Winter Action Springs Ahead, Coin Caravan Motors West

Posted on 3/10/2011

The numismatic marketplace has been a flurry of action this winter season and with spring on the horizon, coin sales in general especially those top-tier registry quality representatives remain in frenzied demand.

Both retail sales as well as auction results verify both the exotic and aggressively sought out registry quality coins are realizing very strong prices. With spot Gold trading at well over $1,400 per ounce and silver trading at levels not seen for over three decades, these forces are certainly powerful catalysts helping usher in a whole new breed of enthusiastic collector. Whether a newbie or veteran numismatist, those that have held onto bullion related coins are once again flocking to the vast numismatic arena. Many enticed due to the dramatic spike in silver, are revisiting those many Morgan and Peace Dollars that had been stashed away. The incentive is there for many to start acquiring those key dates and to fill holes in albums which had eluded them previously. With Gold trading in record territory, many dealers cannot keep up with the intensified demand for the yellow metal. One West Coast dealer advised that with premiums so tight on MS 63 $20 Saints it is hard to keep up with the heightened demand. Another well established market maker said that it is 1980 and 1990 rolled into one, it’s unbelievable out there.

One well-known Florida dealer advised me there are true believers out there in the coin world seeking out the low population coins with all the bells and whistles for placement in well-designed registry sets or for long-term appreciation. “Not everybody is able to see the opportunity at hand whereas others have seized the opportunity.” The sunshine state dealer advised that he recently purchased several top quality Type 3 Gold Dollars (1856-1889) for his inventory, targeting NGC PL and DPL quality specimens. Although several installments within the series reflect miniscule mintages, many of the later dates especially the post-Civil War issues were saved by collectors of the day and remain in high-grade. One such coin is the 1880 installment reporting in with a modest mintage of 1,600 pieces. It ranks fourth within the series by mintage figures, although it is not really a rarity as over a third of the output remains in Choice or better condition. According to the NGC Coin Price Guide, a MS 67 example is valued at $5,400. However, this is not relevant in regards to a superb NGC MS 67 DPL CAC 1880 Gold Dollar which the dealer sold immediately to a client for $30,000. Only one coin grades a single point higher within this designation. In fact, only 46 Type 3 Gold Dollars have been awarded the DPL title by NGC.

The Florida dealer advised that this stunning coin was placed into an advanced collector’s portfolio to be held long-term as the savvy client appreciates the true rarity and potential for investment. The same dealer advised me that he is aggressively seeking out all denominations of Proof-like and DPL Gold to be inventoried. “I just can't keep it in stock. Demand for this NGC material is extraordinarily hot right now.” he said.

Although no major auctions have appeared since Long Beach, recent Internet sales from several venues have recorded significant results. A superb key date 1877 Indian Cent, always catering strong demand in both Mint State or Proof, reveals an NGC PF 66 RB specimen realized $8,740 during a Teletrade sale. Only 15 have been graded as such with a single coin graded one point higher within that designation. Several other noteworthy examples from Teletrade:

  • 1864 Indian Cent Bronze NGC PF 66BN $2,357
  • 1831 JR-5 Capped Bust Dime NGC 65 $5,520
  • 1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 66 $5,175
  • 1901 Barber Half Dollar NGC PF 66 Cameo $4,025
  • 1922 No Star Grant Gold Dollar NGC MS 66 $3,335
  • 1803 Small 3 Draped Bust Silver Dollar NGC 15 $2,127
  • 1874 Trade Dollar NGC PF 63 $3,105

Heritage’s weekly internet only auctions confirm this sentiment. Heated action for quality NGC type coins as well as rare dates continues, as evidenced by the following listing:

  • 1955 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Cent NGC 61 BN CAC $2,300
  • 1894 Barber Half NGC PF 66 $3,593
  • 1927-S Walking Liberty Half NGC MS 65 $5,750
  • 1797 10x6 Stars Draped Bust Dollar NGC XF 40 $8,912.50
  • 1911 Indian Head Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65 $6,325
  • 1879 Three Dollar NGC MS 64 PL $8,912.50
  • 1860-O $10 Liberty NGC AU 55 $5,175
  • 1915-S $20 Saint-Gaudens NGC MS 66 $5,736

The David Lawrence weekly internet auction venue was also the site of many scarce rare and perhaps underrated NGC slabs. One of the more exotic and beguiling coins was an 1887 Liberty Seated Dime, graded NGC MS 68, tied for the finest graded with one other sibling, a truly amazing coin blessed with exceptional strike and glorious rainbow toning found a new home at $7,251. Several other exceptional NGC offerings are listed below.

  • 1916 Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 67 $4,025
  • 1911 Barber Dime NGC PF 67 $2,588
  • 1806 Draped Bust Quarter NGC AU 58 $5,003
  • 1807 Draped Bust Quarter NGC AU 58 $5,204
  • 1837 Capped Bust Half Reeded Edge NGC MS 64 $3,105
  • 1891-O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 65 $5,150
  • 1866-S $20 Liberty Head Motto NGC AU 53 $4,370

All eyes will be on the ANA National Money Show taking place in Sacramento, California, March 17 through 19. Dealers attempting to replenish depleted inventories and collectors looking to fill some gaps in their collections will all be vying for top tier NGC material showcased in the feature Heritage auction on March 17 and 18. Some of the notable NGC highlights include the following.

  • 1796 Draped Bust Quarter NGC MS 64
  • 1806 Draped Bust Quarter NGC MS 66
  • 1794 Flowing Hair Half NGC AU 53
  • 1854 Type 2 Gold Dollar NGC MS 66
  • 1863 Three Dollar Gold NGC PF 66 UC CAC
  • 1920-S $20 Saint-Gaudens NGC MS 61 CAC
  • 1913 $20 Saint-Gaudens NGC PF 66
  • 1850 Mormon Five Dollar Gold NGC AU 55

Jim Bisognani has written extensively on US coin market trends and values and was the market analyst and writer for a major pricing guide for many years. He currently resides in Southern California and frequently attends major coin shows and auctions.

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