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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

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NumisMedia Monthly

December 2011

Rare Coins Coming of Age

       The year 2011 should go down in history as one of the most significant in numismatics. This conclusion can be drawn from two important issues. One, the metals showed the strength that experts have been predicting for many years. Of course, it took the downfall of World economies to finally expose this strength. The year began with Gold at $1,388.50 in early January. During the year it bounced over $1,900 twice in day trading but the highest close was $1,895. Currently, it is $1,710, a healthy increase of 23% for the year. Silver began the year at $30.67 with experts convinced that it would top $50 and beyond. The highest close was in April at $48.70 but soon fell back to under $40 per ounce. Recently Silver has traded around $31 to $34.50 with a current price of $32. Experts are still committed to Silver advancing well beyond the high for the year.

       Platinum wound up taking a backseat to both Gold and Silver, falling below where it started the year. In early January it was $1,753 and rose as high as $1,887. But with buyers concentrating on Gold and Silver, Platinum quickly fell under the price of Gold and has been largely ignored by investors. Currently Platinum is trading at $1,538, down about 12% for the year. While the metals fluctuated throughout the year, all the Modern coins were very active as collectors and investors scurried to buy coins ahead of the rising markets.

       The rise of Gold throughout the year gave added importance to Classic Gold coins. Buyers were constantly in and out of the market trying to make profits with the ups and downs of the precious metal. At the beginning of the year the FMV for the common $20 Gold Liberty was $2,470 in MS63. The FMV reached $2,750 in September before premiums began to shrink. This month the FMV is $2,410. This is down $60 compared to the January FMV although Gold is higher by $321.50. This may sound negative to some, but many believe Gold is still headed to higher levels. When you can buy the older collectible U.S. Gold coins for 52% less premium today, many investors would rank this as a wonderful opportunity.

       The following chart shows the $20 Saint in MS63 with a comparison of January to today. As you can see, the January FMV was $1,920 while today it is $2,260. This is an increase of 18%, while Gold increased 23%. Again, the premium is lower over the value of Gold than it was in January. Also, for the same grade the better value appears to be the Saint over the Liberty in the MS63 grade.

Graph MS63 $20 Saint 1928 from NGC

       The second issue that makes 2011 significant is the fact that worldwide investors have accepted numismatics as one of the preeminent techniques for investing in today's money markets. This has been building for several years but it is now readily reported by the mainstream media. Ten years ago, as an industry, we could not get a positive article relating to numismatics in any of the national publications. Today, numismatics is recognized as one of the top investment programs available to investors. However, it is not an easy task as it takes time and energy to study the overall opportunities and judge which coins are most likely to increase in the upcoming years. With all the statistics available today, anybody can track the FMV of specific coins and compare prior years to current FMV prices. Advanced collectors and investors can also compare the number of coins certified in various grades and determine how many could be available at any given time.

       NumisMedia tracks the aspirations of many well-known collectors. Eventually, if a collection is significant enough, it can be the focus of a major auction house sale. Heritage Auctions is just one of the few top coin companies that makes effective and vibrant use of their Internet mailing list to sell coins that come from well managed collections. One such collection will be available at the FUN Show in early January. Dr. & Mrs. Steven Duckor will offer a selection of the most important dates in the Saint Gaudens series. Not only are they the rarest of the rare, they are mostly the highest grades in the series. The Duckor's are known for identifying and selecting coins with premium eye appeal. The cream of these highlights include: 1927 S MS67, 1925 S MS66, 1924 D MS66, and 1921 MS66. These are all PCGS certified.

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