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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

COIN VISION 20/20

Numismatic Forecast for the First Year of a New Decade

The year 2020 is upon us. How will the first year of the ‘20s of the 21st century unfold? Numismatic prognostication is difficult in this era of economic, demographic, and sociopolitical transition. We’re closing out 2020 with U.S. President Donald Trump facing impeachment, trade wars between the United States and China, continued instability in the Middle East, and increasing concern over climate change and its eff ects on the global community. What does this mean for the coin market? A lot, really. Metals markets have responded to these and numerous other tensions by posting significant gains in 2019.

Growth in the metals market was largely driven by a parade of geopolitically ominous headlines throughout 2019, persuading individuals to embrace safe-haven investments such as precious metals. But the precious metals industry wasn’t all upwardpointing green arrows. Th e bullion world was rocked by scandal upon the discovery of fraudulently labeled gold bars containing precious metal originating from spurious sources. What impact will this so-called “dirty gold” have in 2020? How do you avoid accidentally owning gold that may have links to traffickers and terrorists?

Many folks may turn away from gold bars and instead focus on buying rare coins, a market that saw impressive figures in 2019. Th e major auctions reported several significant transactions, including the sale of the 1884 and 1885 proof Trade dollars, both graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) at Proof-66, for $1.14 million and $3.96 million respectively. Also crossing the block, a 1793 Chain AMERI cent certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as MS-64+ and approved by Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) for $1.5 million and a CAC-labeled 1894-S Barber dime slabbed by PCGS as PR-63 for $1.35 million.

While landmark sales off er some insight on the health of the coin market, trophy coins represent only a tiny tip of a numismatic iceberg mostly composed of lower-priced and mid-level coins bought by working-class and middle-income collectors. Still, the market for the mainstream collectible coins was boosted somewhat by soaring bullion prices over the previous year.

Many newcomers lured into the hobby by the glitter of gold and silver migrated into buying collectible coins such as Lincoln cents, Barber coinage, silver dollars, and pre-1933 gold coins. Modern coins also saw building strength as more and more people buy top-grading specimens for album sets and registry collections. Perhaps the gathering strength across all areas of the market will spell good health for the numismatic market in 2020. While it’s clearly important to focus on the direction of the collectible coins and the bullion markets in this forecast of the coming year, there are two other areas that deserve attention: coin grading and the media market. Th ese days, a large segment of the coin market is driven by coin grading services. What will 2020 bring this area of the market? Will a long-rumored 100-point grading scale replace the current 70-point numeric system?

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Beckett CoinAge Dec/ Jan 2020,