That’s higher quality, key date collector coins.
“People are buying the key dates like the 1909-S VDB or 1931-S Lincoln cent,” said Peter Goydos, a buyer for L&C Coins of Long Beach, Calif.
“What we are not selling are the little bit better common dates in EF or MS-63 condition. They are putting the rarer date in their set but not filling all the holes right now.”
Goydos said the thought process seems to be that the collector only has so many dollars to spend, he’s seen the value of the key date coin go up, so he’s thinking this is the time to buy it.
And L&C is happy to buy those nicer coins as well.
“Dealers would rather have some difficult to locate inventory than money in the bank or stock market,” he said. “As a dealer, I would buy a nicer coin even if I don’t have a customer for it. That’s the stuff we want to look for; coins that are hard to find, the price is not too out of whack and they have a collector following for the series.”
The same holds for Marc Watts of Gaithersburg Coin Exchange in Gaithersburg, Md. As busy as his store has been buying and selling gold and silver, he’s still on the lookout for high quality collector coins.
“People are not jumping up and down to buy coins right now,” he said, “But if I see some really nice coins I buy them and just stick them in the back for now.”
This market has actually absorbed some of the middle quality coins, Watts said.
“Walking Liberty half dollars that were retailing for $7, $8 or $9 a few years ago now melt for $15,” Watts said. “If I had my druthers, I’d rather melt them.”
The same goes for Peace and Morgan dollars that recently sold for $13, $14 or $15 dollars, he said.
“I can melt them now for $31,” Watts said. “A lot of that is off the table now as far as collectibles.”
The coin collecting market has seen some positive residual effect from the rise in gold and silver prices, Goydos said.
“If you have any position in gold or silver and that inventory value rises, you feel richer,” he said. “It’s like when the stock market was going up. People would buy coins because they felt rich. They would put $2,000 for coins on their credit card.”
Coin shows are still pretty active, Watts said, as well as auctions.
“If nice material comes available, there is demand at a certain level,” Watts said. “There was a time when everybody was chasing everything, and that’s not the case right now.”