Article by:

Jon P. Sullivan
Sullivan Numismatics
News

Error Coin Market Update
- December 2015 -

The error coin market has been very active lately. Between eBay, major auctions, and business done with our clientele, it seems that the error coin market is generally very healthy, at least for us. There are of course some areas of weakness, and as a whole the error coin market has dropped off from some of the strength it was exhibiting several years ago, but overall we are happy with the activity and strength of the error coin market. Customers are buying coins, both expensive and inexpensive. We’ve seen people selling their collections (or parts of their collections), but with the exception of people leaving due to health or similar circumstances, most are selling simply so as to take their collections in a different direction, and are focusing on other error coins.

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Our last coin show, which was the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo on Baltimore, MD, was our busiest Baltimore show ever in terms of both buying and selling to retail customers. We bought and sold a lot of error coins, and some customers at the show later went on to also visit our website to find coins we did not have with us at the show. Overall, it was a very good show for us, and shows the state of the error coin market. One thing we did have was a lot of people asking for varieties (doubled dies, RPMs, etc.) We don’t deal in varieties other than an occasional coin here or there, but it would be good if someone would get into the variety field and really actively buy and sell 20th century varieties. Of course there are some people selling them, but there isn’t anyone at coin shows who specializes only in die varieties who (that we know of) actively buys and sells.

There are opportunities in error collecting. Some series are more affordable than they used to be, and collectors wishing to collect “complete sets” of an error type by date and mintmark could do so in many different series of error coins that at this time and really not have much competition. One series which seems undervalued right now is the off-center. We currently do not have any customers looking to build complete sets by date and mint, and scarcer dates/mints we’ve seen sale, and done so for low prices. A collector wanting to build a complete set would not have a lot of competition. Other series such as off-center Jefferson nickels, dimes, and quarters are in the same boat, with no one (we know of) trying to build complete sets. Nice, problem-free off-metals in the $200-$400 range are generally a good value in our opinion as well. They are collected, but we are surprised how often they under sale when sold in major auctions.

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Nice coins are selling, and although as a whole they are selling at lower prices than perhaps 3-7 years ago, they are still very active, and we have moved a lot of coins in the $1000-$6000 price range of late, and a number of coins in the $10,000+ range. These very rare or exotic major errors are very appealing to collectors, and we’ve noticed that collectors who perhaps used to collect less expensive errors, are now in their “later years of collecting” wanting to sale those errors, consolidate and buy small, manageable collections of valuable, major errors. We think this is a solid plan on their part, since nice, rare errors with good eye-appeal are by their nature fun to collect and also offer a greater opportunity to make money when resold in the future since there are always many collectors who would love to own them. Of course true collectors do not buy coins purely with the intent to make money, but they should take it into consideration when buying coins. Usually, investors don’t make as much money as “pure” collectors, since the investor tends to sale too soon and also simply doesn’t understand the market as well as the collector does. A collector who plans to “buy and hold” but who also considers future values will be the best off.

The FUN show is coming up in less than a month, and with it will be many opportunities to buy or sell your error coins. If you are attending the show, stop by our table to buy, sell, or simply talk about error coins. The auctions, the activity on the show floor, and the results from other error coin dealers will be interesting, and will show to some degree how the error coin market is doing.


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