World Coins

Why the modern world coin graded market is growing

The privately produced series for the Cook Islands honoring Tiffany glass has been a sellout every year during its 11-year run (so far). The 2015 design showcases the Nasrid style at the Alhambra Palace at Granada.

Images courtesy of Coin Invest Trust.

Editor's note: this is the first 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

In recent years the market for modern coins has exploded. In part, this reflects the changing demographics of numismatics as new collectors join the hobby. 

They are often younger and less financially secure than more established collectors, who tend to be older, wealthier, and more interested in the classic collector coins they remember from their youth. Newer collectors are often drawn to modern coins because they are easier and less expensive to collect than classic American and other older coins.  

Speculators looking to cash in on a popular coin while interest in it is high also help shape the modern coin market, and in some cases this can produce an intense frenzy, such as with last year’s Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins and Kennedy gold half dollars. Modern collectors will often purchase multiples of a hot issue.

Read the other pieces in this series:

The market for modern U.S. coins remains the largest and most mature part of this segment of numismatics for sure, but modern world coins have also seen their share of the market grow substantially. 

Collector coins from world mints are notable for their low mintages, stunning designs, and an almost bewildering range of themes, especially on commemorative issues. 

Certain standout issues become big hits with collectors either right away or over time, driving up secondary market values sharply, such as the coins in the Cook Islands’ Tiffany Art silver series (issued in 2-ounce and kilo sizes) that is in its 11th year of production, while others have seen their values decline as collectors lose interest.

As interest in modern world issues has grown and the number of such coins minted has multiplied exponentially over the years, so has the number of such coins that are professionally graded by third-party companies. This includes world bullion coins and commemorative issues, which are both collected in graded and ungraded examples. 

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