By Richard Giedroyc
Wholesale coin prices dipped, then rose dramatically in the past week as prices continued to shadow the increasingly volatile gold and silver bullion markets. Retail prices for most coins held steady during the same time, including most bullion and bullion-impacted yet collectible coins. The discrepancy between the buy and sell gaps in the wholesale and retail market makes sense, considering dealers need to sell at a profit regardless of if the spot price of the intrinsic value of their stocked merchandise rises or falls.
Demand remained strong despite the somewhat wild ride. Better coins (be these scarce to rare) or simply denominations not directly impacted by outside sources, continue to hold their own. These outside sources include the increasingly unsteady performance of equity markets. Many obsolete denominations continue to be good buys due to a lack of interest in these areas.
A word of caution should be considered regarding the banner headlines accompanying the sale of some rare coins at auctions. The impressively high price realized may catch your attention, but closer examination reveals some of these more covetable coins are selling at hammer prices below what the consigner paid for them. New record prices continue to be spotty at best. The fact gold spiked 1.6 percent within hours of an attack on oil fields in Saudi Arabia benefited the bullion rather than collector markets. It appears this is still a good time to go after higher-end collectible coins, but if you seek performance, consider bullion first.