Editor's note: this is the third part of a series by Louis Golino
exploring the demand for modern graded coins. The feature appears in
the September monthly issue of Coin World.
Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp., the
industry leaders in third-party grading, are now grading more world
coins than ever; they continue to expand the world coin sections of
their census reports; and both companies have opened offices in Europe
to coordinate grading submissions.
PCGS opened a Paris office a couple years ago, and has an office in
Hong Kong for submissions from Asia. NGC opened one in Munich in
August of 2014. These companies clearly see a growing market for
graded coins overseas.
Another key reason that the market for graded modern issues has
expanded is that the leading dealers and distributors in this area,
such as Modern Coin Mart, American Precious Metals Exchange,
SilverTowne, Modern Coin Wholesale and others, have made the graded
coins a major component of their business in recent years.
Read the other pieces in this series:
Ron Drzewucki, owner of Modern Coin Wholesale, told Coin
World his company has seen growing demand for modern world coins
and that sales of such coins doubled from 2013 to 2014. The
best-selling world coins at MCW are “the yearly releases, such as
Canada’s Maple leaf, Mexico’s Libertad, China’s Panda, Austria’s
Philharmonic, and Australia’s Koala,” he said.
Drzewucki also noted that, with respect to the yearly bullion
releases, ungraded coins tend to sell more, but when it comes to
commemorative coins such as the Canadian Wildlife series and the new
American National Monuments series from Niue, graded coins, especially
Proof and MS-70 pieces, tend to sell best.
The online auction site eBay has also been instrumental in the
growth of the modern world coin market, and eBay coin sales are
dominated by large coin dealers.
MCM is the largest coin and bullion seller on eBay in terms of the
number of transactions, based on feedback information readily
available on eBay, and runs neck-and-neck with APMEX in dollar sales
volume, according to information from a third-party analytics company.
Typically, when a major new world coin is released, these companies
purchase a significant number of coins from the issuing mint and have
most of them graded before offering them for sale.
In addition, in some instances, one dealer is responsible for the
entire graded population of a particular coin. This has a lot to do
with the fact that the cost for a collector to have individual coins
graded is much higher than the prices dealers pay per coin for large
In addition, these companies have increasingly entered into
arrangements with issuing mints to create exclusive coins at the coin
dealers’ initiative, which are often designed by artists that work for
the coin companies and are then sold both graded and ungraded. These
exclusive deals have greatly expanded the range of coins being
Proof 70 coins
If a particular coin or series is widely collected around the world,
examples graded 70 are sometimes worth substantially more than the
same coin in the next lower grade, even though most people are unable
to tell the difference even with magnification. A good example is the
Australian Proof 2014 Wedge-tailed Eagle, High Relief coin, the first
in a new series that immediately garnered a lot of interest from collectors.
Though issued in an array of sizes in silver and gold, the one-ounce
silver version of the Proof Wedge-tailed Eagle, High Relief coin
remains a very popular coin because of its attractive design, and
because it was designed by former U.S. Mint Chief Engraver John
Mercanti, who also designed the reverse of the American Eagle silver
Most of the graded examples of this Australian coin are encapsulated
Of the 10,000 Australian coins minted, more than 8,000 were graded
by PCGS, with about half being graded Proof 69 and half being graded
Proof 70. Only a handful of coins were sent to NGC. This is a result
of the way the coins were sold and marketed by GovMint, the exclusive
distributor for these Perth Mint coins in the U.S.
Even though 4,311 examples of this coin are graded Proof 70 by PCGS,
examples sell for, on average, about $500 when offered in online
auctions on eBay, while the Proof 69 graded coins and ungraded ones
sell for about $200. Recent eBay auctions for several Proof 70
examples realized prices of $465, $570, $600, $475, and $500.
The popular 2013 and 2014 Canadian Superman silver and gold coins
are another series in which graded Proof 70 coins are worth
substantially more than ungraded examples.
On the other hand, some popular issues sell for about the same
amount whether ungraded or in 70, and often at a discount in 69. This
poses risks for the owner who pays to submit an ungraded coin, hoping
to receive a 70 grade, but may end up with a devalued coin if the
grade is less than perfect.
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