Coin collecting during these confusing times
- Published: Feb 2, 2016, 8 AM
The following is Steve Roach's Investment Column from the Feb. 1, 2016, print edition of Coin World:
The recent Florida United Numismatists show sets the tone for the U.S. rare coin market with more than 1,000 dealers in attendance and major auctions by Heritage that routinely cross the $50 million mark. This year’s show was no exception and despite some recent bad global economic news that led to stocks falling in the first days of 2016, the rare coin market has held up well.
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. chairman Mark Salzberg made some comments at NGC’s Collectors Society luncheon on Jan. 9 addressing these confusing times. He stressed that despite the coin market’s ups and downs, collectors should stick to the core fundamentals of value: quality, rarity, and demand.
Salzberg cited NGC’s ancient coin grading program as an innovation that brought order to an area that collectors were hesitant to enter and that third-party certification could unlock value in coins by making buyers comfortable.
Many NGC-certified ancient coins traded hands at the New York International Coin Show in New York City, held the same weekend as the FUN show.
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As a cautionary note, Salzberg also cited the exploding populations of some top-graded coins — perhaps most notably the 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar in Proof 70 Deep Cameo — as something that may be confusing to buyers. At a March 31, 2013, GreatCollections auction a Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 70 Deep Cameo 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar brought $86,654.70; at that time, it was one of just eight in that grade. In the years since, the number has grown, and PCGS records 105 submissions that have received that top grade. Prices have fallen, with PCGS Proof 70 Deep Cameo coins bringing between $25,000 and $30,000 at auction this past summer.
Grading is fluid and grading lines between grades change in conformance with current market standards. However, collectors would be well-advised to consider the trajectory of populations when buying a top-graded modern coin.
To help make this easier, PCGS announced the day before at its luncheon that it would make its PCGS Coin Facts website available to collectors and dealers for free. Coinciding with PCGS’s 30th anniversary, the entire site will be free effective Feb. 3 and it will launch an Android mobile application alongside the existing Apple iOS app.
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