November 28, 2017

Take Advantage of Generally Weak Prices

If you follow the value of excessively rare coins sold at auction, you are likely to be impressed with recent prices realized. If you collect anything else, that being coins ranging from between common but collectible to scarce or to rare, you’ll realize there are truly few coins that have been recently increasing in price.

Astute collectors are buying such bargains as common date proof silver American Eagles. Only a few months ago, they sold for significantly higher prices.


Generic gold quarter eagles, half eagles, eagles and double eagles are attractive at today’s prices, the only exception being very high Mint State graded examples.

Even among coins certified to be in unusually high condition by reliable third-party certification services, prices are mostly flat lined or down.

This is no time to ring the alarm bells. It is a time for a feeding frenzy! It’s been a long time since many scarcer and more desirable coins have been selling at current price levels.

Prices of many collectible yet common to scarce gold coins barely change between grades except for the very loftiest examples. Morgan and Peace silver dollars remain popular, but the price of most of these continues to remain flat.

There are some exceptions to these general conditions. Very specialized areas such as large cents and Capped Bust half dollars are showing an inherent strength, but even in these two areas there are bargains to be had.

It is a buyer’s market. We don’t know how long it will last. Act before it is too late.

November 9, 2017

MORGAN STANLEY: A Stock Market Correction is ‘Looking More Likely’

Morgan Stanley warns that a near-term pullback in the S&P 500 could be coming.


Earnings season can be a euphoric time for stocks.

It’s a time when companies have the opportunity to show off growth that matches their valuations, and it can encourage investment by traders looking to put money to work.

But that may not be the case this time around, Morgan Stanley warns.

A big part of that has to do with how investors approach earnings season. When investors anticipate strong results, stocks tend to rally heading into the season only to fade as results are actually reported, the firm says.

This scenario has played out in a relatively benign way twice already this year, with the maximum loss reaching just 3%. But it’s different this time around, with the benchmark S&P 500 holding roughly just half of its previous upside, according to Morgan Stanley forecasts.

“If stocks follow the pattern they have been all year, actual earnings season will be a sell the news event and we could have a decent pull back or consolidation,” a group of equity strategists led by Michael J. Wilson wrote in a client note. “Near term, a correction is looking more likely.”

So what could cause this decline, which the firm says could stretch further than 5%? Wilson & Co. lay out five possible negative catalysts:

-The unwinding of the Federal Reserve’s massive balance sheet

-Tax-cut legislation proves to be more difficult than simply making promises

-The announcement of a new Fed chief could “disrupt financial conditions”

-The US dollar, fresh off multiyear lows, looks to be reversing to the upside

-Leading economic indicators are hitting extremes, suggesting peaks are “more likely than not”

With all that said, Morgan Stanley is far from calling the end of the 8-1/2-year bull market. The firm is simply warning about the possibility of a relatively mild pullback from what have been record-high valuations.

In fact, the firm is the most bullish on Wall Street, with a 2,700 target on the S&P 500 by the end of first quarter 2018. That’s 5.6% above the index’s closing price on Monday.

As such, Wilson recommends that investors use whatever weakness results from a potential correction as an opportunity to load back up on equity exposure. In other words, buy the dip — the unofficial slogan of the unstoppable bull market.

November 9, 2017

Price Guide Values Left in the Dust by Quarter Eagle in GreatCollections Auction

1865-S Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle realizes $36,001 in Oct. 29 sale.


An 1865-S Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle sold during an Oct. 29 GreatCollections online auction for more than double its value listed in published price guides.

Graded and encapsulated Mint State 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service and stickered with a green label by Certified Acceptance Corp. as being exceptional for the grade, the coin realized $36,001.14, which includes the 10 percent buyer’s fee. Twelve active bidders placed 49 bids.

Russell said the underbidder, who was outbid by $1,000.01, had anticipated winning with his $31,001 bid to start a box of 20 of coins “that have everything going for it — finest PCGS/CAC, super fresh (never appeared on the market before) and so forth.”

The coin was one of two PCGS submissions recorded in MS-63, with one submission higher at MS-64.

Coin World’s Coin Values lists a price of $13,000 in MS-62, but lists no value for the coin in MS-63. The PCGS Price Guide values the coin at $15,000 in MS-63.

“The coin was one of many highlights from a collection in California that is being sold by GreatCollections,” Russell said. “The coins were graded for the first time this year by PCGS. There are still amazing coins that have never seen the light of day coming onto the market, it’s what makes our job so enjoyable to see newly discovered coins like this and seeing the vast bidder interest”.

Another gold coin highlight from the Oct. 29 sale was an 1861-D Indian Head dollar graded Fine 12, the lowest grade for any gold dollar struck at the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia in 1861.

Coin Values lists a price of $13,500 in Fine 12. The coin realized $26,437.50.

A total of 12 bidders placed 44 bids combined for the gold coin.

November 9, 2017

Take Advantage of Lower Prices by Buying.

Inflation is a concern for everyone, but what about deflation? Deflation is what the entire collectibles industry, be it coins or other collectibles, has been experiencing for several years. What we in coin collecting have bee is a dip in the spot price of gold or silver.


This relentless price decline has impacted almost all coins, not just the more common collectibles. Scarce to rare coins have not performed well in some time.

As the price of both gold and silver continue to slump, it becomes increasingly difficult for those of us who are active collectors or commodity investors to understand why more people aren’t realizing just how cheap both bullion and coins have become.

This low price is becoming a boon to active collectors, some of whom are increasingly taking advantage of the depressed price of better date or better condition coins. There aren’t sufficient collectors chasing these coins for the demand to outstrip supply – at the moment. At some point, people need to take stock and bond profits off the table, going after coins and other collectibles with their financial gains.

In the meantime, if you are an active collector, enjoy what’s available. You can shop around. You can be picky. But then make a decision and buy what you have hankered after. The only way you can benefit from lower prices is to make additions to your collection.

August 30, 2017

Silver Typically Soars in September

Silver is entering its “sweet spot” of the year. This September, silver has another special reason for rising – rising industrial demand.  Since 1975, silver has gained an average of 4.1% every September, making September far and away the best month for silver.(Second place is January, at +2.9%.)September is also the #1 month for gold, due to the beginning of the jewelry fabrication season for the gold gift-giving holidays in India (Diwali, followed by the wedding season), America (Christmas, followed by Valentine’s Day) and China’s New Year. Silver often follows gold’s lead – as silver often acts like “gold on steroids.”

A secondary reason for silver to rise strongly this September is that major industrial metals are making a strong recovery due to rising economic growth in China and the rest of the world. This year is the first year since 2007 in which all 45 of the leading economies followed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are all rising in tandem.  As a result, copper is at up over 20% this year, reaching a three-year high.  Iron ore is up 35% just since the end of May.  Zinc is at a 10-year high, while aluminum and other industrial metals are at multi-year highs even though oil is down.

Silver holds a unique position as a precious metal and an industrial metal. According to the Silver Institute, industrial fabrication was responsible for over half (54%) of demand for physical silver in 2016.With industrial production rising in 2017, that demand can only grow, since silver is an essential part of some very popular products, like LCD touchscreens and other modern electric devices using silver switches or printed circuit boards.  Silver is also essential for the photovoltaic cells which make up solar panels, a popular new form of alternative energy.Demand for silver in photovoltaic cells is expected to more than double between 2016 and 2018.  Meanwhile, new silver supplies from mining operations have declined due to the low cost of silver recently.

Rising demand and sinking supply should lift silver prices.

As a precious metal, silver attracts attention from investors who cannot afford multiple ounces of gold bullion.  Since silver tends to follow gold up, but in greater percentage terms, if gold makes a move this fall, silver will also rise.  We are entering a period of crisis domestically over the debt ceiling debate, and internationally over North Korea and other hot spots.  During the crisis of 2008, gold rose 15% from mid-August to late September. During the debt ceiling debate of 2011, gold rose 28% from July to September.

If we see a similar crisis in September of 2017, it is likely that gold will rise … and silver will soar.

Gold Rose Above Key $1300 Level

Gold rose above $1,300 on Monday, while stocks were flat.  Overall, August was bad for stocks but very good for gold and silver.  Over the weekend, the meeting of the world’s leading central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, did not bring forth any startling news.Perhaps the speakers were reticent to say anything controversial for fear it would be misinterpreted, so they stayed close to their prepared texts.  The one speech that helped drive gold higher was when European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said that the ECB would continue quantitative easing (QE) and bond-buying, which pushed the euro higher and the U.S. dollar lower. A falling dollar tends to push the gold price higher in dollar terms.

Put Away Some Gold for a “Texas Rainy Day”

While we in Texas are struggling through high waters this week, I have heard from some clients and news reports, in the past, that some banks may not be “on-line” to honor their debit cards or other electronic fund exchanges.  Even though we recommend that you keep the bulk of your rare coins and precious metals in bank safety deposit boxes, it is also important in these crisis situations to maintain a small amount of gold and silver bullion at home, so that you can convert these forms of “real money” into paper money at various coin shops and bullion dealers in your area.  You never know what kind of disaster can limit the electronic transfer of funds in the future, so be sure to keep some emergency bullion coins at home. Call it your Texas Rainy Day fund.

Terror and Threats of War Tend to Boost Gold and Gold Coin Prices

After gold popped on President Trump’s war of words with North Korea, gold coin sales rose strongly. Gold coin purchases by collectors, investors and dealers are up dramatically. We and many other dealers across the country – both small and large – have seen an increase in coin sales. We enjoyed a rise of about 40% vs. the average of recent weeks. This is an important early sign for future sales growth, too, since higher gold prices have been the primary reason behind the beginning of past multi-year rare coin bull markets in which prices rise by 100% to 1,000% in only a few years.  Any significant rise in gold’s price builds a base of new customers who will first buy bullion coins, then rare coins – for years to come.

Gold is already up 12% this year, and it has a history of going up strongly in the first year of a new President from a new party.  Back in 1993, Bill Clinton’s first year, gold rose 19.3%.  In George W. Bush’s first year, gold rose only 2.2%, but more importantly the uncertainty after 9/11 gave birth to a major gold bull market running from 2001 to 2011.  Then, in 2009 – Barack Obama’s first year – gold rose 24.4%.  Gold tends to rise in a President’s first year in part because new Presidents tend to face huge problems before they gain the experience necessary to handle those problems wisely.  We’re seeing that happen once again with the threats coming from North Korea, Russia, China and other global hot spots.

Sharply higher gold prices have been the primary reason for past rare coin bull markets where prices rise 100% to 1000% in only a few years.  When gold rises sharply new customers contact coin dealers in droves and many new customers eventually end up buying rare coins.

This is not the time to be selling gold coins or any other precious-metals-based investment. This is the time to increase your allocation in hard assets.  The kind of chaos you’re seeing around the world should continue for several years to come.

August 29, 2017

Experts Identify First Proof 1865 Indian Head Gold $3 Coin With Medal Turn

1865-proof-three-dollar-gold-lead.jpgThe first Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with dies oriented in “medal turn” instead of “coin turn” has been identified.

Centennial Auctions will offer the coin, graded Proof 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., in its Oct. 17 sale in the ballroom of the Holiday Inn at 9 Northeastern Blvd., in Nashua, New Hampshire. The live auction begins at 4:30 p.m. ET.

1865 gold $3 Gold

Identification of the Proof 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin struck with medal turn was made recently, by numismatists Julian Leidman and John Dannreuther during the Aug. 1 to 5 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver.

According to Steve Schofield from Centennial Auctions, the die orientation is not noted on the grading label insert contained within the NGC encapsulation.

Schofield said he brought a number of the lots to be offered in his firm’s Oct. 17 auction to the ANA convention, including the gold $3 coin. Schofield said Leidman, with Bonanza Coins in Silver Spring, Maryland, took particular interest in the Proof $3 coin, spending considerable time examining the coin’s obverse and reverse. The reason for Leidman’s extended evaluation was the orientation of the coin’s obverse and reverse. Numismatist and gold specialist John Dannreuther from John Dannreuther Rare Coins in Memphis, Tennessee, also examined the coin and concurred with the attribution.

With coin turn, when a coin is rotated on its vertical axis, the reverse is oriented 180 degrees opposite to the obverse, so the reverse appears upside down. With medal turn, the reverse appears right side up relative to the obverse.

The reported production in Proof for the 1865 Indian Head gold $3 coin is 25, and, according to Schofield, possibly half that mintage survives.

“While there are coins that grade higher — the [Ed] Trompeter Proof 66 piece, sold by Bowers and Merena in 2004 for $60,375, comes to mind — none of this date have ever been identified as a medal strike,” Schofield said. “Maybe [Mint officials] noticed the die rotation and corrected it. After 150+ years, you would think at least one other would exist, would have been found, and would be known. That is not the case.”

August 15, 2017

Could a North Korean Missile Launch Send Gold Soaring Later This Year?


Gold hit a 6-week high of $1,274 last week (and silver reached $16.84) but both metals corrected on Friday when the dollar staged a surprise recovery. The proximate cause was the U.S. dollar rally after a positive jobs report came out on Friday morning. Gold traded at $1,268 at 8:30 am, right before the jobs report came out. Gold fell to $1,254 by 10:00 am before rebounding. The U.S. Dollar Index rose over 1% on Friday at the same time gold fell by 1%. The dollar has declined all year long, and there is a chance the dollar recovery will limit gold’s rise this year, but some unexpected international event could send gold soaring quickly – no matter what the dollar does – and such a moment may be brewing in North Korea.
On July 27, after the death of the 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier due to torture by the North Korean government, the U.S. government announced a ban of all U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea, citing “mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention.” That reason was a credible cover for keeping all American citizens out of harm’s way during any potential attack on the renegade North Koreans over their nuclear missile testing and capability of sending atomic bombs as far as the U.S. mainland. Earlier this year, President Trump thought he had gained some cooperation from the Chinese in limiting trade with North Korea and solving the problem locally, but China has since increased its trade with North Korea, a country whose only bordering nations are China and South Korea.
The U.S. travel ban will come into effect August 26. It was published in the Federal Register July 27 with a 30-day lead time. But right after the U.S. recalled U.S. tourists, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un launched another ICBM test in a way which seemed to virtually dare the U.S. to intervene to stop them from further nuclear missile testing. Since China has shown no interest in disciplining its neighbor, a prudent U.S. military response would be either a military blockade of sea-born trade, or a pre-emptive strike. Such a move could send gold sharply higher, even if the U.S. dollar rallies as a “safe haven.” Sharply higher gold prices have been the primary reason for past rare coin bull markets where prices rise 100% to 1000% in only a few years. When gold rises sharply new customers contact coin dealers in droves and many new customers eventually end up buying rare coins.

July 25, 2017

The Art Behind the Liberty Head $10.00 of 1838

While other denominations of gold coins were struck with minimal breaks in production, the ten dollar gold piece was deemed not necessary or convenient for 34 years between 1804 and 1838. Its relevancy to the channels of commerce was revived by two mint provisions of the mint act that was passed in January 1837. The first changed the legal fineness of all gold coins from the awkward standard of .9167 gold and .0833 copper to .900 gold and .100 copper. The second section of the mint act (actually Section 10) provided a reduction in the weight of these coins: ‘ … the weight of the eagle shall be two hundred and fifty eight grains …’ The previous weight for ten dollar gold pieces had been 270 grains. This 12-grain reduction was enough to make it unprofitable to melt U.S. gold coins, thus ensuring these pieces would actually circulate.Benjamin_west_omnia_vincit_amor_1809.jpg

Christian Gobrecht was Assistant Engraver at the mint at that time. It fell to him to redesign the new gold coins, and his designs from 1838 were minimally altered until major changes occurred in 1907 and 1908. Gobrecht apparently copied the head of Venus in Benjamin West’s painting Omnia Vincit Amor. According to Breen, he slightly changed the headdress ‘but with the same triple-beaded cord on her bun, and the same coronet (here inscribed LIBERTY).’ Only 7,200 business strikes were produced in 1838 (plus four proofs), and high grade survivors are rarely encountered.


June 12, 2017

Bullion Rise Outpaces Coin Prices

Gold is up. Silver is up. I don’t think it comes as any surprise, but common date, common condition silver and gold coins continue to follow the spot prices of their respective metals higher.


Scarce to rare coins continue with what I would term a mixed market. The market for more desirable material is mixed in that while some coins have declined in value recently, there are some coins that have appreciated noticeably. The challenge is to determine which have the upside potential since no pattern is emerging.

Coins are a hobby, but they are also an emotional commodity and they are acting accordingly.

Gold hit a seven-week high as this is being written. Silver continues to resist the $18 per ounce level, but remained stronger than it has been since late April.

The performance of gold and silver continues to be tied tightly to the market for common date, common condition 20th century silver circulation strike coins.

Proof and mint sets are flat line. Commemoratives, be they the classic series or the modern issues, are likewise remaining horizontal in value.

Interest in half cents and large cents as well as small cents remains strong, but only the scarcest of the scarce are appreciating. I know I’m repeating myself, but I interpret the current coin market as a buying opportunity. If you are a collector with a reasonable time horizon, there are opportunities presenting themselves that probably will not come again for many years.

Prices of desirable coins tend to rise with collector incomes, but these movements come in fits and starts. Act to buy now before the next leg higher.

June 8, 2017

Collectors get Buying Opportunity


If you are an investor, right now you might feel like you should run for the hills. If you are a collector, you should be preparing to buy. The price of gold and silver continue to sink, taking the value of all but the scarce to rare coins with it.
Gold is way below the $1,300 per ounce benchmark, while silver is threatening to go below $16. The scarce to rare coins appear to be trading horizontally for the most part. However, there are dips in values appearing without any particular pattern for specific dates as well. To sum up this current activity, this is a serious buying opportunity! As with any buying opportunity, the challenge is to find the coins. Many sources that normally might be selling will become more hesitant at the increasingly depressed prices.
There is an old saying that you should buy low and sell high. You’d think that would prompt people to buy now. Instead I am receiving reports of selling that is exceeding demand. One seller, as an example, recently dumped six Julia Tyler First Spouse $10 half-ounce gold coins each grading Professional Coin Grading Service MS-70. The sudden increase in supply caused a price decline.
If you seek top-of-the-line condition or date and mintmark rarity, expect to still pay premium prices for these premium value coins, but otherwise as a collector, the best thing to say is: “Have at it.”