Skip to main content

Coin market joins Malcolm in the middle

The business of coins is difficult to monitor since there are few industry statistics available. The Numismatic Stock Index is one of them. The NSI indicates U.S. coin-related stocks were trading at 67.8 percent of their 52-week high on Sept. 10, up modestly from 66.2 percent one month earlier.

CMAG 1009

International numismatic-related stocks were trading at 68.0 percent of their 52-week high, down modestly from 70.76 percent one month earlier. Both averages have been dropping noticeably since November 2017.

The spot price of gold was $1,277.95 an ounce on Nov. 10, 2017. The spot price of silver was $17. Each has dropped significantly since that date. Yet there have been short-lived rebounds where gold broke the $1,300 level. This could be interpreted as a coincidence barometer for the collectible coin market.

A British publication writing about the recent sale of the Bonhams auction house observed, “Mid-range items have suffered in recent years, not unlike the coin market which has also softened in many respects in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007-9.”

Bonhams reported the same revenue in 2017 as it had five years earlier. However, the British auction house also reported lower operating costs as well. This market could yet get softer, but I wouldn’t hold off purchases with this in anticipation.

The British market has some differences with its U.S. counterpart, but weakness in the middle range of values is similar. Top quality and rarities are holding their own. The bottom end often is anchored by bullion prices. It is in the middle where values are determined by mass market collectors.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

More Collecting Resources

• More than 600 issuing locations are represented in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800.

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .