As late as the early 1970’s, the coin market was dominated by dealers and collectors. Even though the collectors often made money on their coins, they didn’t consider themselves to be investors.
A couple of things combined to get the interest of non-collectors in the rare coin market by the mid 1970’s:
- Sale of surplus silver dollars by the U.S. Treasury
- Lifting ban on gold ownership in place since the 1930’s.
Both of these actions helped draw public attention to the coin market and many new people started buying them. This helped propel the coin market for the next decade.
Ultra-rare coins were commanding unprecedented prices. There are famous collections that earned phenomenal profits for the owners or their heirs. The Garrett, Norweb and Eliasberg Collections are examples of coin collectors who would accept only the finest, and as a result made huge dividends with their later sale.
The Redfield hoard added some 407,000 Morgan Silver Dollars to the thin rare coin market. Many analysts were concerned that this would create an oversupply, and send the coin market into a depression. After all, the rare silver dollar market was still trying to absorb the Federal Government silver sell-off of the 1960’s.
The exact opposite effect took place. The Redfield hoard led to a dramatic increase in prices by attracting many new collectors into the market. The Redfield coins created a new demand that exceeded the new supply. Marketing and media exposure were the primary driver for this new interest.
Investors arrived into the rare coin market and demanded exceptional quality. Collectors normally place more emphasis on rarity, while investors place a premium on quality.
Third party grading accelerated the preoccupation with high mint state quality coins. Slight differences in MS grades, for example MS-64 and MS-65 will result in great price disparities. As a consequence, accurate grading became imperative.
The grading revolution of the mid to late 1980’s put coins back on track as investment vehicles. Investors could now have more confidence in their coin purchases. Common date Morgans are the single most traded coins. They exist in large numbers in MS grades and trade within a narrow range, similar to commodities.
The changes in the coin market during the 70’s and 80’s have led to a new breed of buyer, part investor and part collector. These people enjoy the best of both worlds.
They admire the coin’s heritage, at the same time look for coins that will appreciate in value over time. Profit potential and sound business decisions are driving factors in the purchase of their collectible silver coins.
The super grade coins, MS-66 and above have the combination of rarity and quality that make them irresistible to the modern investor/collector. These specimens have increased in value for faster than their more common siblings.
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