The Business of Numismatics: January 2024 Greysheet Editor's Letter

"While the overall market has corrected, rarities have still performed well."

by Patrick Ian Perez | Published on December 27, 2023

The week immediately following Thanksgiving at the end of November was a tumultuous one, with the gold spot price spiking to an all-time record high price of $2,130 an ounce at the open of global market, only to quickly correct more than $100. As I write this in early December, the spot price sits at $2,020. This volatility creates mild havoc for large bullion businesses and market makers, who send updated buy/sell sheets multiple times per day during such times. Sellers understandably rush to lock in prices to reap the benefits of these rare moves. Meanwhile, generic pre-1933 U.S. gold is available at extremely low premiums. Recently, MS64 common date $20 Saints were available wholesale for $100 over gold spot. While much of the attention shifts to bullion, the market for rare coins marches on, and there were two year-end sales that highlighted how divided the market has become.

As I’ve written at times over the past few months, while the overall market has corrected, rarities have still performed well. The sizable November Spotlight sale held by Stack’s Bowers bore this out, and some examples are worth reviewing. The finest coin of a most-popular type, a 1908-S $10 Indian graded MS69 by NGC sold for an even $240,000. Almost exactly ten years ago the same coin brought $213,997. The entire sale was led by three coins from more esoteric—although well-known—series. Two coins from the Pioneer/Territorial gold series sold for more than a half million dollars: a proof striking of the massive 1855 $50 Kellogg & Co. Round graded PCGS PR63 Cameo that was off the public market since 1996 at $780,000 and a PCGS AU55 $20 Clark, Gruber, & Co. “Mountain Twenty” at $552,000.

Our feature article this issue is a very interesting piece on Branch Mint Proof coins, and an example in the Stack’s sale brought an exceptional $432,000: a 1907-D $20 Liberty, certified PCGS PR62. As can be read in the article, this coin was struck to commemorate the end of the Liberty head gold series. Lastly, a 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar of the Silver Plug variety (B-1), certified PCGS MS61 sold for $210,000. The appearance of mint state examples of this variety are few and far between, with 2014 and 2011 being the most recent appearances. Later in the month came a Heritage Signature auction, and the top lot also set a record. A 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar graded PCGS/CAC XF45 sold for a very strong $528,000, blowing away the previous record for the grade.

On the other side of things, the advice is to tread carefully. As I mentioned above, with so much attention being paid to gold and silver, it is apparent that run of mill coinage that populate areas such as weekly auctions, eBay, and dealer inventories is lacking in demand. A combination of tight cash flows and less spending on behalf of everyday collectors has caused some coins to sell substantially lower than the prevailing market. Unsurprisingly, this is mostly concentrated in series that enjoyed rapid price appreciation during the bull market run from mid-2020 to early this year. While auction data is just now starting to bear this out, we expect that the next few months will continue this trend, so be sure to utilize our digital and online price guides for the latest updates, as we are adjusting pricing on a daily and weekly basis. There are multiple macroeconomic factors that will influence the direction of the market in the new year, and we will analyze this in coming issues.

To conclude, on behalf of Whitman Brands, we wish all of our subscribers, readers, CDN Exchange members, and advertisers a very happy and prosperous New Year. 2024 promises to be another dynamic year for the collectibles market, and we will continue to provide high quality products to support it.


Patrick Ian Perez

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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).

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