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Coin buyers wake up

Demand for collectible U.S. coins seemed to be on an upswing in October as dealers report increased business from collectors.

Coins like this 1878 eight-feather Morgan dollar may see an increase in demand as the collector market wakes up.

Coins like this 1878 eight-feather Morgan dollar may see an increase in demand as the collector market wakes up.

Michael Fuljenz, owner of Universal Coin & Bullion, Beaumont, Texas, and a specialist in classic U.S. gold coins said he’s seeing excitement return to the market.

“Our sales of rare U.S. gold coins are up 10 percent,” he said. “The higher gold price brings excitement. When metals prices were falling, there wasn’t much interest. When metal prices go up, this acts as a catalyst for collectors to buy coins.

“I think that if metals are up and bullion coins were in short supply, it moves your bullion buyers to classic U.S. gold. Dealers like me transition bullion buyers to regular collectors.”

It’s not just his business that’s seeing higher than average sales, but others as well, he said.

“I’m seeing more ads in publications advertising U.S. gold coins for sale,” Fuljenz said. “I’ve got a program that tracks advertisements for gold coins in U.S. publications. If there are more advertisements now for gold coins, there’s got to be more buyers responding to them.”

Julian Leidman said while he doesn’t believe higher metal prices are increasing collectible coin sales, collectors are buying to complete their collections.

“Online sales are up,” said the owner of Bonanza Coins, Silver Spring, Md., “Most of my coins sales are online now. I’m selling to some non-collectors there too.”

When asked what are the best sellers, he said it varies from collector to collector.

“There isn’t any one type of coin that is in right now,” he said. “I’m selling a variety of coins.”

He said silver dollars will always be popular and sell well.

“Collectors want the most for their money,” he said. “With the choice of spending $50 on an Indian Head cent or $50 on a silver dollar, they will probably chose the silver dollar.”

Type set collecting is sparking interest in denominations that don’t normally receive attention.

“It’s a good market for obsolete coinage,” Leidman said. “Collectors need the coins for their type sets.”

Fuljenz said set collecting has boosted his sales as well.

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“I have a lot of buyers building sets,” he said. “I’m not seeing as many people type set collecting, but I’m seeing a lot of dealers advertising for it.”

Fuljenz said a type set of classic U.S. gold coins is completable and customizable to the collector.

“I think the 12-coin set is beautiful and I would encourage collectors to consider it,” he said. “When I was growing up as a kid, I dreamed of having a Capital Plastic holder with the 12-coin type set of U.S. gold coins.

“You can do the 12-coin set, which would contain all three $1 gold designs, the $3 gold coin as well as both Liberty Head and Indian Head designs for the quarter, half and full eagles plus the Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens double eagles.

“You can also do an 8-coin set without the $1 or $3 gold coins or a 4-coin set of the Indian Head quarter, half and full eagle coins plus the Saint-Gaudens double eagle.”

Leidman said collectors should buy coins that they are passionate about.

“The real collectors are focused and know what they are going for,” he said. “I encourage all collectors to collect what they really like. I believe that the most important part of a collector is their excitement.”

If you took a break from coin collecting during the summer, consider looking through your collection, identify what coin you need next and track a good example down.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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