Posted by Jeff Garrett on the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation Weekly Market Report …..
For most dealers and collectors, 2014 has been an exciting and successful year.
Several great collections were sold at auction, and were, for the most case, fully absorbed by the marketplace. The Eric Newman and Eugene Gardner collections presented many collectors with the chance to buy coins that had been off the market for a very long time. Several price records were established for superb rarities, and there were very few bargains to be had. Most dealers in rare coins had a great year, if they could find enough fresh coins to meet demand. That was a big “if,” however, as most bourse floors were devoid of such material.
The United States Mint stimulated the modern market with several very interesting products. The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame coins were some the best received items the Mint has issued in decades. These extremely interesting coins had great crossover appeal with coin collectors and baseball fans. The Mint’s delayed delivery of the coins caused a temporary price spike that resulted in losses for some who bought early. The ANA show release of the gold Kennedy Half Dollar caused a frenzy that most had never experienced before. Thousands of people waited in line overnight to purchase coins for quick resale. Again, the market declined shortly after but has rebounded in recent weeks. Several weeks ago, the Mint also sold an interesting four coin set of silver Kennedy Half Dollars with different finishes. These have been well received, as well. In my opinion, both of these programs will be very popular with collectors in future.
Whether you collect vintage or modern coins, 2014 has been an interesting and prosperous year. This brings to question how 2015 will be for numismatics. Below are a few observations and predictions for the New Year.
- Regardless of how the market for 2015 plays out, the 2015 FUN Show will be a great success. I have said many times, if you worry about the rare coin market, attend a great coin show, and you will feel better. The FUN Show is one of the best attended coin shows in the country. Plunging temperatures in the north make going to this show a pretty easy decision. The bourse floor will be packed with eager buyers. The Heritage auction has some fabulous rarities, but the sale is not as gargantuan as many had feared. I think most of the coins in the sale will do extremely well. The 2015 FUN Show will be lots of fun!
- The 2015 FUN Show will be strong, but, in my opinion, the market could soften somewhat shortly after. Prices have fallen for some issues in the last few months, and this may continue for some less popular coins. The Greysheet recently dropped prices for quite a few coins rather sharply, and this could have a negative psychological impact on the market. I recommend that collectors monitor the prices closely for issues they collect. There could be some great bargains in the next year.
- The weakest part of the market will be for coins with less than nice eye appeal. This trend has been occurring for quite some time, and I expect that it might accelerate. Buying the cheapest coin available for something you have been looking for is not always the best policy. Concentrate on quality and learn the difference.
- There will be some great numismatic books published in 2015. Whitman Publishing has a robust number of books scheduled for next year. Dave Bowers is also working on some fascinating research in connection with the Pogue sales scheduled for the next few years. Yours truly has one or two in the pipeline, as well!
- Rare coin auction totals will break a new record for yearly sales. In 2013, the annual sales of numismatic material at auction was about $390 million. In 2014, the annual sales at auction rose to over $535 million. Several incredible collections are hitting the auction blocks this year, and I would not be surprised to see a new record set for annual sales. The rare coin auction market has been very strong in the last few years, and most of the fresh material is found there. This trend will probably continue as long as prices hold up. Selling coins unreserved can be risky, however. If prices slipped significantly, auction sales would falter.
- The market for rare coins will continue to be focused on collector coins. This has been a trend in the last few years, and it continues to be true. Last year, 12 rare coins sold for $1 million or higher. Who would have thought that an illustrious 1811 Half Cent would be found? Coins that have been traditionally of interest to collectors have faltered this year. Generic gold coins are near historic lows in relation to gold. Silver and gold commemoratives are out of favor, and common date issues of about everything is weak.
- My expertise in predicting bullion prices is quite limited, but I feel that precious metals are poised for some sort of breakout. Gold has been stalled around $1,200 and silver at around $16. Both seem very cheap in light of global budget deficits that will not be solved anytime soon.
- This may be a long shot, but I feel the market could benefit from lower prices. There is a ton of money on the side lines in the United States, and lower prices could attract a lot of new buyers. I have had calls recently from individuals who have never bought a rare coin and are looking for bargains. I think 2015 will see a lot of new faces in the marketplace.
- In 2015, the market for modern coins will continue to become more legitimate in the eyes of collectors and dealers alike. Let’s face it, the market for modern coins is huge! In the last couple of years, my modern rare coin business has grown tremendously. I have several clients attempting to build world-class collections of various series. This has been an extremely challenging endeavor. My son specializes in United States Silver Eagles. At coin shows, he will display groups of better date issues, and crowds quickly gather. I wish my vintage offering received half the attention.
- Finally, I predict the ANA will make great strides in terms of membership growth. The ANA has invested heavily in its new website, and some great content is on the way. Soon, you will be able to view the last 100-plus years of The Numismatist in a searchable format. I will be entering my last couple of years on the ANA board and hope to see some significant progress before I leave. I invite anyone who has suggestions on how to make the ANA better to contact me. The ANA plans to make the yearly membership fee the best bargain in numismatics! If you are not a member now, please check it out www.money.org.
A lot of rare coin dealers are concerned about the rare coin market going into next year. I am the eternal optimist, however, and even though there may be a few bumps in the road, the rare coin market will be alive and well. 2015 looks to be another great year for collectors and dealers. See you in sunny Florida!
Questions about the rare coin market? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jeff Garrett
Jeff Garrett, founder of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, is considered one of the nation’s top experts in U.S. coinage — and knowledge lies at the foundation of Jeff’s numismatic career. With more than 35 years of experience, he is one of the top experts in numismatics. The “experts’ expert,” Jeff has personally bought and sold nearly every U.S. coin ever issued. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t call on Jeff Garrett for numismatic advice. This includes many of the nation’s largest coin dealers, publishers, museums and institutions.
In addition to owning and operating Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries, Jeff Garrett is a major shareholder in Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries. His combined annual sales in rare coins and precious metals — between Mid-American in Kentucky and Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries in Florida — total more than $25 million.
Jeff Garrett has authored many of today’s most popular numismatic books, including Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795–1933: Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and Pattern Issues; 100 Greatest U.S. Coins; and United States Coinage: A Study By Type. He is also the price editor for The Official Redbook: A Guide Book of United States Coins.
Jeff was also one of the original coin graders for the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS). He is today considered one of the country’s best coin graders and was the winner of the 2005 PCGS World Series of Grading. Today, he serves as a consultant to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), the world’s largest coin grading company.
Jeff plays an important role at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Department and serves as consultant to the museum on funding, exhibits, conservation and research. Thanks to the efforts of Jeff and many others, rare U.S. coins are once again on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. We urge everyone who visits Washington, D.C., to view this fabulous display.
Jeff has been a member of the prestigious Professional Numismatic Guild (PNG) since 1982 and has recently served as president of the organization. In 2009 and 2011, Jeff ran successfully for a seat on the Board of Governors for the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the leading numismatic club in the world. He plans to run for ANA vice president in 2013.