Independent Grading and the Market for Mexican Coins

I don’t know that if this is an indication of the adage that when your wife falls pregnant, all you see are pregnant women everywhere, however this seems to be the week when there is further news about the impact that independent grading has had on another market for world coins, this time the market for Mexican / Latin American coins.

The commentary came by way of a newsletter mailed out to customers of the Mexican Coin Company - I’m unable to find a link to it on their website, so will cut and paste a few of the relevant extracts below for you to read over:

“…about ten years ago the practice of slabing coins gained footing in the foreign market and has become the standard. The auction companies are now fully on board and many of the old style dealers have thrown in the towel and joined the party. Whether you agree with the practice or not, it is the market of today.”

“This strength of this trend varies among market segments. While a large percentage of high grade type coins are being slabed, areas such as war for independence, state coppers and revolutionary coinage are still bought and sold raw.”

Independent grading of coins has probably only gained traction here in Australia over the past 3–4 years, so we probably have some way to go before these trends take full effect in the Australian market.

“The second major trend is the rise of internet purchasing. We now sell more coins over the internet than we do at coin shows. Collectors have been slow to accept this trend as for many, including us, the social aspect of the shows is a significant part of the experience.”

There’s no doubt that this is the case here in Australia - I know it is the case for us (at Sterling & Currency), and I have little doubt it is the same for other dealers as well.

“The third trend has been the growing community of new collectors who purchase only slabed high grade type coins. This new group has contributed to an ever rising market for high grade type coins and a widening spread between MS60 and MS 65 coins. Given all the changes in the market place over the past decade, we see the movement toward high grade type coins continuing for the foreseeable future.”

We’ve seen some apparently outlandish prices for high-grade type coins at auction and on eBay in recent months, this result of around A$3,000 being paid for a 1910 Threepence NGC-graded at MS67 just one example:

Comments such as those made above by the dealer in Mexican coins indicates that these “crazy prices” may be around for some time yet!

“At the other end of the spectrum the market is very stagnant for lower grade material. Not only are the circulated coins stagnant in value, they are becoming more and more difficult to sell.”

These comments show me that budget-minded collectors that are more interested in enjoying the background to inexpensive coins than getting the finest known examples of every date in a series will be able to continue to enjoy their hobby for many years to come.