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Rare Coins Continued Upward Trend in 2011, But Know Your Dealer Before You Buy or Sell

(Temecula, California) — Rare coins, especially those in high-grade condition, performed well in 2011, according to various independent analysis by numismatic experts. “Blue chip” coins rose over ten percent in value last year, according to one tabulation, and the top 100 rare coins sold at public auctions last year brought over 27 percent more money than the top 100 a year earlier.

“Rare coins are an enjoyable hobby and part of some people’s long-term portfolios, but buyers — and sellers — should remember the important adage: If you don’t know rare coins, you better know your rare coin dealer,” said Jeffrey Bernberg, President of the Professional Numismatists Guild (

Founded in 1955, the PNG is a nonprofit organization composed of the country’s top rare coin and paper money dealers who must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics ( in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise.

“Some experts estimated the 2011 U.S. rare coin market at over $10 billion, not including the sales of modern bullion coins or items sold directly by the United States Mint. Like stocks, bonds, artwork or real estate, numismatics is a highly specialized field with its own terminology and ‘rules of the game,’ and prices can go up or down. In the past, the greatest financial gain has accrued to those who have taken the time to read about coins and learn the basics before making a large investment,” Bernberg advised.

“Select a reputable dealer. PNG members must demonstrate knowledge, responsibility and integrity in their business dealings, and must agree to binding arbitration to settle any unresolved disagreements over numismatic property.”

The Professional Numismatists Guild has 270 members in the United States and seven other countries. A complete list of PNG members can be found online at

Several authoritative sources all reported increased prices in 2011 for high-grade U.S. rare coins.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (, the PNG’s official authentication and grading service, annually tracks the top 100 prices realized for NGC-certified rare coins sold at public auctions conducted by four of the largest US numismatic auction companies. There was a 27.3 percent increase in the average price for the top 100 at auctions in 2011; an average of $204,355 per coin compared to $160,571 in 2010, according to NGC Auction Central.

PNG member-dealer and certified public accountant Patrick A. Heller of Lansing, Michigan, Editor of the “Liberty’s Outlook” newsletter (, annually tracks the numismatic market in a half dozen different categories. He calculated that high-quality rare coins (“Investor Blue Chip Coins”) increased 10.6 percent last year. “In general, I found the 2011 results to be encouraging for overall market direction in 2012,” he wrote for

The rare coin index compiled by the weekly magazine Coin World ( gained 4.98 percent last year. The index is composed of 82 rare, significant coins, and the combined value of those coins has grown from $7.7 million in 2005 to nearly $13.7 million at the end of 2011. Coin World Associate Editor Steve Roach wrote: “…the high end (of the rare coin market) should continue to appreciate, and the key factors seem to be in place for 2012 to build on the success of 2011.”

The PCGS3000® Index compiled by Professional Coin Grading Service (, indicated that $1,000 invested in rare coins in 1970 would have been valued at over $66,000 at the beginning of this year.

For a copy of the informative pamphlet, “What You Should Know Before You Buy Rare Coins,” or a printed directory of PNG member-dealers, send $1 to cover postage costs to: Professional Numismatists Guild, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Suite 106, Temecula, CA 92590. Phone: (951) 587-8300. Email at, or visit the web site at

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