In general, 2018 was a quiet year for the collectible coin market. Scarce to rare coins continued to sell well, but few were setting new records. Auction sales results suggest there is a hungry market of collectors and dealers interested in these coins, but it also suggests these buyers are not comfortable in bidding these collectibles to new levels.
The broader market of collectible coins continued to be a mixed bag throughout the year. Anyone willing to shop around would have found coins of the same date and mintmark, graded identically by the same third-party certification service, occasionally selling for very different prices. Some dealers might argue the eye appeal of one may be greater than for another, but overall like coins simply didn’t always sell within the perhaps 10 to 15 percent price discrepancy range that is usually anticipated.
The retail price of many coins appears to have been determined by the price the dealer paid to stock the coin rather than by following a published price guide. This is likely to encourage faster turnover of inventory. The downturn in values experienced within recent years encourages dealers to want to turn merchandise over more quickly as well.
Bullion and bullion-impacted coins and U.S. Mint products were lackluster during the year. The poor performance of the spot price of bullion had everything to do with this. Astute buyers went after these bargains, but investors remained in equities rather than in collectible markets. The coin market has likely reached as low as it is going to go, but when it will begin to rise remains an unknown.
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