The Business of Numismatics: January 2023 Greysheet

The market continues to search for the right price levels. Traders have had a lot of minor adjustments to do over the past six to eight weeks to keep material flowing, and it is clear that some larger programs have slowed down or completely stopped.

by Patrick Ian Perez l Published on January 5, 2023

As always, January holds the promise of a new year and for the United States numismatic market, the FUN show. Last year’s show, the first one held since 2019, had most dealers walking away feeling good about what was to come in 2022. The volume of trading at this year’s show, particularly on the wholesale side, will be very interesting to monitor. The pulse of the market will be readily apparent.

Much will be written about the Harry W. Bass Collection Part Two auction, which is again replete with U.S. classic gold rarities. Some may wonder if the economic outlook that is being predicted for 2023 will impact a sale such as this. I do not think so, personally. While there have been big equity and fixed-income market swings that could potentially impact high-net-worth collectors, generally their coin buying budgets are kept separate and there is not a major impact on the prices realized of ultra-rarities. However amazing and historically significant the pieces in the Bass Collection are, they represent an extraordinarily small slice of the coin market. While I agree with my fellow writer Greg Reynolds that much can be learned by studying extremely valuable coins—even if one cannot own them—the reality is that most dealers and collectors will not handle such pieces during their careers. They largely remain the domain of large auction companies.

Closer to everyday level, the market continues to search for the right price levels. Traders have had a lot of minor adjustments to do over the past six to eight weeks to keep material flowing, and it is clear that some larger programs have slowed down or completely stopped. As an example of this, Morgan dollars show a lot of movement this month, mostly downwards. Common dates are holding their own, while better and semi-key dates in AU and low Mint State grades decline. These are the type of coins that are bid aggressively by market makers during a bullish streak and targeted at collectors in the middle tier of the market. It is this tier of collector that is most impacted by wider economic issues, and the purchase of rare coins is eliminated or significantly reduced. On the other hand, there have never been more venues and opportunities to buy or sell coins. The number of regularly held online auctions is at an all-time high. Armed with enough time and ample data of the type Greysheet provides to dealer subscribers, one could constantly search these voluminous offerings for arbitrage opportunities. For collectors, 2023 will be a year of opportunity. For those who are able to have funds readily available, there will be astute purchases to be made. I liken this potential to 2015, when many coins sold for prices that were well below fair value.

There will also be a major market impact once coins certified by the new CAC Grading begin to enter the market. The impact of this will be far reaching and it isn’t wise to speculate at this point on how many directions it could go, but there is little doubt it will generate significant activity. There will be a segment of people who aggressively seek PCGS and NGC coins to cross them into CAC holders, while coins that are currently CAC stickered (which is different than CAC Grading) could be in even more demand. It promises to be the most interesting development of 2023.

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Author: Patrick Ian Perez

Patrick Ian Perez image Patrick Ian Perez began as a full time numismatist in June of 2008. For six years he owned and operated a retail brick and mortar coin shop in southern California. He joined the Coin Dealer Newsletter in August of 2014 and was promoted to Editor in June 2015. In addition to United States coins, his numismatic interests include world paper money, world coins with an emphasis on Mexico and Germany, and numismatic literature. Patrick has been also published in the Journal of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).