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

(Continued from page 1)

      The last time we experienced this much excitement in rare coins was during the huge upsurge between 1987 and 1990. That period saw coin prices increase three to ten fold, a rally strongly fueled by investors. 

      This time,  the robust activity in rare coins is powered primarily by collectors, not investors.

      This is a critical distinction.  Investors are quick to move in and out of opportunities.  Not so for collectors, who tend to hold coins for longer periods of time, regardless of market movement.  The domination of collectors in the current rare coin market points toward slower but significantly sustained growth.     

      This could change however. Many analysts predict a sluggish economy into 1994 and beyond.  Should this occur, investment interest in rare coins is likely to increase, strengthening the demand side of the equation.  Unlike the rally in the late


What’s in the Closet?

Economics and the Coin Market

Customized Numismatic Portfolios

Text Box: of coins. It seems like a big job to make a list.  What is the beat way to organize them?

ANSWER:  It is a lot easier and less time consuming than you might think.  Assemble all your coins on a table. Separate them by denomination, then by date.   If you have a lot of the same date or type, you can list them all on the same line.  In this way, even collections of hundreds of coins can be organized in a minutes or at most,  an hour or two.

Benchmark prices set by the February 2000 price guide and PCGS/NGC grading enabled market expansion far beyond the couple hundred dedicated pattern


eighties, investors entering the rare coin market today are more aware of coin market dynamics than their predecessors. They are therefore more likely to include “collector quality” coins in their purchases, instead of concentrating primarily on common date gold and silver dollars. Furthermore, they are aware that holding coins for longer periods, like collectors, increases chances for huge monetary rewards.

      Additionally, the Fed will almost certainly keep liquidity high as a stimulus to the economy.  The recent surge in real estate refinancing will add to that liquidity, presenting an inflation potential as the economy recovers.

      All evidence points to a sustained, strong increase in rare coin prices, especially the better collector quality coins.   We are at the beginning of that increase.  The timing today for purchasing (or trading for) high quality rare coins today could hardly be better.  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. 


      Every once in a while, it pays to clean out your closets. A few months ago, while doing precisely that, I came across an old watch box.  It wasn’t large - five by four by two inches - but what it contained brought a chuckle.

      Inside was the entirety of my first coin collection, assembled when I was seven or eight years old.  It contained nothing extraordinary: some Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars, Walking Liberty and Ben Franklin halves, Buffalo Nickels, Indian head pennies, mercury dimes and Washington quarters.  All the coins were well circulated, and none were rare date.  In fact, they were exactly the type of coins that I commonly call “junk.”

      That was what brought the chuckle.  After so many years of dealing with the rare and the beautiful, I realized that despite the fact that this was my first coin collection, it was such junk I no longer held any attachment to it.  After all, in the intervening years, I had handled hundreds of thousands of dollars of the same kind of stuff. 

      I totaled up the value, and was just a bit surprised when it came to over five hundred dollars.  Not bad for a small pile of junk!

      I sold it and sent the money to my daughter at college.  It sure made her happy - and that made me happy.  On top of that, I had a clean closet.  A “two-fer.”

      How many other people have hundreds or even thousands of dollars of such unused and forgotten little piles of junk coinage just sitting around that could be put to better use?  Do you?







Pattern Coins (cont) 


collectors who heretofore dominated the market. While the number of pattern buyers is rapidly increasing, supply remains small and  static.  Single and double digit mintage's typical of patterns means no significant supply increases can happen.   Thus, as patterns experience their fist serious market exploitation, price remains the only variable. 

  Short supply, beauty, historical significance, low prices, increased collector interest, expanded dealer network, set benchmark prices and a favorable coin market climate combine to make pattern coins the most extraordinary opportunity for significant price increase in any area of numismatics that I have ever seen.  Bar none.      


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.