Kathleen Duncan from Pinnacle Rarities and several other notable industry leaders were asked last month by The Rosen Numismatic Advisory to participate in the 38th annual Crystal Ball Survey. Each responded to questions about the state of the market, challenges faced by rare coin collectors and investors, and outlooks about the near future of the rare coin market. The Crystal Ball Survey is published in two parts and below are excerpts from Part 2. To view Part 1 click here.
Rosen: Which Morgan and Peace $1’s look underpriced to you? Which look fully priced?
Kathleen: I’ll focus on Peace Dollars as I don’t specialize in Morgans. My favorite underpriced date is the 1924-S in PCGS MS65 at around $6500. PCGS has graded only 78 pieces, with just 6 higher. This population has increased only slightly in the past decade. As for an overvalued date, the 1922-P in PCGS MS67 is too high in the $20,000 range. You can by 40 MS66s for the price of one MS67.
Rosen: How can someone make sure they’re getting a good deal when A) bidding at an auction, and B) when consigning to an auction?
Kathleen: A) Make sure you view the coins in person or have a reputable dealer represent you. Photos are a poor substitute. Never assume that just because there is an under bidder, you are getting a fair price if you keep bidding to the bitter end. B) It’s useful to also trust a dealer to negotiate a good deal for you. This is extremely important when figuring reserves, a venue and the auction firm to use. The hazards of not having such an advisor are if the auction house only works to fill their next catalog and encourages you to sell your items without reserves, which can be disastrous.
Rosen: Which under-$1000 coin is so appealingly cheap to you that you would love to sock away a large position in that coin?
Kathleen: Besides many classic silver commems, I really like the 1939-1942 Walking Liberty halves in PCGS PR67. These are beautiful coins, with relatively low images that have tremendous upside potential.
Rosen: Among U.S. copper, nickel and silver Type coins, pick a few that are especially appealing to you with good investment potential, and explain why you picked them.
Kathleen: I like high-grade Mint State Barber Dimes, Quarters and Halves. These series contain some really scarce and rare coins that are trading at levels well off of their highs, presenting excellent values.
Rosen: Now, U.S. Gold Type coins. Please state your favorites with good investment potential.
Kathleen: The $2 1/2, $5, and $10 liberty series contain many tremendously rare dates, yet sell for prices that are exceptionally reasonable considering their scarcity. Many have low mintages and/or low survival rates. They really offer terrific bang for your buck.
Rosen: What is your outlook for the Modern Coin market? It is a large part of the numismatic landscape now. How do you see it developing in the future? B) Are there any specific issues with good potential you favor? C) Do you view the growth of the Modern market as a long term threat to the market for vintage coins?
Kathleen: Modern coins are money-makers for the Mint, so as long as there are buyers, the Mint will continue to produce more. B) I don’t trade in the modern market, but some lower mintage issues can certainly offer investment consideration though buyer should be wary of paying premiums for high-grade, albeit common, high-mintage items. C) Buyers of modern coins are simply a different breed of collector than those of the vintage material. However, I have seen some modern buyers convert to vintage issues, so it’s possibly a positive rather than a negative for the vintage market.
Rosen: Please use this space to freewheel on any topic of your choice relating to numismatics.
Kathleen: 1) Do your homework before you buy. Attend conventions and auctions to view as many coins as you can. Take a look at coins online and compare the coin you are considering with online images of other coins of the same type, date and grade. The internet is an incredible resource and learning tool. 2) Buy only from reputable dealers. Ask long-time advanced collectors who they trust. Make sure that the dealers you buy from have a buy-back policy on every coin they sell. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they would pay for the coin to buy it back, assuming unchanged market conditions. 3) If you are buying or selling through an auction house, have dealer representation. 4) Buy what you like. If a certain series doesn’t appeal to you, don’t buy it, unless you are buying strictly for investment. The collectors who historically profit the most are those who truly enjoy and are passionate about the hobby. If you like what you’re buying, you will invest more time researching your chosen series and will become a better buyer as a result. The result will be more profit and more fun!
The Rosen Numismatic Advisory examines issues and trends within the industry. The annual Crystal Ball Survey publishes the opinions and predictions from some of the industry’s most skillful and respected professionals. For copies of the full version of this report and subscription information about future issues and other reports, contact Numismatic Counseling, Inc. at MauriceRosen@aol.com or call 516-433-5800.