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The United States Commemorative Coin Market

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During the past several years we have followed the commemorative coin series in an inarticulate manner. We could see no reason for using valuable space ‘Voicing our Opinions’ and have no ambition to be known as prophets in the coin business. We can therefore offer these comments without assuming the ‘I told you so manner,’ or retracting any previous statements.


Our view-point, while neither novel nor especially devised to encourage speculation, is that commemorative half-dollars have probably the best future of all United States coins. They are the only distinctive series (aside from the Private Gold Issues) that have and many are historically as important as any modern issues.


The events of the passing summer have caused collectors no little uneasiness. Recent issues fluctuated in a manner quite unrelated to their rarity and in general the market slid off. This condition was not caused by dealers or collectors but by speculators.


Most of them had been investing their bread and butter money in coins and they soon grew weary of being hounded by bill collectors. So they offered their coins for whatever they could get and the dull summer market could not absorb the pieces offered. This state of affairs is a very natural one and will react in the collector’s favor. The coins will find their way into collector’s cabinets and dealer’s stocks where they belong and the market will automatically adjust itself. In the meantime don’t sell the commemorative coin market short.


It is not possible in this short space to discuss the possible merits of each issue but while we are on the subject we would like to make a remark we have had on the tip of our tongues since the commemorative market attracted little politicians, bankers, hall – bedroom stamp dealers and other uninteresting characters.


Previous to 1934 it is not probable that collectors could absorb more than a few thousand coins of each issue. The remainder of the issues became pocket-pieces or were gradually returned to the mint. Today, with the number of collectors greatly increased, it does not seem likely that there are enough uncirculated coins of the early issues to go around.


The fluctuations in the price of recent issues does not reflect the true value of commemorative coins, neither does the fact that many early issues are still considered common and sell for a dollar or so each. They will not always be known as common and the collector should use every effort to obtain these early pieces in uncirculated condition at the present low price.”1




1 The Coin Collector’s Journal, The United States Commemorative Coin Market, An Editorial by Wayte Raymond, Editor. October, 1937, p. 145.



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