The U.S. economy is now officially in a recession. Stocks have plummeted more than 20 percent from their recent highs.
You wouldn’t recognize the hobby and business of coins as being in the same economic sphere since the trade and sale of coins continues to surge despite the poor performance of equities. It is possible that some investors are now recognizing truly rare coins as an asset class.
It is a certainty that the recent performance of U.S. coin auctions is sufficient to catch the attention of non-collectors as well as those who are already immersed in the hobby. Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold more than $43 million in U.S. coins during its 2022 Summer Global Showcase Auction, a record in gross sales for the firm and an increase of 20 percent in gross receipts from the same auction conducted one year earlier. The first part of the prestigious Harry Bass Core Coin Collection was being offered by Heritage Auctions beginning Sept. 29 in Long Beach, Calif., as this commentary was being written. Investors as well as comfortably financed collectors will likely be looking at the proof 1804 $10 eagle (one of three believed to be known) as well as other incredible rarities that are unlikely to be offered again in our lifetime.
Granted, the rarities that have and continue to be offered at recent auctions make this market look frothy, but the market for more available yet collectible coins also continues to perform well. The weakest link, as might be expected, is the bullion coin market, followed by pre-1965 coins that are valued primarily for their intrinsic value rather than for their collectible value.