Our observations from the recently-concluded Dallas ANA National Money Show are that the middle tier of the market – coins in the $500 to $5,000 range – are fairly liquid and consistently sought by dealers. Dealers at the show reported a generally quiet event with better wholesale activity than retail. This is not unusual for mid-winter ANA shows, and the event is nonetheless a good bell-weather for the market as a whole.

The Heritage auction brought in just over $8 million and one can see many coins selling at, or slightly above, Greysheet bids. Desirable areas include silver dollars, 20th century type coins, and even early commemoratives. Fresh, quality coins that have been off the market proved quite strong, bringing good numbers. For example, a beautiful run of colorful proof Barber quarters housed in old-style NGC holders from the Dr. John Young Collection saw strong results.

The sale topper was one of the six known 1842 Small Date proof Seated quarters – a prize acquisition for serious collectors of the series. This example was graded NGC PR64 Cameo and sold for $88,125. The top gold coin in the auction was an 1867 $10 eagle graded MS61 by PCGS at $36,425, one of just three certified uncirculated examples of this Reconstruction Era date.

GOLD IS NOW HOT!
Despite single-day swings both up and down, precious metals have been steadily climbing amidst strong demand for both physical and paper securities. Gold is now up 19% for the year which is the best start for the yellow metal since 1974. Gold also has the distinction of being the best-performing asset class so far in 2016. Empirical evidence of paper demand can be seen in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) flows: March 8th marked the
fortieth straight trading day that these funds saw inflows, a new record.

So far this year investors have poured $9.2 billion into gold funds. It is clear investors of all sizes view precious metals as one of the few protections from negative interest rates. Speaking of negative rates, on March 10th the European Central Bank again lowered the benchmark deposit rate, setting it at -0.40%. The ECB also expanded their asset purchase program, commonly known as quantitative easing, from 20 billion Euros per month to 80 billion Euros.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET
Gold Type: Despite gold spot holding pretty steady, the heated demand for generic certified gold has cooled off a bit in recent days. MS63 and MS64 double eagles are bid slightly lower this week, along with a couple other types in Gem. However, AU and UNC.
Eagles: Continuing last week’s trend, proof Silver Eagles remain in demand. Fractional Gold Eagles are mixed, with some of the better date ¼ and ½ ounce Uncirculated pieces seeing lower bids. Common date proof gold is strong with premiums as high as $325 over spot. There has also been a report of counterfeit proof Silver Eagles dated 2015 that are housed in authentic packaging. These fakes are distinguishable by the font of the date and the W mint mark on the reverse. They are also underweight and of a smaller diameter than the authentic coins.
Mercury Dimes: We continue our review of this series, covering some of the scarcer dates in the early 20s. See this week’s Bluesheet for more.