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Collecting Ikes in a Saturated Market

 By Charles Morgan

Fellows, let’s face facts. The Ike dollar, in the past couple of years, has seen major pressure placed upon it by bulk submissions. Nothing has been spared: silver proofs, clad proofs, silver business strikes… even clad circulating coinage.

Those who poo-poo modern coins lay claim to the position that they saw this coming- that it was inevitable- that so many coins were struck in the modern period that nothing will ever be rare. Conditional rarity, they argue, is a fugue state. Temporary.

Has the moment passed for Ike dollars? If it has, could you trust us to tell you so?

There’s always an inherent danger listening to a messenger that so believes the message that he loses sight of the world around him. In the three years I have been involved with the Ike Group, seeing everything from soup to nuts about our organization, our planning for the future, and the designs we have had over the years in promoting this series that feeds our passion for collecting, I’ve thought through many things regarding modern coinage, the coin market, and the way the “industry” works.

I’ve seen more in two years as a numismatic writer than even I could have predicted. The coin world (under case) is an amazing and interesting place. But it’s also no place for wimps. The market, you see, is carnivorous… and hungry… and it will eat you alive.

So what of Ikes? Is it a good investment? What are the top pop coins worth? Should I get in or out? The answer to these questions are multi-layered. Whether you should get in or out depends heavily on your propensity to take risks. We take these risks in real life all the time and do so without a second thought? Have you ever rolled into a car lot and bought a car that was more than you needed and a little overpriced to boot? Well, if you have, then you already have experience making a bad investment. How’s collecting a $10,000 Ike dollar any worse than buying a new BMW?

To the top end collectors in the Ike series that I have had the good fortune to share insights and exchange stories with, my position has remained constant. Buy the best coins. Keep them off the market. Let the market forget these coins exist. Let a market develop for the coins that wouldn’t win 2nd place in a beauty contest compared to the best coins. And then, when it’s time, BOOM!

This is how coins become legendary.

For the rest of the coins, the ones that are not at all unlike the next one, the market will be overrun soon enough. Until the economics of coin grading shift to the point when it is not feasible to grade coins in this series, we will continue to see unending decline. It’s not that I’m suggesting that only top pop coins should be taken off the market- or are the only coins worth collecting- each grade has its own “top pop” coin- so you can put together a fantastic set in MS-64, MS-65, or MS-66. The best MS-64 set in the world, I guarantee you, will be more interesting than the half-hazard MS-65 set. I’ve seen MS-64 coins, I’d take over the run of the mill 66.

The best collectors are already in on this secret- and without anyone noticing- they’ve been taking these coins off the market too.

The next area of Ike Collecting- one most come to the Ike Group for- is varieties. Varieties- like beautiful coins- are constantly being sought out and taken off the market. Every time we post a finding- you better believe we’ve already looked- and we understand full well- by telling you about a DIVA that we make it that much harder on us to find more. We share with you- because to a person- we are generous people who want to support our hobby and the collector.

Whether you collect top pop coins, the most beautiful MS-64s on the planet, or have a penchant for varieties- know this… this is a saturated Ike market. What you do about it- will define you as a collector. Be smart about it- and you will beat the odds. Be patient and realistic- and make it happen.

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