The price of gold was on the verge of overheating during late July as it hit a new intraday record high of $1,974.70 on July 28th, surpassing the previous intraday record-high of $1,923.70 set in September 2011. After a minor pullback for a couple days, gold went on to top $1,980.00 during the morning of July 31st. The price of silver began the month of July just pennies above $18.00, briefly hitting a multi-year high of $26.27 during the trading day on July 28th.
Investors around the world are seeking precious metals as safe-haven assets that provide stores of value. Their concerns are multi-faceted, from a global economic crisis caused by the pandemic, a decline in interest rates and the depreciation of the dollar, to social unrest and rising geopolitical tensions. As Congress negotiates to provide yet another economic stimulus package, investors are concerned about a long-term surge in
inflation. Precious metals are time-tested assets that offer protection from inflation, with demand that spills over into rare coins.
According to Kitco News, two well-known precious metals experts,
Jim Rickards, best-selling author, and Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, are predicting that gold prices will rise to $15,000 and $26,000 per ounce. “I would put gold at $15,000 an ounce before 2025,” Rickards told Kitco News. “If you just take the average of the prior bull markets: 1971 to 1980, nine years, 2200%, 1999 to 2011, a twelve-year bull market, about 700%. Just take the average, you don’t have to go to the higher of the two
or extrapolate, if you just take the average of the two you would say the next bull market is going to be a little over 10 years and it’s going to go up
1500%,” he said.
According to Schiff, “Another way to look at it is to just look at the price of gold in relation to the Dow Jones, because you have historical reference points where twice in the prior century at significant bear market lows,the Dow traded down to a single ounce of gold: 1932 the Dow Jones was roughly equal to an ounce of gold, and in 1980, the Dow was roughly equal to an ounce of gold,”Schiff said. He added that at the current levels of the Dow Jones, the price of gold will have to equal $26,000 an ounce to achieve a 1:1 Dow/gold ratio.
Just the anticipation of a high gold price is very bullish for carefully selected rare coins! Historically, the rare coin market follows major trends inprecious metals prices.
CAC Morgan Dollar Market Trends
Morgan silver dollars have long stood the test of time as the most
popularly collected series of U.S. coins. Even when the huge hoard of 400,000 silver dollars from the LaVere Redfield estate was sold into the market during the late 1970s, rather than flooding the market, the collecting of silver dollars grew rapidly. At that time, gem condition Morgans could be obtained for less than $20. I was able to buy what would be today’s MS-67, MS-67+ and MS-68 Morgans for $18 to $22 in those days. I ran ads in Coin World with the headline, “Superdollars for the Perfectionist.” At $45 to $90, I sold out every time.
Then, people caught on and Morgans of that quality quickly became difficult to find and began to cost much more.
Now, registry collectors have driven prices of gem quality Morgans to unprecedented levels. Case in point: this past January Heritage Auctions sold an 1883-O PCGS/CAC MS-68 Morgan for $60,000! This is one of the most common issues of silver dollars. It’s the only ’83-O graded MS-68 by PCGS and there have been no 1883-O 68s graded at NGC. Think of what truly rare,high-grade coins could be bought for $60,000!
So, while the market will undoubtedly achieve more price records in the near future, a thorough update of CAC Morgan dollar values has revealed a trend that shows some price resistance for top-of-the-pop CAC Morgans. I believe there are multiple reasons for this and I believe this resistance will be short-lived, given the stimulus measures that are being injected into the economy and soaring precious metals prices.
Registry collections continue to get sold and new collections are being started, both by new collectors and by those who have completed other collections and are seeking a new challenge. The bright spot in the market is the current bull market in precious metals. As new collectors are brought into the fold by their attraction to precious metals, the Morgan dollar series is a very likely place for them to begin collecting.
At the low end of the mint state grading scale that we publish for CAC coins – MS-63 to MS-64 – there has been a modest trend in price upticks for CAC Morgans. While price increases have been slight, this is evidence of a market expansion from new collectors. Prices for the most common Morgans in this grade range are steady. It’s the coins in the $100 to $1,000 range that have seen slight price increases. Numerous CAC Morgans have shown price increases at higher values as well, but as indicated above, some
issues have shown price resistance, which I believe is temporary. For a few of the scarce to rare Morgan dollar issues, a few more auction sales have given us sales data that was previously lacking, providing real price points rather than estimates.
CAC Morgan Dollar Highlights
First, I want to mention that high-grade, wildly toned Morgan dollars often sell for much more money than the high end of our market value ranges. That said, MS-66 and higher Morgans with original surfaces frequently exhibit attractive toning, as expected. But prices for coins that have sold for obvious high premiums because of exquisite toning are excluded from our market values.
In some cases, brilliant untoned Morgans sell for high premiums also.
A good example is a PCGS/CAC MS-66 1878-CC that brought $18,000 in a February Heritage auction. That price compares to our market value range of $5,000 to $8,000. In fact, six MS-66+ PCGS/CAC examples have sold since January 2019 at prices that ranged from $6,195 to $14,688. The $18,000 coin was the first MS-66 example to sell at a major auction in about a year,but 53 in MS-66 have been stickered by CAC, so this is not a very rare coin.
By far, the vast majority of CAC-stickered coins that have appeared in major auctions have been graded by PCGS, and typically, they tend to bring higher prices than NGC/CAC coins. For example, five MS-68+ 1881-S dollars sold so far in 2020 illustrate this trend. The PCGS/CAC examples sold for these prices: $10,575, $10,800 and $9,900, while the NGC/CAC examples brought $4,920 and $6,300. Such price differences between coins
originally graded by the two services often result in wide market value ranges. In this case, our range is $5,000 to $11,000.
However, there are quite a few instances in which NGC/CAC coins
sell for much more money than PCGS/CAC coins of the same grade and
issue. In June last year, Heritage sold an NGC/CAC MS-65 1893 dollar for $30,000. That price compares to four PCGS/CAC examples that sold at major auctions in 2019 and 2020: $4,080, $3,360, $3,600 and $5,698.
Perhaps the NGC/CAC coin was purchased as a possible upgrade,
but it didn’t have a gold CAC sticker, so CAC didn’t think it was better,and the coin was not plus-graded.
One coin that was upgraded from PCGS/CAC MS-66 to PCGS/CAC
MS-66+ is an 1887-0 dollar. It’s the only 1887-0 stickered by CAC as an MS-66 (now a 66+) and the only MS-66+ graded by PCGS, with none graded in 66+ by NGC. As a 66, the coin sold in the January 2019 Heritage “FUN”auction for $43,200. Then, after getting its upgrade, it brought $48,000 in a September Heritage Long Beach sale. Normally, we’d expect a larger price difference, but as this is such a rare silver dollar in this high grade, I suspect it originally brought a premium price in 2019 for its rarity factor, not leaving much upside.
Lastly, just one 1892-S Morgan is stickered by CAC in MS-63, four in MS-64, and two in MS-67. None have been stickered in MS-65 and MS-66.
For this reason, there’s a “dangling” market value for MS-67, with no values listed between MS-64 and MS-67.
Market Values Added for 1895 Cameo Dollar As you know, the 1895 Morgan dollar is a proof only issue. Therefore, some collectors do not include this coin in their mint state sets, others leave
it out because of the cost. Plenty of other collectors include this coin issue,
simply because it exists. CAC has stickered 65 proof 1895 dollars: 28 as proof, 31 as cameo proof, and 6 as deep cameo proof. There are not enough CAC deep cameo proof 1895 dollars to include them in this guide, but values have been added for the cameo proofs.
One notable sale of a PCGS/CAC Proof 67+ Deep Cameo 1895 dollar
took place in a late June sale by David Lawrence Rare Coins. The coin brought $269,500. This untoned beauty exhibits full-contrast “black and white” surfaces.