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Opportunity Knocks at Auction
May 15, 2008

Are there any rare coins left in collections?

Seems like a silly question, but I was paging through auction catalogs for the sales that will be held in the last week of May both before and during the Long Beach show.

Wow. It is amazing what is going on the block.

Collectors at certain levels of achievement find that it is very difficult to carrry on to a logical conclusion because certain rarities come into the market only infrequently. That can stymie many a hobbyist with large sums at his disposal. This is their time. Act now. It is a limited opportunity.

The present market environment seems to be at that rare point in time when generational shifts, profit-takers and routine business factors all seem to be working in favor of bringing coins to market.

The generational shift means none of us is getting younger and sooner or later prudent financial planning means selling off beloved coins. That certainly seems to be the case with the April sale of the David Queller Collection. It was apparent how emotionally bound up he was in his coins. He is not alone. We all feel it, but we all aren't going to have an auction catalog with our name on it.

Profit-takers who bought coins a few years ago, even six months, ago might decide now is the time to take money off the table in view of the uncertainties in the economy and in the rest of the world.

For regular dealers it has been conventional wisdom since the present market got truly hot that the absolute best way to get the highest possible price for quality coins and bank notes is to consign them to a public auction.

How long this happy confluence of factors will remain is anyone's guess, but boy oh boy do I enjoy seeing what is coming up for sale.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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