U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

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Market Strength Evident
By Harry Miller

It appears that 2008 ended on a strong note for at least two of the three precious metals. There remains unprecedented demand for small (easily stored, hidden and transported) gold and silver. This proved helpful for the entire numismatic market with the exception of some entry level items like proof and mint sets and modern issues, especially the heavily promoted MS/PF-68 to -70 items.

Scarcity breeds higher returns in an almost geometric proportion to just plain old coins. However, in the past year virtually all pre-1964 U.S. coinage has enjoyed appreciable gains. Many of the lower grade older coins have enjoyed demand from scores of new and returned collectors because of the 50-state quarter program and increased awareness from the Internet. Promotion houses add demand, too.

The results are very pleasing. One year ago a 1793 half cent in Good-4 was $2,350, now $3,150. Yes, many cannot afford this coin. A 1923-S Lincoln in G-4 is up from $2.50 to $3.95, or a 1933-D rose $1 to $5.50. Classic Head half cents that were $57 in Very Good-8 are $65 if you can find any. How about the 1883 "no cents" nickel in G-4? It moved from $5.75 to $6.75, or the "with cents" counterpart from $15.50 to $18. The Buffalo series 1914 was $17 and now is $18.50, or the 1917 is up from $5.50 to $6.50. Quarters have some impressive gains. A 1796 in Extremely Fine-40 is up from $39,500 to $49,500. An 1804 in G-4 went from $3,950 to $4,950. An 1858 in G-4 rose from $22.50 to $27.50. The 1896-S Barber has blossomed from $675 in G-4 to $950 and the 1913-S has gained $300 to $1,850. The 1917 quarters are all up about 10 percent in circulated grades.

While most modern issues are soft or flat, Georgia quarter rolls nearly doubled to $50. Common Seated dollars were $245 in VG-8 and now are really tough at $285. All the O-mint Morgans have done well with 1881-O gaining nearly $300 in Mint State-65 to $1,650 and the rare 1893-S in MS-65 at $325,000 sports a $110,000 gain. Impressive gains were the rule in the high-end elite Morgan DMPLs (deep mirror prooflike), with gains of 20 to 50 percent across the board. In common-date gold, 1924 Saints were $950 MS-60 and now are $1,165. In the $10 Liberty series MS-60s rose from $495 to over $600. The half pint $5 has gone from $265 to $345; not bad for a terrible economy.


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