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Large-Size Type Notes will Lead in 2014
By Bill Brandimore, Bank Note Reporter
December 31, 2013

This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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As we enter the New Year, I’d like to offer some thoughts on where I think numismatic markets are heading in 2014. First, however, I should remind you that I’m not a financial advisor; I am a collector of over 60 years who is offering my opinions on what’s hot and what’s not. The collectible market seems to go through ups and downs in sort of 20- or 25-year cycles as in the two gold bull markets I’ve witnessed. Probably these cycles are more influenced by events than the passage of years. If you can read the signs you’re going to be ahead of the game.

As an example, I thought gold was just too cheap at $360 an ounce so I purchased most of my gold type set at that time. Unfortunately, I thought it was too high at $600 and sold a lot of gold. One must remember that the bulls make money and the bears make money, but the pigs never make any money.

Currently, I believe large-size type will increase in value in 2014. I think long- term growth will be seen in Gem grades and in attractive circulated grades. I don’t think super grades are the greatest values, especially modern-day examples. In fact I was rather pleased to see a recent issue $100 bill in a 67 or 68 grade go for a very modest advancement over face value at auction. It shouldn’t be that easy to pick winners. I think there is room for value growth in post-1928 and even post-1963 Federal Reserve Notes, especially stars, although those notes have been a bit soft recently.

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World currency will continue to grow in popularity. It just offers too much not to increase: color, variety, educational value and a wide scope in price. When purchasing relatively new material, try to go for higher denominations. Many buyers get low denomination notes to save money, but it is the higher denominations that will offer the best growth in value.

Some of my personal favorites are U.S. Fractional as well as Continental and Colonial Currency. These notes remain flat in value, but I believe they will rise in value as collectors find large-size type just too expensive for their tastes.

Certainly U.S. Military Payment Certificates also offer considerable value. They are attractive and colorful. As the recent veteran population ages I think demand in this area will increase. We find a lot of lapsed collectors return to the hobby in their 40s and I think this will bode well for MPCs.

I also think Civil War-era Postal envelopes are worth a look. A big sale a few years back really drove prices up. I think now they have come back to earth a bit. These items are really scarce, but should now be down from $1,000 minimums to ranges currently beginning around $500 or so. In company with these envelopes, are Encased Postage, which have always appealed to stamp, coin and currency collectors. Look for decent examples such as the Ayer’s varieties to be available in the $250 to $300 range. All in all, I think we’re in for a good year.

Specialists who provide lower grade Blue Seal Silver Certificates in $1, $5 and $10 denominations as well as Red Seal Legal Tender $2 and $5 notes to television and other promoters advise me that the market is so saturated that low grade Red Seal $5s for example are commanding prices as low as $5.05 each and $1 SCs are bringing only $1.35. This might be a very low cost entry into currency collecting. Give a few of these notes to a novice and you won’t be out much, but you might recruit a new collector to the hobby.


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