The past few weeks of my life can been characterized by one word: busy. Whether it be in the offices at David Lawrence Rare Coins, or in my home where my wife and I welcomed a new baby boy in August, it seems someone has hit the fast forward button and isn’t letting go. For any of you who have spent much time hanging out with a newborn, you know the “busy” at home doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. Between around the clock feedings, hundreds of diaper changes (at least it feels like it), and trying to explain to my 18 month old son that the baby is here to stay, my life has been a little hectic to say the least. The faster pace at home is pretty much easily explained by the chaos a new baby brings. But why has my “day job” at DLRC become busier too? Perhaps it is because of the record high price of gold, or maybe the lack of major coin auctions lately, or possibly some customers are finally spending their stimulus money. No matter the reason, business is definitely picking up.
The months of October through December are historically the slowest months in the coin industry as everyone gets ready for the holidays and prepares for the FUN show in January. Surprisingly this October has shown none of the tendencies of Octobers past and we’re hoping that this trend continues. Recently we’ve been able to offer several collections in auction, starting with the Mollie’s Gold and Bayside Gold collections at the beginning of the month and continuing with the “Miner 49er” Collection of California Fractional Gold pieces which has brought several collectors out of the woodwork that we haven’t heard from in quite some time. As many dealers are saying that fresh coins are becoming harder to come by, we agree with that statement, but only to a point. We’ve seen some past investors and speculators in the coin market start to sell their coins and are moving their funds elsewhere. This is proving to be a great buying opportunity for many collectors out there and if one looks closely, you can definitely find some nice coins for very reasonable money right now. For instance, a 1907 Wire Rim $10 in PCGS 65, that was bringing over $80k in 2008-09, is now readily available in the mid to high $60s. Other coins such as $20 Saint-Gaudens seem to be really good deals right now. While gold is reaching record highs, generic gold coins are stable and not moving precipitously. As some dealers are saying, telemarketers are full of inventory right now and haven’t been able to move the quantities that they have stocked. In fact, it seems that the dealers who control the prices of generic gold coins have flooded the market and have been keeping numbers down as their inventories have risen. As ridiculous as this is, generic $20s seem like a good deal at the modest premiums they are available for right now. Slightly better date and key date $20s haven’t moved at all in the last few months either and are available at record low premiums.
However, interestingly enough, the two hottest types of coins out there seem to be diametrically opposed. For one, CAC coins are as hot as ever and the other…dare I say it…slabbed modern coins. New collectors are jumping into proof gold American Eagles, modern commemoratives and Silver Eagles at a record pace. Perhaps they are more interested in speculating on the price of the metals or perhaps collections are starting to be formed. Either way, it’s an evolution that is quite surprising to us as new collectors are entering the market. It’ll be interesting to notice in the coming months if we begin to see more modern pieces entering major auctions and selling at coin shows and not just on dealers’ websites.
Either way, it’s exciting to notice these new trends In coin collecting today and in this flagging economy, you can’t help but think that being “Busy” is a great problem to have (except at the 2 am feeding time, when I’d rather be asleep).