Generic gold coins shine
By Steve Roach
spot in the current market is in generic gold,
both circulated and Uncirculated. Multiple
dealers are contributing to a robust market, of
which generic Coronet (a.k.a. Liberty or Libs)
and Saint-Gaudens (a.k.a. Saints) gold $20
double eagles are king.
Over dealer networks like the Certified Coin
Exchange, trading in these coins has been very
active. This market helps establish a wholesale
price level that eventually affects retail
Generic gold coins are those issues are the most
common in their respective series and so carry
no collector premium associated with rarity.
Examples include a 1904 Coronet double eagle or
a 1924 Saint-Gaudens double eagle.
In generic gold, the market has a strong
preference for coins without copper spots.
Copper is alloyed with gold in U.S. gold coins,
and sometimes copper spots appear on the surface
due to improper alloy mixture. These can often
be removed through solvents or professional
conservation, although not always.
For example, the top dealer to dealer bid for a
Saint-Gaudens $20 coin with "no spots" is $150
higher than a coin with copper spots. The
premium for spot-free coins declines as the
grade goes down, but spot-free coins are
virtually always easier to sell to dealers and
The wholesale demand and price for Uncirculated
coins graded by Professional Coin Grading
Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. ebbs and
flows based on the demands of those who promote
these coins to markets outside of the hobby.
The bullion market also plays a major role,
especially with circulated gold.
Several major coin auction houses have started
Internet-based gold auctions specifically aimed
at the generics market. While the profits on
trading generics are generally moderate per
coin, their liquidity makes them easy coins for
dealers to work with and buy/sell spreads are
On a more somber note, there has been some
rumbling on the issue of dealer liquidity of
late. Dealers are subject to the same financial
pressures as other businesses and their credit
is being subjected to re-evaluation by banks.
More than ever, cash is king.
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