While considering the news of the past week, the one thing that sticks out is the press release from the Professional Numismatic Guild. The release touts the strength of the high-end, rare coin market with a throwaway line that notes there may trouble for the general collector.
Prices for collector coins are driven by two principles: the spot price of silver and other metals that were used to strike the coins; the ability for the supply to meet the demand.
Primary spot price that drives the general collector coin market is silver. Silver opened on January 2, 2018, at $17.06 per troy ounce. On Friday, December 28, the price of silver was $15.29. This is a decline of $1.80 for the year or 10.55-percent decrease. This is not something that has occurred in the last month as the stock market had problems. Silver reached its highest price on January 15 when it reached $17.325. The spot price of silver dropped below $17.00 on February 5 and has been on a steady decline all year.
But the price of silver alone is not enough to drive collector coin prices down to get PNG’s attention. The problem is the other part of the equation: supply and demand.
The supply of collector coins is not changing. The coin market is relatively stagnant since the U.S. Mint is no longer making Mercury dimes, Walking Liberty half dollars, or Morgan dollars. There may be an increase in those coins coming to the market as collectors liquidate or the families of deceased collectors liquidate, but is this more than usual?
The number of people collecting may not be enough to drive the market simply because numismatics is not as popular a hobby as it once was.
PNG notes that the success of their high-end business may be coming from investors, not collectors:
While it is good that the PNG touts the work of their members in the Top 10% of the market, the general public is not buying. PNG can pat themselves on the back all they want but if they are not helping the entire industry, they are losing the opportunity to turn a general collector into one of their customers.
Further, the American Numismatic Association, which is dominated by the same dealers who are members of the PNG, seem to have a blind spot that prevents them from seeing the general collector as a viable business model to cultivate.
There are only so many times that the industry can claim successes by selling the same 1913 Liberty Head Nickel before everyone, including investors, consider this a market with stale inventory.
This is not to say that the PNG dealers are bad people or have bad intentions. This is saying that the PNG needs to look beyond the top 10-percent of the market to ensure the other 90-percent is just as healthy. Without a market balance and without market diversity, the hobby will be in trouble. Even in the equity markets, low volume low capitalized stocks can cause harm to the market.
And now the news…
JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s fiscal trajectory in many ways mirrors the tribulations it endured before emerging as one of the world’s foremost trade and financial hubs. Before the Kingdom was unified by its late founder, King Abdul Aziz, the Arabian Peninsula had suffered its fair share of economic woes thanks to war and political strife within tribal factions. → Read more at arabnews.com
Coinages issued in Maharashtra dating back to 2600 BCE on display → Read more at thehindu.com
Gold prices advanced for a second straight day on Tuesday and rose Rs 125 on higher demand from local jewellers → Read more at livemint.com
In a sign of precious metals demand, sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold and … → Read more at reuters.com
Earlier this month, my friend Hugo Salinas Price emailed an interesting story about a single gold coin that that he still holds dearly. As I was shuffling papers in some old files, I came across a slip of paper on which I had written down the price I had paid for a Mexican $50 gold peso coin: 717 Mexican pesos. → Read more at moneymaven.io
Israel Antiquities Authority, JNF and Border Police stopped a band of thieves from stealing ancient coins from the Hukuk Synagogue archeological site in northern Israel on Thursday. "A quick response prevented damage to the magnificent and important treasures of the site," Nir Distelfeld, the antiquities theft inspector, said. → Read more at jpost.com
Operators of the historic Coin Press No. 1 inside Carson City's Nevada State Museum began striking silver medallions Friday with a commemorative Abraham Curry design created just for the occasion. On the last Friday of each month, the Nevada State Museum runs the coin press, which now mints unique collectible medallions. → Read more at carsonnow.org