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NumisMedia Monthly Article Archive

Our monthly articles detailing specific areas of numismatics for dealers, collectors, and investors of United States Rare Coins

NumisMedia Article Archives
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NumisMedia Monthly

February 2011

Year of the Plus

       Judging by the trades at this past FUN Show, the theme for this year looks to be rarity, eye appeal, CAC, and the + designation. Dealers and collectors are primarily looking for rare coins by mintage. Of course they want bargains, but this category of demand requires patience and the ability to negotiate. Most sellers of truly rare classics do not need to offer their coins at discounts, knowing that eventually these early rarities will sell at premiums when the timing is right. Recently, there have been many big-ticket coins resurfacing after many years off the market and many FMV prices have been updated this past month as a result. The following coins are extremely rare and have low populations for the grade. These all have new Fair Market Values this month, with a few slightly lower. Even though some issues have declined, competition is very brisk. In addition, for comparison, we have listed the FMV from January 2006 where available.


Date/DenominationGradeJan 2011 FMVJan 2011 FMV
1793 Large Cent AmericaXF40$59,380$46,880
1856 Flying Eagle CentPR64$21,130$24,050
1872 Two CentMS65 Red$21,450$11,050
1916 D Mercury DimeMS66 FB$63,050$58,500
1942/1 Mercury DimeMS66 FB$78,130$89,380
1796 Bust QuarterMS65$292,500$201,500
1804 Bust QuarterXF40$31,250$10,810
1804 Bust QuarterMS65$431,250N/A
1896 S Barber QuarterMS66$90,350$74,750
1901 S Barber QuarterMS67$182,000$162,500
1916 Standing Lib QuarterMS64 FH$25,630$26,250
1797 Bust Half 15 StarsXF40$131,250$88,130
1904 S Barber HalfMS67$122,850$117,000
1799 Bust DollarMS66$331,250$300,000
1798 $2.5 GoldMS62$95,550$87,750
1854 D $3 GoldMS61$119,380$106,250
1809/8 $5 GoldMS65$126,750N/A
1823 $5 GoldMS65$260,000N/A
1911 D $5 IndianMS65$270,000$187,500
1907 $10 Indian REPR67$2,210,000N/A
1854 O $20 GoldAU55$591,500$299,000


       All of these coins were available in the marketplace since the first of the year and are rare by mintage and population. Some qualify for the finest known, while others have not traded in a long time so previous prices were outdated. And you can bet that the majority of these coins had superior eye appeal for the grade.

       This will surely be the year that dealers and collectors concentrate on CAC coins and the newly defined + designation. But how much of a premium will these high quality coins generate over regular FMV prices and will they bear additional profits down the road? We should be able to offer more insight to these questions as the year progresses.

       As popular as early rarities have been of late, the opposite can be said for modern coins. Many of the highest graded modern coins have fallen from favor in the last year. This is especially so for the 'perfect' PR70 coins. The quality of the proof coins produced by the Mint is superior to those of yesteryear. As more coins are certified as PR70, rarity and value decline. However, those with low populations have maintained lofty values. The following chart shows a comparison of several Silver Eagles from the January 2006 FMV to the current FMV.


Silver Eagles DC PR70Jan 2011 FMVJan 2006 FMV
1986 S$750$450
1987 S$1,590$500
1988 S$720$880
1989 S$400$375
1990 S$325$280
1991 S$640$530
1992 S$469$375
1993 P$3,340$4,750
1994 P$2,630$3,750
1995 P$720$880
1996P$463$810
1997 P$488$880
1998 P$250$406
1999 P$400$490


       The earlier coins appear to provide more stability in their price structure. It is very apparent that each new year prices are high in the beginning because excited collectors want to obtain the latest perfect coin for their Registry Sets. However, as more coins are certified, the FMV tends to fall to a normal trading level which is based primarily on the higher populations as they rise. After a few years of grading (look at the FMV of the 1980's coins) there is some stability in the populations and normal supply and demand economics takes over.


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