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January 2011

A Look Back at FMV Performance Part II

     Last month we reported on various series and how they performed throughout 2010. While the metals moved higher many numismatic coins were easily saleable. However, with the economy in a downturn, buyers were still looking for discounts. The results were less than spectacular, but without higher metals, it could have been much worse. Nonetheless, many better and rare date Twenty Dollar Gold coins benefitted from the fervor for Gold. As prices for common U.S. Gold increased, many better date coins were on the rise but went unnoticed for the first part of the year. While the main stream media slowly began to pick up on the rarity of some of these coins, advanced collectors and investors were buying everything that had low original mintages and even lower census numbers for the grade. The following charts show how some of the true rarities progressed for the year.

$20 Gold Liberties TIDec. 2009
Jan. 2011
1851 O MS62$50,050$57,850
1854 O AU50$331,250$406,250
1856 O XF$250,000$343,750
1858 O AU58$33,480$40,630
1859 O AU53$43,130$49,690
1860 O AU50$39,380$44,380
1861 O AU53$47,500$53,130

$20 Gold Liberties TIIDec. 2009
Jan. 2011
1868 MS61$26,680$28,930
1870 S MS62$19,180$26,650
1871 MS63$35,780$42,580
1871 CC AU50$31,880$34,380
1873 CC MS61$56,030$64,130
1874 CC MS61$21,940$26,330

$20 Gold Liberties TIIIDec. 2009
Jan. 2011
1878 CC AU58$21,450$25,350
1878 CC MS61$37,700$44,850
1879 CC AU53$12,060$14,690
1879 CC MS60$34,260$38,350
1881 AU53$27,310$34,380
1882 CC MS62$21,780$25,350
1884 CC MS62$11,510$16,250
1885 AU55$35,750$42,250
1885 MS61$79,950$86,450
1886 XF$21,880$33,130
1889 CC MS60$7,350$9,690
1891 CC AU58$20,480$22,430
1891 CC MS61$35,750$38,350
1892 AU58$7,350$11,120
1892 MS63$33,410$39,830
1892 CC MS61$11,020$14,760

     The lists of dates and grades above were chosen based on coins that had actually traded throughout the year. In some cases the increases may appear extreme, however, this is a result of coins that have very low populations and have not traded very often over the past ten years. There were many other grades that advanced due to higher bids. As you can see the New Orleans and Carson City Mint coins have attracted a lot of attention. They have a unique combination of low mintage, typically small populations for the grade, and some Southern and Western historical appeal. These attributes make for an incredible background and attract a variety of collectors.

     In the Twenty Dollar Liberty series, we list the Fair Market Value for 150 dates and mint marks, including varieties. Yet, only 32 are represented by the O and CC Mints. The lowest original mintage is the 1856 O at 2,250 coins and the highest is the 1851 O at 315,000 coins minted. Keep in mind that many thousands of these coins were used in commerce and eventually melted; therefore, a more representative assessment of rarity will be the population reports of NGC and PCGS. Many advanced collectors make comparisons of population reports from five years ago to today to study how the numbers have changed per the grades. This is the main reason that many of these coins show advances this past year. There has been an increase in the number of buyers for these limited specialty Mints within this series. While there may be plenty of the lower grade coins available in the marketplace, as the grades increase, the number of coins available dramatically decreases. So much so that when one of the highest grades available within a specific date comes onto the market, the bidding activity becomes hectic and a record price usually results.

     What began as a comparison of the FMV at the beginning of 2010 to the end the year, with the intention of showing the overall ups and downs of the marketplace, took a rather interesting turn. We expected to find the results we reported in last month’s FMV. However, we also figured to find that there were just as many areas that featured increases throughout the year. What we found is that the overall market performance was rather bleak. If the metals had not infused the coin market, most dealers would not be reporting their best year ever. Nonetheless, the fact is that the jump in metals helped maintain coin market activity, albeit, in many cases at slightly lower levels, and shows how overall FMV prices can be maintained even when the market direction may be downward.

     The year ended with the coin market getting really hot for Morgan and Peace Dollars. This is normally a precursor to a bull market for the whole numismatic economy. However, many dealers feel that this next bull market will be a little more selective than we have seen in the past. Buyers will be looking for lower pop coins and those with exceptional eye appeal. As we have seen in many major auctions, these two characteristics charge bidding activity to its highest levels.

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