Playing a Guessing Game With Rare Issues

Guess the winners. It’s a game that’s been played for years by sportswriters and sports fans. By stockbrokers and investors. Professional numismatists and collectors also play the game.

One of the serious players is Joel D. Rettew of Rare Coin Investments. Rettew is not only willing to make his picks; he goes public with them.

“Last year,” Rettew said, “my recommendations produced an annualized return of 37%.”

Here are Rettew’s selections for 1989: If you have $1,500 to invest, he suggests purchasing one 1919-S Mint State-65 cent for $275; 15 1931-P MS-65 cents at $55 each, and one 1939-S MS-65 half dollar for $375. For $5,000, Rettew recommends a 1910-S MS-65 $20 gold piece for $4,000 and a 1927-D MS-64 $1 for $1,075. For $25,000, two 1884-S MS-63 $1 at $6,750 each; 10 1927-D MS-63 $1 at $1,075 each, and a 1937-D MS-65 half dollar for $775.


“I think the future of rare-coin dealers,” Rettew said, “is going to be based on their ability to pick undervalued issues. The direction I see the industry going is where the major dealers are managers for rare-coins funds.”

Rettew’s office is at 1000 Bristol St. North, Newport Beach, Calif. 92660; telephone (714) 833-1800.

Anyone can play the pick-'em game. Now, coincidentally, comes a most valuable tool, “The Coin Dealer Newsletter: A Study in Rare Coin Price Performance,” edited by Q. David Bowers. The 527-page book condenses prices from 1963 to 1988, tracking virtually every United States coin. The book undoubtedly will become a standard reference for any serious collector or investor and belongs in every numismatic library.

The new book, based on the Coin Dealer Newsletter weekly market guide, is available in paper for $34.95, in cloth for $49.95, plus $2 handling. Order from Bowers & Merena, Box 1224, Wolfeboro, N.H. 03894.

Coin News

Two auctions are being conducted almost simultaneously by Stack’s in New York. The L. R. French Jr. Family Collection of United States silver dollars goes on sale Wednesday. It will be followed immediately by the sale of United States gold, silver and copper coins featuring the Stanley Simon Type Collection, which will carry over to Thursday. For catalogues, contact Sack’s at 123 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019, telephone (212) 582-2580.

“Israel’s Money and Medals” by Sylvia Haffner Magnus is now available in an updated and expanded version. The 700-page book is in a loose-leaf format, to permit new catalogue pages every two years. It can be ordered from the American Israel Numismatic Assn. for $23.95 without a binder, $29.95 with a three-ring binder (plus $2 for shipping). The address is 5150 W. Copans Road, Suite 1193, Margate, Fla. 33063.