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Can paper trump gold?

What was the biggest story to come out of the Central States Numismatic Society convention held April 24-27 in Schaumberg, Ill.?

A leading contender would be that the 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $3,172,500 April 25 in the Heritage auction.

Another possibility is that gold and silver were bouncing back during the convention.

But it seemed to me that it was the paper money dealers who were generally happiest with their results.

Jess Lipka of Numismania, Flemington, N.J., put it most succinctly.

“The bull market is back,” he declared.

Three notes in the Heritage auction sold for over $1 million.

“It was an absolute thrill to watch it,” Lipka said.

“I think it bodes well for the future of all paper money. Grade is cool, but rarity is better. These were the rarest of the rare.”

Sergio Sanchez of Miami said that the market was approaching the old highs achieved before the recession hit.

“It is beginning to look like we are heading to April 2008, toward the peak of the market.”

That peak was recorded by another Heritage auction held at the Central States convention in 2008.

Paper money for my entire career has always been the little brother of the coin hobby, but that little brother is definitely growing up.

Tangible asset buyers might have turned, “paper assets,” into a pejorative term, but with the simple addition of another word we get “paper money assets,” and with that collectors have found something to sink their teeth into.

Will that be enough to lure other collectors into the paper money field?


There always seem to be new buyers who want to go where the action is.

No question, the signs at Central States were of more action to come.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."