What do Gold Coin Auction Prices Represent?

A question that is often asked. It has been seen that lately, the market is depending on auction prices to determine the price of gold coins. Is the price retail or wholesale?

gold auction

Doug Winter who writes for coinweek says, both.

According to him, the coin market is among the most transparent in the US and anyone wishing to learn something about collectible coins has access to a whole lot of information that was uncommon even a decade back.

There are numerous data points and these need to be meaningfully interpreted to make them “of some value”.

From the collector’s viewpoint, the prices quoted for the valuable coins during the auctions serve for comparison. They usually use the data to ensure they do not over-pay for what they are about to purchase. The presence of internet has greatly helped in making the information accessible to anyone who wishes to look up.

There are price guide writers who use the value realized from coin auctions when publishing, especially for higher valued coins. The auction prices are also used by coin appraisers for performing appraisals for estate purposes.

Usually coins that make appearances after a considerable gap of time; say 4 to 5 years are deemed to be of the price they realize at the last auction.

It is not clear however whether the rate they command at the auction date is wholesale/retail. But it would definitely cost the buyer more if he purchases the same from a dealer or collector.

A bit of research and digging into the data is required to determine if the price quoted is more or less, in the auction for that grade and rarity.

There are the low end and the high end coins. It is to be believed from what Doug states, that each coin has a range between which its price can be stated. For the current market, it would be safe to say that the lower end ones are “wholesale” and the higher end ones are what we usually refer to as “retail”. Some of the types that exist are:

NGC, non-CAC


NGC, CAC approved

PCGS, CAC approved

Coins demand value depending on their level of sophistication, rarity, and grade. It also depends on the fact that a dealer or collector/investors is purchasing the item.

Views may vary. Because at times, the price could be a wholesale price that is later marked up and sold to collectors. Again, there are coins bought by dealers, sold to other dealers who then sell it to collectors or other dealers. Some amount of investigation is required to arrive at a conclusion about the price realized. Many collectors employ dealers to represent them at auctions to gauge the value and price of a coin on their behalf for which they pay a commission to the dealer.

Often it is believed that the auction is a market and the price is just that – a price. Opinions vary and there is no one answer to the question.

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