Over $419 million of historic U.S. rare coins and paper money sold at major public auctions in 2020
(Temecula, California) January 6, 2021 – It was the year of pandemic-related cancelled coin shows, but 2020 still resulted in one of the strongest U.S. rare coin and paper money markets in recent years, according to a year-end survey of major auction houses conducted by the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.org), a nonprofit organization composed of many of the country’s top rare coin and paper money dealers.
Based on responses to a PNG questionnaire, the aggregate prices realized for U.S. rare coins sold at major public auctions in 2020 totaled nearly $369 million. The aggregate total was $325 million in 2019; $345 million in 2018; and $316 million in 2017.
Major auction sales of U.S. banknotes in 2020 totaled $50.6 million bringing the combined aggregate auction sales of rare U.S. coins and paper money the past year to over $419 million. This was the first year PNG included banknotes in its annual survey.
“With most of the scheduled coin shows and conventions canceled after early March, much of the auction sales activity successfully moved online which already was a growing trend the past decade. Several major collections of high-quality coins and banknotes started coming to market in 2020 as previously planned, and as the pandemic intensified the market also provided liquidity for some collectors who needed cash,” said PNG President Richard Weaver. “This is the strongest rare coin market we’ve seen in years.”
Eight individual rare coins were purchased at auctions for $1 million or more in 2020. The top two were an 1804-dated Draped Bust Class I silver dollar graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Proof-65 sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries for $3,360,000 and a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle ($20 denomination gold coin) graded PCGS Mint State-65+ sold by Heritage Auctions for $2,160,000.
“While prices held steady or slightly declined during 2020 for some U.S. coins in easily available lower grades, more than 600 noteworthy coins that are among the finest known of their kind from early American to modern set price records at auctions. The emphasis was on historical significance and finest quality,” said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.
Among the many notable examples of record-setters and price increases in the market was a 1907 High Relief, Wire Rim Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) Proof-69 sold by Heritage for $660,000. That same coin brought $573,300 in a 2013 auction.
Other noteworthy records included a Draped Bust 1796 quarter-dollar graded PCGS MS-64 sold by GreatCollections for $303,750, about 20% higher than its price guide value. A similarly graded one sold for $141,000 in 2015. An 1896 Morgan silver dollar graded PCGS MS-68 sold by Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2020 for a record $30,550; $5,550 higher than its price guide value at the time.
The two most valuable individual U.S. banknotes sold at auction in 2020 were an 1863 $100 Legal Tender Note graded by Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) Gem Uncirculated 65 EPQ (Exceptional Paper Quality) sold by Stack’s Bowers for $432,000 and a 1934 $10,000 Federal Reserve $10,000 Note graded PMG Gem Uncirculated 66 EPQ sold by Heritage for $384,000.
Heritage sold a total of $183 million of U.S. rare coins and $33.5 million of U.S. banknotes at auctions in 2020, and Stack’s Bowers had $88.1 million in auctions of U.S. coins and $14.9 million in U.S. banknotes.
“The markets for collectibles have not merely survived the COVID-19 crisis, they have thrived. There is no doubt: collectibles are an asset class. A broad range of collectibles, including rare coins, banknotes, comic books and trading cards, have become highly liquid and fungible,” said Mark Salzberg, Chairman of Certified Collectibles Group, parent company of NGC (www.NGCcoin.com), the PNG’s official authentication and grading service.
In alphabetical order, the auction firms that responded to the PNG 2020 year-end questionnaire are: Bonhams (www.Bonhams.com); Early Cents Auctions (www.EarlyCentsAuctions.com); Fox Valley Coins (www.FoxValleyCoins.com); Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers (www.GoldbergCoins.com): GreatCollections (www.GreatCollections.com); Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com); Kagin’s (www.Kagins.com); David Lawrence Rare Coins (www.DavidLawrence.com); Legend Rare Coin Auctions (www.LegendAuctions.com); Scotsman Coin & Jewelry (www.scoin.com); Sotheby’s (www.Sothebys.com): and Stack’s Bowers Galleries (www.StacksBowers.com).
The Professional Numismatists Guild was founded in 1955, and its member-dealers must adhere to a strict code of ethics in the buying and selling of numismatic merchandise.
For additional information and a list of PNG member-dealers, visit online at www.PNGdealers.org or call the PNG headquarters in Temecula, California at 951-587-8300.
(Temecula, California) December 23, 2020 — Promptly acting on a tip from a concerned collector, the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation’s (www.ACEFonline.org) Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (ACTF) has notified law enforcement agencies and online shopping platform Amazon.com about a seller who is in apparent violation of federal laws involving reproductions of rare coins.
The seller using the name SeTing offered nine reproductions of coins and fantasy dates, but none of the accompanying coin images indicated any of the items were properly marked “COPY” as mandated by the Hobby Protection Act.
The offered items included replicas of a 1794 Flowing Hair dollar, an 1804 Draped Bust dollar and a 1915 Indian Head Quarter Eagle ($5). There was also a fantasy piece resembling a Trade Dollar but with the date 1791 and a Carson City mint mark that was identified by the seller as “Old Original Morgan Dollar.” Genuine U.S. Trade Dollars were struck from 1873 to 1885 and Morgan silver dollars were produced between 1878 and 1921.
Prices for the “coins” ranged from $2.99 to $3.29 plus an additional $3.98 shipping.
A hobbyist who saw the online listings sent a complaint about the seller to members of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors, some former ANA officers, the United States Mint and to several numismatic publications and numismatic information websites. ANA Past President Gary Adkins forwarded the email complaint to former Texas Police Chief Doug Davis, ACEF Director of Anti-Counterfeiting.
“The timely ‘heads up’ tip from the concerned collector is greatly appreciated. These six items are in apparent violation of both the Hobby Protection Act and Title 18 of the U.S. Code involving counterfeiting and forgery of United States coins. The task force has reported the information to the appropriate federal agencies and Amazon,” said Davis.
“ACTF currently monitors over 200 websites and social media platforms selling counterfeit coins and precious metals across the country and around the world.
Intelligence information is forwarded to the Secret Service and Treasury Department Office of the Inspector General. ACTF also assists all levels of law enforcement in counterfeit case development for prosecution,” he explained.
“The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is aggressively seeking legislation on the state level to provide local law enforcement officers with statutes seeking criminal penalties for the possession, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit coins and precious metals,” said ACEF Executive Director Robert Brueggeman. “However, to address these problems requires the support of the numismatic community. The Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that operates solely upon donations.”
Monetary contributions can be made online at www.acefonline.org/donate or by check mailed to ACEF, 28441 Rancho California Rd., Ste. 106, Temecula, CA 92590. For additional information about donating, contact ACEF Executive Director Brueggeman at info@ACEFonline.org.
Coronavirus also impacts planning for 2021 Summer Seminar
The American Numismatic Association (ANA) Board of Governors voted on Dec. 16 to officially cancel the Phoenix National Money Show®, scheduled for Mar. 11-13, 2021, due to heightened coronavirus concerns. The vote was 7-2, with the majority of the Board expressing concerns about the Association’s inability to assure the safety of its members, dealers, staff and visitors.
Because of Arizona’s current restrictions on indoor gatherings, the show would have been significantly smaller had the Board voted to move forward. The bourse would have been reduced in size, and educational programming and meetings would have moved online. The Phoenix Convention Center informed the ANA the day after its Board meeting that all events through February 28, 2021, would be cancelled, leaving events such as the Association’s National Money Show in mid-March in an uncertain situation.
“Although we share the disappointment of collectors and dealers in cancelling the Phoenix National Money Show, it is the right decision given the wide range of uncertainties we currently face,” says ANA Executive Director Kim Kiick. “We’re appreciative of Kagin’s Auctions, the official convention auctioneer, for their understanding and support of this decision.”
Kiick indicated the ANA will explore the feasibility of hosting a virtual conference in May.
Dealers who have reserved tables for the show will be contacted directly by the ANA convention team. “To mitigate the influx of calls and emails, dealers will be contacted by phone within the next week to discuss the option of a future credit towards an ANA show or a refund,” says Brianna Victor, ANA events director.
Hotel room reservations within the reserved block in the Hyatt Regency Phoenix (877-803-7534) and Hampton Inn & Suites (602-710-1240), along with reservations made with lodging properties outside the block, will need to be cancelled by collectors directly with the properties.
The Board will explore the possibility of revisiting Phoenix for a future National Money Show – possibly as early as March 2023 – to capitalize on the planning from the staff and local host committee that already was in place, and to avoid a cancellation penalty from the convention center.
2021 Summer Seminar Planning Complicated by Coronavirus
Also discussed at the Dec. 16 ANA Board meeting was the status of the 2021 Summer Seminar, scheduled for June 19-24 (Session 1) and June 26-July 1 (Session 2).
Colorado College – the site of the annual Summer Seminar for decades – informed the ANA recently that it will not be hosting events on its campus in 2021 due to the coronavirus, compelling the ANA to research alternative locations. (The Colorado College campus is adjacent to ANA headquarters.)
Two alternative locations were presented to the Board for consideration: The Antlers (a Wyndham Hotel) in Colorado Springs – located a mere 8 blocks from the ANA, and the University of Denver (DU) – a 35-minute drive from Denver International Airport. The Board recognized the advantage of having the Summer Seminar in close proximity to ANA headquarters to allow students access to its facilities. However, the $128,000 deficit the ANA would incur to host the event at The Antlers was deemed too big of a hit to the Association’s budget, which is already challenged due to the cancellation of the 2020 World’s Fair of Money® and the 2021 National Money Show. The Board voted 9-0 to eliminate The Antlers from consideration.
According to ANA Executive Director Kiick, in order to plan appropriately for the event, the Board will need to vote at its Jan. 19 meeting whether it prefers to move the event to DU or conduct the event online.
Professional Coin Grading Service bestows prestigious awards to hundreds of collectors while also inducting four collectors to PCGS Set Registry Hall of Fame
(Santa Ana, CA – December 16, 2020) – Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) recently has announced the winners of the 2020 PCGS Set Registry Awards and new inductees to the PCGS Set Registry Hall of Fame.
For nearly two decades, PCGS has recognized top collectors and their collections with awards and other special honors. When the PCGS Set Registry Awards launched in 2002, just 15 sets received honors; this year, more than 350 sets are recognized, exemplifying the outstanding growth of the PCGS Set Registry and the incredible popularity of this interactive platform for collectors to build sets and compete with their fellow hobbyists.
“When the PCGS Registry debuted in 2001, it was the first such online platform for collectors,” says PCGS Vice President of Product Development Jamie Kiskis. “It’s become the gold standard in numismatics for collectors who want to share their passion of the hobby with the world all while getting to engage in a little friendly competition with one another. When more than 20,000 collectors display their more than 125,000 prized sets on the online PCGS Set Registry, it not only inspires other collectors to up their games, but it also shows the beautiful diversity of coins that are out there for the world to enjoy and collect.”
While the vast majority of the PCGS Registry Sets honored were picked on technical metrics, such as completeness and grade point averages, some were chosen based on the more subjective merits of overall eye appeal and scope of inclusion. That was the case with the PCGS Best Digital Album, an honor that was selected by PCGS Set Registry members and guests. The 2020 Best Digital Album nods go to an exquisite 1873 United States Proof Set by a collector known as “D. Lud.” Other top awards went to “D.L. Hansen,” “High Desert,” and “Alamo Collection” in the U.S. coin categories while “JBW,” “cannonball!,” and “skandakumera,” were just a few of the many collectors who won various world coin awards.
A complete list of the 2020 PCGS Set Registry winners can be found online at: www.pcgs.com/setregistry/awards/2020.
In addition to the hundreds of outstanding PCGS Set Registry collectors taking home awards for their collections, four numismatic luminaries past and present are being inducted into the prestigious PCGS Set Registry Hall of Fame. The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are William Sumner Appleton, Del Bland, Bob Simpson, and Sun Keqin.
Appleton was a venerable Massachusetts collector who once owned an 1804 Draped Bust Dollar, a trophy known as the “King of American Coins” that was later graded by PCGS and went into other famous collections. Bland was a premier expert in United States Large Cents and became a renowned authority on these early United States copper coins. Simpson, the founder of XTO Energy and co-chairman of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team, has long had many top-ranking PCGS Registry Sets consisting of United States coins. Keqin is a top authority on Chinese coins and fields a diverse array of Set Registry collections containing modern coins from China.
“The PCGS Set Registry has long proven to be a successful, exciting platform for collectors year after year, and we have consistently made innovative improvements that have allowed the community to thrive,” remarks PCGS President Brett Charville. “As we continue growing and evolving during our 35th anniversary year in 2021, PCGS will continue enhancing the experience for everyone.”
To become a PCGS Set Registry member for free, please visit https://www.pcgs.com/setregistry.
About Professional Coin Grading Service
Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) is a third-party coin and banknote grading company that was launched in 1986. Over nearly 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified some 45 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of more than $41.7 billion. For more information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, please visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.
February 4-6, 2021 Long Beach Expo Is Cancelled, Hopes
Remain High For June 2021
As a national show, the safety of our visitors, dealers, and employees will always be our top priority. With that in mind, it is with much sadness that we, in coordination with the Long Beach Convention Center, are announcing the cancellation of the February 4-6, 2021 Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp, and Sports Card Expo. Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order to cancel all large gatherings due to the spread of COVID-19 must still be followed. It’s important to reiterate that there will be no business being conducted at the Long Beach Expo during the allotted show times in February.
If you are interested in participating in the February Long Beach Expo U.S. Coins Auction hosted by Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest numismatic auctioneer, they will be accepting online and phone bidding only. A link to the corresponding auction information and listings can be found here: U.S. Coins Auction
If you’re looking for that collectible show feel with an online experience, make sure you check out Collectors Corner. Many of the Long Beach Expo Dealers are selling their inventory on Collectors Corner today, so if you need that rare coin, currency, stamp, or sports card to complete your collection, make sure you give Collectors Corner a try. The marketplace is truly a one-stop shop for everything collectibles! A link to the Collectors Corner marketplace can be found here: Collectors Corner
With the spread of the coronavirus rapidly increasing throughout California, we want to wish everyone good health and safety. 2020 has truly been a difficult year for us all, but as long as we continue to stick together as an industry, 2021 will certainly be the light at the end of the tunnel.
For the Long Beach Expo, our focus will transition to doing everything in our power to make the June 17-19, 2021 Long Beach Expo a reality. When our show comes back, we will be ready to provide the BEST possible show to make up for all these cancellations. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back in our doors. We hope to see you then.
Stay tuned to all future Long Beach announcements: www.LongBeachExpo.com.
For all information regarding COVID-19: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
-Long Beach Expo