NumisMedia Market Report: FUN Leads the Coin Market into 2010

As always, the FUN Convention is a good indication of what will happen in the coin market in the year ahead. And NumisMedia’s report to the hobby is that we are in the right business at the most opportune time.

The FUN Convention is known for painting a partial picture of what is to come in the new year. Sometimes it is a difficult picture to decipher. This year it is very easy to describe. The coin market (and the economy) is full of jitters. Most buyers do not know what to purchase in these times of uncertainty, but what is evident is that many want to acquire rare coins and any bullion-related coins. They are demanding hard assets that they can hold in their hands. Most consumers do not want investment funds or savings left in a bank; it is not as safe there as it once was. Banks are offering only one to two percent interest on savings, if that, while charging as much as 25% to 30% on credit card interest. If coin dealers tried to make half that spread, they would be run out of business. If you glean anything from the FUN experience, it is that we are in the right business at the most opportune time.

Gold cooperated and advanced right through the week at FUN. Rare coins changed hands as well as key dates, but some coins required minor discounts, while others brought premiums over current FMV levels. What this means is the overall market is mixed with activity in most areas. The only areas that remain soft are the common issues of modern coin series. Coins with high populations are steady at best with not much interest being shown by potential buyers. Anything after 1940 is not as active as prior, unless they are coins of the highest grade in a series. The highest-grade coins will still attract Registry collectors, especially if the populations are very low for the grade. In addition, bullion-related modern issues were very active as long as they were priced competitively with appropriate premiums above the intrinsic value.

Prior to the FUN Convention, Bowers and Merena Auctions began the auction season with the Orlando Rarities Sale. The sale contained nearly 900 lots that realized a little over $2.5 million. One of the more interesting highlights of this sale was the 1851 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold AU 55, which is missing the digits 88 from the inscription “880 THOUS” on the obverse. This coin is unique and sold for $115,000. Another important coin was the 1879 Flowing Hair Stella $4 Gold in Cameo PR 66; this beauty realized $182,500. Below is a list of other major rarities and the prices they brought. Please contact Bowers and Merena for a list of all prices realized.

Denomination    Grade    Price Realized   
1867 Shield Nickel w/ Rays PCGS PR 65 $54,625
1937 D Buffalo Nickel 3 Leg PCGS MS 65 $35,650
1852 Seated Dime NGC PR 65 $12,650
1852 O Seated Quarter PCGS MS 62 $26,450
1916 St. Lib Quarter NGC MS 65 FH $24,150
1927 S St. Lib Quarter NGC MS 66 $10,063
1795 FH Half Two Leaves NGC AU 58 $16,389
1896 S Morgan Dollar PCGS MS 65 $17,313
1855 $1 Gold TII NGC MS 63 $10,350
1911 $2 ½ Indian NGC PR 67 $39,100
1803/2 $5 Gold NGC MS 65 $115,000
1812 $5 Bust Gold NGC MS 64 $29,900
1885 $5 Gold PCGS PR 64 DCam $16,100
1926 D $20 Saint PCGS MS 63 $31,050

The Heritage FUN Auction brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to the overall market. Of course, much of this was a result of the appearance of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. The history behind this rarity always attracts collectors and non-collectors alike. When one of these coins is offered at auction, news travels around the globe and competitive bidding is sure to follow. In this instance, the hammer stopped at $3,737,500 and a record price was recorded for this NGC-certified PR 64. This is the second finest of the five known pieces minted and was the highlight of a sale that realized well over $36 million. An unusual Pattern Gold coin brought $1,265,000; the 1874 $10 Bickford grades PCGS PR 65 Deep Cameo. It is one of only two known to exist. A third million-dollar coin in this magnificent sale was the 1927 D $20 Saint Gaudens. This was the Ralph P. Muller coin and grades PCGS MS 66. It sold for $1,495,000 and will be the new highlight in an important collection. There were so many major highlights in the sale it is difficult to report them all, so we will list just a few below. For a complete list of prices realized, please contact Heritage Galleries.

Denomination    Grade    Price Realized   
1943 Lincoln Cent Copper PCGS AU 58 $218,500
1918/7 D Buffalo Nickel PCGS MS 65 $264,500
1853 Seated Quarter A/R NGC PR 65 Cameo $230,000
1892 S Morgan Dollar PCGS MS 65 $115,000
1879 $4 Gold Flowing Hair NGC PR 67 Cameo $299,000
1839 $5 Gold NGC PR 61 $184,000
1899 S $5 Gold NGC MS 69 $103,500
1795 $10 Gold 13 Leaves PCGS MS 62 $115,000
1801 $10 Gold NGC MS 65 $161,000
1899 S $10 Gold NGC MS 69 $195,500
1870 CC $20 Gold NGC XF 40 $184,009
1870 CC $20 Gold PCGS XF 45 $230,000
1926 D Saint Gaudens PCGS MS 65 $253,000

We have no doubt that millions of dollars are available for rare coins. As we touched on earlier, unspent cash could be wasting potential profits. As you can see from these auctions, knowledgeable buyers are more than willing to purchase coins that have potential. Yet, this market is not for everyone. Collectors must be capable of grading coins and determining Fair Market Value. The track record for specific coins by grade is a major help in determining the future for profits. In addition, the Pop Reports can reveal just how many coins are available by grade. Most dealers feel that classic rarities are the best coins to purchase because they represent the core of long-term collections.

However, we do see many new types of buyers in today’s market. Many novices look to the current bullion coins for collector value as well as intrinsic value. New collectors feel more secure in knowing that they can follow bullion prices and know how their portfolios are doing. Although when speculation enters into the equation, premiums can become exorbitant, for example, in the area of Proof Gold Eagles. The FMV for one-ounce coins was as high as $2,720; currently the FMV is $1,890. Many dealers feel the premiums are still too high over the gold value. This could very well chase more of these new buyers into the “real” rare coin market.

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.

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