Modern Market Motivated!

Posted on 9/15/2016

Ancient world coins an exciting option; Colonial era coins from mother country a great value

As we approach the fall season, Major League Baseball is sprinting toward an exciting post season, football has returned, network TV is ready to unveil its new lineup and as this article posts we are less than a fortnight away from the first of the highly anticipated 2016 Presidential debates. The latter expected to draw a record audience. With children back in school many parents and veteran hobbyists are ramping up their collecting activity as well. It has always seemed to be that as the days get a bit shorter our hobby seems to shift to greater activity.

While the summer has been mostly steady in mainstream numismatic circles, the US Mint has had many big hits with their 2016 lineup. The US Mint has been a very busy and popular website for dealers and collectors! The just-released (September 8) 2016 Standing Liberty 100th Anniversary golden tribute commemorative with a 100,000 product limit is nearly 75% sold out.

However, with a one coin per household limit pre-sales on eBay are still generating sales well over a hundred dollars above the issue price of $485! Presales for NGC SP 70 coins with the NGC Early Releases designation are capturing $749!

Last month’s surprise darling, the 2016 American Liberty medals, are both still hot properties as sealed boxes of four silver medals (two each “S“ & “W”) still bring upwards of $600.

On September 11, eBay witnessed an amazing 60 bids culminate with an astounding $1,779 paid for a pair of 2016-S and W American Liberty medals graded NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo with the First Day Of Issue designations! Of course, with the low production of 12,500 medals from each Mint, collector demand is outstripping the available supply.

Another popularly priced issue goes on sale at noon on September 16. The US Mint will be releasing the 30th Anniversary Proof version of the Silver Eagle, proudly displaying “30th Anniversary” incused on the coin's edge just below the date. With an issue price of $53.95 and no household limit, this should be an easier and attractive acquisition for established collectors of silver eagles or for the new hobbyist looking to get on board.

While some of the US and world mints' highly promoted numismatic prodigies aren’t always worth their hype, several such as the 2016 Mercury, 2016 Standing Liberty and 2016 Walking Liberty gold centennial issues should be on most numismatic wish lists for now and for a great holiday gift! Wow, I can’t believe I said that.

Whether introduced to modern numismatics through design element, commemoration, precious metal content, low mintage or short-term speculation, all of the excitement generated by the US Mint and other world mints are drawing in new collectors. Some will make modern material their hobby specialty. Many will, of course, branch out into more mainstream collecting too. It is a fabulous hobby and pastime one which I never tire of. So much to learn and collect, and too little time.

Modern US coins have a lot to offer and at all price points. Enthusiasm doesn’t need to be limited by your budget either. If you have $50 to spend every other month or twenty times that, the hunt is always enjoyable. Whether you want State quarters, Sacagawea dollars, Presidential dollars, Silver and Gold Eagles or commemoratives—you can gleefully make the rounds at local shows or get hand cramps and eye strain scouring the Internet; opportunity and values await.

Listen, I’m not a big proponent of all modern issues yet it’s undeniable that the excitement created by several of the 2016 US Mint numismatic releases are quite compelling and will in the long term benefit the hobby immensely.

Dealers and market makers are interested in turning a profit if they want to stay in business. The key for keeping the new collector in the fold however is not to monopolize an issue and drive up demand and watch a market fall flat, leaving many collectors who bought at the high end of the tape with a bad taste for numismatics and the hobby as a whole. Remember, especially new collectors, low mintage doesn’t always indicate an instant rarity or that there will be a secondary market. What is important with any issue in my opinion is to buy what you like and can afford.

As for other areas of collecting, I think opportunities can be found in early Lincoln cents, as semi-keys have been reporting in with lackluster performances at auction of late. Proof Barber and Motto Seated Liberty types harbor very good values at present levels, too.

Low mintage yet highly collected series such as Classic Commems have been dormant at present levels for years and are enormous values in my estimation. Another alternative are historic world coins!

Ancients offer a powerful and tangible glimpse into the past, especially with the advent of NGC Ancients. Graded material is making that great and historic series of antiquities more mainstream. Although still thinly traded domestically, it is making inroads. I personally have always had a fondness for British and Commonwealth issues. I suggest collecting copper and silver coins from the late 1600s to early 1800s. It is a relatively inexpensive way to build a collection of farthings through shillings which mirror our own country’s early Federal issues, at a fraction of the cost.

Below are four exemplary Colonial-era coins from the mother country—Great Britain—which just sold at the Goldberg’s Pre-Long Beach Auction and Heritage's Long Beach Signature Auction for World And Ancient coins. Coins such as these are still very affordable for most collectors.


1787 Great Britain George III Sixpence NGC MS 62 $153

1787 Great Britain George III Shilling NGC MS 63 $235


1697 Great Britain William III Sixpence NGC MS 65 $470

1799 Great Britain George III Half Penny NGC MS 64 RD $282

Until next time, happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

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