Picking coinage winners

Take profits or buy and hold
Published : 04/22/11
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Several U.S. Mint programs have allowed for fast, nearly immediate, profits for fast collectors.

Yet, in some instances, if collectors held the coins, the rewards would be potentially greater.

At noon Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 22, 2009, the U.S. Mint released the 2009 Saint-Gaudens, Ultra High Relief gold $20 coin. The Mint had warned collectors on its website, “Orders will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and may take up to six to nine months to fulfill based on gold blank availability.”

Once the coins began to be shipped in February, the first buyers could sell their allotment of one coin for a fast $500 profit.

On July 27, 2009, the ordering limit was raised to 10 per household and at the 2009 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Los Angeles, collectors who waited in line for an hour and purchased the maximum of 10 could sell them on the floor for a fast $60 per coin profit or $600 total profit.

By the time the ordering limit was raised to 25 per household on Aug. 31, 2009, demand subsided as had the time for fast profits.

Yet, those collectors who purchased the limit of 25 coins at the then-going rate of $1,389 and held them have also been rewarded handsomely. As of April 5, at least one market maker is paying $2,600 for fresh examples, nearly doubling a buyer’s initial $34,725 investment in the 25 Ultra High Relief coins.

Another area of quick profits has been with Proof American Eagle silver bullion coins. Buyers who ordered their allotment of 100 Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins at $45.95 each were rewarded with a quick $400 gain when selling them immediately to dealers who were paying $50 each.

Those who waited to sell them have been fortunate, indeed. As of April 5, several national dealers are paying $64 each for these, providing those who bought and held the 100 coins with a possible profit of $1,800!

When the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles set was released by the Mint on Oct. 15, 2009, priced at $55.95, with an ordering limit of one per household, buyers could quickly sell their sets for $150 each. After the initial flurry, the set stayed at the $140 to $175 level where it remains today.

The 2009-P Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial silver dollar went on sale Feb. 12, 2009, at a pre-issue price of $37.95 for the Proof version and $31.95 for the Uncirculated coin.

The first coins to enter the marketplace sold for modest premiums that allowed $10 to $15 profits per coin, and today these coins trade at the $50 to $60 level, allowing for $20 to $25 per-coin profits. But, not every modern issue is a winner, well-suited for fast profits.

Steven Roach is associate editor of Coin World. Email him at sroach@coinworld.com.

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