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.