The year is off to a good start in our opinion, with our sales being brisk, major auction results looking relatively strong, and overall good activity in the market. We have been through a number of major coin shows, auctions, and have been able to get a feel for how the error coin market is doing.
There are strong areas and weak areas, with some of the more common (even if expensive) errors types being generally weak, and but with the truly rare, dramatic, or unusual error types being in demand. We are out of stock of many error types, and coins we have often had multiples of, and currently we cannot find replacements. This shows the strength of the market to us. Although we cannot know what the rest of the year will bring, we are optimistic and please with how the year is going so far, and are looking forward to the rest of the year.
So what are some areas which are good collecting opportunities right now? Certain types of errors have dropped in price in the last number of years, and prices are at the lowest they’ve been in years for some of these error types. This is an opportunity for collectors to start building a collection. Although error coin collecting is not really an investment, the investing mantra “buy low, sell high”, bears some relevance to collecting. So here are some areas which we believe are good values right now (these are not listed in order of “good value.”)
1.Lincoln cent on Roosevelt dime double-denominations
Average Cost: $750
These have come down in price over the last several years, with “common date” 11c coins selling for around $500-$650 in average mint state grades. Even some of the scarcer dates sale in this price range or a little more due to a lack of demand. A collection by date would make a very challenging and difficult set—but the difficulty is half the fun, which would make it a good set.
Because there is little competition for the rare dates/mints at this time, this would make a great set to work on right now.
2.State Quarter Errors
Average Cost: Varies
The market for state quarter errors priced under about $1,000 is soft right now, making for a good collecting opportunity.
There are any number of error types to collecting within the state quarter series: missing clad layers, double-strikes, off-centers, elliptical clips, etc. Pick an error type and then start collecting it. There is a lot of fun in trying to accomplish a set like this, and quite a challenge as well. 50 coins would be required to complete a set for any of these error types, with some states being super rare, and some being relatively common. Prices on these generally are 25-50% lower than they were 10 years ago, and that’s a good thing for collecting them.
3.Modern Off-Centers by Date/Mintmark
Average Cost $5-$75
Pick a series from Lincoln cents to Kennedy half dollars, and all are soft right now, with prices down. Although there are serious collectors forming sets, there aren’t as many right now, making for a good opportunity.
A good idea would be to pick a series, for example Lincoln Memorial cents, and then build a set by date and mintmark, with a requirement that all coins being 40-60% off-center, and mintstate, and with no major problems (counting wheel marks, etc, are so common on off-centers, it’s ok to have one, but nothing really obvious or major.) A set like this will cost much less than it did 10 years ago.
4.Off-Metal Jefferson Nickels on Cent Planchets
Average Cost: $350 a coin
Prices are pretty soft right now, with the exception of the earlier date coins (which are so rare that they are always in high demand.) Doing a set by date or date and mintmark would be very challenging, so a date set might be a better option. Also, the error type itself makes a nice collection because the error is very obvious since the off-metal is a big contrast (copper vs normal nickel.)
A good idea might be to limit the set to start in 1955, since many of the dates and mints prior to that year are rare and hard to find (although doing such a set would be neat and a great challenge for the collector who is up to it.) The coins in the 1990’s will be very tough as well, although because most collectors don’t realize just how rare they are, you could likely pick them up (if you were lucky enough to find one) at a relatively low price.
5.Buffalo Nickel Off-Centers
Average Cost: $750
Although always popular, at the moment buffalo nickel off-centers are fairly cheap. There have been enough of them come on the market in the last 5-10 years, that prices are lower than they used to be for most off-centers (very nice or very rare date examples being the exception.)
Collecting a date or date and mintmark set would be very challenging and fun, although more expensive than other coin series. Being a beautiful and popular design makes them a somewhat more expensive, but also a more attractive set.
6.Lincoln Cent Die Caps
Average Cost $350
These have dropped about 25-50% in the last 10 years, with coins being very affordable right now. 10 years ago they were selling for about $500, but have dropped in recent years. a Dramatic error and we like them.
7.Missing Clad Layers on 10c, 25c, Pres/Sac $1 and SBA $1
Average Cost: 10c $35, 25c $40, $1 $200-$400
While these used to be about 50% more expensive than they are now, over the last few years they’ve dropped in price. Generally, these are a good area to be collecting right now, since prices are down.
There are other areas which are good values, but these are a handful of areas worthy of consideration for collecting right now. If what you are buying right now is “hot”, with prices going up, maybe it’s a good time to stop collecting so much in that area, and pick one of these or some other area in the error coin market which is experiencing weakness. Most price drops in the coin hobby do not last, with fresh collectors eventually coming back in and pushing prices back up. Of course there’s no guarantee of that, but as they say “buy low and sell high”, and these are some “low” areas at the present time.