This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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There are literally hundreds of plus signs on weekly dealer bid prices, but if you look past the headlines you realize that a very large percentage of these are due to an increase in the intrinsic (melt) values. I find that there is a significant number of rarer items that are actually quite weak in price but not in verifiable published prices.
Collecting and Investing Strategies for U.S. Gold Coins
Last weekend I was actively trading at the Whitman Philly event and I was offered two high-grade $20 Saints at nearly half supposed market, both were certified and nice quality. I also encountered several other big coins at sizable discounts.
Is the market really that weak? The answer is the less sophisticated money (buyers) have left the market. In other words, if there is not a serious collector in need of an item where two or more are currently available there is some serious discounting. Prior to the current economic weakness a less sophisticated buyer would grab the item. It is a simple case of “follow the money” and right now that money is going to bullion-related material.
Is the coin market weak? No, but a good percentage in dollar terms of what is available is weak. A $150k $20 Saint is equal to an awful lot of $50 to $1,000 collector coins, so a few rare items begging for a new home create a false impression. A nice set of type coins or Barbers would sell at a show in a flash.