- by Mike Fuljenz

In November, the news was that an investor group led by American billionair­e hedge fund manager and majority owner of the New York Mets Steven A. Cohen and collector Nat Turner plan to acquire Collectors Universe (NASDAQ: CLCT) for about $700 million. Collectors Universe is the parent company of PCGS (Profession­al Coin Grading Service) and PSA (Profession­al Sports Authentica­tor). Over nearly 35 years, PCGS has examined and certified more than 45 million U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens with a combined value of over $41.7 billion.

PCGS announced the addition of three experts and the promotion of one in December 2020. Jamie Kiskis of PCGS parent company Collectors Universe was named Vice President of Product Developmen­t; Mark Ferguson was named PCGS Senior Price Guide Consultant, and Peter Anthony was appointed PCGS Modern Chinese Coin Consultant. Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Rare Coin Market Report.

I see this very positive transactio­n as further validation of what NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporatio­n) Chairman Mark Salzberg stated in my previous column. Mark said: “For years, I have said that collectibl­es are an emerging asset class. Now truly is an exciting time to be part of the collectibl­e community.”


New coin designs are coming next year.

First, we are likely to see new versions of the Morgan and Peace dollars in 2021 to mark the centennial year of the final Morgan dollar and first Peace dollar in 1921. In mid-2021, we will also see a change in the reverse design of the gold and silver American Eagle bullion coins.

These will engender new interest in both the old and new designs and generate new interest in coin collecting, resulting in numerous new ads posted in various media, which generates new customers. Experience has shown us over the years that about one out of six of these new buyers of bullion coins later turns into buyers of numismatic coins, strengthen­ing the market for years.

After 2021, we will see another series of circulatin­g coins to be implemente­d between 2022 and 2030:

• Circulatin­g quarter dollars honoring women to be issued from 2022 through 2025

• Circulatin­g coins in multiple denominati­ons in

2026, celebratin­g America’s 250th birthday

• Award medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles

• Silver bullion coins with the same designs as all of the quarter dollars and half dollars authorized from 2022 through 2030, in the now-standard 5-ounce size and fractional sizes.

Also, we will likely see new alloys used in forthcomin­g coin mintages. This will also create new interest in the collector and investor communitie­s since first-year issues are especially popular, and their mintage totals are sometimes limited. The primary reason for these new alloys is to reduce production costs and limit future shortages. Coins under considerat­ion for change are the copper-plated zinc Lincoln cent, copper-nickel Jefferson 5-cent coin, copper-nickel clad Roosevelt dime and copper-nickel clad quarters. The cost savings will be greatest for the lower-denominati­on coins.

The U.S. Mint has come up with potential compositio­nal alternativ­es that offer cost savings for most small coins, except the cent. None of the currently known possibilit­ies would bring the cent’s cost below face value. Possibilit­ies determined by the Mint for the 5-cent, dime and quarter dollar denominati­ons would

incorporat­e manganese with some copper and nickel in the alloy. Other alternativ­e alloys include steel.


Barrons commoditie­s column covered silver in its November 30, 2020 column with a title: “Solar Panels, 5G Could Help Boost Silver Prices.” Author Liz Moyer quoted three industry analysts who predicted prices ranging from $30 to $40 in 2021, representi­ng price gains of 32%-76% from silver’s November 30 price.

Goldman Sachs analyst Mikhail Sprogis focused on silver’s role in solar panels, which would expand greatly during a Biden administra­tion. Solar applicatio­ns account for

18% of silver’s industrial demand and 10% of total silver demand, according to Sprogis, who set a $30 price target for silver in 2021.

CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) predicts silver will reach $32 in 2021, citing the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies and rising federal debt as “supportive of further significan­t price appreciati­on.”

Citigroup analysts maintain a $40 price target on silver over the next 12 months due to investors seeking safety, plus industrial demand, particular­ly the robust industrial and private demand in China. Citi also sees 12% growth in 2021 for silver demand in traditiona­l consumer segments like silverware and jewelry.


During November 2020, the U.S. Mint sold 4,805,000 one-ounce silver American Eagle coins, more than 10 times the 463,000 coins sold in November 2019, bringing the yearto-date totals to almost a 100% gain (29.3 million ounces vs. 14.8 million last year). Gold American Eagle sales were up 673% in November, with 85,000 Troy ounces sold vs. 11,000 in November 2019 that brought the 2020 11-month total up to over 5-fold from 2019 (794,500 Troy ounces in the first 11 months of 2020 vs. 150,000 ounces in 2019). The Buffalo Gold coin sales were also up strongly, +370% for November and +286% for the year-to-date

This powerful sales surge came despite the occasional work stoppages at the U.S. Mint due to COVID19 work restrictio­ns and occasional stoppages due to workers’ risks placed in close proximity. There is no telling how many more ounces could have been sold if the Mint were able to operate at 100% capacity. Increases in sales of U.S. Mint bullion products often increase the number of future rare coin buyers.


The coronaviru­s has caused the temporary end of handshakes, big Thanksgivi­ng dinners, open school rooms, large corporate meetings, big football crowds, concerts, night clubs, convention­s, and much air travel. Now some newspaper headlines tell us that coronaviru­s could spell the end of coins and the cash economy. Every financial transactio­n will take place online or with credit cards, Pay Pal, crypto-currencies or some new program they claim.

Don’t count on it. Every time I shop and offer cash, a smile comes to the eyes of the vendor, who often saves 2% with a cash purchase, since credit card companies often charge up to 3% for the “convenienc­e” of a credit card. There’s no such thing as a “free lunch,” and vendors pay for that plastic transfer of funds.

More importantl­y, this pandemic will be mostly over, probably within a year. I have written about all the new coins being planned for 2021 and the rest of the Roaring 20s to come. I have not seen as much interest in new coins since the State Quarter series. Once we see some new designs on circulatin­g coins, we will see new interest in the general population. Circulatin­g coins will always remain pieces of American history you can hold in your hand, and they will continue to generate interest in older gold and silver coins, too.

 ?? DAVE KOTINSKY/GETTY IMAGES FOR LINCOLN CENTER ?? Point72 Asset Management and Gala Chair Steven A. Cohen speaks on stage the Lincoln Center Alternativ­e Investment Gala at The Rainbow Room on April 10, 2019 in New York City.
DAVE KOTINSKY/GETTY IMAGES FOR LINCOLN CENTER Point72 Asset Management and Gala Chair Steven A. Cohen speaks on stage the Lincoln Center Alternativ­e Investment Gala at The Rainbow Room on April 10, 2019 in New York City.
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 ?? UNITED STATES MINT ?? 2020 AmericanvE­agle Silver One Ounce Proof Coin
UNITED STATES MINT 2020 AmericanvE­agle Silver One Ounce Proof Coin

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