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Rare Coin Markets in August 2009, Part 1

Part One of a Three Part Series on the state of the Rare Coin Market. by Greg Reynolds

Proof Saint Gaudens $20 Gold coinsIn early August, while attending the recent ANA Convention in Los Angeles, I spent considerable time interviewing dealers and checking out coins that were being offered. Coin markets are very healthy in that there are plenty of buyers for scarce and rare coins at the current price levels, and there were a substantial number of serious collectors buying at the Convention or being represented by dealers. Certainly, collectors are more active now than they were in March or April, or even in June. Quite a few dealers and collector-sellers refuse to sell many of their coins at the current levels.

Some categories of rare coins have maintained their values or fallen only slightly over the past year; other categories have fallen 20% to 45%. My impression is that markets for scarce and rare U.S. coins, on average, are down 18% to 25% over the last twelve months, though many great coins have held their value.

There has always been a gap between the prices for coins that are mid range to high end for their respective PCGS or NGC assigned grades and those that are low end or have substantial negative characteristics. As is analyzed in my companion article, the price gap between the high end and low end for coins of the same type, certified grade and date (or equivalent date) has widened over the past twelve months and was especially evident in trading at the ANA Convention.

John Feigenbaum, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, declares that, at the ANA Convention, he “found the market to be a lot more vibrant than expected with many of [his] contemporaries ready to do deals. The key remains that one has to price coins at current market prices, which are generally down from six months ago. But the difference between [the ANA Convention] and say the Central States show was that people were looking to do business. The last nine months have been lethargic at the wholesale level.”
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