A Time Capsule of Prices

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A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by DHalladay » Sun May 24, 2020 1:01 am

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“Let’s see… what’s here on the bottom shelf?”

So far, these three months of self-quarantining have turned out to be been pretty fun in VAM terms. It’s generated probably more coin playing time than in all of the previous 25 years combined, and led to a lot more coin photography, writing and talking to coin buddies.

It’s also been filled with memories. How come, after getting into bed at night, I can’t always remember whether the front door is locked, but seeing a coin acquired 20 years ago immediately takes me back to where and from whom it happened? I suspect you’re like that too.

Rediscovering what’s on the bottom shelf of my big office bookcase did the same thing today. It’s where I keep a hodge-podge collection of weekly Greysheets – Coin Dealer Newsletters – along with a year set of PCGS Pop Reports going back to 1988.

Talk about memories.

The old phrase, “If only something could talk” certainly applies to old Greysheets. Except, they really do speak volumes about where our hobby has been. Here are a few examples from the September 26, 1997 issue:
– Silver bullion was $4.63 per ounce.
– Gold bullion was $321.
– $20 St. Gaudens in MS63 were $450 Bid.
– Rolls of raw pre-21 Morgan in VF-up were $160 Bid.
– 1921-Ps in MS64 were $19 Bid (be still my heart!).
– Buy ads for GSA dollars offered $1,550 for 1879-CCs.
– VG-up Peace dollars were wanted at $5.70 each.

It probably comes as no surprise that most super-key Morgan dates have increased dramatically in price in 23 years. Here are some examples:
– 1884-S in MS64 was Bid at $36,000 back then. Today it’s $120,000.
– 1889-CC in MS63DM was Bid at $12,500. Today it’s $65,000.
– 1892-S in MS63 was $27,000. Today it’s $80,000
– 1893-S in MS60 was Bid at $23,000. Today it’s $155,000.

Most dates have gone up in price, but not in all grades. In MS65, several better dates have lower Bids today than in 1997. For instance:
– 1886-S in MS65 was $1,850. Today it’s $1,450.
– 1887-S was $2,200. Today it’s $1,250.
– 1888-S was $2,250. Today it’s $1,800.
– 1890-O was $1,380. Today it’s $900.
– 1891-P was $4,100. Today it’s $2,000.
– 1921-S was $1,000. Today it’s $450.

And there have also been steep declines in some longtime basic Morgan varieties:
– 1878-P 7TF R78 Bid in MS65 was $1,350. Today it’s $600.
– 1882-O/S Bid in MS64 was $1,800. Today it’s $1,300.
– 1887/6-P Bid in MS64 was $900. Today it’s $540.
– 1887/6-O Bid in MS64 was $8,250. Today it’s $2,850.

Another thing this old Greysheet reminded me about: I distinctly remember thinking back then that the type size of the printing was too small. Now it seems absolutely ridiculous. :lol:
Last edited by DHalladay on Sun May 24, 2020 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by Tekkie1 » Sun May 24, 2020 1:16 am

That's really cool Dennis, thanks.

If only we could go back for a few minutes... ;)

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by alefzero » Sun May 24, 2020 8:01 am

I have some really early greysheets and Teletrade Real Price Guides. The latter is probably the earliest VAM price guides that exist. I should jpg the relevant pages. There were only a few of us submitting VAMs to ANACS then for attribution. They were published around when the Top 100 was released. Some of the prices realized were insane.

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by morganman » Sun May 24, 2020 8:25 am

At the time of insane prices, I was lucky enough to be a major seller
into that hyped up craziness. I was averaging sales of 100k per month
on bay and other venues. This included so U S graded gold

It was a fantastic time when big money was made
I averaged 50k month in purchases. This was not un common back
in those haydays. Then credit card fraud exploded and seller rules &
fees went biserk. The good dealers quit the bay etc and all hell broke
with sales plummenting and e bay becomming a buyers venue, which
it is today. Its been a steady downhill ride ever since

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by raynat3 » Sun May 24, 2020 10:23 am

Dennis thanks for sharing and very interesting. What would you say is the driving force behind large increases in listed values of certain coins? I understand if new hoards of a date/mm come to market which can drive the price down, but what is driving it up? Is overall demand up for certain coins. Does this translate to more collectors or just more people willing to pay more for certain coins?

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by HawkeEye » Sun May 24, 2020 12:03 pm

I look at this from time to time and the 1881-O series has had some similar challenges. VAMs 1D, 5, and 27 have probably held their value, and PL/DMPL coins in most grades. But the series has otherwise suffered like most coins.

A nice reminder and thanks for doing the look back.
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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by Kurt28 » Sun May 24, 2020 9:09 pm

Prior to Treasury sales, the 1904-O was considered a scarce and pricey coin.
As an engineering student, I signed up for silver smithing classes when the Hunt brothers were driving silver towards $50.
And I recall selling a stack of gold American Eagles when the purchase price was $200/oz, to pay a divorce lawyer
Best money I ever spent.
Many a payday I paid my bills and then bought a Morgan for $5-$6.
Markets change.
As do I.

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by crabscrape » Sun May 24, 2020 9:38 pm

Thank you Dennis for the insight. I am glad to see you still have the memories of yesterday and time moves forward. What I really see today as I have always said! you don't have the younger generation stepping up to the plate with coins. Its the same old same old and its a shame its come to that. However, as we look back to how things use to be! we all have to do something different to make it better.

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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by vamnuke » Mon May 25, 2020 4:44 pm


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Re: A Time Capsule of Prices

Post by lured_in_again » Tue May 26, 2020 3:47 am

Interesting read.... A number of years back at a garage sale, I picked up a book by Q. David Bowers, "The Coin Dealer Newsletter, a study in Rare Coin Price Performance, 1963 - 1988" It has selected copies of the newsletter from each year, as well as many interesting articles about each years trends and events. 1979 - 1980 is quite interesting due to the silver price spike and crash. I have been looking through to see when Morgan dollar varieties starting making the weekly listings. The 7 over 8 TF of 1878 was on all lists in the book. Comparing the Dec. 1978 and Dec. 1979 listings, they added to the BU price listings for several differences... reverse changes (like 78 rev. of 79 7TF) the 1900 o / cc, and some overdates.
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