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It Still Pays to Shop Around


Despite the strong bull market in coins, it still pays to shop around. A prime example of this is the older or classic commemorative half dollar series ending in 1954, where I am observing some equally graded coins by the same third-party grading service selling in several cases for dramatically different prices depending on who is selling them rather than on eye appeal. This isn’t true of all series, but as always shop around before you buy. There are still bargains out there. (Or, is the question if the “other guy” is overpriced?)

Bargain hunting won’t be true everywhere. It is difficult to determine if what will prove someday to have been a bargain price will be paid for the unique 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime that will be offered at auction during the August American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. Regardless, once more the keen interest in the rare coin market will be on display. The spectacular coin is part of the Bender Family Collection being offered by Heritage.

The auction market is sufficiently energized that a recent auction in Switzerland highlighted by British coins realized the equivalent of about $5.8 million. Confidence in the strength of the rare coin market is good reason to liquidate a unique coin at this moment.

While auction prices realized will primarily draw the attention of coin collectors, the public will be drawn into the hobby once more through general news stories now beginning to circulate regarding the treasure onboard the shipwreck of the Spanish treasure ship San Jose off the coast of Cartagena in Colombia. The find is being touted as the “holy grail of shipwrecks.” Remember what happened when Mel Fisher discovered a treasure ship? Publicity of this sort is good for what is already a vibrant hobby market.