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Market Report – 06/24/13

The inexorable march towards summer has begun.  Temperatures are rising, the school year has ended and vacations that once seemed so far away are now at hand.  All of which would lead you to believe that the rare coin market will slow its pace for the summer.  Dealers will slow down in their quest for new inventory, the attendance at coin shows will dwindle and very little will happen between now and the ANA convention in August.  The only problem with that “truism” is that whoever developed that notion didn’t attend last week’s coin show in Baltimore put on by the fine folks at Whitman.

The activity level last week was quite high.  Dealer to dealer business on Wednesday prior to the show’s setup was brisk with a pace not unlike what you’d see at a show held in Baltimore in March or November.  Once the show setup began on Thursday morning it became evident that people were here to do business and that this show, that may have at one point been a sleepy little waypoint on the road to something larger, has fully developed into a premier numismatic event.

When you have a coin show that is traditionally thought to be a “slow” show and extraneous variables are putting extra weight down on the market and yet you still have a show that showed the strength we saw in Baltimore, you’re left to the logical conclusion that the rare coin industry is in a tremendous bull market right now.  The extraneous variables I referred to earlier would be the precious metals market and the stock market.  Last week saw gold bullion lose over seven percent of its value and the Dow Jones suffered losses of nearly five percent of its value and yet the rare coin market continued to march along, dealers unfazed by losses in those markets, eager to replenish their stock.

A common complaint I hear right now is how hard it is to buy nice, new coins.  While it is true that the amount of fresh material on the market right now isn’t what we’ve seen in the past, this only shows the strength of market itself.  Fresh coins are out there, but the competition level for them is fierce.  Gone are the days in which coin shows were about deep inventories and empty aisles, replaced today with a market where fresh material doesn’t linger in boxes, aisles are packed with dealers and collectors alike, and the buzz in the room is much more than the air-conditioner humming to beat back that rising summer heat.