Why believe that the 50,000 or so surviving '71 quarters that are nice will suffice for all time as the demand increases year by year? We take mint sets for granted because they've always been there but most are gone now and this supply is not infinite. It exists because of the tiny demand.

 

The likely reason I disagree with this specific example is because you and I have a completely different definition of "popular". I do not know how many people are going to want a coin like that. Maybe it will be more than I believe but it is almost certainly going to be far fewer than you imply.

 

First, I do not believe that even hundreds of collectors are going to want a coin like this one at any substantial premium. Look at the popularity of die variety collecting in other series. How many are really popular? I am aware of two or maybe three, large cents first and capped bust halves second. The third would be half cents but I have no direct knowledge of it. The rest, almost irrelevant to my knowledge by any standard. Yes, I know that individual die varieties might carry substantial premiums but it is not many.

 

If die variety collecting is not that popular elsewhere, why would anyone believe it is going to be with these where any critical mass of collectors are going to pay a lot of money for them? I see no basis for such an opinion whatsoever. If this quarter which you have mentioned more times than I can even remember happens to be one of them, it will be the exception and not remotely the rule.

 

The second reason is that most die varieties do not really look that different from the others. Its not like the 1955 double die cent or the 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo. Even the large cents and capped bust halves, the ones I know are easily distinguishable.

 

The third reason is that the coins I just mentioned are and have been listed in the "Red Book" for decades. Your examples are not.

 

The fourth reason is that there are likely far too many die varieties of any US circulating modern set for any large number of collectors to try to collect them as a set. Given that millions to billions of these coins were struck each and every single year, how many are there just in a single year for one denomination? Is it dozens? Hundreds? How many collectors can be bothered with that?

 

A fifth reason is that collectors may be willing to pay a nominal price or one slightly above it, but almost no one is going to pay "strong money" because to most, there is nothing compelling in such a coin at all. You just allow your over enthusiasm for these coins to influence your opinion on their relative merits just as you likely believe I do the opposite.

 

We're talking about two different things here.

 

Indeed, I was talking about both the varieties and regular issues rather than merely about the '72-D type "b". There is very little demand for either.

 

So far as defining what I mean by "substantial" demand, let's consider the '50-D nickel again. It's safe to say that most of the demand for this coins comes from those collecting 1938 to 1961 nickels. This is safe because the '50-D isn't going to fit into a lot of other collections and because if the demand for all 1938 to date nickels were the same then coins like the 1971 which is scarcer than the '50-D in nice shape would be worth more than a '50-D in nice shape.

 

Obviously 1938 to 1961 nickel collecting isn't wildly popular but most of these coiuns can be found in change and it is a very inexpensive set so it is a set pursued by a substantial number of people. There are hundreds of "serious" collectors, thousands of "very interested" collectors, and hundreds of thousands (millions?) of casual collectors.

 

This simply doesn't exist in clad quarters and it's not natural that it doesn't exist so the situation probably won't last indefinitely. So long as these coins exist in circulation and aren't collected it is an anomaly.

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You are (once again) using personal (and anecdotal) experience as representative of collector’s generally, this time in searching for these coins as representative of the survival rates in the quality distribution. As I told you before, you are attempting to use a similar (though slightly different) logical fallacy as collectors in South Africa did to exaggerate the probable scarcity of the Union series.

 

These coins were current when I began looking for them. This was the way I sed to obtain nice examples of the new coins each year. You can't wait for one to fall in your lap or you might never have found one. In those days virtually every single coin made for circulation would go to the FED in bags and then to the individual banks in rolls or bags. Much of the FED work was actually done by contractors. The coins were then issued after being rolled with other coin so solid rolls were not necessarioly always easy. Not that this mattered because people didn't save these coins. I don't know how to emphasize this strongly enough but about 99.999% of clads in those days went straight into circulation. Among the exceedingly few people setting aside coins there was almost no interest in Gems so the coins saved are almost random. Of course a few would open a roll of really nice coins and save it largely on this basis.

 

I would drive around and sample clads in various cities. If I saw Gems then I'd work back to their source and try to obtain a bag. This wasn't always effective because banks didn't like to deal with collectors and in those days someone asking for new bags of quarters was quite odd.

 

I've not only done extensive sampling of these new coins but I watched them as they became more worn with each passing year so the absolute number I've seen is incredible. Of course you can't tell how marked an AU coin was when it left the mint but you can still clearly see how well made it was. In addition to this extensive sampling I've seen countless privately assembled sets including a couple hundred '82-P souvenir sets. From this sampling I can state with a little confidence that no Gems appear in any '82-P souvenir set. This is because there aren't any that are even close. Yes, it's not impossible that a few really nice ones went down to Florida and are holed up in a safety deposit box. But keep in mind that that clad never used to get any respect and there just weren't any collectors. The situation isn't so much changed today and dealers will tell hopeful sellers to just spend "junk" like old clad rolls. Of course all of these (other than the bicentennial) are very rarely seen so dealers don't have much opportunity to tell people to spend them.

 

There are not hundreds of fully struck Gem 1982-P quarters. This isn't possible. These coins are, no doubt, just clean examples of better struck coins. I've never even seen a fully struck 1982-P quarter.

 

While I could easily be mistaken about any single thing it is simply absurd to believe I'm wrong across the board.

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I don't know how this plays into what you guys are saying, but I always wonder how the professional grading of world coins factors in to things. I've seen on ebay common modern coins like a Barbados 20 (or is it 25 cent) cent coin from the 70s in MS 68 selling for 100 dollars. They say in the post that it's the only coin with this grade, but I think that's deceptive because 1) most other countries if not all do not use PCGS and NGC and are indifferent to encapsulating coins; and 2) conditional rarity might not be that big a deal around the world like it is in the US -- of course anyone would want an uncirculated coin over a G or VG coin, but they don't care if it's an AU and probably wouldn't pay more than a few dollars for a higher mint state coin. In other words, an MS 60 is just as good as an MS 63 or 65, unless they can get the higher grade one at low cost. It will be interesting to see how the encapsulating fad will develop around the world. I know China just got a PCGS office I think. And I know Canada has ICCS

 

The sentiments you have expressed here, I have stated the same thing many times. Most non-US collectors do not give a hoot about TPG and they are not going to pay any substantial premium for the numismatic minutia and trivial differences that US collectors consider such a big deal. Just look at the contrast between what cladking and I write. His opinions are more specific to moderns but much closer to what US collectors generally think than mine.

 

If you look at the US price structure, I could not care less except from a financial aspect about the primary factors that create it. I do not care about "conditional" rarities, "monster" toned coins, "special designation strikes" or even the difference between one MS grade and another one. Not where I will pay a substantial premium by US standards. Looking elsewhere, this is exactly how the lopsided proportion of collector's think because if they did not, the pricing and price structure would differ radically.

 

I do care about quality coins which does include color, strike and wear. Like some or many US collectors, I also prefer coins with a lower technical grade but with these other attributes than those without them. Unlike a disproportionate percentage of US collectors, I have no interest in paying what an impartial observer can only call exorbitant if not astronomical prices for such average and in many instances, numismatically mediocre coins. And in making this last statement, I am not referring to just moderns, but many classics also.

 

In a prior post, cladking implied that I have lost context because the coins i collect are disproportionately scarce. I am not a technical expert in any series (including those I collect) but I am knowledgeable in many and familiar with a broad range of coins.

 

More specifically, I am also interested in collector behavior which is what many of my posts cover, including these. To whatever extent I may have lost context on why collectors will prefer common coins, US collectors in the aggregate have completely lost context on the affordability of what they collect. It differs radically not only from elsewhere but the pre-1970's here. The rest of the world is much closer to what the US used to look like.

 

I prefer graded coins but I certainly hope that most others outside the US do not change their preference. Because if they do, then the dynamics I have been describing are going to become visible. There will be "too much money" chasing too few coins.

 

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"There are not hundreds of fully struck Gem 1982-P quarters. This isn't possible. These coins are, no doubt, just clean examples of better struck coins. I've never even seen a fully struck 1982-P quarter.

 

While I could easily be mistaken about any single thing it is simply absurd to believe I'm wrong across the board."

 

My prior post had nothing to do with "fully struck gems" or what I presume are :"conditional" rarities. You saw the extract of your last post which my response covered. I was referring to coins which are one or sometimes two grades below "conditional" rarity which in the instance of the 1983-P quarter is an MS-66. I used the 1983-P as an example only and if you do not like that one, you can pick any other because it does not matter.

 

"Conditional" rarity collecting is never going to be more than a niche market. And besides, I have already told you that whatever claim you and others like Wondercoin want to make on their prices, I am not going to dispute it because it I cannot predict the fickle preferences of a handful of buyers and it is irrelevant to everyone else anyway.

 

The coins covered by my last post are the only ones where any kind of substantial market in US moderns financially is even possible. I wrote this post to explain to you that while the coins are not "common", they aren't likely particularly scarce either, at least as you appear to imply. Nothing you just wrote in this entire last post of yours contradicted anything I said.

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So far as defining what I mean by "substantial" demand, let's consider the '50-D nickel again. It's safe to say that most of the demand for this coins comes from those collecting 1938 to 1961 nickels. This is safe because the '50-D isn't going to fit into a lot of other collections and because if the demand for all 1938 to date nickels were the same then coins like the 1971 which is scarcer than the '50-D in nice shape would be worth more than a '50-D in nice shape.

 

Obviously 1938 to 1961 nickel collecting isn't wildly popular but most of these coiuns can be found in change and it is a very inexpensive set so it is a set pursued by a substantial number of people. There are hundreds of "serious" collectors, thousands of "very interested" collectors, and hundreds of thousands (millions?) of casual collectors.

 

This simply doesn't exist in clad quarters and it's not natural that it doesn't exist so the situation probably won't last indefinitely. So long as these coins exist in circulation and aren't collected it is an anomaly.

 

What exactly do mean by natural? If I understand you correctly, I do not believe in this concept at all because I do not believe that collectors are predisposed to collect anything. They only collect what they like and there is no demonstrated predisposed disproportionate preference toward what they used in circulation at all.

 

I do not believe there is anything abnormal about the prior or current demand for moderns whatsoever. Those who like them now collect them and those who do not, don't. What is so unusual about that?

 

If you are telling me that the later date Jefferson nickels should be worth more than many of their earlier counterparts like the 1950-D because they are scarcer, I can agree with that because it is the same series. However, I do not extend this to comparisons between one modern series and their classic predecessors for the reasons I have already told you. The only exception I make in this instance is where the difference in scarcity between one modern date and one classic date is large or very large. Then yes but generically no, not in my lifetime.

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What exactly do mean by natural?

 

Since the very first coin and the very first coin collector people have always saved the new coinage. This is why we have 2000 year old coins in uncirculated condition. This is why even copper and base metal coinage was saved.

 

This practice virtually ended after WW II as silver was removed from the coinage. This simply isn't natural. It had never happened before. It is why some 20 year old coins minted in huge numbers can be more difficult to find than 200 year old coins minted in tiny numbers.

 

I suppose collectors just felt coinage with no silver wasn't natural so they just didn't want to save it. They figured that since it was made in enormous quantities and was poorly made no one would ever want it. They figured it was junk and no one would ever collect it.

 

They figured wrong and if you're trying to price with Krause then you may still be figuring wrong.

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Your last post to which I replied was about US coins, not those from elsewhere. I do not see anything unusual about what I see with US moderns at all but I will get to that in a minute.

 

For world coins, whether it is "normal" or not depends upon the culture in each country. In most countries, there isn't any organized collecting at all and probably not much random either. I have mentioned Bolivia many times in my posts. It is probably as close to a numismatic zombie as you are going to find anywhere. Base metal coinage dates post-1909, much earlier than most others but it was only intermittently issued until 1968. These coins are not scarce at all to my knowledge, except "grade" scarce. I suspect that those which were saved just were for no particular reason, like by my 82 year old aunt. She just hoards everything. But mostly, it is probably foreigners who did so and most of these were likely by random chance.

 

For other countries including the United States and Europe, I believe collectors mostly just do not like these coins as much you do or think they should. And moreover, they are not going to either.

 

You seem to be surprised by this but in my opinion, its because your views are not reflective of the way most collectors approach collecting. There is nothing wrong with collecting these coins but the lopsided majority do not and never will share your enthusiasm, not now and not ever. Most people do not, did not and will not prefer small base metal coins with disproportionately mediocre if not artistically inferior designs over classics (especially gold and silver) with designs that are almost universally considered much better. You do not see these coins as I describe them, but that is how most did, do and will. Nothing you have ever described in any of your posts on this subject has provided any reason to believe why this will change in my lifetime.

 

Specifically for the United States, you appear to be under the impression that there is a linkage between a collector's age and their preferences. Except for the anecdotal examples you have used, there is no evidence of that anywhere. If you want to hear it, I will provide my explanation for this also.

 

As for Krause, I know it is worthless and said so at the start of this thread.

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For world coins, whether it is "normal" or not depends upon the culture in each country.

 

NO!!!!!

 

What is normal is for only people who can afford to collect coins to collect coins. Until recent years this left most collectors of most country's coinage to be American citizens. A certain percentage of people who cabn afford to collect, do collect and these people were Americans.

 

But Americans had a huge predisposition to prefer silver and gold. When a country stopped issuing silver and gold most Americans quit collecting coins of that country. They quit setting aside coins from that country. They'd continue collecting and trading the older coins but they stopped setting aside newer coins.

 

This can be seen everywhere. In your example of Bolivia let's look at some circulating coins. A silver 1903 20c had a mintage of 10,000 and is now worth $180 in Unc. This is considered a nice collector coin and there is demand for it. A 1937 50c had a mintage of 8,000,000 and was made of cu/ ni. It is considered modern junk by most collectors. It's worth $75. It's 800 times the mintage but it's not 800 times more common. It's probably far less common and is worth more than some of the silver coins in lower grades.

 

Remember this common coin is junk and not widely collected. If it were considered a great collector coin and the silver was just another piece of bullion how different would this pricing structure be? Most of the Bolivian moderns are seen but I seriously doubt all of them can be found.

 

Until there are people who want to collect these then we don't know which are common and which are rare, only that Krause prices them all as common. This is the point though; All over the world there is an emerging middle class and a percentage of this middle class will desire coins. They don't care if Americans thing cu/ ni is junk or not, rthey just want to collect coins. When they go to buy the coins we think are junk they don't find them because the supply is virtually non-existent. This small demand is bumping up against an even smaller supply causing sharply higher prices.

 

There's no difference anywhere as near as I can tell. People didn't save moderns and this isn't natural. They had always saved coins before. Some moderns are common because mintages were huge and when people saved them they were saved by the truck load but most of them pretty much escaped being saved. Now those coins that weren't saved are either degraded or were melted long ago. It just doesn't take long for an aluminum coin to be destroyed nearly in its entirety. Some modern coins were so worthless that people didn't even bother taking them to the bank when they were recalled and they are still being tossed in the trash. How many old Indian coins do you think will be found in circulation? These coins are gone now and, often, there aren't more than a few Uncs either.

 

To a very real extent what Americans didn't save no longer exists and what Americans didn't save are most moderns.

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For world coins, whether it is "normal" or not depends upon the culture in each country.

 

For other countries including the United States and Europe, I believe collectors mostly just do not like these coins as much you do or think they should. And moreover, they are not going to either.

 

 

I am the last person who would tell anyone what they should like or collect. I'm merely an observer of human nature and cycles. People like what they want to like and this is what makes prediction possible at all. Historically people who collect current or recent coins like uncirculated condition. This can be seen in coins like the Japanese 10Y coins of the 1950's where Unc examples are in the hundreds of dollars and AU's are 10c. This is hardly my doing and I have no opinion on how anyone wants to collect; it's just the way it has been and is.

 

It simply isn't natural for any coin to go with no demand whether it's common or scarce. But this is the case for most modern coins whether they are common or scarce; there is no demand. It's not natural so I doubt it will persist.

 

It's also natural for people to chase success. This is beside the point though. It's merely mentioned to highlight the fact that it's possible for the much scarcer modern coins to have more demand than the more common silver and gold coins. I'm not predicting this will happen. I don't care what people collect. Everything comes and goes and it's the excesses when they come that cause them to go. A pendulum falls too far and must come back. This is the way of nature and it's the way of human nature. Tides come in and go out and nothing ever remains the same. Even Krause will update their prices in the long run.

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On the Bolivian example you gave, you are as wrong as you can possibly be. The1903 20c is a very scarce coin and I have seen almost none of them. I recall exactly one, in the June 2006 Heritage sale of the Whittier collection where it sold as part of a group lot in BU for $195. Maybe I have seen others but if so, i do not recall them and I do not own this coin. The 1937 50c is not common by any means and is probably the scarcest of these moderns but I have seen it in "gem" in the past. On average, the 1864-1909 decimals are vastly scarcer than the moderns which is the exact opposite of what you believe.

 

On the culture of collecting, you are completely wrong about that and just refuse to see it. There is and never has been any requirement that any culture collect coins. There are many cultures where collecting just did not happen. The indigenous people of South America appears to be one of them and it is absolutely true of Bolivia, whether you are ever going to admit it or not. It has nothing to do with wealth or affluence. In South Africa, go read the South African Coin Company website where they provide an extensive description on this subject. They claim that the Randlords (as in gold mining magnates) collected all kinds of things, except coins. Why they did not is irrelevant.

 

The idea that most moderns have not been set aside is false, plain and simple. For world moderns, some of these coins are effectively not collected, but the sentiments you are expressing are misleading. To say that these coins were not set aside is generally not true. This is only true in isolation. How many issues exist? 50,000? 100,000? How many of these are really that scarce? By my standards, maybe at most 1% because what you call "rare", I call common or common as dirt. South Africa Union, 1864-1909 Bolivia decimals and the pillar minors I collect were not saved in any number either, yet you do not hear me writing that there is anything abnormal about it. Or perhaps this only applies to moderns? If so, that is completely nonsensical.

 

The fact of the matter is that most of these moderns are usually available and collected by someone but this just isn't good enough for you. They do not exist in the grades that satisfy you in the United States. And both in the United States and elsewhere, most are disproportionately not willing to pay the prices you believe they deserve which is an entirely different issue. For all moderns, since I started posting here, you have been complaining (and that is exactly what it is) that most everyone fails to see their merits as you see them.

 

On the emerging middle class, I have already told you that the lack of funds to buy these coins or any others is and never has been an issue. The amount spent on coins compared to other luxuries is an absolute pittance and the same applies from the "investment" aspect.

 

Simply because US collectors have collectively and irrationally decided to pay what a disinterested party can only call exorbitant if not absolutely absurd prices for so many mediocre coins does not mean that others should adopt this illogical behavior as well. If you believe this, it is a logical fallacy. This applies to anyone who collects world coins (including moderns) and equally so to US collectors buying US moderns which sell for relatively low prices now.

 

Just because a coin is “rare” or actually rare does not automatically mean that someone should really want it, much less that they are going to pay the prices you think they should. That makes no sense except to someone like you. In US coinage, no actually rare coins are cheap though some you call “rare” are but only because you use a narrow definition of scarcity. Outside the US, there are many actually rare coins, both modern and otherwise, which are cheap. Some are in high grade and others are not. The one thing they share in common is that no one really wants them. You insist that they should and not only will, but also pay substantially more.

 

To give you one example, Heritage sold a Bolivia 1884-A (Paris) NGC PR-65 10 centavos in June 2006 for $550. It is one of two known. Most collectors disproportionaterly consider this coin more desirable than the world moderns you have mentioned, yet it is still worth a relatively nominal price. The most likely reason this coin even sold for this price is because an American or European bought it. A local almost certainly did not. Absent this demand, this coin is probably worth some low fraction of this price, an amount which might be proportionally much larger than the coins you have profiled but not of any consequence.

 

Unless US practices are adopted widely elsewhere, your sentiments are not going to happen except in isolation. But whether they are or not, probably primarily because someone like you creates demand for them. If you were to select however many non-US collectors and on one side offer them any modern and on the other, one of the coins I collect or others like them, 95% to 99% of them are going to reject the modern. This will be true even if you offer a combination of moderns worth the same value and even if you explained to them that some of these moderns are rare. The most likely reason why anyone would select the moderns is for future speculation.

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On the Bolivian example you gave, you are as wrong as you can possibly be. The1903 20c is a very scarce coin and I have seen almost none of them. I recall exactly one, in the June 2006 Heritage sale of the Whittier collection where it sold as part of a group lot in BU for $195. Maybe I have seen others but if so, i do not recall them and I do not own this coin. The 1937 50c is not common by any means and is probably the scarcest of these moderns but I have seen it in "gem" in the past. On average, the 1864-1909 decimals are vastly scarcer than the moderns which is the exact opposite of what you believe.

 

You have me at a disadvantage here because my knowledge of Bolivian coins is very limited. I've never seen the '37 at all and have seen only a very few worn examples of the older silver. But it seems obvious that if Bolivia is like other countries then the collectors of the silver coins far outnumber the collectors for the modern coins.

 

People, for the main part, don't collect moderns and this is a fact. This isn't as true today as it was ten or twenty years ago but it is still true.

 

On the culture of collecting, you are completely wrong about that and just refuse to see it. There is and never has been any requirement that any culture collect coins. There are many cultures where collecting just did not happen. The indigenous people of South America appears to be one of them and it is absolutely true of Bolivia, whether you are ever going to admit it or not. It has nothing to do with wealth or affluence.

 

It's entirely possible you're right. But human nature is human nature and I'd wager against it. Once there are wealthy people in every country then we'll know to what degeree you are correct. I don't really doubt that there are cultural variations merely that there are people anywhere who would all not collect coins if they had the opportunity.

 

The idea that most moderns have not been set aside is false, plain and simple.

 

It's not that I'm claiming none were saved. I am saying that if you try to systematically collect world moderns you'll find more stoppers than easy coins, or at least that many are not readily available. You might believe this is because dealers don't list $2 coins but these coins aren't in dealer stock either. I've looked. When you are able to find moderns it tends to be because they exist in mint sets and the demand is so thin that these sets or the broken sets are available. Of course most moderns that are seen are actually hoard coins which exist in enormous numbers. A small percentage of modern coins makes up most of what one actually sees.

 

Even those which have soared in price like the Greek cu/ ni of the '50's was probably saved in small numbers and small numbers exist today. But even among these small numbers that exist it is quite likely that some were saved inadvertantly rather than actually "collected" back in the '50's. There are many ways that anything made in huge numbers might survive in pristine condition. But if you think there are people sitting on rolls and bags of this stuff you are mistaken. Some stuff simply never materializes and the only reason this can happen is that they don't exist. It's never impossible that such accumulations will appear but after 60 years the odds are not very high.

 

From experience I can tell you that there are lots of other moderns even tougher than the Greek cu/ ni.

 

For world moderns, some of these coins are effectively not collected, but the sentiments you are expressing are misleading. To say that these coins were not set aside is generally not true. This is only true in isolation. How many issues exist? 50,000? 100,000? How many of these are really that scarce?

 

OK. How about a coin that could have been saved in tremendous numbers; 1971-D type "b" reverse quarter. I'd estimate the mintage at 200,000 (per Hicks) and the surviving mintage at 90,000. There are, perhaps, a dozen coins in Unc and a couple dozen AU. Add in another 100 in VF+/ XF.

 

Old coins exist in Unc because they were saved by the thousands. The entire mintage of 1909-S VDB and many other old coins were plucked from banks and then from circulation. Old coins survive ONLY because they started with substantial numbers so the 1% attrition each year still affords many old coins in Unc. This simply has not happened with most moderns. Some of these were barely saved by the hundreds and then there has been enormous attrition because dealers are accustomed to throwing moderns in junk buckets or telling the owner to just "spend them". When you start with a low number and add in a high attrition you end up with rare coins. Not 100,000 but 100, if that. Try finding that Fijian 50c for example.

 

Without knowing the kind of demand that is causing these prices to explode I don't really have a good feel for the number available. Of course these were $2 coins a few years ago and it's possible some of these will be coming on the market as their owners discover their windfall. BUT, I've seen these collections as well and for the main part they don't have this sort of coin. People who collected things like E German aluminum 10p were not very sophisticated collectors and do have Uncs of the coins that weren't saved. There might not be a single '50-E Unc in any collection in the US. There are probably a few in accumulations but not in collections.

 

People hated moderns and most people still have no use for them. These are not the conditions under which people set aside lots of coins.

 

By my standards, maybe at most 1% because what you call "rare", I call common or common as dirt. South Africa Union, 1864-1909 Bolivia decimals and the pillar minors I collect were not saved in any number either, yet you do not hear me writing that there is anything abnormal about it. Or perhaps this only applies to moderns? If so, that is completely nonsensical.

 

All power to you. Have fun collecting vastly unappreciated coins. You just might do exceedingly well financially because many collectors do and this goes hundred times over when they don't care what others collect and specialize in rare coins. "Rare" is something all collectors value and when that pendulum swings back you might just may be riding high.

 

The fact of the matter is that most of these moderns are usually available and collected by someone but this just isn't good enough for you. They do not exist in the grades that satisfy you in the United States.

 

Uncirculated. Most moderns are not very scarce in lower grades. They were made in the tens and hundreds of millions. Of course they survive in worn condition for the main part. They usually are only rare in Unc. This is the grade most modern collectors seek; Unc. Actually they tend to prefer something closer to BU, but they just want a decent specimen that is definitely Unc. You can find bucket fulls of Swiss francs from the '70's still in circulation. What you won't find are uncs or even nice AU's. These were junk then and they're junk now and they will stay junk until people realize they are scarce (uncommon).

 

For all moderns, since I started posting here, you have been complaining (and that is exactly what it is) that most everyone fails to see their merits as you see them.

 

I'm sure I've said things that can be taken as complaining. Mostly I have my hands pretty full just trying to correct misconceptions. Most collectors don't realize that the low prices are caused by lack of demand. They believe that it's excessive supply causing low prices and misplaced exuberance which always leads to high prices.

 

In US coinage, no actually rare coins are cheap though some you call “rare” are but only because you use a narrow definition of scarcity.

 

Of course they are. What do you think I've been talking about all these years. You can buy a modern rarity at a tiny fraction of the price that an old rarity will cost. This disparity becomes even greater at higher mintages.

 

If you were to select however many non-US collectors and on one side offer them any modern and on the other, one of the coins I collect or others like them, 95% to 99% of them are going to reject the modern.

 

Yes!!! People prefer the older coins. They might always prefer the older coins but this isn't and never has been my point. The point is that for the first time ever there is now a little demand for recent dated coins in some countries and the coins aren't there because they were never saved. This situation exists all over the world and the US is not an exception.

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Here's an example of what we're talking about here in regards to Krause pricing.

 

I don't know what a China 1955 5f is worth in Unc or any other grade but I know it's not a rare coin and it's not available in Unc in this country. The number that exist in Unc could be anywhere from 0 to 100,000 but I've never seen one. Mine is a nice low end AU.

 

The best guess is most of these have been lost and destroyed over the decades because they are aluminum and circulated widely.

 

Chinese coins are "hot" right now and Krause lists the Unc at $10.

 

Here's the typical piece of junk that is usually seen and sold for $65;

 

http://www.delcampe.net/page/item/id,1777091,var,CN-China-Coin-5-Fen-1955-In-fair-condition,language,E.html

 

If a person came into a coin shop with a BU roll of these there is every chance it would just get unceremoniously dumped into the junk bucket. Of course, there's little likelyhood such a roll exists so it just won't happen... ...probably.

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I agree that paying a lot for common modern US coins in high grades is absurd, and it may even be a niche market. But you have to admit that it's a pretty hot market right now. Some of these coins are selling for hundreds, even thousands. Take for example American Silver Eagles with conditional rarities that have sold for tens of thousands. I have to question if this is really a small niche market because there has to be huge demand for them if they're are getting such high prices. It's another thing to talk about whether this demand will be viable, but it's popular right now. To me, though, all silver eagles look so much alike; they are all made in gem condition to begin with. I don't care for them much. The proofs are different looking than the unc's, but I don't see much difference between proofs.

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You have me at a disadvantage here because my knowledge of Bolivian coins is very limited. I've never seen the '37 at all and have seen only a very few worn examples of the older silver. But it seems obvious that if Bolivia is like other countries then the collectors of the silver coins far outnumber the collectors for the modern coins.

 

People, for the main part, don't collect moderns and this is a fact. This isn't as true today as it was ten or twenty years ago but it is still true.

 

First, let me say that despite the "hard time" I might be giving you, I appreciate that you have replied to my posts. I disagree with you more than not, but I give you credit for replying because no one else has done so. I am going to have to reply in multiple posts because this is a complicated subject.

 

I know that Bolivia is just one country but the point i am trying to tell you is that I do not believe it is that much of an anomaly. It is almost certain that it was primarily foreigners who did so and this is the only reason the "classics" exist in the quantities we see today at all either.

 

For the 1937 Bolivia 50c, if only 800 1937 50c remain (1/10,000), that is probably at least 20 times the number of “serious” collectors for the series. It may be more than the number of casual collectors.

 

I agree with you that many do not collect world moderns but unlike you, I do not see anything unusual in it at all. There isn't anything natural about collecting at all. People collect what they like and if they don't like something, it isn't going to be collected. I do not see why this concept should be such a mystery.

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It's entirely possible you're right. But human nature is human nature and I'd wager against it. Once there are wealthy people in every country then we'll know to what degeree you are correct. I don't really doubt that there are cultural variations merely that there are people anywhere who would all not collect coins if they had the opportunity.

 

This is the whole point of what I am telling you, it isn't human nature at all to collect as you claim.

 

It is and never has been a question of ability to pay. I have told you this many times right here but you just do not see it. If people demonstrated your “normal” behavior, then the coins I collect would not be as scarce as they are today, as many more would have collected them in the past. These coins were “moderns” at one time. They didn't and the idea that it was (and is) due to a lack of ability to pay is unsubstantiated as I have told you multiple times. In the instance of Bolivia, every single quality coin in existence in the decimal series could probably be bought at current prices for a nominal amount, as in $500,000 or at most $1MM, less than any coin in the PCGS “Million Dollar Club”. Are you actually telling me that they cannot even afford that?

 

If you are claiming that collecting is an innate primitive behavior and part of hunter-gatherer survival instinct (which I reject), that has nothing to do with this thread. What you are claiming is not buying them at nominal prices, but paying premiums that non-collectors will not pay and consider absurd for any coin. Outside of the US, even collectors disproportionately will not pay the prices you claim are deserved. There is absolutely zero evidence anywhere that paying your implied prices is remotely normal..

 

In one recent post, you mentioned ancient coins. I have read accounts of Romans collecting Greek coinage and maybe they collected their own. Elsewhere in antiquity, I do not recall whether collecting existed or not. Regardless, uncirculated coins do not survive today for the reason implied in your post. It wasn't because collectors preserved them for the last 2000 years but either entirely or disproportionately by accident when someone hid or burried them. If it had been collectors who knowingly kept these coins as in recent times, then we would find them almost exclusively if not entirely in a mishandled state. Despite their age, there appear to be far more ancient Greek and Roman coins in better quality than many I collect.

 

If past cultures destroyed their far more significant historical artifacts which is verified fact, there is absolutely no reason to believe they consciously preserved any coins except in isolation. And to whatever extent collecting existed in historical times including Greece or Rome, there is also no evidence that prior to the 20th century, anyone paid anything close to the absurd premiums we see now which is the only reason we are even discussing this topic on this thread. No one would have paid hours of their labor for any coin, much less months as many reading these posts have done.

 

In the United States, the cultural differences are obvious. There is and has been a significant difference in the propensity to collect between men and woman, regardless that there are some women who are involved in numismatics now and in the past. The same applies to Caucasians and all other groups such as African Americans and Hispanics. No one can dispute this fact. Moreover, it is not only explained by differences in wealth and income either, even though these groups have traditionally been economically disadvantaged. Even in your apparent idealized numismatic period (apparently the 1930’s to 1960’s), far more within these groups had the economic capacity to do so, yet they did not, just as they disproportionately do not today.

 

What I am describing also exists elsewhere. In South Africa, the most logical explanation for the difference in scarcity between Union and ZAR is that the Afrikaners saved their coins while almost no one cared about Union. In Bolivia as I told you, there is no visible evidence of collecting anywhere. You could ask 1000 people randomly and not only is it probable that none of them are collectors, it is almost equally likely that they do not know anyone who is one either. If you happened to find a few, given the prices, it is obvious that only a minuscule number (such as myself) are paying any premiums worth mentioning. Regardless, it is economically irrelevant and it’s almost certainly going to remain so.

 

Even in countries where a collecting tradition exists, it still varies substantially. As an example only, how do you explain the apparent difference between Britain and Spain? From my observations, British coins are a lot more common. Even though Britain has historically been wealthier, no one can claim that Spaniards could not afford to save the ½ real coins I collect. Compare each denomination and British coins are far more common. The most logical explanation for this difference is that British culture emphasized collecting more, independent of the specific preferences any collector had.

 

In some areas, they never even struck their own coins. Someone else did it for them. There were no coins in pre-colonial America or in any of the pre-Spanish civilizations in Latin America. The same goes for Africa and parts of Asia. Subsequently, these cultures used them in commerce, but either few or absolutely none of them have demonstrated any evident propensity to collect as you claim.

 

In the primary Anglo countries, most of Western Europe and maybe Japan, there is an extended tradition of collecting. In most countries including Latin America, Africa and much of Asia, from limited to absolutely none. In others such as Russia, China and the rest of the Communist bloc, some had a history of collecting which was interrupted by the Cold War. Regardless of location, the tradition varied from extensive to absolutely none at all.

 

The whole point of these examples is that if such obvious differences exist even within the United States with an extended numismatic tradition, what basis exists to believe that elsewhere they do not differ from US experience or any of the other preconceived notions you have? Since there are demographic groups with a demonstrated historical tendency to collect far below your definition of normal or practically not at all, then on what basis can you or anyone else claim that collecting is automatic everywhere else? Since paying absurd prices is a recent practice, what makes you believe that it will become “normal” in places where collecting is practically non-existent both today and from the beginning? The answer to all of these questions is that there isn't any and to claim that it will occur because it is “normal” is contrary to common sense.

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It's not that I'm claiming none were saved. I am saying that if you try to systematically collect world moderns you'll find more stoppers than easy coins, or at least that many are not readily available. You might believe this is because dealers don't list $2 coins but these coins aren't in dealer stock either. I've looked. When you are able to find moderns it tends to be because they exist in mint sets and the demand is so thin that these sets or the broken sets are available. Of course most moderns that are seen are actually hoard coins which exist in enormous numbers. A small percentage of modern coins makes up most of what one actually sees.

 

Even those which have soared in price like the Greek cu/ ni of the '50's was probably saved in small numbers and small numbers exist today. But even among these small numbers that exist it is quite likely that some were saved inadvertantly rather than actually "collected" back in the '50's. There are many ways that anything made in huge numbers might survive in pristine condition. But if you think there are people sitting on rolls and bags of this stuff you are mistaken. Some stuff simply never materializes and the only reason this can happen is that they don't exist. It's never impossible that such accumulations will appear but after 60 years the odds are not very high.

 

From experience I can tell you that there are lots of other moderns even tougher than the Greek cu/ ni.

 

I cannot answer your question in every specific instance. For the most part, I would say that the low prices are the reason you cannot find them. As I told you before here, if a coin becomes a lot more expensive (relatively in some instances) and it is still hard to find, then common sense would indicate that it is actually at least somewhat scarce. We can know this because it is consistent with how people actually act.

 

However, when I say scarce, it still depends upon your definition. Some coins like the 1977 Rhodesia 1/2 cent are known to be scarce (supposedly less than 10 known) but most are likely to have several hundred at least. And where they do, is it really that significant? In a prior Coin Week article, my recollection is that the author claimed that only 235 1878-S Trade dollars are believed to exist. Sure, this is a low number but there really aren't that many collectors of this series and we are talking about a US coin.

 

Why and how they were saved is irrelevant. With that Greek example, you appear to be still trying to make it so based upon your preconceived notion that there is some normal proportion that should exist in collecting when there isn't any.

 

I have never said that there are huge numbers of most of these coins. But even hundreds for a coin which no one really wants is going to be irrelevant. In some instances, more are going to want them and yes, then the prices will increase substantially. Proportionately, I believe it will be much less than you apparently do and where it is, I believe it will be mostly random in the obscure countries and concentrated in countries with a history of collecting, to the extent that these coins are actually scarce.

 

Going back to the Rhodesia 1977 1/2c, This coin is not cheap. Krause lists it at $1500 in UNC and while this is much less than most classics of this scarcity, it is a small coin from an unpopular series, so I see no reason to think or believe it should sell for more. I think it is overpriced and said so in a prior BoB forum post after Heritage sold one earlier this year for about $1650 for an NGC AU-55.

 

The only reason I believe it sold for this price is because this is close to Krause. More recently, DNW attempted to sell a much better one. I do not know if it had a reserve but I recall that the opening bid was 500 or maybe 700 GBP.

 

As far as I am concerned, there are a vast number of better coins than this one that should sell for more. In the same DNW auction, each coin in the five coin 1939 Southern Rhodesia proof set with a mintage of 10 sold for only slightly more. Also recently, a 1930 South Africa NGC PR-64 Shilling sold for about $2300. The mintage is 14.

 

The point i am making is that when these coins are known to be scarce, they either do or are likely to sell for "strong" prices, maybe just not as high as you think they should.

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OK. How about a coin that could have been saved in tremendous numbers; 1971-D type "b" reverse quarter. I'd estimate the mintage at 200,000 (per Hicks) and the surviving mintage at 90,000. There are, perhaps, a dozen coins in Unc and a couple dozen AU. Add in another 100 in VF+/ XF.

 

Old coins exist in Unc because they were saved by the thousands. The entire mintage of 1909-S VDB and many other old coins were plucked from banks and then from circulation. Old coins survive ONLY because they started with substantial numbers so the 1% attrition each year still affords many old coins in Unc. This simply has not happened with most moderns. Some of these were barely saved by the hundreds and then there has been enormous attrition because dealers are accustomed to throwing moderns in junk buckets or telling the owner to just "spend them". When you start with a low number and add in a high attrition you end up with rare coins. Not 100,000 but 100, if that. Try finding that Fijian 50c for example.

 

Without knowing the kind of demand that is causing these prices to explode I don't really have a good feel for the number available. Of course these were $2 coins a few years ago and it's possible some of these will be coming on the market as their owners discover their windfall. BUT, I've seen these collections as well and for the main part they don't have this sort of coin. People who collected things like E German aluminum 10p were not very sophisticated collectors and do have Uncs of the coins that weren't saved. There might not be a single '50-E Unc in any collection in the US. There are probably a few in accumulations but not in collections.

 

People hated moderns and most people still have no use for them. These are not the conditions under which people set aside lots of coins.

 

I do not see much similarity between these coins but I will take them individually.

 

The 1971 quarter, why would you believe that people would consciously set a coin like that aside in the pre-TPG era? Did anyone except maybe for you collect these coins by die variety? Die variety collecting outside of a few areas is not popular now and I presume it was even less so then. My generic explanation for any increase today is that US collectors needed to invent the fiction that they are collecting something "rare" because what they collect is actually as common as a grain of sand on the beach. It is the same reason for collecting "special designation strikes" and "conditional" rarities. And a big reason why they do it is because classics are so much more expensive now than they were in 1971 so they cannot afford many other coins which they culd have in the past.

 

On a coin like the 1909-S VDB, you have me there. I have never been able to understand how so many exist or supposedly exist yet the prices are so high. However, I do not see this coin as the norm but an aberration. To me, it just shows that collecting must have already been well established in the US for so many of them to still exist and in such high grades.

 

On your Fijian example, it is one you have used many times in the past. I do not know anything about these coins but if the mintages were relatively low by US standards which I presume they were because of the population, why is this so unusual? If you combine a relatively low mintage with a low or zero propensity to collect, what other outcome are you supposed to get? It doesn't even make any sense to expect more than a small number to survive today.

 

One other thing I wanted to mention is that you also need to consider that, just like the Krause pricing is wrong (most of the time), its likely that in a reference of this size that so is the other data. In the instance of the 1977 Rhodesia 1/2 cent, supposedly most of the coins were melted. In other instances, I suspect that some of these coins do not exist at all and actually never did. I can give you some specific examples if you need them in a follow-up post but what I am getting at is that of the small proportion of world moderns that are actually scarce by my standards, possibly a large proportion of these fit this criteria.

 

Lastly, while I agree with you that collectors will want UNC for these coins, I do not see this as particularly significant in and of itself. The only thing it tells us is that where there are few in high grades, they weren't intentionally saved.

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Of course they are. What do you think I've been talking about all these years. You can buy a modern rarity at a tiny fraction of the price that an old rarity will cost. This disparity becomes even greater at higher mintages.

 

This is an invented and imaginary form of scarcity, not an actual one. Anyone can define something as "rare" if they continually narrow the criteria. I am sure that somewhere in the world there are many unique "conditional rarity" "special designation strike" die varieties with "monster" toning which are yet to be discovered. My response to that is big deal.

 

The idea that these coins should sell for prices much closer to coins that are actually rare or scarce is ridiculous. Its only in the US that this is true and it will only be true elsewhere if US practices are adopted as well.

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Here's an example of what we're talking about here in regards to Krause pricing.

 

I don't know what a China 1955 5f is worth in Unc or any other grade but I know it's not a rare coin and it's not available in Unc in this country. The number that exist in Unc could be anywhere from 0 to 100,000 but I've never seen one. Mine is a nice low end AU.

 

The best guess is most of these have been lost and destroyed over the decades because they are aluminum and circulated widely.

 

Chinese coins are "hot" right now and Krause lists the Unc at $10.

 

Here's the typical piece of junk that is usually seen and sold for $65;

 

http://www.delcampe.net/page/item/id,1777091,var,CN-China-Coin-5-Fen-1955-In-fair-condition,language,E.html

 

If a person came into a coin shop with a BU roll of these there is every chance it would just get unceremoniously dumped into the junk bucket. Of course, there's little likelyhood such a roll exists so it just won't happen... ...probably.

 

Yes, true but the one thing I haven't seen you do yet is classify these coins by origin. Since there are (I believe) in the vicinity of 280 countries and collectors tend to favor their own, I am going to categorize them into a few meaningful groups to try to determine which markets might actually be prospects for the outcome you claim. Since as you have stated, demand is much more important than supply, the most realistic candidates for this outcome are those which already have a higher propensity to pay higher prices.

 

From what I can see, these are the most developed numismatic markets after the United States which I mentioned before: Australia, Canada, the UK and probably Germany. The first three especially seem to have the most cultural similarity in their numismatic markets to the US just as they do otherwise.

 

The second group of markets I would describe as those with an extended numismatic tradition but where the prices are mostly or relatively low. In this category, I would place the rest of Western Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. The latter’s prices are not low, but it has limited to no domestic numismatic infrastruture to my knowledge.

 

The third category I would classify as “emerging markets”: China, South Africa, Mexico and probably South Korea, Brazil, Chile, India and Poland. These are countries where coins appears to be selectively expensive and in many instances higher than most others.

 

The fourth category I describe as the walking zombies; the countries whose numismatic prospects are overwhelmingly going absolutely nowhere. By my count, this is most of the rest which includes all of Africa except South Africa, most of Asia and many in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Specific examples include Bolivia, Bangladesh and Argentina. The latter I think is an interesting case because in theory it should have much better prospects but I see no evidence of it at all.

 

The last category includes markets where a significant or even disproportionate demand either does, appears to or likely will originate from elsewhere. Fiji as a British Commonwealth coin issuer is an example. In this specific case, I do not see and do not believe that anyone can provide any substantive case that a market like this one has any realistic prospects worth mentioning for developing one internally in the foreseeable future, as in for the next 38 years which is as long as I have been collecting.

 

To varying degrees, I also place Israel, Ireland, Mexico, China, the UK, Russia and Germany in this fifth category, even though most of these have significant collector bases. I believe that a substantial proportion of the demand for their better coins originates externally either from expats or more specifically, because US based collectors have a disproportionate financial influence on the prices on at least some or even many of their coins.

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I agree that paying a lot for common modern US coins in high grades is absurd, and it may even be a niche market. But you have to admit that it's a pretty hot market right now. Some of these coins are selling for hundreds, even thousands. Take for example American Silver Eagles with conditional rarities that have sold for tens of thousands. I have to question if this is really a small niche market because there has to be huge demand for them if they're are getting such high prices. It's another thing to talk about whether this demand will be viable, but it's popular right now. To me, though, all silver eagles look so much alike; they are all made in gem condition to begin with. I don't care for them much. The proofs are different looking than the unc's, but I don't see much difference between proofs.

 

While I was writing these posts, I was also thinking of the silver eagle. Its probably the most widely collected of any US coins where "real" money is being paid or at least close to it. So generically it isn't a niche market but I would still say that collecting "conditional" rarities is one.

 

The fact that current and younger collectors make this coin so popular compared to every circulating modern is one of the best indications that there is nothing unusual in what we see today at all.

 

Whatever the explanation, it cannot be the age of collectors which is a proxy for cladking's demographic claim. Given the cost of completing the series, it is obvious that these collectors have at least a limited financial capacity to choose otherwise, yet they do not.

 

If it is not obvious, here is your answer. The reason why the ASE has its current popularity is because it is a large silver coin with a classic design. As with any other coin, the age of the collector has little or even absolutely nothing to do with it. If it were much smaller, made of base metal and pictured yet another portrait of a dead person, its popularity would completely collapse. Oh that’s right, we already have coins like that, don’t we? They are called presidential, Sacagewea and SBA dollars and they have been a smashing success. That is why they do not circulate and sit in some vault or basement by the millions if not billions.

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All power to you. Have fun collecting vastly unappreciated coins. You just might do exceedingly well financially because many collectors do and this goes hundred times over when they don't care what others collect and specialize in rare coins. "Rare" is something all collectors value and when that pendulum swings back you might just may be riding high.

 

Thanks but I do not think so. When I look at how people appear to collect coins from the pricing in the United States and elsewhere, I just do not come to that conclusion.

 

It probably sounds counter intuitive that unusual scarcity impedes appreciation but this is exactly what I have come to conclude. Most people are just not going to stick with a series if they cannot find the coins they want to buy and pay high prices especially by US standards, that requires enough high grade coins.

 

Most of the world coins I know well that are scarce just do not exist in very high numbers or very high grades. If you followed the Newman sale on Heritage recently, virtually none of the Latin America coins I know or collect or those for South Africa currently exist in those grades except in isolation.

 

I think it is ridiculous that coins are priced this way, but that is just how it is. There are many "trophy" coins that potentially could sell for US prices in the future but they are unlikely to because they are either impaired on in "low" grades.

 

If you are inclined to do so, take a look through the Heritage archives or their upcoming sales. Coins like the 17th century Mexican "royal" 8R and Central American Republic gold 4E, these are incredibly rare coins. A coin like the capped bust 1862 Ecuador 4R (a relatively popular type because it resembles the US design), almost non-existent. Same goes for Spanish Cross gold escudo coinage (early 17th to 18th century) especially outside the 8E.

 

The coins I collect are one (or more) tiers below these but the availability is not that much greater and the grades not any better either much of the time.

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If you are claiming that collecting is an innate primitive behavior and part of hunter-gatherer survival instinct (which I reject), that has nothing to do with this thread. What you are claiming is not buying them at nominal prices, but paying premiums that non-collectors will not pay and consider absurd for any coin. Outside of the US, even collectors disproportionately will not pay the prices you claim are deserved. There is absolutely zero evidence anywhere that paying your implied prices is remotely normal..

 

This is not really what I'm suggesting. What I'm saying is that historically A certain percentage of the population collects something (~3%) and a certain percentage of these people collect coins. Coins are usually very popular because they represent wealth, are shiny and important, nostalgic, historical, artistic, rare, etc, etc, etc. But another human tendency is to follow crowds and do what the "cool kids do". If they're collecting diamonds, gold bars, or stamps then there is less likelyhood any given individual will collect coins.

 

Of course collecting anything is usually contingent on having the wealth and time to seek the items and buy them. People who work sun up to sun down to feed their families won't collect any commodities of value except food for another day. Only about 4% of SA's population in the 1930's might be considered middle class. This was not an extremely large number of people and it's quite possible coin collecting was vastly underrepresented for various reasons. But there were forein coin collectors in other countries (especially US) who had an interest in SA's coins so the coins are out there. Perhaps Uncs can be extremely rare. Maybe it's a case of the exception proving the rule.

 

I don't believe you can extrapolate the conditions prevalent in one place over a relativerly brief period to apply to all places and over all modern times. Just because SA coins were extremely unpopular in the '30's and are still unpopular based on current price doesn't mean Brazilians will never collect their moderns. It doesn't mean that the importance of the SA coins and their rarity won't be recognized in the future. The fact is there are millions and millions of new coin collectors and our number is growing day by day. How many of these collectors would it take to put pressure on pressure on a SA 1931 2S? Why would anyone assume these collectors are going to each and everyone desire the exact same 19th century US coins that have been popular for decades. These new collectors are an entirely different demographic and no one will know what they want to collect until they do.

 

I'm betting that the same forces that have always been in play will affect choices in the future. Of course, conditions change and events change people but as a rule people like circulating coinage. Even among the 19th century coins you can see that uncs tend to be scarcer and get more demand than proofs, or patterns etc. It's a new world with 50 years of special issues and variuous NCLT and it's certain there wiull be at least some demand for them. The new demand will be far more diverse and come from numerous countries and these people will tend to prefer their own coins at least for their (typical individual) first twenty years of collecting.

 

I don't know what they'll collect but I'm betting like the group their interests will be more diverse. Since there's almost no interest at all in almosrt allmodernsit seems quite safe to predict that more diverse demand meeting no interest art all translates to a dramatic increase in demand for moderns. Of course there will be both common and rare moderns which never in most peoples' lifetimes get any significant demand but these will probably be the exception. Even that Fijian 50c will have some demand in the next half century and only then will it be known how rare it really is.

 

Individuals ansd small groups are not predictable. Events are not predictable. But human nature changes glacially if at all and future conditions are often highly predictable by current conditions. The change in the coin market was quite obvious by about 1974. Now these changes are becoming more manifest with each passing day.

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I agree that paying a lot for common modern US coins in high grades is absurd, and it may even be a niche market. But you have to admit that it's a pretty hot market right now. Some of these coins are selling for hundreds, even thousands. Take for example American Silver Eagles with conditional rarities that have sold for tens of thousands. I have to question if this is really a small niche market because there has to be huge demand for them if they're are getting such high prices. It's another thing to talk about whether this demand will be viable, but it's popular right now. To me, though, all silver eagles look so much alike; they are all made in gem condition to begin with. I don't care for them much. The proofs are different looking than the unc's, but I don't see much difference between proofs.

 

I don't believe it's absurd. I don't understand why a collector would be willing to pay huge premiums for a coin in very high grade that is inexpensive in a slightly lower grade or why they'd pay premiums for high grades when the entire mintage is virtually perfect. I suspect most of these coins are going to "investors" rather than collectors. Perhaps some people just want to have a foot in hot moderns so they buy what's available and are not actually collectors. Of course some of these buyers know exactly what they are doing but I suspect there's investment that supports some prices.

 

If you want an education in modern coins just try putting together a nice "easy" set in "gemmy" condition. Just try!!! Lincoln memoriual centsare quite easy and will provide a valuable education in what cents are common and what cents are tough. You can actually complete it and in theory do it for a few dollars. In practice though it will take you months of hard work and cost a couple hundred. I'm not talking about solid MS-65 here just nice attractive MS-64 with nice strikes and good surfaces. Try a Swiss 1 Franc set or a South Korean 5 w. Everyone seems to think the coins are common but in actuality some of the coins are quite scarce and if you set your sights on a choice set then the feat can become much more difficult.

 

This is how I got started looking for high grade moderns. I started back when clads were still new and found that even decent coins could be difficult the year they were issued. I didn't see a nice 1969 quarter until late 1970 and it was a slider. After looking aty thousands of coins to find a nice example you can certainly appreciate the desirability and scarcity of a Gem or MS-66.

 

Try putting together a solid Gem set of clad quarters. It was a huge task until the TPG's came around but now it can be purchased for as little as a couple thousand, I believe. I wore out more than a couple thousand in shoe leather alone not counting tire tread and gasoline.

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I am aware of what you are telling me but either you just do not get the point I am trying to make or just disagree with it.

 

What I am telling you is that in most places, historically most people do not collect coins. What I am describing obviously is not universal across every time and place but it is descriptive of how most people have generally acted and it is independent of just how much money they have or had.

 

I believe that you badly overestimate the appeal of coins to the non-collector today, except to those who are interested in making money off of them. As a hobby, I believe (but cannot prove) that coins are less popular now than the period you describe as "normal" which would be the 1930's to 1960's. There may be more collectors today but only because the population is much larger.

 

In the US especially, there are more alternatives competing for the consumer dollar and the affordable options available to the average person (income and net worth) have shrunk dramatically, not primarily as a result of the income disparities you mention but because so many coins sell for inflated prices. Personally, the money aspect of high prices is a negative for me, regardless that I have made decent money from them.

 

I'm not sure where you get your 3% but it still sounds to me that you are thinking in terms of a country like the US or one from Europe. In the US, this 3% would be an average of some sort. I would estimate that maybe 100,000 to as many as 250,000 are now willing to pay $100 or maybe as much as $250 for a coin today. In his B&M coin digest, David Bowers estimated 50,000 in the late 1980's. But in any event, the proportion of white males in the US with income and net worth in the top 10% or maybe 20% have a relatively high propensity to collect while the lopsided evidence indicates that women and minorities have almost none.

 

In using SA, it was also only an example. In the 1930's, 4% may have been middle class but this was irrelevant because only whites collect coins there which is what you are ignoring. When I lived there in the 1970's, there were five million of them and probably somewhat more than 1 million adult men (since there are almost no female collectors there to my knowledge either) who were potential collectors. In the 1930s, probably slightly more than half that number but you did not need to be rich to save these coins from pocket change anyway, especially for the lower denominations. They just did not, for whatever reason. Today, the African majority is disproportionately still poor but the absolute number who can afford to pay high prices for coins must be in the tens of thousands at least. Except perhaps in isolation, the evidence shows they do not.

 

in any event, as have already told you multiple times, in South Africa and most other countries, there isn't enough to buy with more than a trivial amount of money wihtout pricing out most buyers. There is no evidence that they are going to buy the "leftovers" (both classics and moderns) because they find collecting so compelling.

 

I agree that some collectors start with NCLT but I do not see that this supports your claim for circulating moderns at all. These collectors could easily afford to buy moderns if they wanted them but they obviously do not. The lopsided difference in popularity between ASE and US circulating moderns is more indicative of the opposite.

 

The botton line that I see on this topic is that if anyone wants to buy the coins you favor, go ahead and do it. But of those who do so, at least 95% if not more will make less or much less than I did in the five year period with ZAR and Union which was a nice profit, but insignificant in the bigger picture.

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If you want an education in modern coins just try putting together a nice "easy" set in "gemmy" condition. Just try!!! Lincoln memoriual centsare quite easy and will provide a valuable education in what cents are common and what cents are tough. You can actually complete it and in theory do it for a few dollars. In practice though it will take you months of hard work and cost a couple hundred. I'm not talking about solid MS-65 here just nice attractive MS-64 with nice strikes and good surfaces. Try a Swiss 1 Franc set or a South Korean 5 w. Everyone seems to think the coins are common but in actuality some of the coins are quite scarce and if you set your sights on a choice set then the feat can become much more difficult.

 

This is how I got started looking for high grade moderns. I started back when clads were still new and found that even decent coins could be difficult the year they were issued. I didn't see a nice 1969 quarter until late 1970 and it was a slider. After looking aty thousands of coins to find a nice example you can certainly appreciate the desirability and scarcity of a Gem or MS-66.

 

Try putting together a solid Gem set of clad quarters. It was a huge task until the TPG's came around but now it can be purchased for as little as a couple thousand, I believe. I wore out more than a couple thousand in shoe leather alone not counting tire tread and gasoline.

 

Its fine that you like to do this but 99%+ of collectors are not interested just like they are not interested in the series I collect.

 

This is especially true of foreign collectors for the coins you mentioned. When I say this practice is absurd unlike most others, I am not specifically referring just to moderns. I think it is absurd for any coin. Paying such exorbitant premiums for such trivial differences in actual quality only makes sense in some instances because of the financial aspect. Otherwise there isn't any logic to it at all. This is how practically all non-US collectors think and since the price structure in the US differed radically in the past, how collectors in this country did as well.

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Its fine that you like to do this but 99%+ of collectors are not interested just like they are not interested in the series I collect.

 

I believe you are mistaken and that you are mistaken BECAUSE you see this from a perspective of a classic coin collector. The average Barber dime came off the dies as a pretty nice coin. The average ZAR 1894 shilling was a great coin before it got into circulation. Sure, there was a wide spread in quality but there's no special need to care about quality when almost all are nice. This is true for some moderns too. The typical 1974 Swiss Franc is a very attractive coin in Unc. They won't all have crisp strikes like most silver coins but some will and most are well struck and lightly marked. The problem isn't finding a nice one; the problem is finding one.

 

This doesn't apply to something like a 1969 US quarter. The typical coin came off the dies and was poorly struck by worn dies. They had a couple different types of surface problems (mostly retained planchet marking) and now many are tarnished. The typical coin not only has one of these problems but will be marked up and have a few of these problems. It's a case where almost all examples are simply unattractive. This isn't something unique only to US 1969 25c pieces as other issues havew been poorly made, but the difference is this is one of very few coins like this with potentially substantial demand.

 

I'm hardly suggesting that every clad quarter collector will want a Gem. I'm merely saying that this coin is tough in attractive condition and the only reason that nice attractive XF examples of this coin don't sell for a lot of money is that there isn't any demand. We're not talking about a full head on a 1930 quarter but rather just a nice attractive example rather than one that looks like it was beaten with a stick. All collectors have some minimum quality they expect. With moderns that minimum quality sometimes must be under MS-60 if you have to compete with other collectors.

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I do not see much similarity between these coins but I will take them individually.

 

The 1971 quarter, why would you believe that people would consciously set a coin like that aside in the pre-TPG era? Did anyone except maybe for you collect these coins by die variety? Die variety collecting outside of a few areas is not popular now and I presume it was even less so then. My generic explanation for any increase today is that US collectors needed to invent the fiction that they are collecting something "rare" because what they collect is actually as common as a grain of sand on the beach. It is the same reason for collecting "special designation strikes" and "conditional" rarities. And a big reason why they do it is because classics are so much more expensive now than they were in 1971 so they cannot afford many other coins which they culd have in the past.

 

On a coin like the 1909-S VDB, you have me there. I have never been able to understand how so many exist or supposedly exist yet the prices are so high. However, I do not see this coin as the norm but an aberration. To me, it just shows that collecting must have already been well established in the US for so many of them to still exist and in such high grades.

 

On your Fijian example, it is one you have used many times in the past. I do not know anything about these coins but if the mintages were relatively low by US standards which I presume they were because of the population, why is this so unusual? If you combine a relatively low mintage with a low or zero propensity to collect, what other outcome are you supposed to get? It doesn't even make any sense to expect more than a small number to survive today.

 

One other thing I wanted to mention is that you also need to consider that, just like the Krause pricing is wrong (most of the time), its likely that in a reference of this size that so is the other data. In the instance of the 1977 Rhodesia 1/2 cent, supposedly most of the coins were melted. In other instances, I suspect that some of these coins do not exist at all and actually never did. I can give you some specific examples if you need them in a follow-up post but what I am getting at is that of the small proportion of world moderns that are actually scarce by my standards, possibly a large proportion of these fit this criteria.

 

Lastly, while I agree with you that collectors will want UNC for these coins, I do not see this as particularly significant in and of itself. The only thing it tells us is that where there are few in high grades, they weren't intentionally saved.

 

I don't believe any coin should be wortbh anything. I am simply a student of human behavior and of coin pricing. My money doesn't go to keep the price of the '09-S VDB high because I've never really collected these coins. I don't put pressure on the price of an 1804 dollar because my bid is far out of the money. But I do have an interest in many other coins I collect from all over the world (they aren't all moderns). There are some coins that I've been able to be the top buyer for years. I would have paid almost any price for those Greek cu/ ni's though I never announced this in advance.

 

The point is that people collect the Rhodesian and it has the high price because there are more buyers than sellers. If the coins begin sitting in inventory and not selling after being marked down the price would decrease. If people decided that the '09-S VDB were too common and started selling and slowed buying its price would come down.

 

But if the price of most moderns explodes through the roof most people won't even notice because they think it's all modern junk that is common and bought by greater fools seeking ever higher grades or rare varieties.

 

Moderns have almost no demand and no matter how you say it this isn't natural. People stood in lines to get pennies in 1909 and saved tens of millions of bicentennial quarters but just don't care about the 1969. I'm still betting that most modern rarities will be appreciated eventually because everthing tends to regress toward the norm just as pendulums return to center.

 

One misconception you seem to have is that low mintage is good for a coin's price. With moderns there is actually a negative correlation between mintage and the number available. Moderns are minted in sufficient quantity that everyone can set them aside but it's usually only the lower mintages that are saved. This is not a strong correlation but it does exist. In actuality the availability of moderns is very hit and miss.

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in any event, as have already told you multiple times, in South Africa and most other countries, there isn't enough to buy with more than a trivial amount of money wihtout pricing out most buyers. There is no evidence that they are going to buy the "leftovers" (both classics and moderns) because they find collecting so compelling.

 

If they don't buy coins or acquire them by some means then they aren't coin collectors by definition.

 

I've always wanted to collect bust half dollars but they were too expensive for me in 1957 and they are too expensive now. I still consider myself a coin collect; just not bust halfs.

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