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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • Coin show labels no longer bring huge premiums

    The dual-date 1964-2014 Proof gold Kennedy half dollar is among the U.S. Mint products that has caused a stir on its first day of availability in recent years.

    Images courtesy of U.S. Mint

    Over the past two years, demand for new coins with special labels indicating they were sold at coin shows where the coin was launched has gone through a predictable cycle.

    Back in August 2013 when the 2013-W Buffalo Reverse Proof gold coin was launched at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., dealers and other buyers quickly discovered they could make a quick and handsome profit by buying coins at the show, having them graded on-site by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and Professional Coin Grading Service, and listing them for sale on eBay. For about a year the premiums on these coins generally held.

    READ: Gold American Buffaloes cause show stampede

    Last August, the peak of this phenomenon was reached when major dealers bussed in scores of paid buyers for the gold Proof Kennedy half dollar, which led to chaos at the ANA show in Rosemont. The first four purchased, once graded Proof 70, sold for $5,000 apiece, and the first was reportedly resold for $100,000. But those premiums dropped very quickly. Today coins with the show labels carry no premium over other graded examples. A lot of money was lost on these coins, which is likely to reduce premiums for such labels in the future.

    This year the Mint has launched several coins at shows beginning with the FUN show in Florida, where the Proof 2015-W American Eagle silver coin was sold, and then at the Long Beach Expo, where the 2015 U.S. Marshals Service commemorative program was launched. And from March 26-29 during the Whitman Expo in Baltimore, the 2015-W Uncirculated American Eagle silver dollar was launched.

    In each case buyers could buy coins from the Mint and have the graded on-site with special “first day of issue” labels, the latest twist on this concept. A check of recent eBay sales shows that while the 2015 first day coins do carry premiums, the prices these coins are bringing is a fraction of what the show label coins of 2013 and 2014 initially went for.

    For example, the FUN show Proof 70 silver American Eagles sell for about $50 over regular Proof 70 coins, and with time they are likely to be worth less.

    I believe this a healthy sign for the hobby. There will probably always be certain buyers who attach importance to coins that were sold the first day they were available, but the market as a whole has begun to take a more measured view of how much such coins are worth. 

    However, one collector told me that his previous top-rated registry set at NGC was downgraded because he did not have the first day version of a certain coin, which other collectors said was unjustified.