Who says a dollar doesn’t buy what it used to?
Heritage Auctions sold an 1804 U.S. silver dollar for $3.9 million less than a year ago.
As is the case with many rare coins, the silver dollar has a fascinating backstory. According to the Dallas-based company, the coin was actually made in 1834 or 1835 despite the 1804 date. U.S. State Department representatives used the coin as a diplomatic gift on trade missions to the Middle East and Asia.
It is one of only eight of its kind and is considered one of the most prized U.S. coins.
Collectible coins can be a fun and potentially profitable way for investors to diversify traditional investment portfolios.
The emphasis should be on the “potential” nature of profits and the longer-term perspective these investments require. Like other collectibles, coins involve dealer markups and price volatility.
The Professional Coin Grading Service 3000 price index, which includes multiple component-coins, peaked at $181,000 in May 1989 before dropping precipitously to about $47,000 in December 1994. Prices recovered somewhat, but the financial crisis knocked the index back from about $73,000 in late 2008 to roughly $67,000 in mid-2012.
The benchmark now trades at around $67,740, slightly off its 12-month high of 67,935.
The current market looks healthy, says Chris Lane, general manager of numismatics with Heritage Auctions. In addition to Heritage’s successful auctions featuring rare coins, he points to the very strong demand for the U.S. Mint’s March sale of Baseball Hall of Fame coins as an example of market strength.