Rare coin market in U.S. worth about $5 billion in 2015, PNG finds

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A major industry group has issued a new eye-popping estimate on the monetary value of the rare coin market in the U.S.

According to a survey of knowledgeable players conducted by the Professional Numismatists Guild, the overall U.S. rare coin market in 2015 was between $4.5 billion to $5 billion, although one expert estimated it at $6 billion.

The amazing thing about the PNG estimate is that it excludes numismatic bullion items and modern coins sold directly by the U.S. Mint, as well as collectible paper-currency notes and world coins. Therefore, were talking about real numismatic items from Americas golden age of coinage (in general, up to 1933 for gold coins and up to 1964 for silver coins), not any sort of modern issues.

Demand for superb-quality, historic U.S. rare coins remained strong in 2015, PNG commented, and by its calculations, a record 17 coins commanded more than $1 million each during the past year, compared with 12 in 2014. Of the 17 $1 million+ coins (most of which Blanchard and Company listed in a Dec. 23 2015 blog post), seven carried green stickers from John Albanese‘s CAC verification service more proof of the value-enhancing capability of the CAC endorsement.

Although the drop in gold and silver bullion prices affected demand for more common collectible coins, the clamor for trophy coins or those that combined historical significance, rarity and superb condition was robust in 2015.

PNG’s findings jibe with conclusions made by some of Blanchard and Company’s numismatic analysts. Senior portfolio manager Douglas LePre has argued that collectors and investors should focus on the ideal of quality over quantity, or focusing on purchasing the rarest coin you can afford, while senior portfolio director Bruce Smith has recommended that numismatists never skimp on pricing or competing for the chance at supreme quality.

With 2016 already having seen its first coin sell for seven figures (the 1894-S Barber dime, for almost $2 million), the new years prospects continue to look bright for ultra-rarities, while the uptick in bullion prices also could lift the market for more common collectible coins if the impressive momentum seen so far has longevity.