Each year, at the end of November or the start of December, the editorial staff at Coin World votes on the top 10 stories that shaped the year in coins. This year’s top stories will be the feature of the Dec. 31 issue of Coin World, but in preparing the list, one also thinks about what 2013 has in store for the hobby.
What are some things that collectors can anticipate in the new year?
➤ Continued record prices for rarities — collectors don’t have to look far into 2013 for a test of the market because millions of dollars worth of coins will change hands on the bourse floor and at Heritage Auctions’ various sales at the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando, Jan. 10 to 13, and at the concurrent New York International show in New York City, which will have multiple auctions. Less than two weeks later in New York, several seven-figure rarities are set to be auctioned, including the finest known 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, which brought a record $7.85 million for a single coin in a private transaction in 2010. This dollar and several other top rarities are part of Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ Americana Sale, set for Jan. 22 to 24. Should the dollar set an all-time coin auction record — surpassing the $7,590,020 a 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle realized in 2001 — it could bring other top rarities out of collections and to the auction block.
➤ New products from the U.S. Mint — collectors were surprised by the Mint’s mid-November announcement that it would be offering a limited-edition 2012 Proof set that combined elements of the 2012 Silver Proof set with a Proof 2012-W American Eagle silver dollar. From the 2012 Making American History Coin and Currency Set to the San Francisco Mint 75th Anniversary American Eagle set, the Mint showed that it was willing to experiment with a wide range of products designed to entice collectors. Will collectors continue to buy these, or will they just give up on trying to keep current with the Mint’s offerings?
➤ Circulating money changes — now that Canada has dropped the cent, is the United States far behind? From an economic perspective, the cent is largely ineffective; however, it’s nostalgic and the Lincoln cent is still a beloved series. In December of this year, the U.S. Mint is scheduled to present its findings from a two-year study of alternative coin compositions. Will 2013 be the year of change for the cent and 5-cent coin? Both denominations currently cost more than face value to produce. Also, with Congress contemplating the future of money and the possible cost savings of better utilizing dollar coins, will this be the year that America starts to transition away from the $1 note to the $1 coin?
➤ Bullion heat — with an improving economy, sales of American Eagle bullion coins do not seem poised for another record year in 2012, but what will 2013 bring? A worsening economy brought about by more inaction in Washington could drive investors back to gold and silver; strong bullion coin sales from 2009 to 2011 were largely driven by a poor economy. Also, U.S. Mint officials have been studying whether to issue a palladium bullion coin; will that become reality in 2013?
➤ American Numismatic Association elections — every two years the ANA has elections for its president, vice president and seven governors. While the ANA is relatively stable now thanks to solid leadership over the past several years, one hopes that the candidates will bring up issues to inspire discussions on how the leading collector organization can expand the hobby and better serve its membership. In light of its recent missteps including executive director troubles, legal issues and an embarrassing museum theft, continued leadership is necessary to help further the recent gains.
2013 will be an exciting year for the coin hobby. Read all about the year as it develops each week, in Coin World.