June, 2002  Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Newsletter IndexHome

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is extremely predictable.  The relatively low coin prices of the last year or two leave plenty of upward room for increase.  The lack of opportunities in traditional investment areas has everyone from small to major players looking at alternative areas where their investment dollar might improve its performance.

      Coin collectors are feeling favorable about buying those expensive and hard to find coins, since they do not find themselves distracted by investment opportunities in other more traditional areas.  This can partly explain the increasingly active coin market of the last few months. 

      A significant factor, and one which I expect to be increasingly influential is the state of international tension.  The situation in the Middle East is going to get worse before it gets better.  Virulent anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric in the Arab press reflects increasing insecurity


Pattern News

Hurry Up and Wait

Economics and the Coin Market

Customized Numismatic Portfolios

Text Box: Answer: 
Almost always.   Better coins are more interesting and beautiful, and tend to rise in value more rapidly than low grade coins.  This is especially true when trading bullion dominated coins like common date gold for better grades of gold or for other rarities.  Low grade gold follows relatively stable gold prices, while rare or high grade coins rise along a more   aggressive collect-ible’s  curve.

occasion by having bought counterfeit coins.  Needless to say, this often comes as quite a surprise to the collector as well.

      Detecting counterfeits


on the part of those dictatorial and oppressive regimes.  This is because anger directed at the West remains a primary tool in distracting the populations from blaming their local leaders for the deplorable conditions often found. 

      The Pakistan-India dispute will not likely go nuclear, but nothing visible now points to any quick resolution of the problem of Kashmir.  It is an old axiom that the price of gold and demand for hard assets increases along with the likelihood of international conflagration.   While I don’t expect the gold price to rise too dramatically, increasing attention to gold is inseparable from increasing attention to coins. 

      With so many factors contributing to interest in rare coins, both from collectors and investors, 2002 continues to be the best year for rare coins  in recent history.  I expect this will continue and even improve as the year progresses.  I buy coins.  I pay great prices.  I buy any and all coins, from the very rare down to circulated Indian cents, pre-1965 dimes, quarters and half dollars.   I even buy foreign coins and old US currency.  

  Why sell your coins?  You may  have lost interest in them.  Perhaps you have common date coins not likely to rise significantly in value. 


Perhaps you paid too much for coins (usually between 1987-1990) and need a tax loss to offset a capital gains from the sale of stock or real estate.  Or you

You inherited coins and want to split the proceeds among the heirs.  Or, you might have accumulated a huge volume of “junk” coins collected over the years which you might like to trade for a more manageable collection of higher value coins which are more likely to appreciate.  Perhaps you have reached an age where making your assets completely liquid is appropriate.  Or, maybe you just need cash now. 


Whatever the reason, call me toll free anytime if you are interested in selling all or part of your collectors you want to Sell your Coins?

I’m buying!

BAAAAAAH?.    I recommend that before you call, you put together an inventory of your coins. A coin inventory should include the following:  a) Denomination,  b) Date and mint mark, c) Grade  d) Grading Service (if applicable), e) Purchase price (if you are looking for tax advantages)This way, I can take the information when you call (if the list is large, you may want to fax or email it to me) and make an appointment to talk with you about your collection’s value. 


requires special training and knowledge.  Beyond that, it requires an attention to detail and patience that frankly is beyond most people.  A minimum ten power magnifier is useful.

  The lesson is  simple.  If you have a collection of coins assembled prior to the 1980’s when coin grading first became available, it is probably a good idea to get your coins certified.  Advice of a knowledgeable dealer is very helpful in this regard.

  The second lesson is that unless you are expert, or the coins you buy are inexpensive or purchased new from the United States Mint, only buy certified coins.  Coins certified by PCGS and NGC are guaranteed not only as to grade but also authenticity. 




If you follow the financial news, the idea of economic fundamentals is not new.  Concepts like “supply and demand,” “accepted accounting principles” or “price/earning ratios,”  are familiar jargon.

  Numismatics  has its own fundamentals.  While they are less technical than financial market terms, they are no less important  Rarity, supply and demand, grade, eye appeal, collector appeal, timing, and acting like a collector even if you are an investor are the main ones.  How can the average person apply these ideas?

  Let’s start with the basics:  price, rarity and grade.  These factors are easily determined through the use of certified grading, mintage and population reports and price sheets such as Coin World Trends and the Pattern Price Guide.  You might pay more for a special coin, or less for a bargain.  Population reports are imperfect, but buying without knowing this information is often self-defeating. 

  Eye appeal is much more important to the collector than to the investor.  Consequently, in areas where there is traditionally high investor involvement, such as in common and some rare date gold, eye appeal is not the most critical factor, especially in lower grade coins, as these trade regularly in the sight unseen market.

  In areas where collectors dominate, eye appeal is critical, for example with pattern coins. Even there, some “ugly” patterns go for high prices because they are rare, unusual or historically important.

  A pure collector is mainly interested in the eye appeal, and historical significance. For most collectors, buying what they like is the most important criteria.  Smart investors often use that same criteria. 

  That being said, astute collectors are value conscious.  They pay well for what they like, but they  pay careful attention to prices, mintages, and populations.  Knowledge is power.



location.    Word leaked months ago that the second price guide was finished, and would soon be published, but no guide actually appeared.

  What surfaces now is that the Robert Hughes, pattern expert and publisher of the first price guide is negotiating with Bowers and Morena Galleries, one of the largest publishers of numismatic material in the world, to publish the new price guide.

  So, while the research is apparently finished, and prices are apparently up, the mechanics of publication and perhaps of even inking the publication deal are preventing actual publication.

  This has an upside and a downside.  The downside, is that we don’t have an updated price guide.

  The upside is  that buyers of pattern coins will have a longer time frame for purchasing patterns at the lower price parameters of the February, 2000 guide, rather than the higher prices reported to be in the new price guide.

  Dealers, myself included will try to keep prices of patterns as close to the February, 2000 price guide as possible.  Once the new price guide is finally published, prices will automatically rise to that level.

  Furthermore, the existence of two price guides, with the later showing higher prices than the former, gives ammunition to dealers selling pattern coins.  Pattern coin demand should rise when the new guide is released. 

  This upswing likely will be amplified by how widespread is the distribution the guide receives.  If Bowers and Morena distributes, it should be widespread  and substantial. 

      I pride myself on getting the most up to date information to pass along in this newsletter.    For over a year now, we have been awaiting the publication of a new Pattern Price Guide and a reprinting of the Judd Pattern Book.  Information indicating publication was imminent has proved faulty time and again, and I must admit some frustration at the lack of follow through. 

      Unfortunately, I do not control the actions of other people.

      At the recent Coin Show in Long Beach I continued my inquiries, but with no better results or information.  In a series of calls during the week following the show, I was told by the author that maybe the new guide would be published in September.  However, in another call to the owners of the Judd book copyright, I was informed that publication “is not close.”

      This is disappointing to be sure, as a price update and Judd republication is sorely needed. That is the bad news.

      The good news is that the demand for Pattern Coins continues to increase.  Prices are definitely higher than they have been in the past.  Whereas Pattern Coins used to linger in showcases even two short years ago, at this last show, they were being sold with such rapidity that my normal suppliers were reluctant to part with their patterns until they had finished the show. 

      The silver lining in this cloud of information uncertainty is that the window for good buys on patterns has been somewhat extended as a result.      





Counterfeiting (cont)