By Kathleen Duncan - Pinnacle Rarities
The recently attended Central States Numismatic Society's convention in Rosemont, IL exceeded expectations. We had a superb buying show, getting first shot on one deal and an early shot on another, acquiring some truly exceptional pieces. You can find many of them online here. Some of our favorites are a sensationally toned 1853 No Arrows Quarter PCGS MS66, a pristine 1831 Capped Bust 50c PCGS MS66, and the finest known 1873-S Arrows Dime, a PCGS MS65. Among those that went directly to our want list clients were a superb 1794 Half Cent in PCGS MS63BN, the nicest 1919-S Standing Liberty Quarter we've seen, and a dramatically beautiful 1882 Trade Dollar PCGS PR66DCAM.
We were happy to see the aggressive price paid for the 1796 25c NGC MS63 in the Heritage sale ($138,000), as we placed it with the consignor back in 2007 who netted a tidy profit. It is a good example of a great coin bringing all the money, as another in an NGC MS64 holder (yes a point higher in grade) sold a month earlier by the same auction house for a mere $80,500. Valuing particular coins is at times tricky as there is no single reliable price guide. In fact, I almost never look at the old standbys Greysheet and Bluesheet, relying primarily on market experience and auction records.
While the strong collector demand should eventually translate to higher prices, it is not buoying the entire market evenly. Our challenge is seeking out exceptional pieces at reasonable prices. Collectors are increasingly willing to pay premiums for coins with remarkable technical and visual merits, while the printed number on the plastic means less, as it should be.
On a side note, many of you have followed the bull run of gold and silver. During the Central States' show silver surged to an all time high of $49.51 an ounce, besting the closing price record when the Hunt brothers sought to corner the silver market lone-ranger style three decades ago. Although it has shed about 30% of that price this week, the run is likely far from over. According to the Dow Jones Market Data Group, gold's record of $875/oz in 1980 translates into $2,371.11 in today's watered-down dollars. That's roughly 2.7 times the 1980 price. Using the same math, silver's inflation-adjusted price would be $131.49/oz. In 1980 silver topped after rising 3100% and at $50 it had only risen a bit over 1000% in this run. There is a lot more action ahead of us.
Those adding numismatic rarities to their portfolios are blessed with prices holding relatively steady amongst the meteoric precious metals' climb. While we hesitate to speculate in the short-term (on anything), buying the best and holding long-term is perennially a sure bet. And those inflation adjusted numbers will continue to rise as they have since the dollar was derailed from gold in 1971, increasing value in tangible assets of all kinds.