Traditionally, summer months were when the coin market went into its annual hibernation. Not so, this year. Perhaps stay-at-home orders accounted for the spike in activity over the last quarter. Whatever the reason, momentum is still with us. An unusual amount of activity has remained the trademark through this early summer period. Whether it maintains, is anybody’s guess. If people are hesitant to travel, it could bode well for the coin market, but that component still is an unknown.
Gold and silver both remain strong with the gap between the metals widening. The physical shortages seem to have sorted themselves out, with plenty of product in the marketplace. The ongoing demand for larger format gold has kept pressure on pre-1933 U.S. $20 gold pieces, despite the fact that these are not metric. Ironically, only 6 months ago, there was such a glut of $20 gold in the marketplace, that it was trading at a discount. Although there seems to be sufficient supply of not just $20s, but most gold formats in general, the ongoing demand has kept premiums intact. The good news from our standpoint is that the focus is turning to numismatic gold again, with much of it trading only marginally higher than intrinsic coins, bars and rounds. $5, $10 and $20 Liberty gold still have the lowest premiums with the Indian/St. Gaudens counterparts trading marginally higher. Higher grade (certified MS-64 and up) classic gold still seems to be flying under the radar with those premiums not only sensible, but in some cases, downright cheap. This conversation is subject to sudden change though, as the gold market and its relationship to the numismatic market remains a highly fluid topic.
Collectors buying coins to fill holes are buying for much different reasons than their counterparts hoarding $20s. Although this seems intuitive at face value, historically it has not always been the case. Most gold bugs who in the past migrated to non-metric gold (coins minted in the U.S., Mexico, Great Britain and much of Western Europe), did so because of a basic understanding of numismatics. In a nutshell, these type of coins were the proverbial double edge sword, offering the protections of owning gold while fueling the interest side of collecting coins. Although all of these formats are still selling, we are not sure that the symbiotic relationship with numismatics still plays a part in the buyer’s reasoning for acquisition.
Over the last several months, we have talked a lot about coin shows, when they might resume and what they would look like once they did. We are happy to report that many smaller shows are starting to reopen around the country. Although business is more restricted due to their formats, reports still seem to be quite favorable. At the end of the day, both collectors and dealers have been starved for these venues, and most seem willing to adapt. Given the alternative, that is not surprising. We will report more on shows moving forward, as we get feedback across the numismatic spectrum. We are certainly looking forward to getting back on the road. As is the case with many of our dealer colleagues, coin shows have become an integral part of our existence, and their absence has really left a void. Hopefully soon, all of the Canceled notices on our Coin Show Schedule will be replaced with active dates. We have had some recent dialog with the organizers of the upcoming Ohio State Coin Show over Labor Day weekend, and remain cautiously optimistic that this show will take place. We really need an ice-breaker, as it’s been 4 long months since we returned home from a successful Atlanta winter ANA, our last show of record.
In closing, there are a lot of distinctions that make the current coin market very different. But then, the world is very different. Historical models do not seem to be the basis driving collectors, at least not at this moment. We will see how the market continues to unfold throughout the summer. It is off to quite a good start, and we can only hope that it continues strong into the fall.