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Market expansion leads to information explosion
By Mark Ferguson
COIN VALUES Market Analyst


RESEARCH CAN pay off handsomely, as the finders of the treasure lost aboard the SS Central America can attest. A team of engineers and historians spent years researching and then looking for the treasure, some of which appears above in an image from an exhibit about the treasure ship.

Coin collecting is a hobby full of people who like to learn.
We generally enjoy history, especially those aspects that have had a significant impact on coinage and paper money. We like to learn about shipwrecks from which salvors have recovered hoards of coins, gold bars and other historical artifacts. And we like to lose ourselves in learning about intricate details of numismatic collectibles.

By increasing one's knowledge in specialty areas, a collector can make more favorable purchases, or even just learn how to find difficult-to-obtain coins. One astute collector searches for information about past collectors on the Internet. Secrets to his system of searching shall remain with him, but important documents and collections have often come his way after two or three years of searching for something.

The rewards of having something come your way after years of searching can be indescribable. We need look no further than the treasure hunt of Tommy Thompson, Bob Evans and their team that recovered the SS Central America treasure in 1989 off the coast of North Carolina, more than 130 years after the ship sank in a hurricane. The 92 percent of treasure of gold bars and coins awarded by a court to the finders was sold to a consortium of coin dealers for in excess of $100 million. The Central America project also made important discoveries in history and nature.

In a similar way, collectors who do their homework regularly pick up bargains from auctions large and small. Many stories can be told about how collectors have located particular coins they've been seeking for decades. Specialization is one key element in learning how to cherrypick coins.

Fortunately, this is the information age for numismatics. Coins and an incalculable number of other subjects have been given a huge boost by the Internet. The Internet has also facilitated a great increase in the trad¬ing of coins, enhancing the market in more ways than just giving us more information. However, collectors are asking for even more information to facilitate their buying and selling endeavors.

Coin Values is responding by adding values for numerous grades and varieties. These additional values do not just auto¬matically flow to us. The information is researched, gathered and reported. Time is a factor in putting all this information together, even when a knowledgeable market analyst heads the project.

Our expansion is a reflection of what participants in the market are asking for. But in addition to making more information available, much of it on the Internet, sophistication is being enhanced in the speed and accuracy of the overall coin valuation process.

Most coin trades are private transactions, except for those in public auctions or those announced by parties to the transactions. So we do not expect this evolution in the coin valuation to ever flow as efficiently as the public stock and commodity exchanges that meet daily under one roof and must confirm buy and sell orders before the next day. Instead, the coin market has characteristics that are more like the art and real estate markets, where appraisers also must search out transactions and often use "comparable" sales to value similar art and real estate properties.

COIN WORLD, Monday, April 16,2007




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