Flat is how Lee Crane, owner of L&C Coins, Los Alamitos, Calif., summed up 2015’s coin market.
“It’s been that way for years,” he said. “Gold and silver prices are going down, so that affects coin values.”
However, a collector can take advantage of a flat market, he said.
“It’s not a hot market right now,” Crane said. “If you buy at the start of a hot market, the prices are still low. If you buy at the top of the market, you’ll get burned.
“I believe that if you go buy a coin now, if you choose well, you’ll come out good. If I were in the collector’s shoes, I would start thinking about adding to my silver coins. Unfortunately, people wait too long to buy and get irritated when they have to pay more for the coins.”
Julian Jarvis, a wholesale dealer and owner of Julian Jarvis Rare Coins, Greencastle, Ind., said few buyers are heeding advice to take advantage of low metals prices.
“It hasn’t been a good year for people selling gold and silver, but buyers have been purchasing plenty at lower prices,” he said. “I sold a fair amount of gold but not as much as I would have liked to sell with these prices.
“For me, it isn’t what it used to be. Some of the smaller dealers in the area have dried up. It used to be that you’d see plenty of stores with ‘we buy gold’ and ‘we buy silver’ signs, but not anymore.”
Another factor in 2015’s coin market is the expanding role of the Internet in the trade, he said.
“It seems to me a lot of people are buying more and more on the Internet,” he said. “Every week, I have one to two new customers contact me because they found my website on the Internet.”
Julian Leidman, owner of Bonanza Coins, said he’s listing more coins for sale online.
“I’m buying all the time, but the coin business is different than it used to be,” he said. “It’s become a case where an old dog has to learn new tricks. You have to adapt to the market.”
Top sellers in 2015 include the Morgan dollar, he said.
“I have to say Morgan dollars remain popular,” he said. “I also sold some bullion, which I don’t normally do.”
Rare and exotic coins appearing in high-profile auctions also did well in 2015, he said.
“Some auctions have done well with exotic, rare material like the Pogue sale,” Leidman said. “Less than exotic items have been quiet.”
Jarvis said his top seller for 2015 was silver bullion.
“Most of my business has been in silver and gold,” he said. “Silver Eagles and silver Maple Leafs were the biggest sellers.
“Up until the middle of the year, I sold a lot of 90 percent silver U.S. coins. Starting about July or August, the premiums got so high, I started showing buyers how much more they were paying for 90 percent coins versus .999 fine silver bullion. They were more interested in .999 fine silver after that.”
Crane said L&C Coins had both strong sellers in classic and modern coinage.
“The type coins seem to do well, such as Bust or Seated Liberty coinage,” he said. “When you have a coin with an attractive look and no dark toning, they will sell quickly.
“I think the coins that may not be considered key but are difficult to find are doing just fine. What’s difficult is selling common coins that everyone has.”
For modern coins, new releases like Coin and Chronicles sets and the platinum Eagle brought in profits, he said.
“The 2015 platinum Eagle has done really well,” he said. “The 2015 platinum Eagle coin is the most popular release in the series.
“They sold out in six minutes and the market has been hot. With a low mintage too, it’s in demand.”
However, an influx of new U.S. Mint releases in 2015 also drew money out of the coin market, he said.
“A big factor in the year’s market was the Mint and its marketing,” he said. “With each release they come out with, that’s more money they pull out of the coin market. When they release a 4,000 mintage platinum coin at $1,250 each, that’s a large amount going to one coin release.”
Perhaps the U.S. Mint’s 2016 Centennial gold coin releases honoring the Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and Walking Liberty half dollar can provide the perfect blend of classic and modern coinage that will help spark buyer enthusiasm in 2016.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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More Collecting Resources
• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.
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