US Coins

Impromptu panel discussions focus on issues facing numismatics

A presentation was held April 27 at the CSNS convention to talk about the coin market. Participants, left to right, are Seth Chandler (Witter Coin), Jim Stoutjesdyk (Heritage Auctions), Devin Hipp (Stack’s Bowers) and John Brush (David Lawrence Rare Coins).

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You couldn’t find it on the schedule of events, but it quickly became a hot attraction at the 84th Anniversary Central States Numismatic Society Convention. A pair of panel discussions were held in the lobby of the convention center on Thursday and Friday that drew interested collectors.

Moderated by Seth Chandler of Witter Coin, the Thursday session focused on the “State of the Rare Coin Market.” Panelists were Jim Stoutjesdyk of Heritage Auctions, Devin Hipp of Stack’s Bowers Galleries and John Brush of David Lawrence Rare Coins.

The Friday presentation centered on attracting young numismatists with Hipp and Brush returning. Steve Feltner of Professional Coin Grading Service joined the forum as third guest panelist.

In Thursday’s opening session, Chandler opened the discussion by asking each member to give an assessment of the market. Stoutjesdyk cited it as healthy with great demand across a wide variety of areas. Hipp reported that Stack’s Bowers has seen a real surge in collectibles: “We’re seeing a lot more young people getting involved and we’re finding that fresh coins are setting records.” Brush noted, “It’s a different generation. We are seeing a much younger audience, some moving from other collectibles to coins. There is a lot of potential in the social media. We’re finding the new customer is focusing on quality and price.”

From there, Chandler tossed out a question about the impact of precious metal prices as gold hovers around the $2,000 mark. “It increases interest,” agreed Stoutjesdyk. “It spurs interest in rare coins.” Brush agreed, saying “We have customers who take the money they made investing in gold and buy coins with it. Bullion buyers buy at the highs. It brings energy to the market.”

Chandler asked the panelists to give one piece of advice for those considering buying. “Never look at collectibles as an investment,” advised Stoutjesdyk. “The market is cyclical.” From Hipp, “Put an emphasis on education. Attend Summer Seminar or any number of programs that are out there to learn,” who added that experts are readily willing to provide information to help consumers.

“It’s a hobby,” stated Brush, stating that the market is the market, using the example of eggs by saying that if a person needs eggs, the price doesn’t matter. “If it fits in your budget, buy it. Buy what you want and get the enjoyment from it. There are only so many of them out there.”

For those starting out, Stoutjesdyk pointed out, “Find the key dates first and build around that. It will make finding later coins easier. Coin collecting is a marathon, not a sprint.”

The experts rang in on what they believe to be undervalued or underappreciated, ranging from well struck Jefferson nickels to classic commemoratives. Certain series are becoming harder to buy in quality as finite numbers of the coins exist. The panel also discussed world coins and modern issues. At the end, the panel took questions from the audiences and reminded collectors of a responsibility to pass along the love of the hobby and items.

The Friday panel delved into ways to attract younger persons into the hobby and remove the stigma of being the hobby of a past generation. Each panelist detailed his personal experiences, citing the importance of mentors and offered advice to those in attendance. “Take an accounting class,” John Brush advised.

The sessions were recorded for later use on social media.

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