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Rare Money Blog

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

​Stack's auction program for 1989 was large and important. This was the second year since the 20% drop of the Stock Market on "Black Monday," October 19, 1987. While things were recovering, it was a slow process. and the effects were felt for two years. This drop had been caused by the failure of the bond market to make promised payments and interest to many investors, leading to a wild sell off. During this period hobbies slowed down, but the numismatic market seemed to stay basically stable, as many collectors continued to enjoy the hobby and see coins as a store of value.​

​As noted earlier, in May 1989 I took part in a debate with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the merits of their plan to require licensing of professional coin dealers. This debate was held at the Metropolitan New York Convention. Each side presented its case. Barry Cutler, the Director of the Federal Exchange Commission (FTC) led off the discussions stating that U.S. coins were being counterfeited and sold as authentic and that there were Investment Funds that sold gold to clients at a low premium, stored them "free of charge," but did not ever deliver them to the buyer. 

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

​1989 was a year of great growth in the numismatic hobby. Many collectors entered the field, stimulated by the Mint's advertising program that promoted Mint sets, Proof sets and special commemoratives with the line "An investment in the future." This attracted young collectors to the field and appealed to their relatives who bought them these new issues to put away for the "future." Additionally, special reports from Wall Street by Salomon Brothers showed that coins were increasing in value more rapidly than art, precious metals and other collectibles, and this too was a stimulus.​

By Harvey G. Stack

​Looking forward to 1988, we did not anticipate the changes that were before us, as several happenings took place a few months before the New Year, and other events occurred after the year started. The numismatic market had its ups and downs starting in late October right into the new year 1988, yet the drop in value related more to the modern issues which depended on the values of precious metals. Interest also decreased in the newer U.S. Mint products, as well as items from many newer series.

By Harvey G. Stack, Founder

​The year 1987 witnessed a mass expansion of the use of third-party grading services in the numismatic hobby, both by dealers and collectors. The issue of standardizing grading was not new as it had been an ongoing situation that could be traced back for decades, even centuries. Over the course of time there had been various attempts to define and perfect the art of grading, as have been discussed in earlier parts of this story.

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

In 1986 the United States Mint decided to expand the scale of their "rare coin business," selling lots of new products at a profit, to both beginning and advanced collectors. This included special issue commemorative coins and bullion issues that were sold above current bullion market prices. This was in addition to the millions of coin sets that the Mint had been issuing since after World War II, prices of which had been driven up by the increase in the cost of silver. The Mint had a prestige place in the system and could sell their products using the advertising slogan: "An Investment for the Future." ​

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

The year of 1986 brought two changes that would be very influential to the hobby’s future: advances in professionally-run grading services and the increased scale of the United States Mint’s involvement in numismatics. ​​

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

In September 1985, Stack’s auctioned 1,954 lots of very interesting coins from a variety of popular series. It provided a great chance for collectors to “fill in the gaps.” Whether it was type coins from half cents to double eagles, Proof sets, or rolls of coins, one could find them in this comprehensive sale. It was a typical sale for Stack’s at the time, with consignments from a number of fine collectors, most of whom used our sales to gather funds for new purchases, to complete a collection or start a new series. This made our “typical” sales very popular with both bidders and consignors.​

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