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Strong Collector Demand Persists in 2022 as Scarce Coins are Held Off Market

By Victor Bozarth and Mark Ferguson - April 12, 2022

After a record-setting year for coin prices, market momentum continues to build strength in 2022. This follows a year in which more than half a billion dollars’ worth of rare U.S. coins and currency were sold by the largest auction companies. Record auction prices realized have been reported by all the large U.S. auction companies, making 2021 a record-setting year for our industry. Small auctions and private sales elevate total coin market sales in the United States to $5 billion or more, according to some analysts. But as a private market, it’s impossible to calculate total annual sales for the entire coin market.

Competition remains fierce among the wealthy to acquire major rarities, setting record prices, while mainstream collectors have been forced to pay higher prices for scarce coins that they wouldn’t have considered paying, even a year ago. This trend continues unabated in 2022.

Hidden Undercurrent of Present Market

While higher prices make news, the lack of availability of scarce and rare coins is a hidden undercurrent of the present market. This lack of availability of coins is felt by the auction companies as well. To attract consignments, competition between the auction houses remains aggressive.

For example, the U.S. coins portion of the official 2022 Florida United Numismatists (FUN) sale by Heritage Auctions contained just 2,087 lots. This is a significantly smaller total of lots offered for U.S. coins than in several Heritage FUN auctions of five to 10 years ago. More favorable terms for consignors may be possible to negotiate because of the strong competition between the auction houses.

Reports from many smaller and mid-sized dealers have been positive despite recent COVID-19 issues. Indeed, with many of the larger U.S. coin companies canceling travel and convention plans, buying opportunities for smaller dealers who are attending bigger numismatic conventions and smaller coin shows has increased.

Both collectors and dealers hope that higher prices will entice more great coins into the market. Surely, higher prices will help, but our assessment of current market conditions concludes that life-changing events, like retirement, divorce, or even death are more likely to bring important collections to market. On the other hand, well-known collectors like Bob Simpson, Dr. Steven Duckor, and many other PCGS Set Registry collectors have often sold some of their sets after completing them, only to begin building new collections in different series.

U.S. Mint Introduces New Quarters Program in 2022

This year the U.S. Mint has introduced a new series of coins, called the American Women Quarters Program. The U.S. Mint will issue five different coin designs each year, from 2022 to 2025, celebrating women’s accomplishments and contributions throughout history. This year’s designs will honor Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong.

The 2022 Women on Quarters Program debuts with an issue honoring renowned poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
Courtesy of the United States Mint.

The Negro Leagues Baseball coin series is another release by the U.S. Mint this year. At PCGS, we look forward to seeing and grading the new coins released from the U.S. Mint every year, many of which will excite collectors for generations to come.

Article provided by PCGS at
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