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Condition Census

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These aare usually the top coins of a particular variety. Heritage defines this as:


"A listing of the finest known examples of a particular issue. There is no fixed number of coins in a Condition Census."



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The term "Condition Census" originated with Sheldon. It was defined as the top 3-6 coins within a rarer date coin population.


As I understand it, the modern interpretation is loosely used to describe the layer of up to about 10 coins (or sometimes more) that grade just below the top graded specimen of a scarce/rare issue. For example, the 1856-P $3.00 Gold coin has a NGC MS65 Pop. of one coin and a MS64 Pop. of six coins. The MS64 coins would be considered to be "Condition Census" under this modern interpretation.


The value of these lower graded coins is directly one of demand. Only one collector can own the MS65-1856-P $3 Gold coin. This MS65 coin will/may command a price of 10X (or more) when compared to the MS64 coin prices. It also may be placed in a collection and taken off the market for many years.


Many collectors feel that the Condition Census coins offer greater upside price potential than the Top Pop, because there are more. They are occasionally available, at a price. Plus, if auction prices are strong, a nice Condition Census rare coin can often sell for prices at multiples of sheet values.


IMHO there is more long term pricing potential for the middle level collector with these coins than almost any other group. This is why I occasionally rant-on about higher grade (MS64 and above) Barber Half's, which in some issues are very scarce and with costs starting about $1000. There are also several US gold issues that fit this same profile.

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