Jim Bisognani: Coin Markets Going Up and Staying Up

By Jim BisognaniNGC Weekly Market Report ……
 

It is mid-October already, and so far, the weather is mildly chilly and steadily becoming colder. In New England, the colorful leaves are tumbling down and the season has been so very enjoyable. As with all seasons, this delightful weather pattern will soon become cold.

For numismatics, the “summer” season shows no appearance of cooling down. While no market should enjoy an everlasting upward trajectory, the coin market is breaking that trend — for now.

What Goes up, Stays up

For nearly two years, all the numismatic marketplace factions have been on a prolonged upward trek with high demand and prices. I have spent the last few weeks trying to find a dead zone, with no luck. I noticed that there are, on average, 15% to 20% advances for most US types in mid-grade circulation and around the same advance for Mint State types graded MS 63 and MS 64.

Even the typical dealer castoffs have emerged with a new paying audience. Coins like the popular classic US silver commemorative series have been courting enthusiasm — especially in MS 66 and better, with an accent on acquiring original and attractive toned specimens. These coins are bringing 10% to 15% above the same coins that were on the “pre-pandemic” market.

Morgan and Peace dollars are riding a prolonged wave of excitement and demand as the market waits on the release of the 2021 Morgan and Peace dollar centennial coins. This demand has been responsible for ushering in a wave of new collectors eager to acquire the new and, of course, vintage Morgan and Peace dollars. This has naturally put a much higher premium on virtually the entire “classic” Morgan and Peace dollar series.

But as US coins enjoy success, the world coin market is just as exciting.

The World Coin Market is the Collectors’ Oyster

My friend Jerry is an avid world coin collector. During a recent conversation, he relayed with notable angst that the prices of common type, raw and certified world coins have been racing higher.

“I am witnessing a strong demand for coins, which normally would have been in the $20 range, now bringing in double and more,” Jerry noted. “I mean, coins that you could pick up on eBay or even in one of the Heritage weekly ancient and world sales are bringing in 30% to 40% more than what they were a little over a year ago.”

Jerry, like me, enjoys “classic” British Commonwealth and modern material. One of our favorite coins is from British India and the early Republic timeframe. “Hey, have you looked at what a 1947 1/4, 1/2 and 1 Rupees Gem Uncirculated is bringing?”

He continued, “These coins were in the $2 to $5 range at shows a few years ago, and now Gem-described and appearing coins (raw) are on eBay pulling $30 to $50. I mean, this is on a smaller dollar scale, but that is still an increase of, what, 700% to 900%!”

The coin market for Indian coins is hot right now

I heartedly concur! In the recent Stack’s Bowers October 2021 World Collectors Choice Online Auction, the World Coins Part 2 sale revealed some fabulous results for some modern minor Proofs from India, dated 1950-1954.

An India 1950(B) 2 Anna graded NGC PF 64 is a fine-looking example from the first “modern” dated India Proof set. This minor coin was the same type that I had picked up raw at a show about a decade ago for about $10 to $15. I was more than surprised when it pulled in $336. According to the NGC Census, there are 32 examples graded PF 64 with 13 graded higher.

Meanwhile, this India 1954(B) 1/2 Anna was a coin I was going to make a play for — after all, the pre-auction estimate was $60 to $100. Unfortunately for me (but great for the consigner), the coin realized $408. While scarce in the post-1950 world of modern Proofs, they are still readily available. A check of the NGC Census shows 24 coins have been graded, with nine examples graded PF 64. Currently, there are six that are graded higher, which confirms that Proofs that are not residing at the top of the census are achieving supreme results.

A superb India 1954(B) 2 Anna graded NGC PF 64 Ultra Cameo is another mind-blowing example of what quality and rarity will command. This coin, which was given a conservative estimate of $60 to $100, realized an astounding $780, or 680% above the high-end estimate. To put it in perspective, to date, NGC has only graded a total of 24 Proof 1954 2 Anna, and this particular example is the sole coin that has been awarded an Ultra Cameo designation. Obviously, the buyer did their homework and was well aware of this fact.

Well, my friends, the above trio realized a total of $1,524. To put this in perspective, these three coins as “raw’ Proofs could have been purchased for around $100 about a decade ago — and probably for less than $850 in third-party graded holders just a few years back!

Coins from South of the Border

Another very popular series is Mexico Pesos from 1920 to 1945. Ultra-Gem, late-dated coins are blazing hot and capturing over $500 in MS 67, and grade MS 68 is pulling in over $1,000! My friends, these coins are available raw for around $20 in Mint State. So do yourself a favor, take some time and view raw listings on eBay that might be in About Gem and better condition.

For those who prefer a hands-on experience when you attend your next coin show, be sure to seek out some world coin dealers and scour their “raw” inventories for these Pesos in Gem or better raw coins. Currently, according to the NGC Census, the 1920-1945 series has 211 coins in MS 67 and only 14 appear as MS 68. Good luck with your quest and, by all means, submit your best coins to NGC.

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Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.
 

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