(Fallbrook, California) – The bull market in high-quality rare coins continued in 2005, a year described as “incredible” by the authoritative Coin World magazine.

A dozen individual rare coins sold for $1 million or more during 2005; total purchases at major numismatic auctions exceeded $500 million compared to $320 million in 2004; and the aggregate total of coin and currency auction and private treaty sales during the year is estimated at more than $3 billion, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a non-profit organization composed of the country’s top rare coin dealers (www.PNGdealers.com).

“There are a number of factors for the growing numismatic market: higher prices for precious metals help fuel optimism; record-setting prices for high-profile and famous rarities help boost prices for other items; and the liquidity of the numismatic market has never been better,” said PNG President Jeff C. Garrett of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries of Lexington, Kentucky.

“We’ve also seen a tremendous number of new collectors entering the market, attracted by all the new designs on coins and paper money entering circulation in recent years. Some people casually begin by collecting the state commemorative quarter-dollars from pocket change, and then expand their collections to buy older coins and bank notes. We’ve also seen many former collectors return to the market as collector-investors,” explained Garrett.

Among the record-setting numismatic prices that made national news headlines during 2005:

* $8.5 million purchase of the famous King of Siam coin set originally given on behalf of U.S. President Andrew Jackson as a diplomatic gift in 1836;

* $4.15 million sale of a fabled 1913 Liberty Head nickel, one of only five known examples;

* $2.99 million auction of the first gold coin made in the United States, the legendary Brasher Doubloon, hand-struck in 1787 by George Washington’s New York City neighbor, silversmith Ephraim Brasher.

“As with any investment, there are advantages and disadvantages to rare coins,” said PNG President Garrett.

“If you don’t know rare coins, you’d better know your coin dealer. The value of rare coins is highly dependent on their grade — state of preservation. Small differences in quality can translate to large differences in value, so the guidance of a reliable dealer can have a tremendous effect on your investment.”

Professional Numismatist Guild members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and demonstrate knowledge, responsibility and integrity in their business dealings. They also must agree to binding arbitration to settle unresolved disagreements over numismatic property.

For a copy of the informative pamphlet, “What You Should Know Before You Buy Rare Coins,” send $1 to cover postage costs to: Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director, 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, CA 92028. Phone: 760-728-1300. E-mail: info@pngdealers.com. Web: www.PNGdealers.com.