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Tale of Two Coin Markets Continues into 2020

By Richard Giedroyc

The business and hobby of coins became more keenly defined as a tale of two markets during the past year. There is no reason to anticipate any change during 2020. High-grade Barber, Walking Liberty and Franklin half dollars increased in value, but all other silver and minor denomination coins tended to hold in tight trading ranges. Only the really special issues have been realizing headline-earning prices.

There have been bright spots in the Morgan silver dollar market; however, in general, the series continues to depreciate in value despite demand for these coins. Gold continues to glitter as long as the spot price of its intrinsic value follows. Otherwise, with few exceptions other than for the ultra rarities, each circulation strike series, as well as the gold American Eagles, continue to shadow the precious metals market.

Anyone who likes gold coins should consider the presidential wives $10 series as well as circulation strike coins. Commemorative coins, proof and mint sets – which are all made-for-collector issues – continue to flat-line or decline in value in the secondary markets. Coins purchased straight from the U.S. Mint are unlikely to appreciate, discouraging beginning collectors from advancing to the more practical side of the hobby. On the other end of the market, there were six U.S. coins that sold for more than $1 million dollars during 2019, five of them at auctions.

The bottom line is that there are many available generic collectible coins, but the same can’t be said for the true rarities.