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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
NumisMedia Article Archives

NumisMedia Monthly

February 2015

Assembling a Renowned and Profitable Coin Collection

       Have you ever wondered how great collections are put together? It takes not only time and money to assemble a great collection; it takes a plan, a course of action. Every great collection from the past 100 years started with a single idea on how to progress in identifying the precise coins to select in building just the right portfolio. Now, not every great collector knew at the time the explicit path they were on when they began their pursuit of the great numismatic collection, but they knew what they liked and typically started by assembling a set of coins from a specific series. In many cases, the rarities they first acquired were obvious choices because they were well-known rarities and had extremely low populations. Even today those rarities are easy to identify by the number of zeroes in their listed Fair Market Value. But not all advanced collectors have the same financial ability so their pursuits must be budgeted.

       Through advanced analytics we can identify which coins have the greatest potential for future price expansions; that is profits, as long as the coins are purchased at the appropriate levels. How do we identify these coins? Since NumisMedia was established in 1998, we have consistently used a meticulous practice in how we develop the Market prices and consequently the FMV. Being consistent allows us an unwavering technique for reporting accurate and independent prices. In addition, by using the advanced information that we have available today with all the historical data that goes into formulating such analytics, we have developed a way of identifying coins that have the best probability of advancing in the future. Bear in mind, there are no guarantees when it comes to purchasing rare coins. Future profits are strictly determined by supply and demand. We may use any or all of the following components to identify coins for acquisition.

  • Fair Market Value
  • Original mintage
  • Current overall population for date
  • Current population for the grade
  • Population in the next higher grade
  • Spread in values from one grade to the next higher grade
  • CAC stickered coins
  • Current demand
  • Historical graphs to search for trends
  • Comparisons to past populations reports

  •        There are literally thousands of collectors in the world with the desire to own an 1804 Silver Dollar, but how many of them also possess the means to actually purchase one? How many would pay the extraordinary price the next time one comes on the block? The purpose of this report is not to re-identify already known rarities, but to help collectors determine which coins have a righteous opportunity to advance in the future. This is not to say we will rule out higher grade coins or more expensive coins, but we also want to identify those coins that more collectors may have a reasonable opportunity to acquire for their numismatic portfolios.

           The 1892 Morgan Dollar has always been considered a better date Dollar although not exactly a rarity. With just over 1 million coins originally minted, that is more than enough to satisfy the casual collector. However, when you consider the population reports, the largest quantity of coins certified are MS64 and below. Between PCGS and NGC there are 2,285 coins grading MS64. This is where the major drop in numbers reveals itself; there are only 377 coins certified in MS65. While this is not a lot of coins when you consider there are millions of coin collectors out there and thousands of Silver Dollar collectors as well, it is enough coins to apparently satisfy current demand for the MS65 graded coins. Since January 2010, with some minor ups and downs, the FMV has fallen slightly from $4,810 to the current FMV of $4,660. Of course, all it would take is a little more demand to cause a ripple in the market and the FMV could start back up.

    1892 Morgan Dollar MS65+ PCGS

    1892 Morgan Dollar MS65+ PCGS sold for $4,230 in the Heritage Auctions FUN Show U.S. Coins Signature Auction in Orlando, Florida, January 7-12, 2015

           However, the important point to be made here is that the MS66 is a 'keeper' with only six total coins certified in the grade by PCGS and NGC. This coin has an FMV of $29,380 which compares favorably to the 1892 CC in MS66 that has an FMV of $33,130 with a total of 42 coins certified in this grade. Obviously, the demand for a Carson City Dollar in high grade gives it a great advantage over the Philadelphia coin. A closer look at the 1892 shows there is none grading higher than MS66 and only one of the six has the CAC sticker. There are 46 with the CAC sticker in the MS65 grade. A look at earlier population reports shows that only two of the MS66 coins were certified prior to October 2005. We will not presume future projections, but it appears that the current owners of the six coins feel that this is a great long term hold; that is why we have not seen any MS66 coins trade in the last five years.

           Let's examine a coin from another series; the 1801 Draped Bust Half Dollar. With a mintage of only 30,289 it is no wonder that this coin is at $6,780 in extra fine condition. The highest grade certified is an MS64 which is also CAC approved. It last sold in November 2013 in a Heritage Auctions Sale featuring the Eric P. Newman Collection Part II. There is also only one known graded MS63. The grade to consider for acquisition is the MS62. There are just three coins between the two grading services and the FMV is currently $64,380. This is well below the FMV of $162,500 for the MS63. The PCGS MS63 last sold in auction for $184,000 in May 2009 in a Heritage Auction. With a total of just six certified in Mint State, this coin would be a noteworthy addition to any advanced collection.

    1801 Draped Bust Half Dollar MS62 NGC

    1801 Draped Bust Half Dollar MS62 NGC sold for $55,812.50 in Heritage Auctions Eugene H. Gardner Collection Sale Part II in New York City, October 27, 2014

           Now let's take a look at a coin that has a much more reasonable price tag that just about any collector can acquire. The 1885 Morgan Dollar Deep Mirror Prooflike is a lovely coin in MS63 and higher grades. However, there are 894 coins certified DMPL in MS63 and 1,112 in MS64, way too many for consideration as an addition to an investment portfolio. As long as they are priced according to today's FMV, they would be fine for any collection as long as they have good eye appeal. Even the MS65 has 507 coins certified by PCGS and NGC combined with FMV currently at $1,130. But the MS66 is only $3,440 FMV and there are just 127 coins certified in this grade; this is barely 4% of the total number of all Mint State coins certified for the 1885 DMPL.

           The highest grade certified for this date is MS67 with only five coins total. Only one of these is a PCGS coin, and DMPL Registry collectors are such fanatics it would be rather unlikely that any of these would become available in the near future. That leads us back to the MS66 coin. The FMV for the MS66 is just 13.4% of the MS67; and with a spread of over $22,000 between grades, there is a lot of room for the MS66 to advance in the future, especially if it is one of the 17 coins approved by CAC.

           In the above examples we have not directly mentioned eye appeal or premium quality even though these are very important characteristics in choosing any of these coins. In a perfect world of 100 exact date coins with the same grade you could line them up from 1 to 100 identifying the best to worst. With the coins we have highlighted you will want to purchase the ones that are in the top 50% and ignore average coins for the grade. For certain coins you may want to take this a little further and acquire only those coins in the top 10%, or CAC and + coins. Of course, you will need to pay more for these coins but they typically bring much better results when sold in the future.

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