Let's Give Peace Dollars A Chance: Winter FUN Ushers in 2012

Posted on 12/29/2011

As we prepare to bring the curtain down on 2011...

As we prepare to bring the curtain down on 2011, the holiday rush in the regular merchandising world has been responsible for a green Christmas for many merchants. While spirited holiday giving has consumers and retailers caroling with good cheer, it has also been an active year for the numismatic community. The economic shortcomings throughout most of 2011 actually contributed to the continued precious metals escalation. While there has been some profit taking at the end of the year, gold and silver have performed admirably well. Top tier, eye appealing collector coins as well as rare coins in the five and low six–figure category remain prime properties.

A pair of NGC–certified coins were the only ones to break the elite million dollar club at public auction this year. The first came as part of the Heritage January 2011 Tampa FUN Signature and Platinum Night US Coin Auction. A superb NGC–graded PR 67 1907 Rolled Edge Indian $10 captured a winning bid of $2.185 million. This proud Augustus Saint-Gaudens creation is only the ninth US coin ever to sell for more than $2 million at public auction. The other million–dollar seller was a part of the Heritage pre–ANA Chicago Signature sale. Here another Gold coin was king as the 1855–S $3 Gold Princess graded NGC PR 64 Cameo thundered home at $1,322,500.

Although hundreds of millions of dollars in certified rare coins exchanged hands in 2011, the average numismatist has evolved significantly. While many faithful hobbyists are still having a dickens of a time securing just the right coin or coins for their respective collections, the liquidity, transparency and continued security of third-party grading, Internet only auctions and streaming historical data to note pads, tablets, iPhones, etc. have made even the armchair “coindexter” a force to be reckoned with.

The ongoing quest for what is referred to as “fresh” material are being targeted not only by the numismatic professional but the average collector. With today’s technology, the avid hobbyist no longer has to attend each and every marquee auction or canvas the bourse at major conventions to satisfy their numismatic desires. Conversely, and lucky for the many coin dealers out there, it is still evident that many serious collectors just don’t have the time to devote to market analytics and adequately research each and every major auction that fights for their attention. This can be a daunting task as upwards of 5,000 lots or more may appear in a single catalog! The task of making the correct determination to raise the bidding paddle (or not) is still put directly into the lap of the numismatic professional.

One area that remains very competitive is the Peace Dollar contingent. While Morgan Dollars may enjoy a more broad-based popularity, the ability to assemble a true mint state collection is a very pricey and time consuming venture. Conversely, Peace Dollars are an attractive alternative. Since this is a relatively short set (24 coins to complete the series and no real “stoppers”), the average collector can certainly set their sights on a mint state collection. A quick review of the NGC census reveals that less than 300 complete mint state collections can be assembled within mint state grade!

Within the collector friendly MS 63 category no more than 265 sets could be completed as the key date 1934–S confirms only 265 have been graded as such. According to the ever handy and free NGC US Coin Price Guide, a complete set in this grade is $9,275. In MS 60 the cost is less than half of the MS 63 grade. Interestingly, there are only 861 coins graded by NGC in the entire Peace Dollar series in MS 60. Based on that information, one could conclude that MS 60 coins are rarer than MS 63 coins considering that the total NGC population of MS 63 Peace Dollars is over 175,000. This, of course, is not the case but is certainly a curiosity. In either of these two grades the ability to complete the series in one or two years is a distinct possibility for most collectors of average means. Everyone should give Peace Dollars a chance!

This time of year it is always enjoyable to hear a good story or at least a pleasant ending to a numismatic story. An avid collector described to me how she has been a collector for years and would occasionally pick up 90% silver coins from circulation. As time went by she periodically purchased coins from several dealers. Over the years she became quite the accumulator buying copper cents through $20 Gold pieces. Recently when she went to sell some her collection she discovered that most if not all of the uncertified gold coins were worth only a fraction of what she paid based on their inflated grades and equally inflated prices. She thought all was lost when literally out of the blue she found a dealer in Florida. Over the course of several months she had the coins that were worthy graded by NGC and then liquidated them and the majority of the “junk.” He then put her in desirable, properly graded and priced coins “I was so lucky to find an honest dealer.” A trio of certified coins she just received on Christmas Eve included an 1883 Liberty Nickel No Cents NGC PF 67 (none graded higher within this designation by NGC) an 1832 Capped Bust Half Small Letters NGC MS 65 and an 1855–C Liberty Half Eagle NGC MS 60 (one of approximately a dozen coins known in true mint state). “I took my lumps on a lot of my mistakes but now I have a dealer I trust and am once again excited about collecting.”

As the New Year approaches, all the major dealers and ardent collectors are making a beeline for the Sunshine State. Some to stay warm, but the majority are ready to do battle on the spacious bourse of the Orange County Convention Center for the 57th Annual FUN Show on January 5–8. FUN carries a lot of weight and is considered to be a numismatic bellwether and barometer for the coming year. Below is a listing of some of the most notable NGC participants kicking off the 2012 campaign in the Heritage January 4–8th 2012 US Coins and Platinum Night FUN Signature Auction–Orlando:

  • 1776 Pewter Continental Dollar “EG FECIT” NGC MS 67
  • 1793 Wreath Cent Vine and Bars Edge NGC MS 62 BN
  • 1944–D Lincoln Cent Struck on Zinc-Plated Steel Planchet NGC MS 61
  • 1858 Three Cent Silver NGC PF 68
  • 1916 Doubled Die Obverse Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 64
  • 1918/7–D Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 65
  • 1926–S Buffalo Nickel NGC MS 66
  • 1927 Buffalo Nickel NGC SP 65
  • 1848 Liberty Seated Dime NGC PF 66
  • 1927–S Full Head Standing Liberty Quarter NGC MS 65
  • 1797 Draped Bust Half Eagle NGC XF 45
  • 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar NGC VF 20
  • 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar NGC VF 25
  • 1893–S Morgan Dollar NGC MS 64
  • 1895–O Morgan Dollar NGC MS 66
  • 1885 Morgan Dollar NGC PF 69 Cameo
  • 1851–C Type I Gold Dollar NGC MS 66
  • 1796 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle With Stars NGC MS 62
  • 1798 Draped Bust Quarter Eagle Close Date, 4 Berries NGC MS 64
  • 1833 Capped Bust Quarter Eagle NGC PF 63 Cameo
  • 1848 CAL Liberty Quarter Eagle NGC MS 61
  • 1849–C Liberty Quarter Eagle NGC MS 65
  • 1876 Three Dollar Princess NGC PF 66 Cameo
  • 1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella NGC PF 67 Cameo
  • 1795 Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Eagle NGC MS 63
  • 1809/8 Capped Bust Half Eagle NGC MS 65
  • 1861–S Liberty $10 NGC MS 61
  • 1899 Liberty $10 NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo
  • 1930–S Indian $10 NGC MS 65
  • 1854–S Liberty $20 NGC MS 65
  • 1864–S Liberty $20 NGC MS 65
  • 1866–S No Motto Liberty Head $20 NGC MS 62
  • 1907 High Relief, Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens $20 NGC MS 67
  • 1924–S Saint–Gaudens $20 NGC MS 65
  • 1925–S Saint–Gaudens $20 NGC MS 64
  • 1915-S Round Panama–Pacific $50 NGC MS 65
  • 1851 880 THOUS, Letter Edge Humbert $50 NGC MS 61
  • 1860 Mormon Five Dollar NGC AU 58
  • 1792 Birch Cent Judd–2 NGC F 15
  • 1907 Wire Rim Indian $10 Judd–1902 NGC PF 62

Happy 2012!

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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