Numismatic Coin Club
World Internet Numismatic Society


- February 2004 -

Howdy Folks -

It's been an interesting month so far. The FUN Auction has been completed and the Pre-Long Beach Auctions are just beginning as I write this. The FUN show was much like it always is with high dollar coins being sold left and right. There was a rather uncommon incident though. It seems a collector from New York walked into the bourse with a TV news camera crew in tow. He walked up to the PCGS table and asked them to authenticate a 1943 copper - bronze if you prefer - cent. The excitement was short-lived as PCGS soon reported that the coin was an altered specimen. The gentleman who submitted the coin had spent his rent money to make the trip because he was certain he had made the find of his life began to cry when he was told the news. All was not lost however as the crew reimbursed him for his airfare.

There was one particular coin, which was garnering news and attention three weeks or so before the show actually began. Do you remember at last year's FUN show - the famous, or should I say infamous, 1963 PF70 DCAM cent that sold for $39,100.00 ? Well it was up for sale again this year and by the same auction company - Heritage. The absentee bids being placed quickly began to climb and even before the auction began they had surpassed the price of the previous year. Then suddenly - the bid plummeted from a bid of $51,000, plus the buyer's premium, to $35,000. No one knew for certain what had happened. Had the high bidder backed out ? In the end - it was announced that PCGS had stepped in and agreed to buy the coin for $40,250.00. It seems PCGS had decided that the coin was no longer deserving of the PF70 DCAM grade for according to David Hall - " the coin had obviously turned in the holder."

Now I will be the first to agree that it is a good thing for PCGS to step forward and honor their guarantee in such a manner. But I must wonder why did they wait so long ? The coin had been listed on the Heritage site for 3 weeks with the bids steadily climbing. But it was only when the bid went over $58,000.00, including buyer's premium, that they acted. Of course I can't blame them for by doing so they saved themselves $18,000.00. Nonetheless - honor their guarantee they did.

As for the comment that the coin had turned in the holder - well personally I can't see a whole lot of difference. But you judge for yourself. This is what the coin looked like in 2003.

And this is what the coin looked like in 2004.

Now since we have quite a few members who are error aficionados this next item should be of interest. Most if not all of you will recall that the US Mint made a change in the minting process that was supposed to eliminate the possibility of doubled die coins being struck. This change took place in the minting of cent and 5-cent coins in 1997 and the rest of the denominations in 1998. In short - it should be impossible for a doubled die US coin to be produced today.

But readers of Coin World were surprised to see a front-page story in the Jan. 26, 2004 issue, which may indicate it is not impossible. Variety experts Ken Potter and John Wexler are in agreement that doubled die 2003 cents do exist. The US Mint insists that this is impossible. The variety is attributed to what is called Class VIII or tilted hub doubling. For more on this story as well as pictures please visit Ken Potter's site - 2003 wavy steps cent.

One of our esteemed members, Robert Evans, will be presenting what has been called "the most exciting, best attended numismatic theatre in ANA history". Ship Of Gold, the story of the discovery of the S.S. Central America will be presented by Bob at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, at the Tucson Convention Center at 1 P.M. on Sunday, Feb, 15. Those who can attend will be sure to be in for a treat !

I would say it is safe to assume that all of us are aware of the huge increases in values for US coins over the past couple of years. It is hard to read any numismatic publication that does not mention the bull market in coins. I find it somewhat odd though that most of those who write for these publications failed to notice the increasing prices for US coins until 2001. In my opinion prices began to steadily increase back in '99.

What I am not seeing however are comments or articles regarding the way realized prices for slabbed modern coins have been dropping. For some reason this has gone unnoticed or at the least it is being ignored. But it is happening. Anyone who closely followed the market for slabbed moderns over the past year could not have helped but notice. Realized prices for many older coins in MS64 and lower grades have softened as well. But high-grade examples of these older coins are still bringing record prices. Could this be a sign that the coin market has topped out - or nearly so ? Perhaps it is, perhaps it is not - I for one certainly don't know. I do however have my suspicions.

But there is something else that I have noticed leads me to believe that many US coins have moved into a price range that is beyond most collectors. What is it that makes me believe this is so ? It is the greatly increased interest in world coinage by collectors who previously only collected US coins.

As most of you know I frequent just about all the internet coin forums on a regular basis. And on numerous occasions collectors of US coins, on these forums, have made the statement outright that US coins have become so expensive that they can no longer afford them. At the same time they are also asking questions about world coinage and what area might be good for them to move into. But more importantly it is the increase in prices for world coins that leads me to believe this. Prices are driven by supply and demand - it's that simple. And the prices would not be increasing if there were not an increase in buyers. And where are these buyers coming from ? Well they're the folks who used to collect US coins but can no longer afford to do so. And quite honestly - I can't blame them.

Those of you who subscribe to the Talk List will have noticed that for some time now I have been posting images of world gold coins. But what you may not have noticed or even be aware of is the huge price difference between world gold coins and US gold coins from the same time period and in the same grade. And as for mintage - well the mintage of the world gold is quite often much lower than the US for the same year and a comparable denomination or actual gold weight. It is of course a question of taste when it comes to design and the beauty of the coin. Many of the same comments can be made regarding the silver coinage of the world.

So - am I making a prediction that the US coin market is due for a fall ? No not really - but it is certainly something that is worth thinking about.

There has been much talk on the mail list lately about coin collection insurance. For those who are interested below is a list of companies that will insure coin collections.

Cleland and Associates P.O. Box 899
Galveston, Texas
Contact - Richard Cleland

North American Collectibles Association
2316 Carollton Road
Westminster, MD
Contact - Barbara Wingo

Woller, Seabury and Smith
1440 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, IL

Hugh Wood Inc. ( American Agent for Lloyds of London )
45 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, New York
Contact - Jack Fisher

Well that's it folks - until next time ;-}



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