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Rare Coin Market Update

The Market in 2018

The coin market has continued to show some consolidation in 2018, continuing the trend we have seen for the last few years. The Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) estimated that in 2017 the size of the Rare Coin market was about 3.5 billion dollars. This is down from 4 Billion dollars in 2016. Several major coin collections have come to market and it takes a while for these coins to be absorbed The rapidly rising stock market has also taken some of the wind out of the sails (and sales) of Rare Coins. With the Dow Industrials hovering around 25,000, the emphasis has been on paper assets as of late.

This is great news for those that have a 401k and stocks. Very few people predicted such a strong stock market and it’s been good for the economy. The market for Rare Coins and Precious Metals over the last few years has been quiet and the strength in stocks is partly to blame.

The PCGS 3000 is a composite index of Rare coin prices. Below is the index for the past 10 years. As we can see there was a little weakness starting to show in the beginning of 2015. That weakness accelerated in 2016. There has been about a 20% drop in the index in the past 3 years or so. These types of swings are not uncommon to the Coin Market and have happened in both directions many times over the years.

The PCGS 3000 Rare Coin Index Back to 2008


So What’s the Good News?

Prices for nice coins haven’t been this attractive in years. The market usually rewards those who are patient and can afford to wait. There are some nice coins coming on to the market and there are some great opportunities right now. This is a great time to fill some spots in your collection.

Next Time – Which areas look like a bargain?

Stay tuned. Next time I’ll highlight some areas in the market that seem to be a good value at these levels.

Buy High Sell Low! Wait What?

2017 marks my 30th year in the rare coin and bullion business, and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to observe and analyze many clients’ buying and selling patterns when it comes to bullion investing.

Unfortunately, one of the patterns I see way too often is that clients tend to buy high and sell low.

I’d like to take a moment and explain the The psychology of why people do this, how to recognize it, resist the temptation and employ a strategy to help minimize giving in to this losing proposition.

One of the things any successful investor will tell you is never make decisions based on emotion. As skilled investors know, fast moving markets are tailor made to mess with your emotions. Resistance to these emotions is not futile, it is required.

I must admit that I myself have had to resist these emotions myself as doing this for nearly 30 years does not make you immune.

The Market is falling, the Market is falling!

When gold (or any investment) is traveling downward especially quickly or if it’s a trend over a period of days or weeks, our buying here in the office will inevitably increase. Why? Why are so many people selling low? Well the emotion goes something like this. “Oh no, the market is going lower, it might be crashing, I need to sell before it gets really cheap and I lose even more money!”
I admit it can be pretty difficult to watch your investment lose value before your eyes. It is even worse if you are checking prices daily or even more often than that. It’s uncomfortable, and selling your holdings would rid you of that discomfort.

Very disciplined investors will use this as a buying opportunity.

Now it is understood that one may need to sell for other reasons. You might need the money to put a new roof on your house, buy a new car etc. we are not talking about that kind of situation.

By contrast, in a rapidly rising market, the emotion goes something like this. “I really would like to own some more gold and silver and the market is going up so fast that I’d better get on board before it’s too late!”

Again, disciplined investors will take some profits at this point.

Capitulating to these emotions is a formula for losing money. Stay calm, take a deep breath, relax.

Taking the Emotion out of the equation

There is a much better strategy for bullion investing. Commit a monthly dollar amount towards buying tangible assets regardless of the market price. (Within reason) This strategy is called dollar cost averaging. It works very well with precious metals, and is often used to buy stocks. Don’t try to time the market. Doing that is nothing short of gambling, and what we want is a real world strategy.
It doesn’t matter if your monthly budget is $50 or $50,000.

You’ll find that over time, as market rise and fall, your average price will be reasonable. Also, you won’t have all your eggs in one basket, meaning you won’t own all of your tangible assets at a single price point.

At Victory Coins and Precious Metals we offer customized dollar cost average and our Bullion Stacker Subscription program for bullion investing as well as rare coins. Your portfolio grows every month and it provides real tangible assets over a variety of price points.

A winning strategy.

Victor Ingraffia is the founder and CEO of Victory Coins and Precious Metals. He has been a professional rare coin and bullion dealer since 1988 and a collector since age 5. Victor can be reached at 727-608-4885 or [email protected]

Why your 1922 Peace Dollar is Probably not worth 100K

Why your 1922 Peace Dollar is Probably not worth 100K

1922 Peace Dollar

1922 Peace Dollar High Relief


In 1921, the U.S. Mint began production of the new “Peace” design for silver dollars, a design commemorating peace after the end of World War I. The designer, Anthony de Francisci, intended for the coin to be struck in “high relief”, which resulted in a boldly raised design. In 1921 the Peace Dollars were struck in this way, but despite the medal-like beauty of the high relief, the U.S. Mint decided to strike the coins in low relief from 1922 to 1935. The high relief design was just too stressful on the machinery, and resulted in many broken dies. Reluctantly, de Francisci agreed to create a new plaster mold with a lower relief, and starting February 13, the 1922 Peace dollar was made in “low relief.”

Authenticating the 1893-S Morgan Dollar

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Authenticating the 1893-S Morgan Dollar is not difficult given the right tools and some patience. The 93-S is the key date to the series.  It’s tiny mintage of only 100 thousand coins makes it the lowest mintage regular issue Morgan Dollar in the entire set. With values in Very Good condition in the $2,500.00 range and nice Extra Fines approaching $10,000.00, it’s easy to see why this date is tempting for counterfeiters.

Most of the fakes are made from altering another coin rather than striking them or casting them (although these exist as well).

The Three Keys to Authenticating the 1893-S Morgan Dollar

The keen numismatist has a distinct advantage with this issue.  Since the mintage was so low, only one obverse die  was used, allowing detailed study.  The coin has a few distinct diagnostics.  Here are the two most important ones.  First, get yourself a good 20x loupe – it will pay for itself many times over if it saves you from buying a bad 93-s.

First Two Major Diagnostics

Note the horizontal line at the top of the “T” and the chip in the foot of the “R”


All genuine 1893-S Morgan Dollars have a horizontal die scratch within the “T” of “LIBERTY” on the headband.(see photo) This scratch is going to be raised metal within the “T”.  I realize that it’s a pretty small scratch, but the key to remember is that it’s on EVERY genuine coin.  Even lower grade ones.  The “T” is recessed enough to protect the raised scratch from wearing off. Also, there are two small die chips in the left upright of the letter “R”.  Again, this is on every genuine coin.

Third Diagnostic

Also the base of the “1” in the date lies almost directly over a denticle. You can draw an imaginary line from the center of the denticle straight through the center of the “1”. Use this as secondary confirmation after you find the primary ones above.  Only use this diagnostic as an additional confirmation once the above two are found.  It is not enough just to have this one as some other 1893 dollars can be found with this date positioning. Armed with this information, you can be pretty sure you have a genuine coin.  Once you’re certain of that, then focus on the grade and make sure you are paying a fair price. (That’s another blog entry entirely!).

Use these tips and authenticating the 1893-S Morgan dollar will be in your power to do!


Please Click Here to Shop for Quality Ancient and United States Rare Coins from Victory Coins.

1937-D Three Legged Buffalo-How’d that Buffalo lose a leg?



The 1937-D Three Legged buffalo nickel is an interesting and elusive rarity and is arguably, one of the most intriguing U.S. coins of the 20th Century.

Did you know: The model for the Buffalo Nickel was rumored to be a handsome devil of a buffalo named Black Diamond who resided in New York’s Central Park zoo.




I remember when I was a child, my mother would take me and a few of my friends to the local coin shop and drop us off for an hour.   The shop owner must have rolled his eyes (more…)

The “Southern Darling” of U.S. Coins

The “Southern Darling” of U.S. Coins

The Fire of 1844

On July 27, 1844, some students were taking an impromptu tour of the U.S. Mint facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Mint had been producing gold coins with the legendary “C” mint mark for less than seven years, and the students wanted to see the machinery that refined and struck the southern money.  Since the North Carolina gold rush began after a 1799 discovery, gold had been pouring out of the region – and the United States wanted the miners to convert as much of it as possible into beautiful U.S. Liberty $2.50 coins and $5.00 coins.  No one knows what was going through the minds of those curious students that hot summer day.  Were they up to mischief?  Were they working for the Bechtler family, whose local private mint was threatened by the growing success of the government facility?  Were they simply innocent tourists?  We know only two facts:  first, they were smoking inside the building; second, by late that same day, the Charlotte Mint had burned to the ground. 

     The great fire of 1844 could have spelled the end of the Charlotte Mint, but on March 3, 1845, the U.S. Congress set aside funds to rebuild it.  Since the Mint building wasn’t complete until October of 1846, no coins were struck bearing the “C” mint mark in 1845 at all…and precious few for 1846.  To satisfy local demand, the Charlotte Mint primarily produced $5 “Half Eagles” that year, managing to mint nearly 13,000 coins.  A few $2.50 “Quarter Eagles” were also produced as well: just 4,808 of them.  In the years to follow, most of these were melted or damaged in some way, leaving only 100-150 of these $2.50 specimens for collectors and investors today.  Of these few, I estimate only 29 have survived in “AU” or “About Uncirculated” condition, undamaged and unmolested.


The “Southern Darling” of U.S. Coins

     The 1846-Charlotte Quarter Eagle is among the most interesting and desirable of U.S. Coins, from its historical context to the minute details of its surface and die characteristics.  It is believed that the dies for these coins were shipped from Philadelphia to Charlotte before 1846, so they arrived in Charlotte long before the Mint building was complete.  For some reason, officials left the dies out in the elements, and in the months before October the dies suffered some pretty serious rust.  When the rust was cleaned off the prior to use, small dimples were left in the dies – dimples which appear as raised “beauty marks” on the coins themselves, especially around the date.    Also, early in production it appears that the obverse and reverse dies must have clashed with no gold planchet in the proper place, and so on subsequent coins the marks from this clash can be seen from the Eagle’s beak to its wing, and around the arrows in its claws.

     The 1846-C Quarter Eagle is the 9th coin in the set of 20 different Charlotte $2.50 Gold coins, and in my opinion the 2nd or 3rd rarest in the set – but perhaps the most interesting of all.

     Because of her history and rarity, her trials and charming imperfections, I call the 1846-Charlotte Quarter Eagle the “Southern Darling” of U.S. coins.  While About Uncirculated examples can trade only in the $6,500 to $16,000.00 range as of June 2014, she is extremely difficult to locate at any price. For the few who do find one, I urge you to appreciate her story as an allegory of the American South.


Visit our Charlotte Mint Resource Page for more information on the Charlotte Mint.