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Brian’s Rare Coin Market Report and Outlook November 30, 2017

By Brian Kendrella, President

Author: Brian Kendrella / Thursday, November 30, 2017 / Categories: Brian’s Rare Coin Market Report and Outlook

I am pleased to report that our recent Winter Baltimore Auction achieved total prices realized of $15.4 million, more than double the total prices realized of $7.4 million achieved in 2016.  The sale was highlighted by the Cardinal Collection, the Alexander Collection, and the Murray Hill Collection, as well as many other fantastic cabinets and individual rarities that created great excitement and attracted enthusiastic bidding.  Feedback from the sale and the prices realized was overwhelmingly positive as the market again demonstrated its strength. 

I’d like to personally thank each of our bidders and consignors who participated in the auction.

Market Report

Ten days ago, the major art houses concluded their New York Fall Auctions that brought astonishing results.  $2.3 billion worth of art was bought and sold at auction through 11 sales of Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary art in five very busy days. The combined total across all three houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips) nearly doubled the results of the equivalent sales in November 2016, which made $1.18 billion.  The market has not seen such lofty totals since the spring 2015 season when the sales brought a record $2.7 billion.

We saw similar year-over-year increases at the art houses’ New York Spring Auctions in May –with $1.6 billion sold versus $1.2 billion the prior year – as well as at their other headline events throughout the year.

What does the art market have to do with coins?  As I have pointed out on different occasions over the past year, the numismatic market has been closely following the trends seen in other major collectibles categories, particularly art, albeit at a much smaller scale. Numismatics has seen double digit growth in most auctions when compared to 2016.

It is my opinion that one of the best gauges of the health of any collectibles market is to analyze the amount of material coming to and being sold at auction.  Collectors are astute, closely following and analyzing the market and the prices generated for items that are similar to those in their collections.  If prices realized are strong, more collections and individual rarities come to market.  The double and sometimes triple digit growth seen in art, car, watch and numismatic auctions year over year is an obvious sign of market strength.

This growth has been driven by the strength of the U.S. and world economies and the stock market (we continue to push beyond the last “all time high”).  I recently read that $5.4 trillion of wealth has been created since the presidential election in November 2016.  A certain percentage of that wealth is finding its way into collectibles and is having a positive impact on the prices of rare coins and paper money, among other collectibles.  Given the fact that the numismatic market is just a fraction of the size of the art market, a relatively small influx of money can have dramatic impact on prices.

In the short term, it’s likely that the numismatic market will be relatively benign through the end of the year due to the holidays and lack of significant auctions or shows.  However, I expect 2018 to be quite dynamic, with collector demand continuing to outpace supply. Fresh and choice material should continue to bring strong prices as more wealth finds its way into numismatics driving prices higher.

We are putting the final touches on our Official NYINC Auction, with catalogs scheduled to be mailed the second week of December.  Our sale features a diverse and fantastic group of coins and bank notes from around the globe and is headlined by the Eldorado Collection of Colombian Coins and Paper Money, the finest collection of its kind.

We are still accepting consignments for our Spring Baltimore Auction, which is destined to be a landmark event.  The sale is highlighted by the A.J. Vanderbilt Collection of U.S. Coins and Paper Money (which drew tremendous attention during its first public display at the Winter Baltimore Show).  If you are interested in consigning, please contact me and I will be happy to work with you.

All the best,

Brian Kendrella