Numismatic Success Takes Initiative

Posted on 4/1/2005

Just sit back and watch as the coins you purchase rise in value. Many collectors might feel that all they have to do is pick a series and start buying coins, making quality conscious decisions of course, and then wait for the FMV to jump off the charts.

It is not as easy as the market makes it appear.

The way coins have been advancing over the last few years has made more than a few heads turn. We are finally beginning to receive the recognition that we deserve in the financial arena. Coins can be marketed in a professional manner and it has been proven the last few years. You can review any number of major auctions and interview the astute sellers of important collections and realize that they amassed their collections by hard work (studying the market) with a keen eye for quality; the profits were as amazing as any seen in stock trading. If you dig deep enough you will find that many of these collectors were not just the average Joe either. They took their collecting interests as serious as they do their vocations. They are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, athletes, stock-brokers, school teachers and the like. Anyone can collect coins; you just have to practice what you learned in school – study, research, and analyze!

There are three major elements that differentiate this coin market from previous markets: the State Quarter program, registry sets collecting, and the competition for coins not only between the dealers and collectors, but the major grading services as well. We have discussed the State Quarter program in the past and the merits of this venture by the U.S. Mint. It goes without further mention that it is one of the best ideas the government has ever implemented that benefited the coin business.

Registry Sets are as much a marketing tool as any ever used to sell coins. The genius behind this idea has made the coin market more viable and provided depth in the marketplace beyond imagination. But Registry Sets don't have to be about buying only the best. Collecting in this manner can simply be about playing the game. Participation makes us all winners. This is a game that everyone can play. We liken numismatics to the sports industry. The reason sports attracts so many fans is because the majority of viewers have played or wanted to play that sport. Add to this the thrill of seeing your team beat a cross-town rival. Although, it doesn't always have to be about winning. In any given sport, by the time the playoffs are completed there is only one winner; all the rest are losers. But, are they? They came, they participated, and they offered their best. Collecting coins has an equivalent philosophy. Examine, collect, and show the world what you have accomplished. That is our best determination of participation in Registry Set collecting. Not everyone can afford to buy the best, but there are so many attractions to collecting in this manner.

By registering your coins you are documenting ownership. This is beneficial for several reasons: insurance, theft, financial and estate planning. It also encourages collecting, imparts knowledge and offers a venue for storing photos and evaluating your coins. These are all important aspects of numismatics. Everyone should participate in Registry Set collecting if for no other reason than documentation. It is much like taking pictures of your prized possessions in your home; it is necessary for insurance purposes.

One of the more interesting aspects of Registry Set collecting is the benefits of sharing information. True numismatists love to share their finds and knowledge; once a collector learns something of importance, they then become the teacher for the next generation. This is how all knowledge has been handed down throughout history. With Registry Set collecting we are in an admirable position to administer the advanced education of future generations.

The competition among the grading services to be the biggest or the best has benefited numismatics. The desire to be on top of the market creates an automatic watchdog effect on each of the grading services. If one makes a mistake another grading service will take advantage to gain reputation points. And for these grading services it is all about who can do the most for the dealers and collectors. What began as just a way of storing and grading coins has turned into several multi-million dollar businesses. The industry needs the grading services and the grading services need each other.

There are so many sound areas of the coin market; it is just a matter of time before some of the sleepers begin to move higher. Some series have already advanced over the last three years but may be positioned to increase even further. We have looked at some of the back issues of the Price Guide to see where FMV prices were and how far they have come. One of the interesting aspects of comparing historical data to current information is the kind of information that is missing from the formula. What do we mean? The missing information refers to the various coins by date and grade that we do not see traded on a regular basis. When you attend a coin show or auction, or even read dealer retail ads, there are lots of coins that are duplicated over and over again. But the coins you do not see are ones that could very well be ready to advance.

There are many so-called common date coins rarely encountered in the marketplace. Those dealers and collectors with this knowledge grab these coins and immediately take them off the market. This creates missing information and exacerbates the myth of the common FMV price. Some dealers and collectors know which coins are the sleepers by date and grade. Others are just learning. You have to look for coins that are not there. When you come across them, you have to be able to recognize their potential. That is what analyzing the coin market is all about. The most astute numismatists are the ones following three main points of acquisition: quality, rarity and availability. The first two points are self-evident if you have a working knowledge of grading. The third is one that takes time and intense study in the market. The sleepers are out there; some of the more perceptive collectors are the ones who have sold their coins at tremendous profits in recent auctions. You can be next.

One of the strongest areas of the market is DMPL Dollars. And if you look at some of the prices today compared to last year at this time you will find that they have moved considerably. What is even more amazing is the price structure for Prooflike Dollars. These are like the forgotten stepchild at Christmas. They may command some attention but it is almost embarrassing how much they have been ignored. In many cases, they carry a minute premium above regular business strikes. If the prices for DMPL Dollars continue to soar, then the next best thing may well be just plain ‘ole Prooflikes.

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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