US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Dec. 19, 2022: What will 2023 bring?

Images of mock-ups for NGCX encapsulations.

Images courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Company.

As we prepare to enter the new year, let us look into our mythical crystal ball and attempt to predict what the numismatic community will witness in 2023. To do that, I solicited thoughts from our editorial staff.

From Larry Jewett, editorial director:

“The low hanging fruit prediction — I believe auction prices for rarities will continue to rise and we’ll see more coins in the $2-3 million range.

“There will be continued issues with silver planchets, despite the outcry for more.

“Maybe a ‘grading war’ once Certified Acceptance Corp. Grading gets online?”

From Jeff Starck, senior editor for world coins:

“More coins, more themes, lower mintages.

“World mints and issuers will continue to work to offer something ‘unique’ to a broader audience, while paring down mintages, for new issues.

“Cash is not dead … but it may be on life support. The increasing use of technology in commerce (and the shift to online purchases) continues to threaten the need for real money in circulation, but enough systems and constituencies benefit from having coins and paper money to ensure that they are safe.

“What goes up, must go down. … Right? After raging demand for Morgan dollars, silver and gold American Eagles (among other segments), those markets (and maybe more) seem to understandably be ripe for a correction. Unless they aren’t. Nothing has made sense for some time.”

From Fern Loomis, copy editor:

“The Mint will have only a few extra Morgan dollars and Peace dollars available for public sale when the sale date arrives, but several thousand of each will have been sold by subscription. The collectors who did not purchase by subscription will be upset and the many thousands of satisfied customers will quietly smile, say nothing at all and sit back to read the letters of complaint from the collectors who did not subscribe.”

And now some predictions of my own:

The changes to the third-party grading community will be among the biggest stories in 2023.

We will learn whether Numismatic Guaranty Co.’s new grading system, NGCX, catches on with the numismatic community. Submissions are being limited to those from a small number of select dealers and marketers. I suspect that collectors of slabs as slabs (those who follow the philosophy of “buy the plastic, not the coin”) will show an interest. If sample slabs are distributed at one or more of the early 2023 conventions, expect them to be hot among that specialized market. Uncertain is whether the broader numismatic community will show a strong interest and whether noncollectors will come to embrace the system as the individuals behind this program hope.

CAC Grading will probably get a strong start, but its position in the field of third-party grading services will be determined by market acceptance and that can happen only after the collectors and dealers have had time to review the firm’s first slabbed coins. If CAC Grading starts strong and stays strong, current market leaders may see a drop-off in submissions. At the least, we will see some cross-over submissions to the new firm.

The U.S. Mint will continue to struggle to find sufficient planchets for its American Eagle silver bullion coin program and market premiums will remain high. Collectors and investors in reaction will turn to 1-ounce bullion coins with lower premiums, thus lowering demand for the American Eagles.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing will resume offering numismatic products (though through the U.S. Mint) for the first time in more than a year. The bureau will also reopen its public tours, closed since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Rare coins will continue to bring strong prices and set records. The early 2023 offering of some rare and unique coins will provide us a barometer of the year to come.

What are your predictions for 2023?
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