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Weekly Market Report: F. U. N. Show is Fantastic as Auctions and Bourse Activity Point to Ultra-Strong Market


1856 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR64
1856 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR64

The 2002 F.U.N. show is history, leaving behind pages emblazoned with prices that reflect an ever strengthening market and optimism that would have been unthinkable only a few short months ago. "The market is so good that it's almost unbelievable," one dealer reported. "Everyone wants to do business."

"Do business" is exactly what they did in Orlando. The Professional Coin Grading Service recorded the largest single day of show submissions in years and the second-largest in its 16-year history. Dealers reported selling more coins than at any time since the 1989-90 boom years. Collectors swarmed the auction rooms and bourse floor as well. There is no need to put a label on the activity such as a "new bull market" or anything of the sort. It is sufficient to say that the market is excellent, and almost everyone is delighted with the promise that the future holds.

Bowers & Merena "Rarities Sale" shows across-the-board strength.

The one-day sale held by Bowers & Merena Galleries [The RARITIES Sale, January 8, 2002] realized some prices that needed double verification but turned out to be absolutely true. Did the 1936 Walking Liberty half dollar in PCGS Proof 66 really bring $27,600? Yes, it did! Here are some of the other highlights of this sensational sale. It's a much longer list than usual, but I still had to leave out some prices that were virtual equals in the realm of remarkable records.

1797 Large CentPCGS MS65BN$8,625
1820 Large CentPCGS MS65RD$9,200
1844 Large CentPCGS PR64RD$16,100
1856 Flying Eagle CentPCGS PR64$13,225
1868 Indian CentPCGS PR65RD$6,900
1865 Two Cent PiecePCGS MS67RD$9,775
1871 Two Cent PiecePCGS PR67RD$20,700
1854 Three Cent SilverPCGS PR64$12,075
1792 Half DismePCGS AU58$103,500
1794 Half DimePCGS MS64$24,150
1805 Draped Bust DimePCGS MS64$13,800
1919-D Mercury DimePCGS MS64FB$8,625
1796 Draped Bust QuarterPCGS MS63$54,050
1913 Barber QuarterPCGS PR67$12,650
1807 Draped Bust Half DollarPCGS MS63$13,800
1853 Arrows & Rays 50cPCGS MS65$14,375
1893-S Barber Half DollarPCGS MS65$20,125
1936 Walking Liberty 50cPCGS PR66$27,600
1795 Flowing Hair DollarPCGS AU53$11,500
1802 Draped Bust DollarPCGS MS61$14,375
1873 Liberty Seated DollarPCGS PR66$46,000
1895 Morgan DollarPCGS PR66CAM$36,800
1875-CC Trade DollarPCGS MS64$12,650
1882 Trade DollarPCGS PR66CAM$12,650
1854 Gold Dollar (Type Two)PCGS MS64$17,250
1848 CAL. $2½ LibertyPCGS MS64$80,500
1900 $2½ LibertyPCGS PR65$13,800
1799 $5 Capped Bust RightPCGS MS63$29,900
1806 $5 Capped Bust RightPCGS MS64$19,550
1859-S $5 LibertyPCGS MS62$25,300
1890 $5 LibertyPCGS PR66$27,600
1915 $10 IndianPCGS PR64$23,000
1876 $20 LibertyPCGS MS64$21,850
Judd 1637 $4 Stella (Gilt)PCGS PR64$24,150
Judd 1639 $4 Stella (Gilt)PCGS PR62$27,600
1850 Dubosq $10PCGS VG08$29,900

Almost every auction has its "hot spots" where a few prices show surprising strength, but this sale flexed its muscles from beginning to end with only a few exceptions.

Spike in gold prices pushes generic gold higher.

With all of the activity in rare coins has the generic and semi-generic gold market been ignored? "Things slowed down following the rush of business after the September 11 tragedy, but it's picked up again in recent days with the spike in gold prices," says Brad Rodgers of Numismatic Emporium in Sherman Oaks, California.

"Prices are up from 3% to 5% in the past two weeks, with the most active areas being MS63 and MS64 $20 Liberty gold and MS63, 64, and 65 $20 St. Gaudens. Actually, everything is selling, and there's a lot of demand for premium dates. Anything that is a little better, such as a 1914-S $20, sells instantly."

Is there a supply problem? "When we talked a few weeks ago I mentioned that there's no market overhang. I'm out of coins and what I have coming is also sold. I sold out of physical coins at the F.U.N. show. The market premium over melt for MS63 Saints is the lowest I've ever seen it. With the high demand, something's got to give."

Bruce Amspacher has been a professional writer since the 1950s and a professional numismatist since the 1960s. He won the OIPA sportswriting award in 1958 and again in 1959, then spent eight years in college studying American Literature. This background somehow led him to become a professional numismatist in 1968. Since then he has published hundreds of articles on rare coins in dozens of publications as well as publishing his own newsletter, the “Bruce Amspacher Investment Report,” for more than a decade. His areas of expertise include Liberty Seated dollars, Morgan and Peace dollars, United States gold coins, sports trivia, Western history, modern literature and the poetry of Emily Dickinson. In 1986 he was a co-founder of the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
1895 Morgan Dollar PCGS PR66CAM sold at the Rarities Auction for $36,800

1895 Morgan Dollar PCGS PR66CAM sold at the Rarities Auction for $36,800

1859-S $5 Liberty PCGS MS62 sold for $25,300

1895 Morgan Dollar PCGS PR66CAM sold at the Rarities Auction for $36,800

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