As this market analysis is the final one of 2011, it’s perhaps
appropriate to reflect on the great year the rare coin market has had.
Rising precious metal prices drove much of the rare coin market
during the year, with silver nearly hitting $50 an ounce in April
while gold hit record-high prices several times during the year,
breaking the $1,900 an ounce barrier in late August and staying
generally strong for the rest of the year.
A robust auction market continued for coins, evidenced by
Heritage’s “First Week” January auctions — consisting of the Florida
United Numismatists convention coin and paper money auctions and its
New York International world and ancient coin auction that realized
In August, more than 16,000 lots were offered in the auctions
immediately before and during the American Numismatic Association
World’s Fair of Money. The auctions totaled $71 million and the
official Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ various sessions realized more than
Globally the appetite for rarities expanded as top Chinese,
Islamic and ancient coins exceeded expectations toward record high
prices at auction.
In the U.S. market, generic Morgan and Peace dollars and Walking
Liberty half dollars showed elevated demand, while rising gold prices
did not lift premiums for many classic pre-1933 U.S. gold pieces.
It is hard to believe that in January 2011, five-coin sets of 2010
America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coins were
trading at $2,700. Today, these sets sell for much less, including one
sealed box that realized $1,279 in a Nov. 25 eBay auction.
On Oct. 27, collectors and speculators overwhelmed the U.S. Mint’s
website and phone lines to purchase their five-coin 2011 American
Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin sets at the issue price of $299.95.
The sets quickly shot to more than $800 on the secondary market once
delivery started in November, providing quick profits to the lucky
collectors (and speculators) who wanted to sell.
In November, the Mint sold out of Proof 2011-W American Eagle
silver dollars, which raised the price on the secondary market for all
Proof silver American Eagles from $60 to $70 within the week, as
shrinking supplies combined with increased holiday demand.
It has been an exciting year! What will 2012 bring? ■