With unemployment rising, tight credit markets, housing foreclosures and general economic malaise, it is little wonder that activity in the rare U.S. coins collecting market is declining. The state of the economy creates a condition of uncertainty at both the macro and micro levels of the economy. People are generally conserving their cash resources and waiting for evidence that the economy is improving before resuming their collecting and trading of rare U.S. coins. The question, of course is this: how long before we see the wider economy turn for the better?

Another indicator within the rare U.S. coins market is the activity of dealers. Dealers are traveling less and report diminished retail and wholesale activity. There is a lack of fresh offerings for sale especially those more desirable ‘A’ and ‘B’ type coins certified CAC (Certified Acceptance Corporation). Rather we see an abundance of ‘C’ and ‘D’ graded coins, which are less viable as collector items for both dealers and collectors. It has been observed that dealers are using the internet to clear their holdings of ‘C’ and ‘D’ class rare U.S. coins at a discount. However it is important to bear in mind, that collecting or investing in those classes of coins is not advisable. Quality is the key and the ‘eye appeal’ is the benchmark to follow.

Other indicators of slowing market activity for rare U.S. coins, is the buying and selling trends of collectors. There is evidence that collectors are curbing their buying patterns and in many cases are offloading some of their holdings from their portfolio. However history tells us that in any market condition, some will make bank, while others will not. For example, the current market condition, where supply ranks over demand, means that those with surplus cash can find bargains in the market, and add to their portfolios.

For those with buying power for adding to their rare U.S. coin holdings it is important to follow the principle of only buying ‘quality’. Quality and value are linked. For example, value is determined by quality, supply, and demand. In a receding market, inferior items, namely the ‘C / D’ grade coins are in less demand, while ‘A / B’ grade coins still command demand. Quality and value will prevail, but sellers need to be flexible on price setting in order to entice conservative buyers in the current economic cycle.

So, as noted above, the current economic downturn is both a curse and a blessing. A curse for those collectors with limited cash reserves, while a potential blessing for those with strong cash reserves. In short, the current times present excellent buying opportunities especially for ‘A / B’ grade coins. For those collectors who do not have the spare cash, do your best to hold onto your coin assets. Despite speculations, the turning of the current cycle is unknown. But what known is that the economy does more in cycles, and if history is our guide, the rare coin market will recover again in the future.

According to some reports, there are some sections of the rare coin market that are faring better than others. For example, early copper items appear to be holding their value. Morgan dollars, especially common dated, and the early commemoratives are declining in market terms. Similarly slow performance is evident for Indian Head Cents and Lincoln Cents. Most early ‘A / B’ type items continue to hold their trading value mainly due to the scarcity factor. These examples offer interesting buying opportunities.

In light of the above, what might be a good plan for rare coin collectors and investors in this current down cycle? It is a simple strategy, buy ‘A / B’ grade coins with an element of rarity. Coins with this profile will always hold their value in a down market and appreciate in value when the market cycle turns. And direct your research efforts finding items with the ‘CAC’ certification.

The collectible and rare U.S. coin market has proven to be stronger than most other investment asset classes. However, as history shows, ‘all boats rise / fall with the tide’. This means that although the collectible and rare coin market has outperformed other investments in recent times, it cannot be immune from pressures from the wider market sentiments.

So to recap:

  • Do your best to hold your rare coin assets;
  • If in buying mode, look for most early ‘A / B’ rare type pieces
  • Focus on rare coins that carry the ‘CAC’ certification

Despite the trends for noted above, eBay is one of the more active marketplaces for rare U.S. coin collectors and investors. Here are some examples of popular high bid pieces.

Here is a sample of available popular U.S. coins selling at eBay.

Use this search tool, find Rare and Certified U.S. Coins:

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