The numismatic markets, just like other markets such as stocks and real estate, have their ups and downs. Astute collectors and dealers can benefit during these cycles to either add to their collections and inventory or liquidate long-held items at a profit to acquire other material at advantageous prices.
This is one of those times.
There are three types of numismatic material: Rarities that are normally in the $50,000 and higher range with known PCGS or NGC populations of 10 or less; popular investor-collector quality certified coins and bank notes in the $2,500 to $50,000 price range; and collectors coins certified or raw at priced at $2,500 or less.
Recently the market’s focus has been on the rarities. Many of these coins and bank notes in high grade have been setting record prices at major public auctions. Popular investment quality certified coins and bank notes market has been unchanged to lower for the past five years, and there are lots of undervalued items in the category. Collectors coins have had suffered the worst price declined.
Members of the Professional Numismatists Guild, a nonprofit organization composed of many of the country’s top dealers, have seen these numismatic market bull and bear cycles because they’ve lived and worked through them. Marketplace experience is one of the strict requirements for PNG membership.
So, what do you do when many coin prices have fallen or are stagnant? You look to the long-term picture and take advantage of the opportunities.
For example, some common date, century-old lightly circulated and even mint state condition Quarter Eagles, Half Eagles, Eagles and Double Eagles ($2.50, $5, $10 and $20 denomination gold coins) are selling now for just a small fraction above their precious metal content. The same is true for some late 19th and early 20th century silver coins. There’s an opportunity now to acquire these kinds of coins at a low premium over their melt value.
PNG Board member John Brush says he often is a contrarian, buying when the market is down.
“I love the values right now on coins that are a grade under the finest known pieces,” Brush explained. “The finest known coins are going for astronomical amounts, but often the coins t
hat are just a grade lesser are just as appealing and sell for a fraction of the price. Type coins, like pre-1964 Lincoln cents, Standing Liberty quarters, Buffalo/Indian Head nickels and Mercury/Winged Liberty dimes, have long been staples of collectors, and I think they are great values now that the prices have settled.”
Coin market cycles are not just multi-year trends. We usually see annual changes in
the market that last for a few months. One of those opportunities is coming up: the historically slower market in November and December before the big Florida United Numismatists convention in January.
The bottom line: Consult a trusted, veteran professional numismatist (https://png.memberclicks.net/find-a-png-dealer), then buy coins and bank notes that you personally like and take the time to learn about those items. You should appreciate your collection for its history and in many cases its beauty while your collection could also appreciate in value.
Barry Stuppler is President of the Professional Numismatists Guild and has been actively involved in the rare coin marketplace for more than 50 years.