This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Unfortunately as the state quarter program wound down along with the economy so did all the related products. This was especially true of most modern high-grade Mint State issues. This was predictable because beginners with limited knowledge become enamored with ultra-high grade issues and get fooled by comparisons to truly rare 50-200 year old coins in Mint State. While most price guides do not show the real current values it becomes evident when you see a sign at a dealer’s table offering the more common issues slabbed (in reputable holders) at substantial discounts to a similar reputable slab price guide. The guides lag the market in this case because most dealers avoid publishing lower prices and simply use the discount mechanism until the guides catch up.
The Florida United Numismatists convention was in Tampa this year instead Orlando. For dealer set-up there seemed to be good attendance and a decent buzz. Tampa has a negative stigma because the last two major shows in this venue were very poorly attended. The last was not a FUN show, but the National Silver Dollar Show, which had fallen on hard times in the mid 1980s. Times have changed. Downtown Tampa is more vibrant. I was able to park my car for $3. That number is psychologically important. Although generally not a big deal, collectors are cheapskates when it comes to taking money away from their coin budget and I have been at many a show where the biggest and often only complaint was $10 or $20 parking fees.
Let us take a look at 2010 in regard to numismatics. The driving force obviously was precious metals prices. Silver took the lead and probably will follow through in 2011. Gold type coins started 2010 with very high premiums nearly across the board and ended the year with premiums over melt at half or less of what they had been. What happened was that early on there had been a greater fear of possible bullion confiscation and the collectible coins were therefore considered safer. That fear has diminished.
Common Morgan and Peace dollars are up nearly 50 percent, with 35 percent of that being attributable to silver bullion’s rise and MS-64 Morgans are up nearly 40 percent. This last item is most significant since bullion does not really play a great role there. The rest of the silver dollar sector with the exception of overpromoted dates fared very well and even some of the speculative (promoted) dates are again active as the previously assembled hoards dissipate.