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New grading idea creates uncertainty

 (Image courtesy

(Image courtesy

Uncertainty is just as unhealthy for the coin market as is it for that of stocks. Recent discussions about transitioning from a 70- to a 100-point grading system for U.S. coins could trigger harmful uncertainty should this concept begin catching on. Would you buy an MS70 coin just before MS100 is adopted?

A 100-point system is likely to have more downside than upside potential in both the short and the long run since the condition of individual coins would be scrutinized even more critically than they are now. The potential for downgraded values would be on the minds of virtually all coin buyers.

The flip side of this issue is that publicly traded stock in Collectors Universe (parent company for Professional Coin Grading Service) should appreciate due to the need to reexamine millions of previously certified coins.

Grading debates aside, what of the current coin market? Coins impacted by precious metal prices continue to flat line.

Scarce to rare coins continue to be a mixed bag. Prices have increased in specific areas, but even among such mainstays as Morgan silver dollars some prices are increasing while others continue to decline.

The bottom line is that there are many good bargains to be purchased, and the time to buy them is now, regardless of the grading system in place.

There are also specialty niches in early copper and Buffalo nickels that move along without anyone looking at bullion prices before making a purchase – as long as they have the cash to spend. Desirable coins vs. limited budgets is the eternal battle.

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

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