U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

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FUN Should Provide Good Read of Market
By Bill Brandimore

The Florida United Numismatists show is coming up soon. I expect to be able to get a read on what 2010 currency activity might entail after the January FUN show. It always seems to be a bellwether.

In the meantime, I did get the opportunity to attend the Lyn Knight auction at St. Charles, Mo., in mid-October. This was held in conjunction with a coin show on the first floor and the Professional Currency Dealers Associationís 24th Annual National and World Paper Money Convention on the second floor. Show attendance was so-so, but the auction was well attended.

I actually didnít get a chance to roam the floor, as I attended the Central States Numismatic Society board meeting in my role as immediate past president. Unfortunately, we had a great deal of business to attend to and the meeting didnít conclude until after the show was closed.

Big news at the show was the first-ever PMG 70, a 1935G, no motto, Silver Certificate. The note belongs to Eddie and Angie Henley of Greenville, Ind.

It is the first of almost 300,000 notes graded by PMG. To get a look at it, go to the Henleyís Web site www.unlimitedcurrency.net.

Angie told me that they were a little disappointed with traffic at the show, but they had their best show ever once they got back a large order of slabbed material graded at the show. Fresh material is hot and the dealers that are able to show it will reap the benefits.

Angie also mentioned they found that slabbed notes that reflect scarce block letters in the Silver Certificate area, or scarce varieties in the Federal Reserve Note classifications of dark green and light green seals, are proving very popular in their inventory.

There were a number of bargains to be had at the St. Charles auction, as a number of notes went well under catalog value.

It is going to be quite a while before we see the sort of prices that were registered at the Flynn auction back in 2008. Nonetheless, especially desirable notes are only offered occasionally still prove to be the subject of serious bidding.

I had to make a $200-over-catalog bid to secure a Very Good 1928A Red Seal $2 star in Internet bidding. I really wanted it, however, and paid the freight as these rarely come up in affordable grades.

Small-size notes, while down a bit, do not seem to have suffered as much decrease in value as large size. I think Buffalo, Educational and Indian Chief notes are good bargains.

Now is certainly the time to pick one off for your collection, or upgrade a note you currently hold. As in the housing industry, however, you canít expect to make a profit on the note you currently hold unless youíve had it for a few years.

Fancy numbers are also a popular topics at the auctions. Solids, ladders and errors seem to be holding their own.

I continue to plug Colonial and Fractional. The difference with these groupings is that there is not enough supply to justify intense advertising as was seen during the heyday of Morgan silver dollar promotion. There are lots of Morgan dollars, not so in terms of Colonial and Fractional notes.

Will the price of gold affect our current currency prices? Perhaps it will, if it leads to a weakened dollar or inflation.

I suspect that the mid-range income collector is watching his or her budget a bit more than in 2008. Well-heeled collectors will spend considerable amounts on rare notes they desire.

The investor crowd is probably looking to the stock markets current growth surge for their financial activities at the present time.

Do you have a currency reference library? It can be a valuable tool as you decide how much you want to pay and it even helps you identify what you might wish to purchase.

The 28th edition of Krause Publicationsís Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is now available. This one is edited by George Cuhaj and I do the prices.

This book contains a general accounting of all U.S. currency and Postal Envelopes, Encased Postage, a Philippines section, and Military Payment Certificates.

Specialty books will allow you deeper access into your specialty interests. Another such a book is the 9th edition of the Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money.

This one is written by John Schwartz and Scott Lindquist. It lets you in on a number of rare blocks and reveals the secrets of the mule varieties as well as light and dark seals on Federal Reserve Notes of the 1930s.

I especially recommend this book for the small size collector. The sport of cherrypicking is alive and well.

If you have current information on rarity and prices, itís a lot easier to make the decision to purchase a note. This is especially true if it is an expensive note.

Does someone in your family have a handle on the value of your collection?

Have you made a list or otherwise organized things in the event a non-collector member of your family will have to dispose of your collection some day. This can be a critical concern, as some notes are not real well known to generalist dealers. Coin dealers are generally not prepared to examine and offer proper payment for your collection.

It doesnít hurt to have a will and have some sort of ledger indicating what you feel the notes should bring at a certain date in time.

Most of the auction houses are pretty good to deal with, as they are going to want to get the very best price so their percentage will be higher as a result. In general, the market is pretty good at establishing a value.

Some houses seem to do better with certain specialties. Look around, examine the catalogs and decide who you would like to advertise and sell your holdings.

Everyone has heard a horror story over ignorance of a relative as to the true value of a collection.

Finally, for this month, let me know your feelings on our ability to offer you accurate information on the value of currency.


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