Simply put, there are now more buyers for rare coins than there are rare coins available for purchase. As one serious collector explained during the recent Greater Cincinnati Numismatic Exposition, suggested auction estimates are useless, with bidders paying double these estimates. The rarest coins are hitting the market, and buyers are fully aware of how seldom these coins become available.
And don’t just think about older coins when the word “rare” is applied. A Professional Coin Grading Service Specimen 67 1971-S Eisenhower dollar prototype realized $264,000 at auction during the January Florida United Numismatists (FUN) show. It is commonplace for modern Mint State-70 coins to bring impressive prices.
The market for modern rarities is just as popular as is the market for what I will call “classics.” Since the Harry Bass collection scheduled to be auctioned in the fall is valued at about $60 million, it will be interesting to see what the collection will actually realize.
Demand continues to outstrip supply on many levels. This includes bullion and intrinsically valued coins as well, despite the recent decline in the spot price of gold and silver. The question for this part of the market is if purchasers are buying on the dip, or if a market rebound may become a long time coming. The strong U.S. dollar is impacting precious metals as well as forcing the euro to be traded on par with the dollar. This can, in turn, encourage buying U.S. coins currently in European dealer inventories.
The market can overall be described as unprecedented. Is there a top to it? It appears coins have reached a level previously reserved for antiques and fine art.