Every once in a while we like to take a step back and view the coin and bullion industry from the 30,000 foot level to gain a better perspective as to what’s hot and what’s not in the industry. As many of you know, the numismatic industry is very fluid, and what may be of interest at one point in time may no longer be a hot commodity later in the year. In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at some of the highest demand products at the moment, as well as those that are currently out of favor, to give our readers some insight as to the coins that they may want to consider pursuing or selling over the next few months.
- Chinese gold pandas – While the market has been cooling over the past six to nine months for Chinese gold pandas, there’s still very strong demand for certain coins; especially fractional Chinese gold pandas. Coins that come sealed in the original mint plastic, as well as those that are clean (without red spots) and in brilliant uncirculated condition are in particularly high demand. Unlike the U.S., which has produced large quantities of gold eagles over the years, gold coin production levels in China were extremely low in certain years. While not always the case, most fractional gold Chinese coins minted in the mid 1990’s tend to sell at some of the largest premiums.
- Carson City silver dollars – Morgan silver dollars produced at the Carson City Mint are always in demand due to the relatively low quantities produced (relative to other mints), but at the moment, demand appears to be especially strong for most years. In particular, coins that are encapsulated in Government Services Administration (GSA) holders are hot commodities. We previously wrote a piece on the history behind these coins for individuals interested in learning more about GSA issued Carson City silver dollars. Professionally graded GSA Carson City dollars by National Guaranty Corporation (NGC) are even in higher demand and can go at prices that are multiples of raw or ungraded examples.
- 90% silver coins – All silver coins, in general, have been hot commodities as of late, but in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in demand for 90% silver coins. Of the 90% silver coin options, half dollars appear to be the coin of choice at the moment. Premiums are increasing for half dollars relative to silver dimes and quarters, which tend to ebb and flow over time. Throughout 2014, 1964 Kennedy half dollars were in highest demand and sold at the highest premiums, as 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half dollars; however, currently, Franklin half dollars and Walking Liberty halves are selling at the same rates as Kennedy halves.
- Modern commemorative silver dollars – Even though we’ve seen a slight bounce in demand for better date modern commemorative silver dollars, most common date modern commemorative silver dollars (those minted in 1983 through current) are selling at close to the melt value of the coins. Additionally, the original government packaging is no longer needed or wanted in most cases, as these coins are typically selling as “caps only.” While some silver offerings, such as American silver eagles and 90% silver coins experienced a spike in premiums during the steep sell off in silver during 2014, demand for these coins has been tepid, at best. The Redbook, and in many cases Greysheet prices published on these coins are no longer a good indicator of value or demand.
- Modern commemorative gold coins – Modern commemorative gold coins are U.S. issued 90% gold coins that have been issued by the U.S. Mint since 1984. These coins, much like modern commemorative silver dollars, are typically sold in caps as opposed to with the original government paperwork. While there are some issues that are in higher demand due to low production levels, most of these coins are sold at standard rates, which are well below popular gold bullion coins, such as American gold eagles and buffaloes. It may sound like we’re picking on modern commemorative coins, but that’s not the case. For one reason or the other, which may be in part due to the lower purity of the coins, they’re just not big sellers at the moment.
- Clad & Silver Proof Sets – It seems like the numismatic industry has a love-hate relationship with clad and silver proof sets, and at the moment, the two aren’t necessarily getting along. While there are a few better date sets, such as the 1999, and 2011 – 2013 silver proof sets, as well as the 2012 clad proof set, most of these sets are selling at a discount to greysheet bid prices. Additionally, retail-quality boxes for these sets is extremely important at the moment. Further discounts of 10% are common for sets that have below standard packaging. Some sets, such as many produced in the mid 1980’s, only have values at 2 – 3 times the face value of the coins.
- Eisenhower silver dollars – For the most part, demand for Eisenhower silver dollars has been weak; both uncirculated versions in blue envelopes and proof examples in brown boxes. One of the issues with proof Eisenhower silver dollars is that they tend to be hazy or have spotting, which makes them less desirable. Additionally, they’re only 40% silver, which is a lower purity than most silver coin and bullion investors desire. However, not all Eisenhower silver dollars are struggling at the moment. Proof Eisenhower silver dollars produced in 1973 and 1974 are demanding a bit of a premium. Additionally, high end certified examples are also in fairly high demand and are selling at strong premiums.
In summary, we’ve highlighted a few coins that run the spectrum from hot to not. Chinese gold coins, especially fractional gold coins minted in the mid 1990’s, Carson City silver dollars, and 90% silver half dollars are all strong sellers at the moment. On the other hand, we’ve certainly seen greater demand and better pricing in the past on modern commemorative silver dollars, commemorative gold coins and clad and silver proof sets. Additionally, most Eisenhower silver dollars are of limited interest at the moment, but there are exceptions, such as proof San Francisco issued silver dollars minted in 1973 and 1974, as well as high end certified examples. We recommend that you frequently visit our blog to stay up to date on the latest factors affecting the coin and bullion markets, as well as changing trends in the industry.