State of the Market Report: New Orleans Gold

On Monday January 22nd, I posted the Pinnacle Collection of New Orleans gold coinage for sale. This superb collection contained seventy-one choice, high grade examples of New Orleans gold coinage. By Tuesday evening, nearly three-quarters of the coins were sold and as I write this, a mere four days after the initial posting of the collection, all but four coins have been sold. From the conversations I had with the over thirty collectors who bought (or attempted to buy) coins from this collection, I think I learned quite a bit about the State of the Market regarding New Orleans gold—and rare date gold coins in general.

My first observation is that the market is always hungry for attractive, fresh deals of coins. It didn’t take an expert to realize that these coins were exceptional for the grade and date. People liked the fact that they were all in PCGS holders and they really liked the fact that virtually every piece in the collection had dark, crusty surfaces; unlike the dipped-n-stripped material that is usually seen in auctions and other dealers’ inventories.

My second observation is that the publication of my book on New Orleans gold coinage a few months go has definitely spurred interest in these issues. One sophisticated collector who called me commented that New Orleans gold seemed really undervalued in relation to gold coins from other mints, especially given the very low population of high grade pieces from this mint. As a basis of comparison, he noted that $10,000 would go a long way towards buying a Condition Census piece in the New Orleans market while the same amount of money in the Carson City gold market would buy you a coin that was not close to Condition Census level. This is a good point.

Another observation is that people always want key date coins, no matter what series you are discussing. As an example, I had numerous people ask me about the 1841-O, 1859-O, 1879-O and 1883-O eagles and I probably could have sold multiple examples of these dates. The same holds true with the 1845-O quarter eagle and the 1842-O and 1847-O half eagles. My gut feeling is that if New Orleans gold continues to become more popular, these key issues are going to be the coins that show the greatest amount of price appreciation. The same holds true with the popular one-year type issues such as the 1855-O gold dollar, 1839-O quarter eagle and 1854-O three dollar, although these have already seen a good amount of price increase in the past three years.

A number of people complimented me on the presentation of the Pinnacle Collection and I believe that the in-depth descriptions, excellent images (and here I must give a shout out to my photographer Mary Winter who I think outdid herself with this project…) and an attractive overall “look” made shopping at the Pinnacle Collection Store a fun proposition.

I also think people liked being able to purchase fresh, interesting coins in a non-auction environment. A number of people told me that they are beginning to tire of the endless cycle of auctions and having to pick through hundreds and hundreds of lots of junk in order to find the occasional kernel.

So, what’s next for the New Orleans gold market? Clearly there are a number of avid collectors, both new and old, who are in this market. The interesting question is will there be enough coins to go around to satisfy them? Yes, I can sell five 1883-O eagles in the next month but am I going to be able to find even one of them? And what about prices—will Trends and Coin Dealer Newsletter show enough in the way of price increases to fuel a possible New Orleans gold fire?