By Steve Roach
commemorative coin market is an area that is
ripe for speculation and has more volatility
than one might initially think.
Modern commemorative coins (those struck since
1982) are generally available in large
quantities, making them easy to promote outside
of the hobby, and are available in very high
The prices for individual issues ebb and flow
based on the demand generated from promotions. A
single promotion can place enough pressure on a
given issue to raise the price most notably
with the low-mintage issues.
While the prices of issues in some series
generally move together, like Liberty Head
5-cent coins or Peace dollars, price changes
with modern commemoratives are more
Some issues have provided their owners with huge
gains over the past five years. For example, an
Uncirculated 2000-W Library of Congress
Bicentennial ringed bimetallic $10 coin traded
in 2004 at around $1,300. Today, it is likely to
fetch $3,500 or more.
Another cluster of issues that show dramatic
gains is the Uncirculated 1995 and 1996 Olympic
gold $5 coins with the Flag Bearer, Cauldron and
Stadium designs. In 2004 these could be
purchased for $400 each. Today they approach
four times that amount and have shown
significant advancement over the past year.
Yet, the 1995 and 1996 Olympic silver dollars
currently trade at around their 2004 levels
they were pricey then and they remain expensive.
The gold pieces had more room to grow, and the
increased interest in gold certainly has aided
in their price ascension.
The holy grail of the modern commemorative
series is the 1997-W Jackie Robinson gold $5
coin with a mintage of just 5,174 pieces. An
Uncirculated example sells for around $4,250
now, double its price in 2004. At its height, it
traded at $5,000.
Uncirculated issues, with their lower mintages,
are traditionally more volatile and appreciate
more dramatically than their more common Proof
The discrepancy in Proof and Uncirculated
mintages stems from an attraction toward flashy
mirrored Proofs for noncollectors or casual
collectors, who often are the greater proportion
of commemorative purchasers.