Important News! CoinLink has merged..... Visit our NEW Site www.CoinWeek.com

BREAKING NEWS:....... Vist Our NEW Site at CoinWeek.com

Author Archive for

Laura Sperber is one of the Owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987. Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top quality rare coins.

LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIGGER 2011 – IS BIGGER BETTER?

Hot Topics by Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

Consolidation in reverse! I expected a few firms to fold and smaller dealers to shut. Out of the blue comes the mega merger of Stacks and Bowers and Merena. I was not so shocked because for the last 3 years it had been no secret I tried to talk the owners into selling Stacks to Legend. The apparent loss would have been too great and doing a deal this way, they get a shot at some stock that could go up. Regardless, I feel it was a tragic end to once powerful and glamorus dealership.

It is my strong opinion, in this mergers case, bigger is NOT better for the coin market. Why? We already have one mega monster firm who obviously has reached their limits-Heritage. They know they can’t expand any more with in coins, so they did the smartest thing, branched out into other areas. I give them tons of credit for that because it seems as they grow, they do not forget their roots and promote coins to this new crowd.

To satisfy two large auction companies with huge staffs, where are all the coins going to come from? These firms need expensive coins to generate large fees. If these firms on their own were not getting much prior, where are the coins going to come from after the merger? Think about how big each firms overheads are. Will fees rise? Will coin values artifically inflate because of excessive tiny demand with each auction?

This new mega merger concerns me. My goal in going after Stacks was not to make it bigger-just better. In my opinion, the potential of Stacks combining with Legend was huge. I believe it would have greatly benefited collectors. I do admit, I was nervous about where the consignments would come from, but Legend has sold OVER $600,000,000.00 RETAIL so we have some contacts. I have always viewed owning an auction company as a natural extension for us and our customers. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or energy to try again to enter the auction field from scratch. I saw the demise of Stacks as inevitable. I would have loved to have fixed it. It is frustrating to me ownership decided to end the misery this way. When I was told about it I was angry for one second and have moved on. Now I just wonder if bigger is really better? And how will it effect the marketplace?

I do wish The B+M team good luck in their merger. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum is one of the sharpest executives in this business.

FUN

My prediction is that FUN will be a good show. Out of the clear blue, collectors were buying strong in December-a time when they normally fade away. Yet again, only supply was the problem. So if nothing else, dealers will need to replenish at FUN.

Gold coins are still screaming crazy hot. Prices are NOT moving up, but collectors do want them. We think 2011 will be the tell tale year for gold. It will be interesting to say the least. (more…)

Laura Sperber: 2010 IN REVIEW-MY VISION

EVERYTHING WRITTEN HERE IS THE SOLE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR.

2010

What a year it was. We saw gold hit a new record and the stock market made a semi come back. The coin market had what I would call a turbulent but productive year. Prices did not go up as much as good coins weren’t being drowned by dreck anymore. There actually has been a small influx of new collectors.

It was also great year in the sense of we dragged certain taboo subjects (like gradeflation, coin doctoring, etc) through the mud and brought them out in the publics eye in the nick of time. While the bad guys all have been pissed off, it unquestionably has given the collecting public a better feeling and renewed sense we can self police ourselves and that some of the “leadership” of the hobby does indeed care. Consumer confidence is critical to having coins rise in value and maintaining a healthy marketplace.

I do NOT regret saying or doing what I did to help make coins and the coin market a better place.

COIN DOCTORING

Exposing how bad the coin doctoring issue had become, was by far the MOST important POSITIVE thing to have happened. Had everyone just kept their heads turned and let these criminals rape coins and the coin market, it would have killed the hobbies future.

PCGS took a heroic lead in firing off a lawsuit with absolute hard evidence against a small crew. Other coin small to mid size docs took notice and are running scared. Now, PCGS is coming out with even more sophisticated technology to catch these guys and hopefully make them stop forever. I knew this was a critical problem when the Kutasi Collection of $10’s and $20’s was sold a few years ago and the putty was so thick on many coins sometimes you could not see all the details! I do not regret standing up and speaking out about this subject when it was really taboo to do so. Just passing on a coin certainly was not stopping the doctors fromtheir reign of destruction. In my opinion, destroying a coin should be considered a full criminal act. These low lifes are taking away the few pieces of original history we have and are slowly ruining our enjoyment of collecting. They deserve to be harshly punished and shamed.

The grading services are definately doing their share to work on the problem, however I am disgusted with so many retail dealers who will not speak out. No, its not just the lame PNG (next topic), but the dealers who want to be your friends, the ones who can’t grade for crap, or have huge web sites. They are greedy cowards in my book, worth no more than the bad slabs they sell. There needs to be a shake out of these people.

I know there is still a long, long way to go in this fight. A few major firms who still employee doctors are still quietly practicing thinking they are just too big to tackle. I believe in 2011 they will be exposed and will fall. Its a matter of compiling more evidence. They certainly have been frustrasted at the very least in 2010. At least this issue is moving forward and not backwards. I hope this year to get more people speaking out. EVERY voice is important-no matter what size collector you are! (more…)

Opinion: Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics – SO WHATS (NOT) NEW?

By Laura Sperber – Hot Topics

MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!

NOT! I can not believe how lethargic and pathetic the leadership of the coin business has become. PCGS launched their lawsuit back in May. Other than scaring the greedy bastards into slowing their dirty deeds-NOT MUCH ELSE HAS HAPPENED. No hobby groups have stood up what so ever and done anything about the situation. The attitude among dealers still seems to that the grading services are there to be abused.

I think its a crime that the best the PNG could do is announce they have a definition of coin doctoring. Whuppie! Did they do anything? Apparently not a damn thing. They are hiding behind the lamest of lame excuses (they are a reactionary, not proactive group). The perpetrators named in the suit got caught (by their own stupidity) still trying to ruin coins yet again recently (the evidence was even posted in Coin World). Even better, at the ANA Show this past summer one of the parties in the suit set up and proudly displayed his PNG banner at his table! What a slap in the face to those of us who do care. I know the PNG’s time has come and gone. They do nothing and are nothing for this coin biz-in MY opinion. Their PNG Days prior to major shows not only have become a show case for the parts of their membership they refuse to punish, they are a complete joke anyway (one must be invited for admission-how arrogant and stupid). I hope the PNG tries to prove me wrong about their total waste and ineffectiveness.

My head hurts from shaking so much after seeing what they are NOT doing! Besides, we all know its not the entire group of PNG dealers who are bad-so where are the innocent ones? You telling me they have little to no powers on these critical issues? Just more of a point about the bad dudes who apparently control that organization. if they wanted too, they could chase after and maybe even prevent coin doctoring-btye clearly choose not too. Looks like I will never have to pay $1,000.00 I promised for anyone the PNG catches and expels for coin doctoring. Yeah PNG, I am grandstanding for attention (NOT)! -at least I am not sitting on the sidelines with rose colored glasses doing nothing about all this!

Its not just them. I have only seen a handful of smaller dealers-the ones who get screwed by the coin docs perpetually stand up and make statements. Where are all the other big shot retailers? Why I am the lone wolf speaking out? But then I guess when you have a coin doc who sits behind your table and who sells you a lot of coins cheap your not going to complain about them. This doesn’t rock the boat culture has to change. Its for the good of the hobby for the long term.

READ THIS AND WEEP

Many people ask me why I do not like so many other dealers. It has nothing to do with them being competition. It has to do with them not caring or worse, they are phonies. One of the problems in today’s coin market place-many of the “newer” dealers just can not grade. That’s right, give them a raw coin out of the holder and they are clueless. Sadly, they have the best web sites and act like they are kings and hook the public. They are just one more means keep to the coin doctors longevity going. These unqualified dealers certainly are not going to be involved in stopping the coin docs. But we can make them change since they are too dumb to know what to do. Yet again, I call for more public scrutiny of dealers. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Market Report – THE PHILADELPHIA COIN SHOW

HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE SAY THIS?

David Chrenshaw, Mary Counts, Lori Hamrick, and the entire Whitman team run some of the best shows to attend. The Philadelphia Show was yet another incredibly run show. Legend Numismatics LOVE ALL Whitman shows and plan on doing them as long as they are in business.

Everything is always perfectly set up. The Whitman people are incredibly friendly and accommodating. They even care about what dealers want at shows (and of course they show lots of LOVE the public). However,, they need to understand that the Philadelphia market is the same virtually as Baltimore. The Philadelphia Show actually cannibalizes those shows (Baltimore is three times a year). Even if it has to do with planning far ahead, you cannot have a major show on top of another (Long Beach was just last week). Thus, while public attendance was good at the show, few real buyers showed up (you also just had two major auctions at Long Beach). Of course very few West Coast dealers attended. We did not have a good retail show at all.

Attendance of serious BUYERS (of expensive coins) at coin shows is clearly diminishing. Save for an occasional FUN or ANA Show, it is rare that someone unknown will walk up and buy an expensive coin. We only did THREE retail sales at the show-and the biggest one was set up before hand. This time we tried to speak to a cross section of dealers where we saw collectors at their tables. EVERY ONE told us they ended up doing little in the way of sales. The crowds were mostly tire kickers. Its a little of everything (the market, the Internet, too many shows, etc) that probably caused this.

We really hope ALL show promoters start looking around and maybe even cutting back from 3 to 2 shows. As dealers, it makes no sense to keep shelling out $5,000.00+ per show to be tire kicked. We can all just meet in a hotel and go room to room and save the money and be done in a day. In fact, last Long Beach we actually skipped the show and did just that. The only thing holding us back from giving up our table there: 30 years of habitual attendance. Can’t break the habit. If we saw more serious buying public, then we would not even think of skipping a single show. But all coin dealerships in the end are businesses. Businesses need to make money to survive.

You can argue Philadelphia is only in its second year, but it still needs a huge jump start. Our concern is that this show will have raided the upcoming Baltimore Show. This show proved without a doubt, you can not stack major shows week after week. Maybe cut out the Baltimore summer show (BOTH dealer and collector attendance is MUCH lighter) to make all three shows stronger? The days of “if you build it they shall come” are over. People can sit home and buy coins with just one click. It would be ashame for the public if their favorite dealers had to stop attending shows.

THE PHILADELPHIA SHOW RESULTS

We did a tremendous amount of WHOLESALE. Of course the day before the show opened, it was easy to sell all gold-including BETTER more expensive pieces. Prices were a small concern, but if the coin was really rare and made sense, it sold. Proof Type also sold VERY well for us. In fact, we did not expect to sell much, and we out did our pre-show estimate by 400%! (more…)

Legend Numismatics Pays $2 Million Dollars For 3 Lincoln Cents!

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatic Market Report

You may have noticed the past two weeks or so we have been saying and doing little with our web site. NEWPS have been minimal and Market Reports and Hot Topics have slowed. We can now tell you why. We have been super busy traveling completing deals-not just any deals, deals that are at world record prices and that include some of the rarest coins on earth! We are now finally back home and are pleased to make the following announcement:

LEGEND NUMISMATICS HAS BOUGHT AND SOLD THE UNIQUE 1C 1943D COPPER FOR $1,700,000.00!

We actually purchased a 3 coin coin deal for $2,000,000.00. We figured the 1943D at $1.7 million cost. The other two coins in the deal were the finest 1944 P Steel cent PCGS MS64, and a 1C 1942 PCGS 65 made out of white metal. Yes, you have read this right-3 pennys for $2 million dollars!

The 1943D and the 1944P are both now part of the ONLY COMPLETE PDS sets for their metals. The steel cent collection is by far the finest, as are the coppers. We are hoping to display both these sets at the PCGS table at FUN 2011.

Hard to believe, but Legend tried unsuccessfully for four years to buy the 1943D. The seller in the end was still reluctant. However, we can state ALL of the monies he received from the sale are going to a pet charity project of his. The seller (who wishes to remain anonymous) was represented by Lincoln Cent Specialist Andy Skrabalack of Angel Dee’s.

Our customer is thrilled to own the 1943D. Ever since he heard the coin existed, we had been sent on a mission to acquire it. His desire to own the complete and only PDS copper set came from his finding what he thought was a 1943 copper when he was young. Sadly, this piece was found to be a fake. Still he keeps this coin in his desk draw. He believes 43 Coppers are one of the ultimate classic rarities (and so do we). While the price we paid was stiff, the monies went to a good cause and the coins are now locked away in a great home.

Legend Numismatics has handled MANY million dollar plus classic rarities over the years. The 1943D really is one special highlight for us. We thank the seller and congratulate the new owner. For us, it really has been a career highlight.

WHAT ELSE DID WE TRAVEL FOR?

We have now flown several coast to coast trips over the past 2 weeks. There have also been stops in Dallas, NYC, and Denver in between.

One exciting collection we purchased was a spectacular Pattern Collection. When we got the call we were like, “oh great, more patterns”. This deal turned out to be an incredible “old time” collection with the majority of the coins being raw. Highlights included Earring Quarters, Amazionan Dollars, and several R-8 Seated patterns. These coins will be sent in for grading shortly. We did not grade anything less than PR65! ALL of the coins have been off the market for at least 20+ years. Guess we can never have enough great Patterns!

Besides patterns, we also bought and sold a 50C 1919D PCGS MS65. The price was in excess of $200,000.00. This sale now completes what maybe the second finest Walker set assembled (no, its NOT registered). (more…)

GUEST COMMENTARY: Coin Doctors – CAN’T STOP NOW

All Editorial and Commentaries posted on CoinLink represent the opinions of the author(s), who are soley responsible for this content. All points of view are encouraged and comments are welcomed.

By Laura Sperber – Hot Topics Blog

I say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who has emailed me support concerning the fight against coin doctors the past several months. Due to my hectic travel schedule, sometimes I just can’t respond to all your emails-but do know I read EVERY SINGLE ONE!

EVEN IF YOU ARE A NOT BIG DEALER, YOU COUNT

Every single person counts and is needed in this fight. Every single person has a voice that counts. Do not think there is nothing you can do.

You do not have to right on a blog like I do, you can just talk to your fellow collectors or dealers, at shows, clubs, or wherever. Send an email or a letter to the grading services, the numismatic organization, or the coin papers. The more “pressure” that is put applied, the better the results will be. If people don’t speak up it will be back to biz as usual for these bad guys.

A small dealer came up to me at the PCGS Invitational. He told me “I support you 100%”. He told me how badly he HATES the docs and anyone who is a mule for them. He told me how he has told one dealer friend why he won’t do business with him anymore and how he shoos away the docs from buying his coins. But he was upset because he felt he has no where to speak out. I told him if he can write a letter to an editor of a publication that’s great. I also told him-his voice has already spoken and he is a HUGE help. He definitely has the “RIGHT” attitude. Just imagine if very non doc did what he did-or had his attitude. I believe he also told me he is quitting the PNG.

At this point, the PNG has PROVEN (to me, in my opinion) with out any doubt to be the most WORTHLESS organization ever formed in coins when it comes to protecting the consumer and the coins themselves. As predicted, the PNG came up with a definition of coin doctoring and then all has been quiet since. I was totally disgusted that one of the PROVEN trouble makers of the PCGS lawsuit proudly displayed his PNG flag and was set up and doing business PNG day. That is a slap to EVERYONE (from the smallest collector to the biggest dealers). Meanwhile a high ranking PNG official told me he thought I was grandstanding on these issues for publicity. That’s why nothing makes me prouder than NOT being a PNG member.

I BELIEVE THIS IS THE BACKBONE OF TODAY’S PROBLEMS

Nothing disgusts me more than how dealers-especially young dealers disrespect the coin business. I watch the brightest potential talent all lean toward being “crack out” dealers and eventually fading in to full coin doctoring. Why isn’t the PNG working to scare them straight? Why can’t they educate them that coins are a treasure that need to be carefully saved in their original form? We desperately need to break this negative attitude or in 20-30 years it is a real possibility that the % of coins that will have been messed with in as high as 50%. The docs are all about making money. They will do whatever they can to a coin to gain a profit.

All the dealers refuse to blame their buddies or are in pure denial about the issues. So many dealers tell me I am so wrong and that its the grading services who should catch the bad coins. Here is what they need to wake up too: DEALERS WHO FEEL ITS THEIR RIGHT TO VIOLATE THE GRADING SERVICES SUBMISSION CONTRACTS AND FRAUDULENTY SUBMIT “WORKED ON” COINS. Key word: FRAUD. These guys should not only be exposed, but they should be forced to pay back ALL their ill gotten gains in multiples and perform numismatic community service of retraining and supporting dealers from NOT being doctors.

THE PCGS LAWSUIT HAS STARTED TO SHOW SOME CHANGE

I was speaking with John Albanese (the founder and finalizer at CAC). He confirmed to me that the amount of “messed with” coins he has seen since the lawsuit has been seriously reduced. That’s a huge plus. But that does not mean these rats are on the run. As evidenced in a Coin World Article recently, even after the lawsuit was filed one of the defendants still had the disgusting audacity to be ready to doctor more coins. So as you can see, this is nasty and serious war against sick and greedy individuals. (more…)

Legend Market Report – THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Even though it was very volatile, the first half of 2010 was pretty amazing in the coin market. Gold hit an all time record price in excess of $1,200.00. A new “worlds most expensive coin” was crowned when the 1794 $1 PCGS MS66 sold for $7,850,00.00. We witnessed many coins hit record price levels at auction. And the hobby took several huge steps forward to self police itself (we still have a long way to go in that area). In all, we saw a lot of positive events happening.

THE SECOND HALF

We’re going to step out on a limb with a bold prediction. The second half of 2010 will be the strongest on record barring any major catastrophes or gold suddenly taking a prolonged plunge.

We can say that with total confidence from being a real “insider’ in the marketplace. If you thought that hamburger ad from years ago: “wheres the beef?” was dramatic, then just watch as time goes on and EVERYONE asks, “where are the coins”?. Right now there are many series we could not start or even finish MS64 or higher sets in. Gone are the days when we’d be offered one or two truly GEM Bust halves or rare high grade Morgans at a show. Rare gold? First, you have to wade through all the dreck to find the nice properly graded coins. Even then you won’t find many that are truely rare. Demand is not slowing one bit. The hobbies standards have changed back to the original ones that meant a GEM is a GEM.

To set the momentum, we believe that this years Boston ANA Show will be the BEST SHOW EVER. There has not been one held there since 1982-and that was a great show. Pent up demand in the area sure will help. People forget, back in the last 60’s-late 70’s, Boston had been the heart of numismatics. There are still many great collectors and incredible collections hidden up there. Plus, it seems everyone knows someone who lives there. We have heard of far more people going to attend than last years disaster in LA.

The coin market is actually quite healthy. Supply does NOT exceed demand. And demand is not weak. We think a small problem that does exist (and always has) is the fact no matter how many time you tell people, the coin market is NOT like the stock market. Yes, it is volatile on a short term basis, but you can not expect it do rise 10-15% every year. In reality, coins are a VERY long term hold. Even we have said 5 years, but realistically, its more like 10+ to feel the full effects. Just study the great old time collections. They put coins away for 30+ years and they blew away all other investment returns when they sold. The better the collector, the better the return.

Our optimism is not a case of a dealer hyping the market. In case you haven’t noticed, Legends customer base is affluent and can buck market trends easily, so we do not need to hype anyone or anything for sales. We see what really goes on and we report it to you like it is. The first half of 2010 we unexpectedly had RECORD sales. In June alone we SOLD $10,000,000.00! That’s a real number. In fact, in a few weeks (before the ANA Show) we will be making the first of SEVERAL major announcements concerning major acquisitions or sales we have done recently. If we could find the coins (we’re not even talking about the big game trophy stuff), our sales would be $20,000,000.00 immediately!

GOLD

Geez is this market crazy. The swings gold has taken recently have even stumped the group we call “forever gold bugs” (if gold is up-they say it will never stop going up, if its down, they buy all they can). We have still seen the bottom line of the large players continuing to stay their courses and buy. In the recent Heritage FUN Auction, ALL MS66 CAC $20 Saints sold for $3,750.00-$4,000.00. In fact, ALL CAC gold sold WELL ABOVE the current levels. You know it was not dealers buying the coins (for a fact we know of TWO MAJOR groups who are buying ONLY CAC MS65 or better generic-semi-generic gold). The quality DOES indeed make a huge difference in the case of gold coins. These days its easy to tell why one MS66 Saint is $2,700.00 while the others sell for $3,750.00 or more! Do NOT think for a minute the cheaper one is a bargain-we have a saying, “sometimes cheap is not cheap enough”.
(more…)

Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics – BACK TO HELL?

THIS ARTICLE SOLELY REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF LAURA SPERBER

At the Baltimore Show I heard many rumors about the PCGS lawsuit. One was great-but also was especially disturbing.

That rumor was that PCGS and some of the “named” defendants in the suit were discussing a possible settlement. That news is terrific! Or is it? I should point out what I heard is ONLY rumor and I have not spoken to anyone from PCGS about it. Legend FULLY supports PCGS in this lawsuit and its efforts to stop coin doctors.

PCGS is absolutely deserving of being refunded with penalty for all the damages these disgusting people have caused to them. A note to promising to cease probably will be included in any settlement. So I started to think, if there should be a settlement where does that leave the rest of us? The others who have been damaged by coin doctors actions with no restitution?

I believe it leaves us right back where we started. The coin doctors will just continue on their merry way. Sure, one small group is down, but the others all got away-with out so much as even a slap on the wrist (assuming there is a settlement). Of course since I had my meeting with my favorite party club of dealers-The PNG, they have issued only one statement and seem to be intent of claiming to try and define what makes up the standard for a coin being doctored (my bet is they will NEVER end the debate). Of course that will have to wait until their next meeting, then the board has to discuss, yada, yada.

EVERYONE MUST TURN ON THE PRESSURE NOW

Collectors, its going to be up to you to make changes apparently. Talk to your dealers. If they do not become vocal about this, before you walk out the door for good, ask what they could possibly be afraid of? How can any dealer not see coin doctoring as a serious crime? Ignoring it will not make the dirt bags who do it stop. Do they really believe this does not affect them? So far I have only seen 3-4 dealers actually speak up. All others seem to be hiding on corners.

Anyone who cares needs to speak up NOW. Keep writing letters to the PNG. Write letters to Coin World. Discuss the subject on the gossip boards. Write the grading services too.
(more…)

Laura Sperber Meets with PNG Board to Discuss Coin Doctoring

The Following is taken from Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics concerning her invitation to meet with the Board of Directors of the Professional Numismatists Guild [ www.pngdealers.com ] on June 2nd in Long Beach, CA., to discuss the issue of “Coin Doctoring” in light of the PCGS Lawsuit filed against 6 coin dealers, three of which are PNG Members.

First, I would like to thank the PNG Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity discuss my grievances direct. They seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, however that is where it ends.

To make sure I am not overreacting, I waited until I was back home to write this. Plus, I wanted to see what the PNG press release had to say. Unfortunately my gut instinct was correct.

THE PNG MEETING I ATTENDED WAS A SLOW MOTION TRAINWRECK. EVERYONE ON BOARD HAD THEIR HANDS OVER THEIR EYES.

Even though the board was attentive, they were highly combative. MULTIPLE times they told me they are a REactive group, not a proactive one. They proved to me with out a doubt they do not have a grasp on the situation and no matter what rhetoric they release, they will do very little about it.

The most damning statement they said: “WE HAVE NEVER HAD A COMPLAINT ABOUT COIN DOCTORING FROM ANYONE”. Ok, so in their eyes there had been no problem? Adding to that, they dwelled on the fact “people knew we were here”. Who the heck is going to complain to them? Collectors had to go to the services to be made whole. Besides, according to the PNG, just having an altered coin is proof of nothing. Still, I freak when I think about how no one at the PNG knew there was this horrible abuse happening-some of it created by their own membership. Talk about denial.

They did ask me what I would do about the 3 members in the lawsuit. Of course I said “suspend them”. They hammered back with “we can’t suspend the members in the lawsuit. Its a complaint. There has been no trial, they are not guilty”. Another member said “we’d love to take action, We can not do so on hearsay”. Unless the PNG learns to stop living in fear of being sued by its members and take the actions it should, they will NEVER be able to effectively control them.

The best one was when the board challenged me. They dragged a name of a coin doctor from me acting like they would take action (stupid me). I told them I saw him put putty on a coin at a show. They charged back: What proof do you have? Do you have photos, what solid proof?” One member wanted me to go start my own lawsuit. Give me a break.

Here is the ultimate proof they do not have grasp of the situation: one member said to me: “You sell puttied coins”. My response,: “so do you”. He failed to understand the problem is with coin doctoring. We do NOT intentionally sell puttied coins-ever, nor does he. Its the coin doctors who fraudulently try and get this crap by the grading services who are the problem. They couldn’t even grasp that-one member said “aren’t the grading services supposed to catch this?.

As the meeting went on, I was called a hypocrite yet also was asked to help them. It ended up exactly how I knew it would-they would have a debate to decide the definition of coin doctoring before moving on. I asked them, “being so quick to take NGC’s money as the preferred grading service, why did they not know any of this and why do they have to debate the definition?”. Their state of denial is unbelievable. These guys are dealers, dealers who do shows, dealers who do retail, how the hell can they not know about coin doctoring? In my opinion, this is far worse than a case of selective retention. (more…)

Rare Coin Market Report: The June 2010 Long Beach Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

Long Beach can be a mystery show. You may think you will do well and you won’t, or you may think you’ll do poor and do great. This show we did what we set out to accomplish-we bought some deals. However, had we not had these deals prescheduled, it would have been a complete bust. Even the now lone auction before the show (Goldberg) had very little Legend quality coins in it. For the first time in 10+ years, we stayed home and enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend.

Prior to”set up” day, we do whats called “lobby leaching”. That’s where we hang out at the hotels and do business (some scheduled, some not). We sensed right away this was not going to be an easy show. Many of the usual suspects had delayed their trips as well and few dealers were around to do business. We bought two coins totaling $4,000.00 Tuesday, a record low. So we gave up after two hours and went to dinner with a customer. Later we were told we missed nothing.

Typically the crowd to get in set up is large and anxious. This time, it was thin and quiet-something very unusual. Two things clearly had a major impact on dealers attendance: East Coast dealers pretty much stayed away because the Baltimore show is less than a week away. Second, it was sadly evident that a number of major dealers gave up their tables. There was no “buzz” on set up day. It was also the first time Legend made NO purchases what so ever on dealer day. There were NO Legend calibre coins to be found on the floor.

WHEN THE DOORS OPENED THURSDAY

Thursday was a complete surprise: a huge crowd showed up! There definitely was activity, however it was hard to tell if many rare coins were bought (we know generics and bullion were in demand). Also, the reduced amount of table may have given an illusion the show was busier than it was.

We had come to the show expecting to buy three deals and did. Deal #1: the Famous Bear Collection. This coin contains some fabulous handpicked mid range type coins. Deal #2: a partial GEM Type set all coins CAC. The coins are both rare and amazing! All are CAC. Deal #3: what we really traveled for, a stunning group of Early Copper coins. Between these three deals, we spent in excess of $1,250,000.00-something we had not done in over 2 years at Long Beach. We did not hear many complaints on Thursday except for the ever severe lack of coins.

THE MARKET

Checkout the results of the Heritage Auction and you will immediately see how strong the market is. They did not have any blockbuster collections and prices still managed to reach spectacular levels. The prices realized more than proved how strong demand is. There was a small group of GEM MS/DMPL Morgans all Ex PCGS Tour that brought crazy money. These coins had been off the market for many years. A collection of old holdered PR Seated and Barber Dimes brought insane prices (example $8,000.00 for a 1899 PCGS PR66 10C). Better gold coins also sold for very strong money as did pretty much anything nice and fresh. Someone at Heritage had told us that before the auction began, they had an 80% sell through. (more…)

Commentary: Thoughts on the PCGS Lawsuit Against Coin Doctors

Below is a Hot Topics Article posted on www.LegendCoin.comCoinLink has reproduced it in it’s entirety. This article is the opinion of the author, Laura Sperber.

KUDOS PCGS!

Please, no one pinch me, this is one dream I do not want to end. My sincere congratulations to David Hall and Don Willis for taking the ultimate step in the fight on coin doctors-filing a lawsuit!

For years the situation with coin doctors has only been growing more desperate. The grading services have been fighting them as hard as they could privately. Every time they thought they had a handle, the coin docs just figured out new ways to continue their destruction. This lawsuit is not for glamour, rewards, or a money grab, it was a necessity. PCGS has done the absolute right thing. TO SEE A COPY OF THE SUIT, VISIT www.coinlink.com

LEGEND NUMISMATICS FULLY SUPPORTS THE COMPLAINT AND PLEDGES TO HELP PCGS BECOME VICTORIOUS.

THE DEALER CULTURE

There is a rotten to the core subculture of coin dealers close to these guys who truly believe that it is their right to doctor, recolor, or do whatever they please to coins for a living. These people have little respect and nothing but contempt for the grading services and the public. Its time they learn they are not above the law. I have already spoken to several dealers who making their living cracking out coins. They see no wrong because they do not consider themselves full coin doctors. Much to my shock, they have the attitude that PCGS is wrong and the complaint will be dismissed. WRONG!

Its mind boggling these greedy whores fail to realize is that FRAUD has been committed. One dealer said to me “Its the grading services job to not allow doctored coins to get through”. True. However, it is against the law to try and defraud them by altering the coins they submit. Once this complaint starts progressing, the peripheral players will be exposed. Those are the guys who really have to be sweating right now. They are the ones who quietly sent coins off to these guys to have the work done for them while they look clean. I think you’ll be shocked to see who some of these names are-especially including some well known longtime PNG members. Plus, sooner or later, it probably will be exposed about a few major firms who employ well known coin docs. They will be a tougher fight because they hire them and called them “conservationists or curators”. In the end, they won’t win-the evidence will be too overwhelming.

PCGS has started the fight “right”. They are not just shooting the dark, they gathered the most facts and proof possible then waited for the right opportunity to file the complaint. There never was any secret among major dealers who the real coin doctors are. Dealers like myself were helpless to fight them other than to publicly complain (if you notice few of my fellow dealers ever stood up and spoke out). I could name most docs, I know who a lot of these guys are, however I would have been sued for sure. PCGS can file suit because they have been directly harmed and they have the physical evidence with the proven patterns of deceit these guys followed. It will be interesting to see the defense tactics the defendants will employ. In my opinion, the best they can do will be to deflect and totally deny. Too bad for the docs, facts are facts-no court or jury should rule against a consumer injury by fraud. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Market Report

By Laura Sperber – www.legendcoin.com

Congratulations are in order for Steve Contursi the owner and seller and the Nothern California Collector (the Cardnial Collection) who now owns the WORLDS MOST EXPENSIVE COIN! The Neil/Carter/Contursi specimen 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar.

We knew it was a matter of time before something like this would happen. You had a hungry collector with funds who cherished a unique coin. He didn’t really have many choices for the date. So it was matter of passing or paying the price. We do know for a fact, there were at least TWO other seriously interested collectors as well who wanted to own it. The new owner simply paid more than the others.

For those who feel the price is extreme, we do not. The coin is unique, high quality, and wildly historical. There is nothing else like it. We strongly believe should the new owner have the long term holding power, when sold, this coin will yet again break all pricing records.

Also, we strongly believe within the next year, the $10,000,000.00 price barrier will be broken. There are two coins that will easily do it when they come to market (not if-Legend has made an offer on one for much more).

Having a gigantic sale that creates a record price just adds to consumer confidence in the high end maket. The DOES trickle down to ALL levels as well (I’m sure we’ll read on the chatrooms how teh typical ebay buyer does not care-but it does affect them). Collectors love auctions because they believe they were only one bid on top of someones elses. In this case, buyers of the rarest coins like seeing the highest levels have activity and move up in value.

OUR COMMENTS ABOUT GOLD

From last weeks Market Report: Gold has heated up and is back in demand. We did warn you! However, we are not certain this week gold won’t take a short breather.

Gold did take a dump. We think the price will fluctuate around $1,100-$1,200.00 for a while. This does not mean by any stretch that the demand for gold coins or bullion has slowed. In fact, since the fall we have heard from even more people who want to own better gold coins. We have virtually no one selling us any gold of any kind (including generics).

A CORRECTION TO A STATEMENT

We stated that we did not know of any $10,000,000.00+ collections on the West Coast. OOPS! We forgot about a few amazing copper collections-and now one heck of a Early Silver Dollar Set! Our thinking really was about Morgans, Gold, and Type. So this furthers our point that there are so many HUGE collections holding many great coins scattered all over. We are sorry about the narrow minded thinking.

The PCGS Las Vegas Invitational Coin Show

Market Report by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

We were blown away at how many people attended. Dealer wise, the list was impressive. Collector wise, Thursday was a list or who’s who! In our opinion, it was the best attended show so far.

Dealer to dealer was not just strong, it was almost crazy. Our first sale was to the first dealer we saw and it was for $40,000.00! From there it was off to the races. Interestingly, Gold was red hot (especially generics) but soup to nuts coins were right up there too. Better gold did enjoy the strongest demand (things like MS65 $5 Indians, better date $10 Indians, and of course any rare date Saints). Selling was too dealer to dealer was almost too easy.

There were a few dealers who came in to “walk” the room. Our top stealth team seller was there and sold six figures just by walking around! Others were there trying to buy for Want Lists (we had two serious offers on our PCGS $2 1/2 Indian set) . And of course a dealer really wanted to buy our flipped over (sold back home) High Relief PCGS MS65 CAC. We actually stopped our wholesale activity early to keep some coins inventory for the upcoming Long Beach Show!

Selling to collectors at this mini show (there are only about 15 tables) was better than our last Long Beach and Baltimore Shows! The first collector who we saw sat down, looked at our PCGS PR66 CAC Barber Dime set and just wrote the check! After that we sold two two coins for over $10,000.00 each to other collectors.

THE MARKET

As you can expect, Gold has heated up and is back in demand. We did warn you! However, we are not certain this week gold won’t take a short breather. Even if it does not, apparently the telemarkters recieved massive orders and are back out searching for coins ranging from bullion to expensive rarities. We expect ALL rare gold to remain strong (even if spot gold comes down) becuase there is strong demand and practically no supply. It seems many people feel building a GEM Gold Type set is a very acceptable way to own gold and hedge on it (we do agree).

NOTE: When buying better gold-make sure it is CAC’d. It is not so much because of the grading, its because of so many coins being doctored in some way. Legend is an owner of CAC and sells ONLY CAC stickered coins. We made this decision based upon the serious number of bad gold pieces we have seen. Dreck like that you do not want to be stuck owning. We can tell you BOTH David Hall and Mark Salzberg are committed to the war against coin doctors as are the principals of CAC. We just wish more dealers would take a stand against these villians among us who are ruining coins.

We saw very few coins “made” at the show that were not of the generic gold nature. So the supplies of all metals of all rare coins is still slim to non existant! We still urge you to buy when a great coin does become available-even if there is a strong premium involved. There was some dreck in a few dealers boxes, but those dealers will always have more dreck than nice coins as they are price buyers/crackout dealers.

Legend Numismatics Mid May Coin Market Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

We figured not many people would miss us not posting NEWPS after CSNS, but we must have had fifty emails asking us what happened. Fortunately our reason for no NEWPS was all good. Soon we will have a major announcement about another big deal Legend Numismatics completed. This one just had to completed immediately after CSNS ended. So hence we had no time to go through our purchases. We’re back in the office and are up to full steam. Activity at our level of the market is as strong as ever!

WE FIGURED OUT WHERE ALL THE COINS ARE!

We’ve been crying for months that the supply of neat, fresh, and accurately graded coins is virtually non existent. Except for auctions, prices are virtually “stuck in mud” due to a fair level of dreck still floating around and the fact most cool coins are in VERY strong hands (which means no trading).

IT MUST BE THE DRINKING WATER

We started to thinking as to what hoards exist or how big some collections are. We scared ourselves when we realized that in the Dallas/Fort Worth area alone there are TWO (yes, just TWO) collections that are highly active and if combined would be worth in excess of $500,000,000.00! Anyone who knows either collection would not dispute that number. As caretaker of one of the collections, we know it has at least 15 coins valued in excess of $1 million dollars! We wouldn’t even know where to begin counting with the collection on the other side of town (they probably have 25+ coin over $1 million each)!

Its not just the glamour or money that attracts us to these huge collections. If you think about it, for anyone to put that kind of money into a coin collection today, not only are they rich, but they have extreme confidence in the market. Rich people do not throw their money away. BOTH collections contain some of the VERY BEST coins ever minted. Both owners will pay extreme premiums to obtain the classic rarities that fit. We highly doubt any significant pieces from these collections will be on the market again in our lifetime. However if either of these monster collections are ever sold in years to come, the returns would be staggering-even on their short term holdings!

Thinking about other ares in the country, we could not find a pocket anywhere near the size of those two collections. NYC has a few collections we know worth over $25,000,000.00 each (we know of at least $100 million total in NYC), the Midwest we know of one collection worth at least $50,000,000.00, and surprisingly, we do not know of any mega collections worth more than $10,000,000.00 on the West Coast. However, all across the US we know of dozens plus collections worth $1 million to $10 million. That is just amazing that without much effort we can figure where ONE BILLION DOLLARS worth of rare coins are. (more…)

Legend Market Report: The 2010 Central States Coin Show

We were VERY surprised at how the show ended up for us. But then our expectations were small. It took a tremendous effort to make things happen.

Arriving on Tuesday, we immediately did business within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel. Since everyone was scattered around different hotels, activity was limited until set up began. At CSNS they have a PNG Day. So as usual us lesser folk had wait outside while the mighty members of PNG set up. Once allowed in, true to form for PNG days, activity was non existent. Many dealers got spooked fearing the entire show could be lame. We feel very strongly these PNG days add nothing to a show and actually hurt momentum.

Thursday was dealer set up day. Since there had been a full PNG Day and the night before PNG set up, the majority of dealers were ruffled by the fact the CSNS people did not allow any public in until Friday. If you wanted in Thursday, you had to pay $75.00. We heard one angry collector say he’d much rather go tip cows.

However, a funny thing happened during regular dealer set up: activity started to happen. We can’t say there was a rush, but we saw signs of coins selling. By the end of the day, we had done some significant sales and we spoke to others who had seen some life too. When the public was allowed in Friday-there was activity! We were totally surprised at how many collectors did show up Friday. In the morning there was a light buzz. Buying was not aggressive, but you could sell a coin here and there.

The biggest problem Legend had: BUYING. Yes, this is broken record: THERE ARE NO NICE, FRESH, COINS TO BUY! On Friday evening as the show closed, we tallied up our buying on the floor: $93,000.00-of which ONE coin was $50,000.00. Each day dealers would ask each other: did you buy anything? We know this lack of nice coins made many collectors leave the show earlier than they had anticipated.

One huge positive note: dreck was finally being bought! Since the floor was so dry, dealers realized they needed to make a living. So the intelligent soles who knew better lowered yet again the prices of their dreck and made the pieces more attractive. Two of our stealth sales team each sold an expensive coin (over $50,000.00) that we have had in our inventory for a year! We knew this would happen eventually. (more…)

Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?

Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Market Report

THERE ARE NO COOL HIGH QUALITY COINS AROUND

We are talking about true rarities and high grade drop dead monster coins (although we have not seen things like MONSTER MS68 Morgans). When is the last time you have seen any of these offered for sale more than once in the past few years?

  • GEM Early Half Cents
  • 2C GEM MS65+ FULL RED
  • 3CS 1867-1869 MS 64+
  • 3CN MS67 better dates
  • 5C MS67 Liberty Nickels
  • 25C ALL MS64+ EARLY BUST
  • 25C GEM Lib Seated MS65+
  • 50C ALL EARLY BUST MS63+
  • 50C BUST HALVES MS66+
  • 50C 19D+21S MS65+
  • SEATED DOLLARS MS65+
  • TRADE DOLLARS MS66+
  • PR GOLD $10+20’s 65+
  • $3 BETTER pieces MS65+
  • $5 1808-1834 MS65+
  • $10 PRE 1890 MS65+

These are just RANDOM areas we could think of. Its nearly impossible to go to a major show today and see anything cool for sale. Even the major auctions are now bone dry of neat coins. Retreads at lower prices have been keeping the demand fairly satisfied but now we are clearly at the breaking point.

The lack of coins has nothing to do with the grading services. GREAT COINS ARE IN STRONG HANDS. Quietly, demand has been growing and taking coins off the market. For years a Japanese group were buying up PR Gold and GEM CC DMPL’s. The worlds largest telemarketer has been buying up all the Early Bust Gold it can find its customers. A major Wall Street Fund had been quietly trolling around and buying all the substantial coins it could. A new breed of “super” collector has emerged and they are assembling collections valued in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS each (which is one of the reasons why there are now OVER 350 coins worth $1 million or more). Our point is, there have been HUGE vacuums of coins all around for the past few years and no one really noticed. Obviously, it did not take much to dry up supply.

Having no coins around is both good and bad. Its bad because the market can actually slow due to lack of trading. We know that if we can not find the coins on our massive Want Lists, then we do not make sales. Sure, we have an inventory, but like everyone elses, it is speculative in nature. Plus at shows it becomes a big psychological negative to go from table to table looking at dreck (again, that’s LOW END, UGLY, PROBLEM coins) or the same stuff priced too high. The good part, in order to dig up the special goodies, PRICES MUST GO UP. Dealers will either bid more or you’ll see coins go crazy in auctions. (more…)

Legend Market Report – The Mid Winter ANA Coin Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

THE ANA SHOW

More collectors turned out than we thought would come. Dealers wise the attendance was weak. For the dealers who buy and sell coins similar to Legend, said they had weak shows. We heard the dealers who sold cheaper “collector coins” did very well.

Legend had a huge show, but we are not going to count it as normal.

Luckily we bought TWO coins for OVER $500,000.00 each that were on Want Lists. Take away those transactions, we did VERY little selling at our table (although we did sell EVERY Sonnier colored Morgan we brought).

Our stealth selling team did ok, not the usual robust sales they had been doing, but acceptable. And buying, forgettaboutit! The majority of our NEWPS are from deals we purchased at the office.

THERE ARE FEW IF ANY HIGH END COINS TO BE BOUGHT

Yes, you can buy dreck (low end, UGLY, problem coins) easily at this show. One of our friends was saying he had possibly his worst show EVER, but looking in his case, it was easy to see why. This show was the driest we have EVER seen ANY show in our career. Other dealers of our calibre told us the same thing. THERE WERE NO FRESH AND NICE COINS TO BE FOUND. If you had given us $100,000.00 to buy nice Type, we could NOT have filled the order at this show. We also got out bid often in the Heritage sale. Nice coins easily brought strong money.

Our predictions about BUYING NICE COINS NOW, is finally coming to a head. There is nothing out there. PRICES HAVE TO GO UP.

Like many other dealers, we had a “paralyzed” show because we could not find the right coins to trade in. You also had the “wait and see” factor from many WHOLESALE dealers because of PCGS announcement.

It is our strong opinion the UNDERLYING rare coin market is extremely healthy. We know our Want Lists are substantial (again, we bought TWO coins for OVER $500,000.00 EACH for WL’s) and we can not find the coins. However for the next 30-60 days it will seem volatile with minimal action due to the changes by the grading services and the severe lack of coins. The only major show in April is Central States at the very end of the month.

After people have paid their taxes and everyone is more comfortable with the grading changes, watch for prices to start drastically moving up on “better” coins. The prices guides totally are going to miss it. Your best way to track prices, follow as many MAJOR auctions as possible. (more…)

Market Report: The March Baltimore Coin Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

THE SHOW

We can never stop telling all our friends who read this what a terrific job Mary Counts, David Chrenshaw and team do. Every show there is something new and improved. If you can’t make an ANA or FUN, the Baltimore Shows are a must attend!

We’d also like to thank everyone who stopped by to see the display of a few treats from the amazing Brian Sonnier Collection of colored dollars.

ACTIVITY

This is tricky. Legend did extremely well, but we set no records (although we did sell a big coin for a record price, see below). One thing we never felt was a true “flow”. We spoke to other dealers who had great shows, and some dealers who did miserable. So we will term the overall show as “hit or miss”.

Activity prior to the show in the hotels was extremely strong. Gold was up and the crack out genius’ and others were hot to buy the cheaper gold. However, unlike previous runs, they were not purchasing bigger gold coins (they would however call their customers and easily pre-sell many bigger coins). They just wanted generics. Our sales were a little sluggish prior to the show opening. It stunned us as we had just come from record sales back in our office.

When the show actually started (dealer set up), there was little to no buzz. Its not that dealers weren’t sure of the levels, it was more like everyone was too cautious for one reason or another. But, dealers did want to do business. Probably the biggest problem (something which is usually not recognized until later) was little there was to buy on the floor and the auctions. The services weren’t making much either. So anything really nice and fresh, sold immediately for a big premium while everything else sat around.

The public attendance was strong, but they did not seem to be buying heavy. Most just wanted to look around and collect information.

Through out the entire show, we were busy selling many McClaren coins. On the floor, our stealth sales team (lead by a dealer we will call the Energizer Bunny because he keeps going and going….) did very well. Of course the cheaper the prices, the more sales the crew did. We were VERY surprised to see the amount of mid range Type ($4,000-$10,000.00) they sold. Even though at the hotels Gold was in demand, our stealth team sold more silver Type, with Walkers being next on the list.

Each day we walked the entire bourse floor to see if anything new surfaced. On Friday, we only spent $8,000.00! There was NOTHING for us! This Baltimore show was Legends WORST buying show EVER!!! We’re not going to change our standards to fill our cases or put inferior dreck on our web site. (more…)

THE 2010 WINTER LONG BEACH SHOW

A Market Report by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

Long Beach was exactly how we figured it to be-hit or miss. Fortunately for us, it was more of a hit, but not a great hit. The fact that gold crashed a during the show did have an impact on business for many dealers.

THE GOLDBERG SALE

This sale was small and had only one attention grabbing small collection-a dazzling group of Proof Barber Halves in PR66-PR68. Many of the coins has gorgeous colors. it was the kind of killer set Legend loves to buy intact. Too bad they did not offer it as one lot! We did end up buying nearly a dozen pieces. Most of the bigger gold coins in the sale were retreads. There was little excitement otherwise. Prices were mixed as the coins sold for exactly what they were worth (meaning if a coin was 90% all there-it sold cheap).

THE LONG BEACH SHOW

Our expectations were for it to be hit or miss. We could tell early on just by the auctions there would not be many fresh coins available. Because of that sense we did not bring any of our NEWPS from the office. We tried hard, but we did not even spend $100,000.00 at the show (we did spend several hundred thousand between the two auctions). Collectors were not even offering us any coins. It was unbelievably bone dry. Typically, at a strong Long Beach Show we will spend $1 million dollars.

Of course we had our stealth selling team operating (4 dealers). We gave each of the 4 coins that we felt fit their operations the best. Their results were startling. Our number one guy had his BEST Long Beach EVER! His activity was non stop from the time he started before the show began. He handles Type and collector oriented coins. Our #2 seller who handles similar coins, did well too. However, the other two who handle primarily gold-SOLD NOTHING! They were both unhappy campers. One told us at dealer set up, the gold guys did not even want to look. Obviously, things never got better. The WHOLESALE we did ourselves, was very strong. (more…)

The Size and Scope of Today’s Rare Coin Market

By laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

The following is a portion of Legend Numismatics Market Report………

“Its drives us nuts when we read the misinformation from a bunch of “know it alls” on chat rooms who think they have collective power in the marketplace. Here is why they are aren’t even a pimple:

Heritage Rare Coin Auctions (the worlds largest) and Blanchard and Co (the worlds largest telemarketer of coins) combined we believe have OVER 250,000 UNIQUE active collectors on their lists. Both of them do heavy marketing to the outside world. Both of them are helping to continually expand the rare coin market. There are several other huge telemarketers who do substantial business-but we just wanted to point out how big these two in particular are.

There is also a little thing that Al Gore created: the Internet. That has to be good for over 1 million plus people buying rare coins in some fashion. There are hundreds of coin companies they can go to. There are several places they can now find to help them learn about coins. Even though it is a dangerous pit, Ebay is probably still one of the largest entry points to the coin market.

When Legend comes home from a major show, we know that between 10,000 and 25,000 UNIQUE visitors check out our web site the first week. We have been steadily gaining new customers-and lately we have seen a small wave of people brand new to coins who want to spend big (like the collector who bought the Eliasberg $20 1927D PCGS MS66 from us in December). These people have money and they want to put it in something solid. For many reasons, coins fit the bill. Our customer base numbers in the THOUSANDS. We are not out to be the biggest retailer. The way we operate, supply would inhibit us anyway.

We chatted with a real billionaire at FUN about the market. He had been seriously thinking about putting $50,000,000.00 million in. In the end, he knew he could not buy the coins he wanted. A number I like that would have driven prices up dramatically overnight-just by word of mouth that someone is trying to spend a huge amount. We have been telling everyone how we know of a few seriously big monied players who are slinking around today looking to buy “big game” rarities. The collector who we purchased the other $20 1927D PCGS MS66 (FUN Auction) for $1,495,000.00 did so because he thinks its cheap. After he bought it he asked us: “got anything else?”. If we could find the coins we could sell $10,000,000.00+ instantly and easily. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Market Report: The Fun Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

legend_market_report_logoTHE 2010 FUN SHOW

First, congratulations to the FUN people. Yet again they show that hard work and listening to what we all want can make for a great show. There are only three “MUST ATTEND SHOWS”, FUN, ANA Summer, and of course our own COINFEST. Attendance was as strong as we have ever seen it. The overall activity was healthy too.

LEGEND PAID $1,495,000.00 FOR THE $20 1927-D PCGS MS66!

We had our eyes on this coin since Heritage announced they had it in auction. But a funny thing happened in Decemeber.

Legend is proud to announce in December 2009 it bought and sold the Eliasberg $20 1927-D PCGS MS66. The purchase and sale were by private treaty. The buyer, a real collector happens to be new to coins. The Eliasberg coin is believed to be the FINEST 27-D in MS66.

The reason why we purchased the Heritage coin is 100% proof of what we have been saying. Really wealthy people are trolling for great value. The collector who bought the coin from us did it on our say so. We knew that by placing the Eliasberg coin, there was one less buyer for a 27-D. Thus, we took a “shot” on the coin in the sale and it worked. There is no question we got the “rip” of the auction. 27-D $20’s in MS66 are pretty much a $2 million dollar coin (although this coin is clearly not equal to the Eliasberg coin)! The last time we stalked a big coin like this, was about 4 years ago and we purchased a Ultra High Relief PCGS MS68 for $1.8 million out of a FUN Sale (of which we were immediately offered $2 million). Sometimes people are so confident a coin will bring x, they simply do not follow it.

Legend has now bought and placed THREE MS66 27D $20’s-The Dallas Bank coin (which mirrors the Eliasberg coin), The Eliasberg coin, and the Connecticut State Bank coin (this purchase). We do not think any other dealer comes close to having handled as many.

Also, with this sale, Legend has now placed million dollar coins with SIX DIFFERENT collectors! NO OTHER DEALER (not counting auctions) has come close to that either. Again, its not just bragging, its POWERUL proof as to the strength and more importantly confidence of the participants in today’s market. (more…)

A Father and Son Coin Collecting Team

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Hot Topics

BACKGROUND: Legend Numismatics recently purchased the Boyd 1870-S Seated Dollar Graded PCGS Genuine for this dynamic father/son duo from the Bowers and Merena Sale in Baltimore. Thay had just about finished with their AU/MS Seated Dollar Collection and dreamed about owning a 70-S. Here is a portion of Laura’s Hot Topics Post:

1870-s_dollar_bm_111409In all my years of dealing I have seen all types of collectors. Since the registry craze started I have seen more ego maniacs then true collectors. Seeing this father/son team work is not only refreshing, but its a heart warming story of interaction as well.

Today, I only know of one other true “team” building a collection (I am not talking about daddy just forking over money-I am talking about a true working pair). They travel to some shows, they look at their coins when ever they can, they both love coins.

One thing that impresses me the most, they are all about the coins. They couldn’t give a hoot about the registry. Their whole take on coins and collecting them is fabulous! I hope this Hot Topics can inspire more familys to collect as a unit.

Here is the story (as written by the teenage son) about their collecting endevors of Seated Dollars:

The MNS Joint Venture Seated dollar set is being put together by my father and I. We started collecting in 2002 or 2003 with liberty nickels and within 3 years we had a whole set, and up to 4-5 of some dates with a nearly complete second set. Time to look for a new series.

The Seated dollar set was our second set we set out to tackle. It presented a challenge at a reasonable cost in the XF grade range that we started to look at. A few XF’s in and a tough decision had to be made. Take the plunge or not. I was able to locate a choice XF 1873-cc in a dealers website and it was an easy decision. The coin was in our possession and quickly followed by an 1871-cc in XF. Some of the keys were down and there was no turning back from here.
(more…)

Legend Numismatics Baltimore Coin Show Market Report

By Laura Sperber

We can debate everyone’s different market reports. This report is written solely on how the principals of Legend Numismatics witnessed the show to be. We primarily deal in higher grade rarities and gold, so those are the areas we are reporting on. From our point of view, the Baltimore Show was definitely an “on” show.

1870-s_dollar_bm_111409About a week ago (when dealers like to call each other because of nervous energy about how a show will be) we predicted Baltimore would be great. THE BALTIMORE SHOW WAS GREAT FOR US! And we are not just talking about the usual awesome job Mary Counts and David Chrenshaw and staff do. The overall activity was strong.

Keep in mind that there had not been a true major show (even we don’t count COINFEST as major) in 45 days. That’s a lifetime numismatic drought! Gold has been steadily rising. Collectors are paying attention to coins again. It was a mini perfect storm.

The Stacks sale started off activity prior to the show. It clearly was much stronger than had been anticipated. Can’t say there was a major collection in it, but anything that was fresh and nice sold for strong money.

Dealer to dealer activity in the hotel rooms before set up was crazy. It was like seeing cockroaches scatter when the lights turned on only its coin dealers running around to buy gold or get first shot.

We like to say: “if you had gold, you sold”. ALL gold, was selling briskly. The demand reminded us of 1980. MS66 Saints started the show at a WHOLESALE sight-UNSEEN BID of $2,900.00 and when we left Saturday, buyers were paying $3,200.00 and seeking quantities. CAC MS66 Saints are now $3,600.00 WHOLESALE sight-UNSEEN BID! Replacing CAC gold was nearly impossible.

The B+M auction was VERY strong. We bought the 1870S $1 for $126,500.00 [Shown Above] on behalf of a family (we’ll be posting a story about them shortly on our Hot Topics) to cap off a AU/Unc MS seated Dollar Collection. Congrats to them!
(more…)

The Pre Baltimore Coin Show Market Report

By Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

For the record, we expect Baltimore to be a VERY strong show. Why?

ms67_Seated_Quarter_haThere have not been any major shows since Long Beach-which has been a forever 45 days ago. Gold has been on a tear lately. And there have been no major additions to the ever shrinking supply of nice coins.

We fully expect to see the usual suspects running wild looking to buy gold coins before the show begins. Sadly, they will still be cracking out and messing with the coins, but at least they are much more reserved in what they buy. We used to see guys buy coins for “crackout” if they felt they had even a 20% chance. Plus, some upgrades are not worth doing thanks to the new market order (inferior coins selling for so much less).

Still, many dealers who do deal in gold have sold a lot of gold all of the sudden (amazing, only a month ago the big firms wouldn’t even look at generics) and rare gold coins are now selling as strong as ever. Without a major show, it has been impossible to replace them. We’re not so sure the supply of anything at Baltimore will be sizeable.

The price of gold generally does NOT effect the rare coin market. However since there is just so little of anything out there, cash rich dealers will seize the opportunity and buy cool coins to put away because they seem cheap. The rise in gold is definately giving rare coins a bounce up right now.

A SUGGESTION OF WHAT TO BUY

Every day we get asked what should I be buying? As much as we hate making public recommendations, we are going to do so only because we can’t believe how some areas are simply lacking real demand and are selling way too cheap.
(more…)

Legend Numismatics Mid October Rare Coin Market Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

The coin market seems to be doing just fine-and maybe even gaining a little strength.

legend_market_report_logoLast week we were knocked down pretty much by illness in the office. It was a bigger deal for us to lift our heads than any coins. So we did not do much in sales, nor did we attend any shows. Can’t even say we did much on the phone either. However, we did have numerous sales off our web site (click and buy) and we did send our coins with a stealth selling team to the Silver Dollar Show in Saint Louis. Unfortunately we’re still a bit under the weather and this week we will be at half strength at best.

Off the web we sold coins ranging from a McClaren coin for $295.00 to a $9,000.00 coin. An FYI about the McClaren deal: in the three months we have been working on it, we have SOLD coins to SEVERAL HUNDRED different collectors. The actual number astonished us. Our guess is we will sell about 11,000 coins direct to collectors. Two weeks ago, we did sell 25,100 BU Morgans to a dealer in a substantial transaction. We are saving only the BEST coins for offering to our customers!

A lot of people ask why we need stealthy sales people at shows. Dealers are a wacky bunch. If you look at some the wrong way they get spooked. There is one bigger dealer who once said to us, “if you can’t sell it how can I”. Well he has since bought many coins from us via our sellers. Plus, the team can canvas the floor with more time and energy then we could since our main object is to buy. It surprises many people when they find out Legend actually one of the bigger WHOLESALERS around. We feel WHOLESALE is a critical function for our business-but retail is ALWAYS our #1 operation. Legend has also stopped consigning its coins to auctions as we have seen little in terms of good results. Old fashioned face to face selling is much cleaner and better. Do note, that we do NOT give out consignors coins to our team without disclosing so.

Each one of our sellers sold a single coin for at least $10,000.00. ALL reported VERY good shows-which is important information to us and our customers. We don’t know much else until Tuesday when we get the checks and paperwork! They said some generic gold was being bought (a week before the big gold houses weren’t even buying because their inventories were so bloated). We did not hear of any big Type selling-it sounds like that are is still a little weak. Morgans had some life and we know Walkers are still selling strong!
(more…)

Coinfest Coin Show Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

legend_market_report_logoFirst, we’d like to congratulate and thank Jon Lerner (Scarsdale Coins) putting on one of the BEST shows there is! Jon fought a nasty cold and made sure everything was “just right” for everyone. We also would like to offer a huge thank you to John Albanese and his team over at CAC for donating their time and effort to offer free submissions for the collectors who attended. The Q+A session that John held was heavily attended with many good questions being answered. Legends principle, Laura Sperber is a partner with Jon Lerner (in the show) and is  shareholder in CAC.  It is our goal to make Coinfest into a premier specialty show that is a ‘must attend” for collectors. We are not looking to fill a convention center. We want dealers and collectors to be able to transact in a smaller, beautiful, safe, secure, and intimate setting. Also, we have a huge preference of offering tables at our show to dealers who will attend and want to deal with the public. The big wholesalers who do nothing but “crackouts”, they can stay at the bigger shows.

Things started off very strong when all day Thursday dealers arrived and seemed eager to do business. Wholesale activity in the rooms was moderate to strong (it really depended on what you had). We came in early to see only one dealer. Biz was good, and back home we went.

Friday was true test. The dealers were allowed in at 10. Wholesale in the room again was decent to strong. The real test came at 2:00 when the public was allowed in. Collector traffic in the room was low to moderate. However, the make up of who was there certainly rivaled any major auction with a special collection! A common comment from several dealers was that the show brought in much better educated collectors then a Baltimore or a Long Beach. Of course many collectors were just mulling around until the big event-when CAC starts accepting coins at 10AM on Saturday. We saw several collectors we knew who had flown in just to attend the show. All of these collectors did shop, and many even bought coins. Many new collectors to dealer contacts were made at the show. Our sales to collectors on Friday were very good. In fact on Friday alone, we sold more McClaren coins than we did in Philadelphia (yes, we sold only 4 in Philly-but Coinfest blew that number away in the first hour)! Of course we sold a few coins from our regular inventory as well.
(more…)

Legend Numismatics Market Report – The Philadelphia Coin Expo

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

THE FIRST SHOW IS NOW HISTORY!

nullYet again we congratulate all of the hard work and fantastic jobs the entire Whitman staff does to make their shows clearly some of the BEST presented in the business. David Chrenshaw, Mary Counts, and Lori Hammrick are people who you can always count on to get the job done. It will take a lot of work, but this new show does indeed have strong potential.

WAS THE SHOW A SUCCESS?

Again, before we give our answer, remember; ANYTHING WE SAY IS FROM OUR VIEWPOINT.

Legend is probably one of the few dealers who did not like going to downtown Philadelphia. Sure, there is that incredible Reading Food Market across the street, but access to the convention center is not easy, we were concerned about crime in the area (sure enough we witnessed 3 people handcuffed and taken out of the show), and there are too many shows around it (either physically or date wise) to make collectors come out.

We DID end up having an exceptional show-however our ONLY activity happened at dealer set up and then mid day Saturday. In between we were VERY disappointed in the public attendance and overall activity. Thursday probably had the heaviest attendance-but that was still “light” in regards to a major show. Even dealer attendance was marginal. Many generic dealers (especially the larger ones) pretty much had STOPPED buying GOLD generics prior to the shows start-which hurt the show for sure (we’ll explain later). We were stumped that out of the 1000+ McClaren coins we brought, we only sold 4 to the public. You certainly can’t say price or the quality were factors (most McClaren coins are PCGS/NGC+CAC’d and priced BELOW $1,000.00).

Our biggest sale to a collector was for a coin in excess of $100,000.00. We generally only do sales like that at FUN or ANA. But that sale came on Saturday via email-the collector had seen the coin Friday at the show. At the same time that sale was being confirmed, we sold a PCGS MS65 High Relief WHOLESALE. We did no other business Saturday. When we added up, our table and agent sales, we did some serious business. However we will not claim this was a great show or a rousing success-it needs a lot of fine tuning. The middle days were very boring and lifeless for us. In all fairness, it was the first show. (more…)

The Perfect Auctions-The Holmes And Nafzger Large Cent Sales

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

“The perfect auctions” we are talking about are the Dan Holmes and Ted Nazfger Large Cent auctions that just took place in Beverly Hills. Ira and Larry Goldberg (and staffs) did a spectacular job of organizing and auctioning these once in a life time sales.

ln_market_090909The results from these two sales let no one down-they were phenomenal and totally mind blowing! Prices realized and collector participation more than proved the coin market is starved for quality and has very strong and deep legs.

Last time we wrote about the middle date Nafzger Sale, we named it “the perfect storm”. We knew the coin that auction had sold ridiculously cheap and time would prove it out. The reasons why that sale had weaker results: the sale was held the same day (during) the Super bowl, the Goldberg’s Internet site crashed, the economy was seriously more uncertain than it is today, and a few new collectors to the series had just started. Its totally amazing how all these factors did a total reversal to yield some of the most amazing results ever and produce two greatly historical auctions.

THE DAN HOLMES SALE

The crowd was standing room only and was comprised mostly of serious collectors. There wasn’t just a buzz before the sale began, you could feel and jolt of electricity when you walked in the room. From our point of view we did not see the typical “crack out and coin docs” we run into at every show. Thank goodness they do not know how to work on anything than other than a white dollar or a gold coin. In fact, very few “main line” dealers like us attended.

It was a battle every lot to buy anything. The room was littered with deep pocketed individuals who came to buy. In the end, we witnessed at least FOUR collectors who spent OVER $1,000,000.00 each and several under bidders who had tried to do the same. Legend spent a lowly $300,000.00 for ourselves, and teamed up with a another dealer to buy another $600,000.00 worth of treasures. There were many “unknown” faces who came out of hiding for this sale and they were as aggressive as someone you’d see who attends every show and auction. (more…)