An article by a journalist from Coins Magazine posted yesterday held some pretty common cents comments on the US coin market, comments that resonate with my own observations of how things are travelling here.
To paraphrase MrThere is no doubt we are in economic trouble, but is the coin market? I think not. Coin collectors are generally a pretty financially conservative group. The exceptions are the high fliers and those who feed outside the traditional marketplace, such as TV and fancy ad promos in flight magazines, credit card stuffers and general media. An inside view shows a mixed bag of signals, but the underlying collector base is strong. There are few real collectors that I know who are financially troubled."
What I've seen here with my own clients, and those that are active at trade shows and via auction is this - collectors that have confidence in the wisdom of their own decision-making, and are (as yet!) unaffected financially by the financial crisis to date are still active. Collectors that don't have deep knowledge of the market but were happy to be during the good old days (ie prior to the GFC caused the level of their income; expenses or nett worth to gyrate wildly), have in many cases pulled their horns in, which has resulted in price volatility in certain sectors of the market.
Mr Miller goes on to say that "So there is plenty of strength out there but not if you have the wrong stuff and need to raise cash, but even then there are ready buyers at the right price." This comment emphasises the point further - collectors generally don't buy the wrong stuff, and if they do they only buy it at a (relatively low) price.
These comments were pretty much reinforced by another (and much longer) article posted over on CoinLink the same day, where the journalist, Greg Reynolds stated "...there are plenty of buyers for scarce and rare coins at the current price levels, and there were a substantial number of serious collectors buying at the Convention or being represented by dealers."
What does this mean for the rest of us that are active in the market? First point of order I'd be suggesting is probably a bit radical - to become like a collector! Not necessarily to go out and get one of those jackets with the leather patches on the elbows and then drone on at dinner parties about how wonderful your collection is. No, it is to pick a field of numismatics that you're prepared to specialize in, then spend time developing knowledge of that field so you're able to identify opportunities and take advantage of them. The best way to do that is by starting to read - if you haven't scanned the books section of our online store yet, make sure you do so. Any one of those books will get you on the way to developing mastery as a collector - the tweed jacket with leather patched elbows I'll leave up to you to track down.