The Fed Blinks & Long Beach Hums Along
All eyes last week were on the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, as the members chose not to increase the benchmark interest rate by ¼%. The decision not to hike was seen as a disappointment in many circles, and indeed a Wall Street Journal survey from just August 13th had 82% of economists polled predict that the Fed would raise rates at the September meeting.
Gold and silver spiked in the immediate aftermath on the news, and the week began with silver well above the $15/oz. level. Speaking of silver, much talk recently in the coin business has been about the acute shortage and long lead times for delivery of silver bullion. This shortage is most apparent in the market for 90% silver coin and privately minted bars and rounds, with some delivery dates extending to December.
Early Feedback from Long Beach
The Long Beach Expo has concluded and most dealers reported light to moderate business, mostly on the wholesale side. The Heritage U.S. coin auction realized over $11.6 million, with the World coin floor sessions bringing in another $3.9 million, with the online-only sessions still to be held. The sale topper for the U.S. coin sale was a 1792 copper pattern Disme, graded XF40, which crossed the block at $211,500. The $50 Half Union pattern took second place at $176,250 and in third place came a gem 1799 Draped Bust Dollar, 7x6 Stars, at $152,750. Two additional coins broke through the six-figure mark.
Quality collector coins continue to show solid performance with Walkers and Mercury dimes posting nice gains in this week’s sheet. We also bumped the Octagonal $50 gold commemorative nicely thanks to a couple results in the Heritage sale. We brought its “round” cousin up as well because rarity and desirability in these grades is quite similar, and these coins seldom trade publicly in XF-MS63 grades. While most people can only dream of owning these slugs, it’s an important market indicator that their prices and demand are strong right now.
The Goldbergs also held their traditional Pre-Long Beach sale last week, selling over 3,500 lots of U.S. and World coins. The preliminary sale topper was an 1856-S quarter eagle from the S.S. Central America shipwreck, graded PCGS/CAC MS67, and hammered at $85,188.
This week we have made another change to the bullion prices below to reflect the metal content and premium for bullion-related coins. This should help you value coins more easily in this rapidly-changing market. Also, we are hearing from everyone that bigger type faces are needed. We agree! To do this, we need an entirely new layout, and we are working on new designs for the late Fall.