This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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I am a value buyer. When at shows, dealers will come by with boxes/sets of coins to offer. I mention this really as an indication of the opportunity that exists in the current coin market with the strong rise in precious metals. As a value buyer, I look at anything in terms of what it will bring at current prices and whether it is interesting and salable in a reasonable time.
Now I think most of us agree that metals are a good investment in current times of economic strife and will continue to be until those issues are solved. They will be solved eventually either through sound economic policy changes, or a disastrous meltdown.
If you consider the coin market a safe haven then you should be a value buyer as well. This does not mean that you should abandon special numismatic interests, just that you should focus on value in relation to current times.
Let’s say you have a run of proof sets starting 20 or 30 years ago and you always wanted to go back further but they seemed too high. Currently the silver sets of the early 1960s are slightly over melt and are a good value. Most proof sets of the 1950s are depressed because of greater activity being focused on the meltable later silver sets.
No interest in proof sets? Take a look at Morgan dollars. Most anything is worth 25 bucks or so, yet there are many coins you could fill in your set at $5 to $25 more that are actually quite scarce and still not a bad silver bet. Silver could drop in half; these won’t. Moving up the line there are many great values in Mint State coins as well. Sliders commonly sold by telemarketers are bringing around $30 while some careful shopping can turn up nice real BU rolls at $5 to $10 more. If you like slabs MS-64 have moved up to the mid $60s. I remember them over $100 years back, and while you’re at it, at $150 or so the MS-65s look good too.
Those with deeper pockets should look at U.S. gold. Saint-Gaudens double eagles trading in MS-63 and MS-64 at $1,700 to $2,000 are great value if you can pick out the scarcer dates that have been overtaken by generic pricing. Some examples of these would be 1908WM and pretty much any of the mintmarked issues or any Philly coins before 1922. In the Liberty double eagle class, the Type 1 and Type 2 issues are good value when compared to the later type in pretty much any grade. Be aware that cleaned and damaged coins are heavily discounted, but I feel lightly cleaned better dates are a good value if they are reasonably discounted.
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