Dealers dish on standout areas in ’22

This is the final story in a two-part series.

As the overall market outlook remains positive heading into the new year, several areas of Canadian numismatics have stood out to dealers in 2022.

After reaching unprecedented heights during the first two years of COVID-19, the general market has since experienced “a bit of a contraction” to early or pre-pandemic levels, according to dealer Sandy Campbell, of Baddeck, N.S. Rare, fresh or high-grade items have brought strong prices, lending truth to the age-old numismatic adage stating quality always appreciates.

“In general, all parts of the market are still healthy, but a few parts have struggled from time to time, and a few areas have accelerated, all for different reasons,” said Campbell, the owner of Proof Positive Coins, who has more than 40 years in the business. “That’s sort of the norm through any period. Where you’re seeing crazy pricing is on things that are very different to find; the middle-of-the-road material seems to have come back to pre-pandemic levels.”

Campbell noted three “very strong” areas of the market of late – silver dollars, modern proof-like (PL) coins and gold.

Among the silver dollars, issued from 1935-67, the 1948 issue boasts the series’ lowest mintage at 18,780 (excluding the earlier 1911 silver dollar, of which only three examples are known). This year, several Mint-State (MS) examples brought strong auction results, but coins from across the grading scale also provided estimate toppers.

In April, a 1948 $1 coin in MS-65 from International Coin Certification Service (ICCS) sold for $14,340, nearing its $15,000 estimate, as Lot 382 of the Prominence Sale VII hosted by the Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC).

The following lot of the same sale offered another example in ICCS About Uncirculated-50. It brought more than 150 per cent of its estimate, selling for $2,270.50.

A third example in ICCS Extremely Fine-40 (EF) crossed the block as Lot 384 and brought $2,031.50, topping its estimate by more than $500.

In July, another 1948 dollar in MS-64-plus from Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) brought $11,950, topping its estimate as Lot 426 of TCNC’s RCNA Sale.

Other examples in the RCNA Sale topped their estimates, some by nearly two times, including:

  • one in PCGS MS-63 that brought $4,481.25 on a $3,000 estimate as Lot 427;
  • one described by auctioneers as ‘EF-plus” that brought $1,912 on an estimate of $1,500 as Lot 428;
  • one described as “EF with issues” that brought $1,195 on a $600 estimate as Lot 429;
  • one described as “Very Fine” (VF) that brought $1,732.75 on a $1,000 estimate as Lot 430; and
  • an example described as “VF-plus” that brought $1,896 on a $1,100 estimate as Lot 431.

“As far as coins go, the silver dollar series is still very strong and with very little supply, especially with the issues from the 1940s,” said Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers (CAND) President Michael Findlay, of Angus, Ont.

Other currently strong key-date coins include Victorian decimal such as 1875 issues, 10-cent coins from 1889, 10-cent “Round Top” varieties from 1893, 50-cent “No LTW” varieties from 1870 and 50-cent coins from 1890. The 1921 five-cent coin, another key date, has also seen strong demand.

“Any of the real key coins in VG to VF or EF are very much in demand,” said Findlay, the owner of Certified Coins of Canada, who has more than 40 years in the business.

In the Prairies, Gatewest Coin’s Ian Laing echoed those market sentiments.

“In coins, all key dates have been strong, and exceptional pieces bring super prices. We’ve also seen some very good prices – really high, strong money – for spectacular type errors.”

Like Campbell, Laing also saw the bullion market help dealers over the last three years “gain extra income by handling gold or silver they probably wouldn’t have had a normal chance to handle.”

“Diversification is important, and the extra cash flow into regular dealers is also important. It gives them more money to use for inventory.”

A long-time medal collector, Laing noted exonumia, including medals and militaria, sometimes brought “even stronger prices than the coins.”

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