Coin market trends – what are they – and should we care?
The times they are a changing wrote Bob Dylan, but although he wasn’t talking about coins we’ll capture his sentiment.
Throughout the history of numismatics the coin market was varied and had its ups and downs. One thing could be all the rage while other series sat out on the sidelines, hardly noticed except by a die-hard specialist. It has been like that since day one and will continue so.
There were times when coins were collected without regard to mintmark. Can you imagine that? Collectors eager in obtaining coins and not recognizing the importance and rarities in mints.
Similarly, there were times when Civil War Tokens were hardly collected and if they can pass as a cent people were happy. Times have changed! Civil War Tokens are one of the hottest areas in the coin market today.
Hard Times Tokens are gaining popularity as they are becoming noticed by a broader collecting group. And well they should be – they are among my favorites!
The Ancient coin market still remains a wonderful opportunity for bargains.
My advice – Fads come and go, don’t chase them.
In the recent past, high grade but common coins were all the rage, and people bought them up like crazy. Even now, TV marketers pass off MS70 on otherwise common issues like silver eagles as a rarity. The truth is that the U.S. Mint has nearly perfected coin making and it seems the high grades are more common than ever before.
Graded coins changed the coin market.
People naturally want the best and that’s ok. But the issue is that people have different and changing definitions of what that is. When 3rd Party Grading came along, collectors believed that these impartial graders brought a standard into the coin market that allowed an objective view of their collections.
In some ways that’s true. However, it is with all things in our culture that “keeping up with Jones” becomes the problem.
Take my friend “Fred” – (I’m leaving out the specific date and mintmark, so he doesn’t get mad at me) Fred had an awesome Extremely Fine Barber Dime that in our opinion was amazing, every part of it, terrific eye appeal. I would have loved to own it.
He ended up selling it and “upgrading” it to an Almost Uncirculated, which in my opinion is not half has a pretty as his original piece. What he did gain? Bragging rights for a higher grade coin…
I think in some ways that is why the Ancient Coin market doesn’t have the trends that other series in the coin market does. The collector market doesn’t really need the grading opinion of 3rd party graders, of course with the exception of questions of authenticity.
This creates a vacuum for sight-unseen coin markets. That is, Ancient Coins need to be viewed independently, each on its own merit. One cannot simply say, I have a “Nero graded such and such” It just doesn’t work that way. Ancient Coins are not a commodity; they are so individualized and each is its own piece of art.
Trying to time the coin market and navigate the fads is a mistake.
Collect what you like, when you like it. Especially with Tokens and Ancient Coins. Each piece is unique. Wait too long and it could be gone. Conversely, in the U.S. coin market there is no shortage of dealers and stock waiting to fill your needs.
On final note, on the topic of coin markets – I just want to let you know that due to replacement costs and expenses rising, some coin prices will be rising and I’ll have to make some adjustments to my prices. I predict the new pricing will be in effect by August.
As always – happy collecting. Send me a note, or share a comment below.