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Community Voice Responses (December 13, 2016)

From the Nov. 18 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Are million dollar rarities overhyped?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.


While the vast majority of collectors will never own a million-dollar coin – including me! – all of us can admire, appreciate and, yes, envy the stratosphere in which those historic coins orbit the hobby. Most of the time, news about the sale of seven-figure rarities generate headlines in mainstream news media, such as the recent Pogue and Newman collections auctions. And that’s good for the overall coin market.

The Professional Numismatists Guild reported in January 2016 that 17 individual rare U.S. coins sold for $1 million or more in 2015, and that broke the previous year’s record of 12 million-dollar coins sold at public auctions in 2014.

To quote Sam Spade (actor Humphrey Bogart) in the 1941 film, “The Maltese Falcon” (and also a 1987 Carly Simon song title), million-dollar rarities are “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Donn Pearlman
Las Vegas, Nev.


Your question about rarities reminds me of something my brother once told me when we were talking about what I thought my coin collection was worth. He simply stated that a coin or whatever it might be that you’re selling was only worth what someone was willing to pay to get it.

So, to answer your question, I don’t think that they are overhyped, for I know that, had I that kind of money, I too might be willing to pay that to get what I wanted.

Bob D. Allen
Address withheld


Absolutely not. If anything, they are under-hyped. When movie star/rock star memorabilia is sold for big money, absolutely not. When works of art are sold for tens of millions, absolutely not. Rare coins are pieces of history and beautiful in their own way. When a rare coin is sold for millions, and it is mentioned on the news, it’s usually a very brief mention.

Ginger Rapsus
Chicago, Ill.


Some items (due to being rare) may just be able to bring this price range at auction. Even some coin dealers who cater to high-end clients, can command this area. This also applies to “investor,” or retirement, accounts.

With the above in mind, most collectors don’t have this big of a pocket to purchase this area. These people can still put together a nice portfolio of material to enjoy, as well as for retirement. As cautioned, do your homework!  This does go for the experienced as well as the novice. Money can be made, but look down the road for what may be.

As for the inexperienced, follow the above, and more. If not, this hobby is not for you. I speak (and type) from advisors and myself. Yes, I have made some profit along the way, with some in retirement. To each circumstance is their own. This goes for all.

Gary Kess
The Netherlands


Yes, in some ways the coins are overhyped, but it depends on the coins and also to the overhyped media coverage

William Johnston
San Antonio, Texas


This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today


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One Response to Community Voice Responses (December 13, 2016)

  1. Steve27 says:

    Are million dollar rarities overhyped; the simple answer is, some are and some are not. While not very enlightening, my answer is based on the auction results for two multi-million dollar coins; the unique Specimen 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar and the Sultan of Muscat 1804 Silver Dollar. In case you’re not familiar with these two, the first is touted as possibly being the first silver dollar ever struck by the US Mint, and the second is the finest known of the 1804 “King of American Coins” Class I Draped Bust dollars.

    Back in 2013 the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar was sold at auction to Legend Numismatics (Bruce Morelan/Laura Sperber) for just over $10.0 million. There was a lot of discussion prior to the auction, mostly pertaining to its claim to be the first silver dollar struck, but in my opinion it was all about hyping the coin. Since then, they continue to talk it up, and they are planning to show it at the upcoming 2017 FUN show. In my opinion, this is the beginning of hyping the coin for a future sale.

    In May of this year, the 1804 dollar was offered in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries – Sotheby’s auction, where it did not meet the consignor’s (D. Brent Pogue) reserve price (it did get up to just over $10.5 million). Why, in my opinion neither Stack’s nor Sotheby’s did enough to hype or “overhype” the coin. Additionally, it was placed in part 4 of the 5 part Pogue auction, and it was stuck in the middle of that one.

    Thus, did the 1794 dollar sell for more than it was worth? Should Pogue have accepted $10.5 million for the 1804 dollar? And what are these coins really worth? The best answer I’ve seen comes from P & BR Withers who said “The true value of an item is said to be that paid by a wise buyer to an informed seller.” I’m just not sure where they would include the hype.

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