In the wide spectrum encompassing the pricing of United States rare coins, we find the most challenging task is pricing mid-to low-grade circulated coins. We recognize that the average coin shop owner spends much more time evaluating, buying, and selling relatively cheap circulated coins rather than gem mint state type, so we are very concerned with accuracy of these values. Unfortunately, pricing data is more difficult to acquire because most of the items are not valuable enough to sell at auction where public records can be accessed. While many of the dealers of certified coins valued at $500 and up share a general ambivalence about the value of inexpensive, lower grade coins, there is an entire cadre of dealers who primarily buy and sell these, often in large quantities. Bids and buys for cheaper coins are often posted via message traffic on the online trading networks, but the numbers are fairly static, with demand ebbing and flowing, so we rely heavily on feedback from established traders in this field to help us keep values current and accurate.

OUR GOAL AT CDN IS TO BEST REPRESENT THE WHOLESALE VALUE OF COINS SO OUR READERS HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO BUY AND SELL BASED ON OUR NUMBERS.

Over the past 18 months we have heard from dealers that they sell certain issues at significantly lower levels than what was published. When we hear this we are very troubled and do out best to make corrections.

In the most recent Monthly Supplement, we made a large amount of price changes in multiple series in the lower circulated grades and, as expected, we received a fair amount of feedback from some pretty important dealers. This feedback is important to us because it helps us identify areas that may have been overlooked and/or prices which have been adjusted incorrectly. No one in the market is helped when a coin is priced at a number that it virtually never transacts at. We are appreciative of those dealers who communicate with us on a regular basis and inform us of what levels less expensive coins are actually trading at. It also raises the question as to what defines a market maker in this business. By our definition, a market maker is a dealer who has the highest bids for a particular market segment and makes his/her bids available to the numismatic dealer community. Often it is well known who the market maker is in a particular series. On the other hand, if a dealer—even a very large one—only supplies their bid levels to a particular group of people and transacts only with this little “club,” we are concerned that our readers won’t have access to sell their coins based on these levels. We do our best to weigh these concerns when pricing coins, but our message to our readers is that we want all of you (as dealers) to be able to sell your coins based on the prices we’ve indicated. Hopefully this will prompt further discussion, and likely a longer article in a future Monthly Supplement.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET

Gold Type: Spot gold has been choppy lately, but the trend has been upward and there is certainly more activity in the segment than there was one month ago.
Eagles: We have added pricing for 2015 issues to this chart, and will add 2016 issues in the near future.