This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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If you ever have been to this part of Wisconsin, which sits in the shadow of Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers, and happen to be out and about on an autumn Sunday afternoon when the Packers are playing, things are eerily quiet.
There is much less traffic on the streets. Mothers seem to have pulled their children inside. Clerks are twiddling their thumbs in retail establishments (unless the boss is present, or you happen to go into a store that is holding a sale for “Packer Widows.”)
As soon as the game ends, cars are once again whizzing about, children are outside playing and there is no room to move down the aisle of the hardware store.
To claim that I have personally witnesses this phenomenon is to put my membership in the Packer fan club in jeopardy and I will have to pay the appropriate penalty.
Loyalty to the green and gold is serious business here. For numismatics, it is the gold part that is serious business in times like these. We have experienced an uptrend that now has lasted nine years. Price records are set routinely. Little commerce is done without reference to the gold market. Dealer cash flow depends in part on gold transactions; dealer psychology even more so.
Even collectors can become infected with gold, gold, gold, despite the fact that most of them have little or none in their own collections or other holdings. Nevertheless, it somehow seems disloyal to think of anything else.
A relentless focus on gold induces a sort of progressive paralysis at the street level of the hobby, which is comprised of those individuals who buy the proof and mint sets year in and year out.
A collective mindset such as this cannot last forever, but while it does, it creates opportunities in other areas of the hobby that do not set records on a daily or weekly basis.
This week’s paper has a feature story about half dimes. They are tiny coins. They are not made of gold. Even their silver value is less than a buck. Prices are strictly determined by supply and demand from true collectors.
Prices over the last five years are in many cases down. That spells opportunity for those who can look away from the feeding frenzy that is the gold market.
Collector coin prices rise over time as collector income rises. Areas that attract growing numbers of newcomers get an extra boost.
However, by the time these areas make headlines, it is usually too late to start collecting them at attractive price levels. Look at the collecting areas that interest you first and foremost. If this area of interest happens to look like an empty Northeastern Wisconsin town on a Packer Sunday, celebrate your good luck and start buying. Sooner or later the game ends and the fans are out moving around the hobby’s highways and byways again. Some will find your sleepy little area and it will wake up. Then, not only will you get higher prices, but also bragging rights.