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Brian’s Rare Coin Market Report and Outlook, June 8, 2018

Author: Brian Kendrella / Thursday, June 07, 2018 / Categories: Brian’s Rare Coin Market Report and Outlook

​I believe that a major indicator of numismatic market strength is the quantity and type of property coming to auction. For the majority of our clients, collecting is completely discretionary; there is rarely a need to sell.  However, our clients in particular are very astute, as is the collectibles market in general.  Prices realized are closely monitored and studied and when clients feel the potential to achieve strong prices for their property, they bring them to market.  


Over the past 18 months, we have increasingly seen more material come to market, drawn by strong prices realized.  No better example of this comes to mind than our forthcoming ANA auction.  Never have we had such a quality sale with such representation across all categories: United States coins, world and ancient coins, U.S. paper money and world paper money.  In addition to the August ANA auction, we also have a robust Summer Baltimore auction and exciting offerings in the pipeline for our Fall Baltimore auction.  

Similar trends have recently been displayed in other collecting categories.  A staggering $1.9 billion of art was bought and sold a couple of weeks ago in New York.  This is up $300 million from equivalent sales in May 2017, with all three of the major auction houses posting impressive year over year gains: Christie’s up 15%, Sotheby’s up 35% and Phillips up 21%.  (The major art houses New York fall 2017 auctions nearly doubled the results of the equivalent sales from November 2016.)

Amazingly, the above numbers do not include Christie’s sales of the Rockefeller Collection, which realized $832 million just a couple of weeks earlier!

As I mentioned in previous market reports, the strength of the global economy and equities markets have created tremendous wealth, primarily for the wealthy.  This tremendous wealth creation and strong economic outlook, coupled with the recent slight pullback in equities and increased equities market volatility, have brought a large influx of money into collectibles, with coins finding its fair share of that cash.

As a result, we expect to see continued strength in the numismatic market over the near term and are positive about the market outlook for the next 12 months.


Delightful Gem 1812 Capped Bust Half Eagle $95,000

1812 Capped Bust Left Half Eagle. BD-2. Rarity-4+. Close 5D. MS-65 (PCGS).


This satiny Gem will be right at home in the finest type set or advanced early gold collection. It displays even deep yellow gold color over smooth and highly lustrous surfaces. The devices are boldly struck and there is not a single area of distraction. Seldom are Capped Bust Left half eagles of any date or die marriage offered that are as technically sound and aesthetically pleasing as this delightful 1812 making this a prime opportunity for the knowledgeable collector.



On June 18, 1812, President James Madison declared war on the United Kingdom in response to impressment of American sailors and interference in America's expansion westward, thus precipitating an armed conflict that would last the next two and a half years. In the midst of this turmoil, business carried on as usual at the Philadelphia Mint in the opening year of the War of 1812. Gold coins remained in demand for foreign trade and production did not slow down. The reported mintage for all 1812 half eagle varieties is 58,087 pieces, but this is likely low. Work to extend die life seems to have paid off dividends as the entire mintage of at least 58,087 pieces was accomplished using only one obverse and two reverse dies. The significantly scarcer of the two pairings, the BD-2 variety can be recognized by the close 5 D. denomination indicator on the reverse, the only use for this die. It has been estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 coins were struck with this combination, and with a general attrition rate of under 1%, this leaves less than 100 examples in all levels of preservation for numismatists to admire. Fortunately for admirers of early American gold coinage, the 1812 half eagles are among the most available of the Capped Bust series in Mint State and are generally very well struck, making the issue a prime candidate for inclusion in a top grade type set. A glorious example from the last issue of the Capped Bust half eagles and one deserving of a place of honor in the finest cabinet.

All the best, 

Brian Kendrella