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

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NumisMedia Monthly

August 2017

Timing is Everything for GSA CC Morgan Dollars

       Like the rest of the coin market the GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar series has seen better days. Over the last two years there has been a drastic drop in the FMV for many of the dates and grades in this series primarily due to a dwindling collector base. However, with so many choices today for coin collectors, with the influx of all the modern coins minted by all the mints of the world, collecting has actually expanded. The amount of money being spent on coins is relatively the same percentage as it has been over the last ten years, it is just spread over so many more types of coins that it almost goes unnoticed.

1883 GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar MS66+ NGC CAC

1883 GSA Carson City Morgan Dollar MS66+ NGC CAC is available at the Heritage Auctions Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Signature Auction in Long Beach, California, September 6-11, 2017

       With the expansion of worldwide minted bullion coins the number of collectors and investors has been on the rise for several years. But this is part of the problem. Most of the new buyers are more interested in bullion related coins than they are in U.S. coins that are actually rare. Therefore, spendable income is being shifted away from traditional coin collecting to the modern bullion coins. And most dealers have played right into this worldwide fascination, to the point that competition is so strong that the premiums become smaller each trading day, or so it seems.

       The willingness of dealers to sell at lower levels along with second tier dealers is the main reason prices have fallen dramatically. Also consider that major market makers have drastically lowered their buy prices pulling the market lower; this enables them to once again market coins to their customers at more advantageous prices for a future run-up. This may be good news for collectors wanting to purchase GSA Carson City Morgan Dollars in this down market. In addition, dealers are advertising across the Internet which attracts more buyers to the dealers with the lowest prices. So there are actually more dealers selling to more buyers that is creating lower prices for the modern bullion coins, actually translating to lower values for GSA Carson City Dollars.

       It is not very often that collectors are afforded a second chance at buying into a highly competitive series. Since the beginning of 2016 we have seen many of the dates and grades decline in the GSA Carson City chart. Exploring these prices reveal some very interesting results. Keep in mind that there are thousands of dealers and collectors of this series, when the market turns around the competition for these coins could steer prices to new heights.

       The 1878 CC in MS64 has fallen 28.6% since the beginning of 2016. The current FMV is $1,050 and there are 866 coins certified by both NGC and PCGS in the hard plastic with the black insert. PCGS was a late arrival to this market as they only began certifying them in the last couple of years. The 1878 CC is quite rare in grades above MS65+; there are just five coins in MS66 with one being a 66+.

       The 1879 CC in MS64 is down 20.9% since 2016. This date is rare in any Mint State grade but is more difficult to find in the GSA holder. Even with only 105 coins in MS64 and another 11 in MS64+ the FMV has dropped to the current $14,690. There are ten coins certified in MS65 and just two in the highest grade of MS65+.

       The 1880 CC in MS65 has recorded nearly the largest drop in this timeframe. It is down 40.3% to its current FMV of $1,140. This date has well over 2,600 coins certified in MS64 which includes the 64+. There are also over 825 coins certified in MS65 & 65+ with another 135 in higher grades.

       The 1881 CC in MS66 is similar to the 1880 CC except the MS66 is the grade with the most dramatic drop since 2016. It is down 47.7% to the current FMV of $1,470; this is $2,810 less than two years ago. There are a total of 534 coins certified in MS66 which includes the 66+ grade. This is one of the most heavily populated GSA Carson City Dollars in MS67 with 35 coins total including the + coins.

       The 1882 CC in MS66 is lower by 40.3%; it has been on a downward spiral for the last few months. The current FMV is $1,660 and there are 546 coins certified in MS66 & 66+. This date has 17 total coins certified in MS67 and is quite popular, however, it too has drifted slightly down to the current $23,130 from $25,000.

       The 1883 CC in MS66 has dropped 32% since January 2016, from $1,470 to today's FMV of $1,000. With a population of over 900 coins in MS66 & 66+ this date is easily one of the more available Carson City Dollars. The MS67 grade has a substantial number of coins certified with 38 which includes six in MS67+.

       The 1884 CC in MS66 nearly replicates the 1883 CC with the exception that in early 2016 the FMV was $1,480 so it is lower by 32.5%. The 1883 CC has the same FMV today at $1,000 and the number of coins certified is 901 including the MS66+ coins. There are 33 MS67 coins certified and one MS68 certified by NGC.

       The 1885 CC in MS66 is down a whopping 48.6% since the beginning of 2016; the FMV fell from $4,750 to the current $2,440, its high was $4,910 in 2015. There are 410 coins certified in MS66 & 66+ with another 18 coins in the higher MS67 grades. When considering the number of coins certified in the MS66 grade compared to some of the other dates the percentage drop may not make sense except for the element of excessive availability.

       The 1890 CC in MS62 is down by 30.5% since 2016 and the MS61 is lower by 29.8%; these two grades have the highest concentration of coins certified for this date. However, there are 172 in the MS63 grades. There are only 20 coins certified higher than MS64 with a single NGC MS65. The MS62 has fallen to $4,050 from $5,790 and the MS61 is down to $3,600 from $5,130. This and the 1891 CC had a real hot streak for a couple years that saw prices rise dramatically due to creative demand by several dealers.

       The 1891 CC in MS62 fell 28.6% since 2016 down from $3,780 to the latest FMV of $2,700. In addition, at its height of the market in 2014 it was $3,990. The MS61 is lower by 27.4% now at $2,460. The population for these grades is 91 in MS61 and 189 in MS62. There are an additional 92 coins in the MS63 grades with eight coins higher and MS65+ being the highest.

       Considering the extreme declines that we have seen in this series, a potential rebound could be quite profitable; when and if this rebound occurs depends on market forces and timing.

       The positive conclusion to draw from this comparison is that the coin market has expanded to the point that there are so many dealers around the world that sell to so many millions of customers that the competition for the retail dollar has increased so much that premiums are not unlike a grocery market. Buyers are always looking for the lowest prices and, with the Internet, finding those lower prices are inherently easier today.

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