Editor's note: this is the final 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.
Each collector has to make the decision about whether to buy a coin
in its original packaging or an already graded example, or to submit
an ungraded coin for grading.
Those decisions usually boil down to a cost-benefit analysis. If a
buyer can obtain a coin in the top grade for almost the same price as
an ungraded example, it may make economic sense, or be personal
preference, to purchase the graded 70 coin.
In other cases, they may buy an ungraded example and notice, as with
the Australian Proof 2014 Wedge-tailed Eagle, High Relief silver
dollar, that if they turn out to be correct that the coin is a 70,
they can add hundreds of dollars to the value of the coin in exchange
for the grading fee. The scarcer and more popular a particular coin
is, the higher the market value will be, in many cases, for the coin
Read the other pieces in this series:
It is an open secret that professional graders typically spend
little time examining modern coins, spending just seconds on each
coin. But it is also the case that the leading grading companies have
in recent years become stricter in their application of grading
standards to all types of coins.
This reduces the odds that an individual submitter of a coin will
receive the top grade on their submission, though that chance has to
be weighed against factors such as the extremely high quality
standards of modern world mints, which produce millions of virtually
Many buyers with a preference for graded modern coins find they
often do better buying the coins already graded from a coin dealer or
other seller, especially if the graded pieces are available at only a
modest premium. However, the market for top-graded coins tends to be
This is partly related to the fact that, over time, as more coins
are submitted for grading, more coins will end up receiving the top
grade, which will bring values down. This can result in very sharp
declines in values for coins that at one point carried a large premium
in the top grade.
Graded modern world coins are also increasingly sold by auction
companies that specialize in numismatics.
Ian Russell, founder and president of GreatCollections, an auction
company that sells a lot of modern coins, explained that, in terms of
the results he sees, in auctions for graded modern world issues, “low
mintage world gold and platinum issues” do very well.
He added that “many of the British, Canadian and Australian issues
of late have some very attractive designs. We see demand from within
the U.S. but also overseas for these issues. We are offering more and
more world gold and platinum in our auctions each week.”
“I also want to discuss China specifically,” he continued. “The
Chinese market is volatile, and issues from the past 30 years range in
value from a few hundred dollars to more than $50,000 — we sold
several 5-ounce Unicorns for over $50,000 in the past two years. Many
of the low mintage Chinese coins were only sold outside of China, and
those are now being repatriated back to China and Hong Kong.”
The growing trend of having modern world issues graded has done a
lot to increase interest in this area of numismatics, especially
within the United States; to expand the overall market for modern
world coins; and of course to enhance the revenue of the companies
that specialize in this area.
It is also a sign that the world coin market continues to mature, an
encouraging sign for the future of the hobby as a whole.
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Reverse Proof coins are good for the hobby: Louis Golino
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