Blogs

Good Bye 2018, Hello 2019!

Welcome to
my last message of 2018. I hope the year has been a good one for you in
numismatics and in life. It has been a fine year here at Stack’s Bowers
Galleries. We have handled our share of great consignments and collections at
auction plus countless sales by private treaty. Our Internet-only sales have
expanded, enhancing our regular auction program.

Numismatics
is a different world from what it was a generation ago. Even in our public
gallery sales at conventions and other venues, nearly all of our bidding is
done in virtual reality on the Internet. Although we continue to publish them,
catalogs may be an endangered species. My first fixed-price list was issued in
autumn 1955 and now these sales devices are almost extinct. From that start in
1955, the parade continued to include the award-winning Rare Coin Review and Numismatic Sun. If you are an old-timer you may
remember these. Every now and again I think it might be a good idea to revive a
company magazine, but who knows?

The coin
market has been very strong in 2018, although for most series prices are
somewhat reduced from the market high in August 2013. This translates into
opportunity. Today in some series what cost $1,000 to buy then can cost $750 to
$800. Specialty groups are very strong. One of my missions is to try to have
people explore the nearly dozen such organizations. Most members who get
involved tend to remain as numismatists for many years. Those who come into the
field seeking quick profits on precious metals or common coins that seem for
the moment to be “rare” in certified grades such as 68 to 70 usually disappear
in a year or two. 

As 2019
beckons I suggest that you explore some of these niches. There are many in
which you can build a notable collection on a budget of $5,000 to $50,000 a
year. Colonials, early American coins by die varieties, tokens, medals, and
obsolete currency are among such specialties. There are more scholars and
researchers today than ever before in history. It is great fun to take a few
favorite pieces and research their history, by way of the seemingly endless
opportunities on the Internet. Build a numismatic library or add to the one you
already have. Emphasis titles with stories and history, rather than those which
are mainly prices. There are scattered exceptions, of course. The poster
example is A Guide Book of
United States Coins, 
which has
many prices, but also features a lot of useful information,
especially
the front matter preceding the first listings of colonial coins. Our auction
catalogs contain much history and other interesting information worth reading
and, who knows, you might discover a new field to collect.

Another
way to increase enjoyment of the hobby is to attend local or regional coin
shows, browse around, and talk with collectors and dealers. If you plan to be
at the Florida United Numismatists show in Orlando track me down at the Stack’s
Bowers Galleries table and chat. This invitation applies whether you are brand
new to the hobby or if you have been around for years.

For you
and your extended family, all good wishes for a happy, healthy, and enjoyable
New Year.

Dave
Bowers

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West Coast Office • (800) 458-4646

Midwest Office • (800) 817-2646

East Coast Office • (800) 566-2580

info@stacksbowers.com
 

Hong Kong, China Office • +852 2117 1191

infohk@stacksbowers.com

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