Gerald Tebben, a Coin World columnist for more than 30 years, also contributes to Coin World’s Coin Values and edits the Central States Numismatic Society’s journal, The Centinel. He collects coins that tell stories.
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FIVE SURE-FIRE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY IN COINS: LARGE COLLECTOR BASE
Here’s my fourth sure-fire way to make money in coins.
Buy coins with a large collector base. Some blue chips are too blue to actually be blue chips. As the price of a coin increases into the tens and hundreds of thousands the number of possible buyers thins, sometimes to next to nothing. Several very rare, very desirable coins have sold for hundreds of thousands one year and gone begging for a buyer at half that price a year or two later.
While gains for extreme rarities can be great, their loses can be catastrophic. One of the first collectors to realize this was famed 19th century Boston bean baker Lorin G. Parmelee. In 1870 he paid $700 for a Class I 1804 silver dollar. When he cashed out in 1890, the King of American Coins, fetched just $570 at auction. That coin hasn’t been sold since.Buyer Byron Reed willed it to the city of Omaha. It’s the centerpiece of the Reed gallery in that city’s Durham Museum.
A more recent example is the 1850 Proof Seated Liberty quarter. Three are known. The finest, graded Proof 68 by NGC, sold for a breathtaking $460,000 at the January 2008 FUN show.
Five years later, at last year’s Aug. 8, 2013, Heritage Auctions U.S. Coins Signature Auction, the coin sold for $258,500. In June, Heritage sold the same coin again, this time for just $223,250.
If the only other guy interested in a very expensive coin is out on his yacht the day you sell your coin at auction, the price is goingto plummet. Look for coins that are affordable by the average collector.