By Steve Roach – www.steveroachonline.com
First published in the May 14, 2012, issue of Coin World
The just-completed Central States Numismatic Society convention represented a busy week for the rare coin market. On April 17 at the show, the Professional Numismatists Guild’s definition of “coin doctoring” was approved.
Finding a single definition for such a wide range of activities has been problematic in that there is often a fine line between acceptable conservation and unacceptable enhancement. PNG’s final three-point definition is notable for being easy to read and understand from a consumer standpoint, and it enjoyed near universal acceptance from the PNG member-dealers in attendance.
Assuming that the definition is accepted and followed by market-making dealers who create wholesale markets and sell coins to the end-consumer, it is an effective tool for combatting a widespread problem. “Doctoring” harms coin buyers, and can cause long-term and irreparable damage to the coins themselves.
For the coin market, the Central States show was consistent with the pattern of the past year: selective strength at the high end, a surplus of mid-range pre-1933 classic generic U.S. gold coins, broad-based participation in the auctions and dealers lamenting that no fresh, high-quality coins were available to purchase.
On the auction front, Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night on April 19 brought in just over $12 million. Heritage’s 2012 CSNS coin auction floor total of nearly $22.9 million was comparable to its 2011 CSNS sale total of $25.6 million.
Besides the obvious high-achievers like classic expensive Coronet Proof gold coins, continued interest was exhibited at auction for high-grade, finest-known coins from registry set collectors.
For example, a colorful 1962-D Washington quarter dollar graded Mint State 67 by Professional Coin Grading Service sold for an astounding $18,400. PCGS has graded just one other example in this grade and it is an example of a conditionally rare but otherwise common coin. An average Mint State example of the date typically trades at a shade above bullion value.
Another Washington quarter dollar — this one dated 1932 and also one of the two graded MS-67 at PCGS — brought $40,250. At the same auction an example graded MS-66 by PCGS with a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker realized $1,380 while an MS-65 example sold for $233.45.