vibrant at FUN
By Mark Ferguson
The coin market appears to be
holding up quite well in this disastrous
economic climate. Each day's crowd was strong at
the Jan. 8 to 11 Florida United Numismatists
show in Orlando.
People are obviously transitioning from "paper"
investments to tangible investments such as
physical forms of gold and silver.
Established collectors were also out in force
some are ready buyers at current prices, while
others are taking a cautious, wait-and-see
stance. Many collectors are selling for personal
reasons, as witnessed by the high level of
auction consignments offered during and before
this important show.
Prior to the official convention auctions
conducted by Heritage Auction Galleries and
three major sales conducted previous to the
convention, many market participants and
observers were wondering whether the market
could absorb all the coins offered for sale
estimated at about $75 million worth before the
auctions. The actual approximate total was
$68,861,000 for coins and paper money sold by
Heritage, Stack's, Bowers and Merena Auctions,
and Superior Galleries.
Some prices for coins that sold in the auction
were very strong, while others were a bit soft.
It was obvious that many consignors had high
reserves on some of their coins because many
failed to sell.
Numerous other coins sold for prices that were
in line with expected current market prices.
Several sold in the $300,000 to $400,000 and
higher range. One great example was a 1793
Flowing Hair, Wreath, Strawberry Leaf cent one
of just four known sold by Stack's for
On the bourse floor, wholesale business between
dealers continued, but much slower than during
the bull market of the past five years. Of
course there's no way to measure this sector of
the business we can rely only on anecdotal
information and observations. One wholesale area
that appeared to be very active was common and
better-date circulated coins that are valued at
a few thousand dollars and less.
Price weakness was evident for coins valued
above $25,000, unless they were coins with
special qualities, like tough-to-find varieties.
Some dealers who have been specializing in
high-priced coins are changing their business
strategies, a strong indicator the current
market is collector-based rather than