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Category: Coin Show News

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The Fun Has Begun

News and Analysis on scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #34

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

While the Summer ANA Convention includes a wide variety of items of interest to collectors of U.S. coins, paper money, tokens and medals, plus some coins of the world, the Winter FUN Convention is the leading event of the year in the field of rare U.S. coins. Today’s discussion will be a little shorter than usual as I am busy in Tampa viewing coins, witnessing events and gathering information during FUN week. Yes, the winter FUN Convention formally begins on Thursday, at the Tampa Convention center. Coin related events, however, have already occurred.

I. B&M Pre-FUN Auction

I attended the Bowers & Merena pre-FUN auction on Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, which is near the Tampa Airport. In last week’s column, I discussed the fact that Bowers & Merena and Stack’s are in the process of merging. The new Stack’s-Bowers president, Chris Napolitano, was in attendance. It was made clear that QDB and Chris Karstedt would continue to play roles in Stack’s-Bowers. Brad Karoleff, the longtime auctioneer for B&M, and Melissa Karstedt, an auctioneer at Stack’s, served as auctioneers during Tuesday night. Unfortunately, as this auction did not finish until well into Tuesday night, there was not time for me to thoroughly analyze this event.

On Tuesday, the lot viewing room for the B&M auction was packed. There were, at times, people waiting for seats in a fairly large room on the main floor of a very large hotel. My sources tell me that lot viewing attendance was excellent on Sunday and Monday as well, and that there were many collectors and dealers viewing at Heritage’s lot viewing room at the Tampa Convention center on Monday and Tuesday. So far, there seems to be even more interest in the FUN auctions than there was last year. It is too early, however, to draw a conclusion on the topic of collector interest in FUN week auctions.

In my column of Dec. 8, I raised the topic of FUN auctions, and I then provided explanations as to the general importance of January FUN auctions. My column of Dec. 8 is primarily about Jim O’Neal’s landmark set of Indian Head Half Eagles ($5 gold coins) and I remind readers that I wrote a two part series on O’Neal’s Eagles ($10 gold coins) in 2009. Please also read my article about the Jan. 7, 2010 Platinum Night event. (As usual, clickable links are in blue.)

In my column of Dec. 22, I focused upon the Henry Miller collection, the core of which Heritage will auction on Thursday, during Platinum Night. On Dec. 15, I wrote about the Malibu set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters. The collector known as ‘Malibu’ also consigned Proof Liberty Seated halves and silver dollars to Tuesday night’s event, plus a few other coins. As I earlier suggested, his set of Proof Liberty Seated Quarters is far more spectacular than his respective sets of halves and dollars. I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to view all of his Liberty Seated Quarters, Half Dollars and Dollars. (more…)

Rare Coin Road Warrior Market Report

By Vic Bozarth – Bozarth Numismatics

What’s happening on the rare coin show circuit?

The Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition was really ‘cooking’! In my opinion the Baltimore Coin Expo is the hottest show on the rare coin show circuit. The folks at Whitman know how to run a show. The Fall show is the best of the three shows that Whitman Publishing holds in Baltimore each year. Attendance is always heavy and the Bowers and Merena Auction is a big draw. Business was brisk and gold was the major culprit.

I will talk more about the Baltimore Coin Exposition, but first let me tell you why I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column each month.

My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year to buy rare coins for our customers. We attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional and state numismatic society shows. We own and operate Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is bozarthcoins.com. I have attended coin shows since the age of 13 and set up as a dealer at my first show at the age of fifteen. Of course, I love coins, but shows are where the action is! Because many of you don’t have the luxury of attending many coin shows, I like to share with you the news and market trends I have witnessed while attending and working the ‘bourse’.

The October Show schedule was grueling. Although the only major show was the Silver Dollar Show in St. Louis we actually attended four shows in total flying coast to coast twice. After the stellar Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo in late September/early October we flew to Manchester, NH for the NH Coin Show. Although bracketed by the bigger Philly Show and St. Louis Silver Dollar Show, the NH Show was both well attended and well run. Ernie Botte does an excellent job with this show. The show itself is growing and we are among many who really enjoy visiting the Northeast during the Fall.

The Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, is well run in an excellent facility, but there are several problems with the show. Maybe it is the economy, maybe it is the city, but the show just isn’t what it once was in years past. The Silver Dollar Show also faces some major hurdles next year. The new Pittsburgh ANA Fall Show is scheduled the week prior to the Silver Dollar Show next October. The ANA is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room-they stomp around with no regard for anyone else. (more…)

NGC at the Beijing International Coin Expo

The premier numismatic event was well attended and provided an opportunity for Chinese dealers and collectors to learn more about NGC and submit coins for certification.

Among the most important annual coin shows held in China, the Beijing International Coin Expo provides an ideal opportunity to look at the previous year’s coinage and look ahead to the next year. It is an event focused on modern coinage, with mints from Asia and around the world showcasing their coinage. NGC was present with its Guangzhou-based submission center, both accepting coins and providing information about certification. Additionally, NGC hosted an educational numismatic seminar conducted during the show.

The Expo, jointly hosted by China Gold Coin Corporation, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, and the China Numismatic Museum, was held on November 7 to 10, 2010, in the China World Trade Center. Nearly 250 exhibitors from 27 countries were present at the 15th annual Expo. This event is very popular with the public. On opening day, large bustling crowds made it difficult to maneuver down the aisles. As in previous years, a special-edition commemorative coin was issued in celebration of the event. Owing to its popularity, the opportunity to purchase this coin is awarded in a lottery.

The Chinese coin market itself is extremely vibrant, with many scarce modern commemorative issues trading at record price levels. Collectors identify strongly with commemorative issues from the past 30 years that celebrate Chinese cultural heritage. In particular, large-format coins that are five ounces and larger are highly coveted, as many have small mintages. The NGC Oversize Holder is especially popular for these coins because of the inherent challenges of storing and transporting large coins.

It is also evident that certification is gaining a greater foothold in the Chinese market, as NGC-certified coins could be seen throughout the exposition area. During the official auction of the Expo, nearly a dozen of the 110 lots were NGC-certified. Once again this year, NGC was the only certification company represented in the auction.

NGC also hosted an educational symposium to discuss certification with prominent members of the Chinese numismatic community. A detailed discussion of the grading process and grading terminology was followed by an open question-and-answer session. “Certification is attractive to collectors in China for three major reasons: first, collectors appreciate the protection it affords against counterfeits, which are of concern even in the Chinese modern coin market; second, collectors value the standardization of grade, which makes it easier for them to identify superior condition coins; and, third, collectors love NGC’s holder, which provides incredible long-term protection for their coins,” said Scott Schechter, NGC vice president, sales & marketing, who presented at the symposium.

Strong bourse + auctions at Baltimore coin show; Rarities keep soaring

By Steve Roach
First published in the November 29, 2010, issue of Coin World

The Nov. 4 to 7 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo was characterized by both a strong bourse floor and well-performing auctions with interesting and fresh material.

The Baltimore show, held three times a year, has become one of the most robust on the circuit, with dealers and collectors alike praising Whitman for being responsive and Baltimore for being a good convention city, characterized by inexpensive flights, reasonably priced hotels and good local restaurants.

A walk around the bourse floor on Friday revealed healthy dealer-to-collector business being done.

Prior to the show’s start, Stack’s presented its 75th anniversary auction, which realized nearly $4.6 million across 2,500 lots.

It was anchored by the W.L. Carson Collection of U.S. Proof sets, a remarkable and large fresh-to-market collection put together decades ago consisting of more than 500 lots of Proof coins from 1837 to 1964.

The quality was characteristic of many old collections put together prior to third-party grading: some coins were amazing high-grade beauties while others were harshly cleaned or displayed artificial toning and were in Professional Coin Grading Service “Genuine” holders. The market absorbed the collection at strong prices.

Bowers and Merena Auctions hosted the official expo auction with more than 3,500 lots, anchored by the No. 2 collection of Standing Liberty quarter dollars with full head designation.

A toned 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar graded Mint State 67+ full head sold for $195,500 (pictured left, image courtesy of bowersandmerena.com), while a more brilliant example in the same grade without the “+” brought $115,000. A 1927-S quarter dollar graded MS-65+ full head brought $149,500. All three were graded by PCGS and carried Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers.

In total the auction saw 12 separate Standing Liberty quarter dollars realize more than $25,000 each.

The sum of the auction results shows continued health for a wide range of issues including gold, especially at the $20,000 to $200,000 level, as collectors continue to seek objects of lasting and proven value during times of economic uncertainty.

The Baltimore Coin Show – Legend Numismatics Market Report

Yeah, this is broken record: Mary Counts, David Chrenshaw, Lori Hamrick and team did it again. They put on one of the BEST shows. Our ONLY complaint (and we know many other people felt the same way) was out of their control: $13.00 for a sandwich and soda? That was DRECKY! We spoke to David Chrenshaw who pulled out a note pad of issues to work on and showed us he was on it. At no other show have we EVER seen managers who really want to absorb information to make it better. Guess that’s why we were told attendance was up a decent % this show.

Hidden GEM at the show: there is a full time massage therapist in the lobby. With all the stress on the bourse, taking a break for 10 minutes and getting a massage was so relaxing and helpful.

LEGEND SPENDS $2,000,000.00

We did not realize how much we spent until we got home and added it up. This figure includes The Stacks and Bowers Sales, and the spending damage we did on the bourse floor. Keep in mind, this is real money. Legend would not put up its own money or endanger our customers monies if we felt the market was weak or had issues.

At the Stacks sale there was an interesting group of fresh proof coins. Legend by far did the most buying. We proudly purchased (and saved them from the coin doctors) the $10 1913 PCSG PR66 CAC ($80,500.00)+$20 1913 PCGS PR65 CAC ($103,500.00). One day we would LOVE to tell you where they went as it would PROVE the depth and reach of the US coin market all over the world! Other highlight purchases: the $10 1888 PCGS PR65 Cameo and the $20 1906 PCGS PR65 Cameo. All these went to different collectors.

Prices were very strong at the Stacks sale. The nicer the coins, the stronger the premiums went. We saw some coins sell for prices as much as 3 grades higher! The marketplace is starved for fresh coins.

The Bowers Sale was crazy. We had sold many of the MS Seated Half Dollars to the collector who formed the Malibu Collection. We figured there might be a little softness and we could get some good deals. NOT! We bought ONLY about 3 halves-and the 43O PCGS MS65 CAC we sold to a collector at lot pick up! The prices were “moon” money and beyond. You had two clear cut collectors competing, us (we were buying for collectors NOT building sets), another high end dealer representing a collector, and at least one party who LOVES rare CAC stickered coins and is not specifically a Seated Half Collector (we did confirm this individual was bidding). It is interesting to note that a NON Seated half Collector would pay such strong prices. This party thinks “outside the box”. His coin purchases from this sale over the years will be as astute just as if he were building one of the finest collections of Seated Halves. He understands, you can’t be scared to stretch when great coins with low to no pops are available.

Our highlight purchases from Bowers included the monster 1851 PCGS MS62 Slug (ex Amon carter) $316,250.00. Of all of our auction purchases, this was the ONLY coin we really stole. We had been prepared to pay up to $400,000.00 hammer! We also purchased the ultra rare and grossly undervalued $3 1877 PCGS PR65 DCameo CAC. We’re helping build a PR $3 collection that is now only 4 coins short of completion! We had to pay up, but we bought just about ALL the CAC MS 64 Seated Dollars for addition to a collection we are exclusively building. The gorgeous 25C 1916 PCGS MS67+ CAC was one we lost on. It sold for $195,500.00 in Bowers. The same coin at the 2010 ANA Boston auction (less than 3 months ago) brought $149,500.00. It was simply a coin that fell thought the cracks at ANA (everyone thought it would go for crazy money, so why bother bidding). At BOTH auctions, Legend was the under-bidder! We still regret not buying the coin-for inventory! (more…)

Bowers and Merena Selected for 2011-2013 ANA Pre-Show Auctions

Bowers and Merena Auctions has been selected by the American Numismatic Association as the official auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show, which will immediately precede the World’s Fair of Money conventions. This three-year agreement includes the ANA Pre-Shows to be held in Chicago in 2011, Philadelphia in 2012 and Chicago in 2013.

“The ANA is very pleased with the selection of Bowers and Merena as the Official Auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show Auctions,” said Larry Shepherd, ANA Executive Director. “We are working to ensure that our official ANA Pre-Shows are great events for everyone, and we are excited that Bowers and Merena’s top-tier auctions will be a significant part of these events.”

Bowers and Merena will hold live auctions of coins and paper money including:

• U.S. Coins, U.S. Colonial Coins, U.S. Tokens, U.S. Exonumia
• U.S. Paper Money, World Paper Money
• Ancient and World Coins

The Bowers and Merena Auctions will increase the availability of numismatic material at the World’s Fair of Money convention which starts immediately after the ANA Pre-Show ends.

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the ANA and honored to have been entrusted with the rights to host the Official ANA Pre-Show Auction for the next three years,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “The ANA World’s Fair of Money is one of the most important coin shows in the world and the ANA Pre-Show presents an amazing auction venue. We look forward to working with such a well-respected organization as the ANA.”

The ANA Pre-Show is scheduled the three days prior to each ANA World’s Fair of Money convention. The 2011 Chicago ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. In 2012 the ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 4-6 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The ANA Pre-Show returns to Chicago Aug. 10-12 in 2013.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Bowers and Merena Auctions is a world leader in numismatic auctions. For more information, visit www.bowersandmerena.com or call 800-458-4646.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org.

Coinfest 2010 Market Report

By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana

After much anticipation, this years CoinFest has come and gone. In its third location in four years, I must say that this should be the permanent home for this show. Located in the recently renovated Marriott in Stamford, CT, the bourse itself was held in a “ballroom” atmosphere. With carpeted floors this gives a “warmer” environment to conduct business. Parking was plentiful for the attendees, and there are numerous quality restaurants within walking distance. My vote is to do whatever it takes to keep the show there.

Inside the bourse area there were, and are, many opinions as to how the show was. The local demographics, on paper, have all the making for a great show. For some it was, but for most it wasn’t. Let me explain. Unfortunately most dealers suffer from the “immediate gratification” syndrome. Not unlike most of America I suppose. If sales weren’t consummated there, and for large numbers, then some dealers look at the show as a bust. Many of the dealers don’t cater to retail on a full time basis. They set up at shows, looking for that big sale, and when it doesn’t happen then and there, they become disappointed. They don’t maintain websites, advertise in trade publications, have dedicated phone lines, or employ numismatists to handle questions. They live in the here and now.

Other dealers on the other hand look at contacts made as a possible client in the future. They follow up with emails, inquire about want lists, and basically cultivate the collector. Now I’m not looking at this through rose colored glasses, I realize that quite a few contacts made don’t pan out. In fact most don’t. Thing is you just don’t know which ones will and which ones won’t. At CoinFest we spent a lot of our time talking with collectors, some who bought something, some who didn’t. But I came away with a very positive feeling about the show. As I write this, I have numerous emails to return from people who I just met at CoinFest. I guess time will tell.

Sales: From a retailer view, they were somewhat dismal. The collector sales that were done were well thought out by the buyer. No impulse buying here. But that is good. At least the collector feels confident enough with what is going on in the world to continue their pursuit of numismatics. Polite negotiations, trades, and lay-a-ways were all done there. That’s okay. We try very hard to put coins in collector hands. Thank you.

From a wholesale point of view it was mixed. We did sell quite a bit to other dealers, mostly to retailers. No wholesalers and very little producers. That leads me to this thought. Other dealers, retailers in particular, don’t just buy coins to be buying coins. They have a thought process, perhaps another retail consumer (one that hasn’t found us yet). What I am trying to say is that when a coin trade hands wholesale it is done for a reason. Someone, somewhere, is selling the coin to a collector, that my friend is good it shows confidence in the market.

Buying: Here is where it gets interesting. None, and I mean none, of our usual contacts had anything special for us. But…there were a few deals (collections) that came to the show. And while we didn’t buy all of them directly from the original sellers, they found there way to us anyway. Most all of the coins we bought there were raw. That is they haven’t seen the inside of a grading room, ever, or a least until next week in Baltimore where we will submit them. Stay tuned, or shall I say check our web site often after Baltimore for these coins. These pieces along with our new purchases from Baltimore will make for a very special offering of coins.

Christine and I will be attending Baltimore this week starting on Thursday. If you are attending, please stop by and say hello, we are at table 1851. We’d love to chat and talk coins. And maybe even sell some…

W. Philip Keller Colonoal Coin Collection Leads Heritage COINFEST Auction

Locked in a Pennsylvania vault for 43 years, one of the most comprehensive collections of colonial and early American coins ever to reach public auction, The W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials, is the principle highlight of the upcoming Rare U.S. Coin auction, Oct. 28-31 in conjunction with COINFEST in Stamford, CT.

Mr. Keller apparently stopped actively collecting around 1966, with intermittent purchases through the early 1970s, and stored his collection in a bank vault where it was discovered nearly 40 years later by his surprised family after he died last year, who knew that Mr. Keller was a collector, but had no idea of the depth, or value, of his collection.

This is Heritage’s first official auction with COINFEST, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Fittingly enough, our debut at this New England venue is filled with a variety of colonial and early American coins, including dozens of different Connecticut coppers struck shortly after independence.

One of those Connecticut coppers is a 1785 African Head Connecticut copper, the extremely rare Miller 4.2-F.6 variety, graded VF30 by NGC. It is estimated at $40,000+, but could go significantly higher.

There are two varieties of the African Head Connecticut copper, one relatively common, the other extremely rare. This piece is one of the rare variety, one of just two or three known. Its appearance at COINFEST is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Keller bought most of his collection from leading dealers and auctioneers in the 1950s and 1960s, and this African Head copper has been in Keller’s collection, and thus off the market, since 1966.

Another anchor consignment of the auction is The Diotte Collection, which spans U.S. Mint history from some of the earliest issues to noted modern rarities. Its chief highlight is a 1797 half dollar, O-102 variety, graded Fine Details by NCS. It is estimated at $50,000+.

The half dollars of 1796-1797 are among the most prized U.S. type coins regardless of grade. Just four varieties were struck between the two years, all of them are very scarce to very rare, and the 1797 O-102 variety is the most elusive of them all.

In addition to colonials, pattern coinage is among the strengths of this auction. In a relatively small but impressive selection, the most prominent piece is an 1879 “Washlady” dollar struck in silver, Judd-1603 variety, graded PR66+ by NGC. It is estimated at $50,000+.

This design’s nickname was originally an insult. In 1891, just a dozen years after this pattern was struck, David Proskey called it the ‘Washlady,’ a negative reference to how Liberty’s hair appeared. Today, however, the ‘Washlady’ is considered one of the most beautiful patterns ever produced, and the very rare examples struck in silver are especially sought-after.

The 20th century has its share of highlights as well, led by a 1909 half eagle, graded PR67 by NGC. Like other gold proofs of that year, it has a distinct semi-bright finish sometimes called “Roman gold,” which tried to find a balance between the mirrored proofs of the 19th century and the dull-finished matte proofs that were popular in Europe but had received a disastrous reception among U.S. coin collectors. The “Roman gold” experiment failed, but survivors from the issue’s mintage of 78 half eagles are popular with modern numismatists. It is estimated at $55,000+.

A more conventional mirrored proof offered is a 1904 double eagle graded PR65 Cameo by PCGS. Just 98 proof $20s were struck in 1904, and most of them lack the contrast that was often seen on pre-1902 specimens. Thanks to its Cameo status and solid all-around preservation, it is one of the most important representatives of its issue. It is estimated at $60,000+.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

Rare Coin Road Warrior – October 2010

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have spent most of my twenty plus years in the rare coin business at shows or on buying trips all over the continental U.S. My wife, Sherri Bozarth, and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is Bozarthcoins.com.

In my first Rare Coin Road Warrior column for September I talked about the ANA Convention in Boston, MA held in early August as well as the Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Chicago, the Long Beach Show, and the newer Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia. This month I will write about some of the news from Long Beach and Philadelphia as well as previewing shows in Manchester, NH, St. Louis, MO, Portland, OR, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. As you might have guessed the Fall season is very busy with lots of big coin shows. We try to attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

The coin business is very busy right now with the gold bullion price hitting an all time high with each new day. Currently gold is at $1356 as I pen this article from my seat (20C) on a Continental Airlines flight to Boston. Although we are at an all time high price for bullion many rare gold coins are trading at a smaller premium (over melt) than at any time in recent memory. Prices are rising with both the higher bullion prices and increased demand, but good values are still readily available.

The Long Beach Coin and Stamp Expo is one of the largest and most successful shows in the rare coin business. Dealers have been attending the Long Beach Show since the sixties when there were two shows annually. Since the seventies there have been three shows each year generally in February, June, and September. Personally I have attended over 70 straight Long Beach Shows and wouldn’t miss one for the world. We love to visit CA and the Long Beach Show has hundreds of dealers in attendance plus a major Heritage Auction at each show.

Over the last several years the Long Beach Show has had some challenges. Attendance has slipped and many smaller dealers were, to put it frankly, just priced out of the room. I was pleasantly surprised at the September show to see some ‘new’ dealers set up as well as healthy attendance by the public. Indeed, prior to the show, the management of the show did a good job trying to fill the bourse by offering some more attractive table prices to both new attendees and those who had not had a table recently. Long Beach is cool and a lot of dealers make it a better show for everyone.

The Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo is only in the second year of existence, but these folks know how to run a show. Philadelphia is the home of our first, and for many years only, mint. Philadelphia and the Northeast comprise a large portion of the original thirteen states and ‘old’ coins come out of the woodwork there. After all, the ‘old’ coins were made there. Not only is Philadelphia a great coin town, but it is fun to visit also. The Convention Center itself is conveniently located with lots of lodging and dining options. Public transportation is available too. We really enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market and the dozens of vendors and restaurants available there. (more…)

Cardinal Large Cent Collection To De Displayed Next Month At Whitman Coin Expo

The acclaimed Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation‘s large cents collection, the number one-ranked set of its kind in both the PGCS and NGC Set Registry listings, will be publicly displayed for the first time in the Baltimore-Washington area during the first two days of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo, November 4 and 5, 2010.

The exhibit, co-sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions (www.BowersAndMerena.com) and Collateral Finance Corporation (www.cfccoinloans.com), will be displayed at the Bowers and Merena booth, #1205, during the show.

“It is truly an amazing collection that includes some of the finest known examples of United States large cents struck from 1793 to 1857, said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena. “There are 77 large cents in the set, and many are the finest known for their respective date and type.”

This 1793 Chain Cent (S-2), graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation large cents collection that will be displayed August 10 – 13, 2010 by Bowers and Merena Auctions and Collateral Finance Corporation at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.  (Photo by PCGS)

While supplies last, visitors to the exhibit can receive a free, 40-page illustrated booklet published by the foundation, “Portraits of Liberty,” that describes the history of U.S. large cents.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

  • 1793 Chain Cent (S-2) graded PCGS MS65BN that set a world’s record in 2005 as the most valuable U.S. cent at the time
  • 1793 Wreath Cent, PCGS MS69BN, the single highest-graded 18th century U.S. coin of any date of denomination
  • 1794 Liberty Cap “Head of 1793” Cent, PCGS MS64BN, described by Logies as “the single finest representative work of early Mint engraver, Joseph Wright”
  • 1803 Draped Bust Cent, PCGS MS66RB, acclaimed by the Early American Coppers society as tied for the finest known Draped Bust cent of any date or variety
  • the record-setting 1842 Braided Hair Cent from the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS65RD, widely acknowledged as the finest existing “Petite Head” type
  • and another record-setting coin from the Naftzger Collection, an 1852 Braided Hair Cent, graded PCGS MS65RD, and acknowledged as the finest existing cent from its era.

“The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that focuses on the study and publication of information about early coinage of the United States of America. With the valued assistance of Bowers and Merena and Collateral Finance Corporation, this will be the first opportunity for collectors to see these superb-quality, early American cents in person in the Washington-Baltimore area,” said Martin Logies, a director of the Sunnyvale, California-based foundation.

One of America’s leading rare coin auction houses, Bowers and Merena of Irvine, California holds three of the top seven world-record auction prices for U.S. coins. For additional information call (949) 253-0916 or visit online at www.BowersandMerena.com.

Collateral Finance Corporation of Santa Monica, California offers precious metals financing to dealers and collectors on a wide array of bullion and numismatics. For additional information, call (310) 587-1410 or visit www.CFCcoinloans.com.

The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Baltimore Expo will be held in the Baltimore Convention Center, One Pratt Street, Baltimore. It will be open to the public on Thursday, November 4, from Noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, November 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, November 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Coin Show Myth: The Long Beach Curse

By Pinnacle Rarities

Gold Closes Up, But the Myth Lives On

Before last week’s convention, I had a discussion about the myth referred to as the “Long Beach Curse.” The prevailing sentiment is that the spot price of gold always goes down during the week of the convention. This phenomenon is often bantered amongst gold dealers deciding whether to load up or unload inventories around these major conventions. During last week’s show, gold touched an all time high, and settled on Friday about nine dollars up for the week seemingly debunking the myth. A quick review of spot prices for the last decade’s thirty shows reveals the trend has some statistical backbone. However, the true curse has been the lack of quality material available for purchase. And this isn’t limited to the Long Beach Convention.

Collectors have continued to cull their collections as economic uncertainty has caused many to tighten their belts. However, they sell off the lesser quality material first. Spending habits have become more selective with the prevailing market focused on value and rarity. When major collections and true rarities enter this market the best quality material is quickly absorbed. The dregs are then recycled through dealer inventories and the myriad of auction houses that also clamor for fresh material. But rest assured, if you’ve been selective in your purchases and your collection was purchased for the coins it contains and not the plastic that contains it, you’re in good shape. The rare coin industry is alive and well – with an emphasis on “rare.” Looking at auction records over the last couple years, it’s easy to see quality and rarity still rule in this hobby of kings.

Now, back to that myth. During the last decade the spot price of gold has gone from a $256 in 2001 to $1297 (the Friday close after the latest Long Beach). It’s hard to imagine during this meteoric rise that the price of gold in any given week faltered. But overall, there were 19 of 30 weeks that showed declines in spot gold during the Long Beach convention. During the first five years of the decade, the rate of down cycles was an astounding three of four shows.

The number of down weeks is a bit padded as several of the weeks with advances only showed modest gains of $2 or less. So if you left the show early, the spot price would have been theoretically down for that show also. Regardless, with over three quarters of the conventions showing weak or down trends, it is no wonder the rumors started. The last five years have shown an improvement on the trend, but gold was still down at more than half the shows (eight of fifteen had declines).

So there is some statistical indications as to how the Long Beach Curse gained acceptance. But again, the real curse is one we recognize with all numismatic venues. There is an extremely diminished amount of quality material. True rarities and top pop condition rarities are commanding strong premiums, while the more common and lesser quality stuff has fallen stagnate. This increasing shift in the supply and demand equation coupled with an ever stronger precious metal price makes the outlook for rare coins seem bright – if only we could find the more coins.

A quick note to thank all our customers who have recently sold us coins or collections. Many of these items were exceptionally rare and of high quality. Thanks to you we have avoided the curse.

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…)

Long Beach Coin Show and Market Report by William Shamhart

By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana

Everyone wants to know: So how was Long Beach? In one word: HOT!

OH…you meant how was the coin show? Well if you’re an optimist, it was partly sunny; if you’re a pessimist, it was partly cloudy. Confused? So was I.

I’ve been going to Long Beach for almost 30 years now. And it never ceases to amaze me. This year’s fall show didn’t suffer the Long Beach curse of falling precious metal prices as most have. In fact gold is at an all time high. And? And generic gold was dead. No demand that I could see. While Christine and I don’t really make a market in bullion or generic gold, we do get some in deals at times, or from customers that are changing their collecting strategy. So we sort of deal in it I guess. Anyways, I would have thought that generics would have shown some sort of surge in demand. But alas, they didn’t. In fact we sold MS 62 Saint Gauden $20 pieces for $1,500. And that was with gold just shy of $1,300!

There was definitely a larger amount of no-show dealers this time. I blame that on the fact that as I write this, I am getting ready to leave for Whitman’s Philadelphia show. I heard that many of the East Coast dealers just didn’t want to do back to back major shows. I can’t say that I blame them.

Retail customers – There were several people that I expected to be there that were also no-shows. Maybe they are saving their money for this week. I guess next weeks show report will tell if I was correct or not.

So from what I am writing, you’d think that Long Beach was a bust, right? Wrong. While not as heavily attended as usual, those that were there, came to buy. Most of the customers we saw there were again (I’m seeing a trend here) carrying want list and would wait for just the right piece. Quality was paramount and price was secondary. Today’s collector wants quality, with no excuses. And they are willing to pay for it. Slightly off quality, and low quality weren’t really sought out. At least from what I could see. That’s not to say that they aren’t selling because we saw a lot of coins trade hands at some very attractive prices. Oh wait, that was wholesale.

So what was selling? Ready? Drum roll please…Proof Walkers and Mercury Dimes. Yes, it surprised me too. But then again, they are dirt cheap in comparison to some other series. And they can be downright pretty. Sound inviting?

Commemoratives – This series has a somewhat “cult” like following. Those that collect them never stop. Maybe they slow down, but they never stop. They just graduate to the “top pops”. Even seasoned veteran commem people were buying duplicates, and even triplicates, but only if the coins were “all there”. Don’t rush out and buy all the commems you can get your hands on though. Be picky, like our customers, and wait. When that special coin presents itself, then, and only then, do you pull the trigger.

Gem Gold – While the lower grade, i.e. MS 61-64, pieces weren’t as in demand as one would think, Gem specimens, were. We sold many at the show, and while we bought some to take home for customers there just are not that many around. Whether a collector is building a set of Gem $3 pieces, or just looking for a few MS 66 $5 Liberties, it can be a daunting task.

Confused? I understand.

Like I said earlier, I will be attending the Whitman Show in Philadelphia this week. If you go, and have a chance, stop by the table and say hello.

Fall’s Busy Coin Show Schedule

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

When gold hits record levels, coin shows get a bit more press and attendance than they normally do, and in the next two months four major shows and hundreds of local shows will cater to a public curious about how they can buy into or cash out of gold at $1,300 an ounce.

After the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August, there is a typical lull in the market and an absence of major shows until the Long Beach (Calif.) Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in September, this year held Sept. 23 to 25 with an official auction by Heritage Auction Galleries and a pre-Long Beach auction by Ira and Larry Goldberg.

Then, the following weekend on the East Coast is the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Philadelphia Expo, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, with an official auction by Stack’s and an official pre-auction by Bowers and Merena Auctions.

While the three-times-a-year Long Beach Expo is well established, the Philadelphia Expo (held just once before) has provided an alternative to dealers who wanted a major early-fall show but did not want to set up business in California for tax nexus issues.

Next on the big show calendar is Coinfest, in Stamford, Conn., from Oct. 28 to 30. With a New York City area location, the show has quickly grown in influence, perhaps evidenced by Heritage Auctions’ sale there.

Following Coinfest is the Whitman Baltimore Expo, Nov. 4 to 7, which like the Long Beach Expo is also held three times annually. It has an official sale by Bowers and Merena Auctions.

The continued vitality of these shows is a sign that they are viewed as useful by both dealers and collectors, and continue to be profitable for the sponsors.

On the auction results front, at Bonhams and Butterfields Sept. 20 coin auction, an uncertified 1889-CC Morgan dollar sold for $87,750 against an estimate of $27,000 to $30,000 (pictured above).

It was cataloged as “Brilliant Uncirculated,” but the price realized suggested a coin between Mint State 64 and MS-65. With MS-64 coins bringing $60,000 and an MS-65 possibly worth as much as $350,000, it will be interesting to see where the coin ends up.

Rare Coin Road Warrior: Tales From The Road – September 2010

By Vic Bozarth – Rare Coin Road Warrior
This is a NEW Monthly Column by Vic Bozarth, the “Rare Coin Road Warrior” who spends over 200 days a year traveling to Coin Shows. We hope you enjoy Vic’s unique perspective on the coin collecting and the rare coin Market. – Editor

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. Our website is Bozarthcoins.com. Last year we spent over 200 days on the road on nearly 45 different trips. As a professional numismatist and buyer for other companies I have been a ‘rare coin road warrior’ for nearly 25 years. My wife and I attend all major coin shows, as well as most large regional or state coin shows.

Many fellow numismatists and collectors have expressed an interest in hearing about our experiences during our coin show and buying trips. Recently I decided to write a short article each month on the shows we attend as well as the coin buying trips we take to different cities across the United States.

Buying NICE rare coins at reasonable prices becomes more difficult each year. There are a lot of logistical and security considerations we have to plan for with every trip. Not only do we have flights to book, but we also have to find a comfortable and safe hotel or motel preferably close to the show. If we have appointments with customers or other dealers we often rent a car. Those are most of the logistical considerations. Security is the biggest concern. We do have one big advantage. Because we are most often able to travel together, one of us can always watch the coins. We never leave our coins unattended.

Although we have tables at most shows, sometimes I buy an ‘Earlybird’ dealer badge and just attend a show by myself to buy only. During weeks with no major shows, we often fly to a major city and ‘hit’ the shops and offices of the coin dealers in that area. Over the years, I have visited virtually every major city in the continental United States at least once. Fortunately both my wife and I love to travel, because the schedule can be grueling.

Last week we attended the Illinois Numismatic Association show in a suburb of Chicago called Tinley Park. A couple of days before the show we flew in to Detroit, rented a car, and did some business with other dealers on our trip west to Chicago. We really enjoy these trips. Although we experienced a flight delay out of Houston due to bad weather from a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, we were able to see several dealers in Michigan before arriving at the ILNA show in Tinley Park.

The weather in Michigan and Chicago is gorgeous this time of year. The summer heat has softened and the nights are cool and comfortable. The folks with the ILNA Show did a great job in putting on the show despite the construction to enlarge the current convention center in Tinley Park. ILNA moved to this location a couple years ago. They are to be commended for running a good show in a location that has both safe and reasonably priced lodging and good restaurants.

Business on the bourse floor is always busy during dealer set-up. Getting ‘first shot’ at someone’s inventory is the prize for those lucky enough to get there first. Basically ‘first shot’ is what we dealers refer to as the person (usually a dealer) who gets to look at another dealer’s inventory before any other dealer looks. Often times you will hear, ‘Joe got first shot, but I still want to look’. Many dealers attend only a few shows a year and their inventory is ‘fresh’ to other dealers. They have often purchased coins from collections or estates that other dealers haven’t seen, thus the desire to get ‘first shot’. (more…)

Baldwin’s Ancient and World Coin Auction 67 & 68: The Official COINEX Auction

September 2010 brings with it “Coinex”, one of the most exciting events of the numismatic calendar and the largest Numismatic coin show in the UK. This year Baldwin’s are proud sponsors of the occasion and, as hosts of the official Coinex auction, a spectacular event awaits.

Baldwin’s two day auction is to be held over the 28 th and 29 th September and begins with the third part of the Michael Hall Collection of Renaissance and later medals, of which, parts one and two were sold earlier this year through Baldwin’s.

New York based collector and art expert Michael Hall spent over fifty years putting together an awe-inspiring collection and this, the final part, offers an array of choice pieces. Lot 2090, a 1671 Louis XIV Damascened Medal (estimate £800-1,000) by Jean Warin II is a beautifully crafted piece by arguably the best and most powerful French engraver of coin dies of the 17 th Century.

Warin (or Varin) came from a family of artists and distinguished himself primarily as a painter and sculptor. He was one of the first engravers to use the power of the medallic form for propaganda purposes in France. Carrying the title of controleur general Warin imposed strict controls over artists that they were allowed no artistic license, but were instead forced to reproduce official designs that commemorated the magnificence of the state.

This lot is a prime example of the effectiveness of his creations to this end. Lot 2614, a Gustav II Adolf Silver medal of 6-Riksdalers by medallist Sebastian Dadler, estimate £1,200 – 1,500, is another one of the stand out pieces of the sale and distinguished by the intricacy of the artwork on both the obverse and reverse of the medal. Dadler was one of the leading medallists of the 17 th Century, working widely throughout the courts of Germany and princely houses of Europe, amassing an array of high profile supporters at the time.

The Hall Collection is immediately followed by a diverse selection of commemorative medals and a section of Orders, Decorations and Medals. The extensive Commemorative medal section includes lot 3005, a fantastic 1666 Dutch silver Medal (estimate £1,500 – 2,000) depicting the “Four Days” Naval fight on the obverse and crafted by medallist Jerian Pool. The medal commemorates the famous action and carries a poem on the reverse by the Dutch writer and playwright, Joost van Vondel, which appears to have been written especially for the medal.

Commemorative and historical medals have become a feature of Baldwin’s flagship London auctions and the variety on offer in this sale is testament to the accurate cataloguing and historical referencing that assure Baldwin’s achieve the highest possible prices.

A small collection of military medals and decorations from the Seddon-Brown family are some of the most interesting pieces in the sale, most notably lot 3196, The Order of the Nile group of awards to Lieutenant Colonel Seddon-Brown J.P.O.N. the lots includes three attractive copied pictures, one of which portrays Sir Winston Churchill, with whom he worked closely and was personal friends with through his role as chairman of the Conservative party in the North East. (more…)

Stack’s Pens Three Year Deal with the ANA to be Official Coin Show Auctioneer

Stack’s will be the official auctioneer for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd has announced.

“I’m very pleased to have received multiple strong bids for these prestigious auctions,” Shepherd said. “This reflects a renewed confidence auction companies have that the ANA can host high-quality auctions with exceptional potential.”

Shepherd was also pleased that Stack’s bid included a commitment to support the Association’s educational programs and seminars at the World’s Fair of Money and in New York City, where Stack’s is headquartered. “In a very competitive bidding process, Stack’s commitment to ANA educational programs was an important consideration,” Shepherd said.

“We believe strongly in the educational mission of the ANA,” said Stack’s President Christine Karstedt. “This is a great opportunity for Stack’s to deliver first-rate auctions in association with the hobby’s premier membership organization. We look forward to holding extraordinary auctions in Chicago and Philadelphia.”

Live auctions will be held during the 2011 Chicago World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 16-20; the 2012 Philadelphia show, Aug. 7-11; and the 2013 Chicago show, Aug. 13-17.

Stack’s, founded in 1935 by Joseph B. and Morton Stack, is holding its 75th Anniversary Auction in Baltimore this November. No other numismatic auction company has ever had such an anniversary. For more information, visit www.stacks.com.

ESM Collection of Early Proof Copper Coins To Be Displayed at Long Beach Coin Show by PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) will provide on-site authentication and grading services and showcase the first West Coast public display of the acclaimed, award-winning ESM Collection of early proof copper coins during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 23 – 25, 2010.

PCGS will accept Show Service submissions starting with dealer set-up on Wednesday, September 22 through 5 p.m. Friday, September 24. All other submission levels, excluding bulk, will be accepted through mid-afternoon on Saturday, September 25.

In addition to viewing the coins from the ESM Collection, visitors to the PCGS booth (#807) can Meet the Expert with PCGS Co-Founder David Hall, and have their coins personally examined by him from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories with some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents. The weighted Grade Point Average for the collection is an astounding 65.974.

“This amazing treasure of early proof copper certainly was one of the highlights of the recent ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston when it was displayed at the PCGS booth. Now West Coast collectors and dealers will have an opportunity to see these coins in person in Long Beach,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

An informative, illustrated brochure about the ESM Collection will be available free at the PCGS booth while supplies last.

The following show specials will be available in Long Beach to PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club:

* Walkthrough: one-day turnaround for $100 ($125 for Secure Plus) on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000
* Show Economy: $65 per coin for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins
* Show Gold: $45 per coin ($55 for Secure Plus) for any U.S. gold coin valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins.

Customer Service representatives will be at the PCGS booth to answer questions and accept submissions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see demonstrations of the convenient PCGS Photograde™ Online applications for the Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPad™.

“Aside from our PCGS Members Only Show at The Venetian in Las Vegas, September 9 – 11, this will be the only opportunity in September for collectors and dealers to take advantage of PCGS on-site grading services at a national show. We will not be attending the Whitman Philadelphia show scheduled for the week after Long Beach,” said Willis. (more…)

Video: Boston ANA Coin Market Perspectives

The recently concluded Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money provided CoinTelevision Producer David Lisot ample opportunity to discuss the current market conditions with a variety of dealers and numismatic personalities.

Over the next few days CoinLink will present several of these short interviews along with some of the National Mint press conferences which highlight new coins that are going to be releases this coming year.

Our first installment presents Ed Reiter, well known numismatic writer and current editor of Coinage Magazine.

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/081410_boston_reiter.html 544px 395px]

Ed recently retired after 50 years as a newspaper writer and copy editor, including nearly a decade as coin columnist for the Sunday New York Times. He remains senior editor of COINage, a monthly hobby magazine where he have held this post, working from home as a sideline to his newspaper work, for more than 23 years.

ED also handle free-lance writing and editing projects, mostly related to coin collecting but sometimes on unrelated subjects. He is the author of “The New York Times Guide to Coin Collecting,” a book published by St. Martin’s Press in 2002. Since 1990, he have been executive director of the Numismatic Literary Guild, a professional organization made up of several hundred writers, editors and others around the world who help disseminate information about the hobby.

Exhibitors Honored at Boston World’s Fair of Money

The American Numismatic Association presented 60 competitive exhibit awards at the 2010 World’s Fair of Money in Boston. Winners were announced at the Exhibit Awards Presentation and Reception on Aug. 14.

Forty-eight ANA members, showing 68 exhibits, competed in this year’s Collector Exhibits program. There also were 6 non-competitive exhibits.

Brett Irick received the Howland Wood Memorial Award for Best-in-Show for his exhibit, “Canadian Coins of 1947-1948.” The Radford Stearns Memorial Award for Excellence in Exhibiting, presented to the first and second runners-up, was awarded to John W. Jackson for “United States Interest-Bearing Proofs” and Simcha Laib Kuritzky for “The Jewish Lion,” respectively.

Richard Margolis won the Thos. H. Law Award for First-Time Exhibitors for “Benjamin Franklin: Early Medals and Medallions.” The Rodger E. Hershey Memorial People’s Choice Award, chosen by convention attendees, was given to Jeffrey Feuerman for “National Bank Notes of Massachusetts.” Feuerman’s exhibit also received the Ira & Larry Goldberg Award for Best Exhibit of Coins that Made History. Zachary Beier received the Derek Pobjoy Award for Best Exhibit of Modern Circulating Commemorative Coins for “Who Would Have Guessed? From a Log Cabin to the White House.”

The ANA presented competitive exhibit awards for Young Numismatists (YN) age 17 and under. The Charles H. Wolfe Sr. Memorial Award for YN Best-in-Show exhibit was presented to Benjamin Gastfriend for “Elongated Coins Featuring John F. Kennedy.”

Cindy Wibker received the Joseph E. Boling Award for Judging Excellence.

The following class exhibit awards were presented:

Class 1: United States Coins – Lelan G. Rogers Memorial

First Place – John M. Frost, “Rarities, Bargains and Neat Stuff”

Second Place – Carl B. Waltz Jr., “Matte Proof Lincoln Cents, 1909-1916”

Third Place – George B. Fitzgerald, “Rarest U. S. Silver Coin Issued for Circulation” (more…)

Boston ANA Show Report by Bill Shamhart

William Shamhart, Jr. – Numismatic Americana

After months of anticipation and preparation, the ANA’s annual World’s Fair of Money in Boston is over. And while there are always little details that could use a little more attention, I must say that the staff of the ANA produced a convention that blew me away. Many show reports have been written about this year’s ANA, and I sure many more are to come, so let me get to the “meat” of this one:

Bourse floor:

Held on the second floor, actually third if you count the street level, it was set up into two rooms. I have never been a fan of spitting up the bourse floor of a show for many reasons; yet this year’s show seemed to work. Christine’s and my table was in the “main” room, centrally located. We picked this table for a reason. And it worked. Most collectors had no problem finding us (especially if they use the great program the ANA put together). It didn’t hurt that it was on a major thorough-fair into the next room either. Many collectors/dealers stopped at our table, and it was great to see many familiar faces and finally meet so many of our customers in person. The aisles were wide enough so that there weren’t any major traffic jams. This is great, especially in a room where most if not all the attendees had briefcases or rolling carts in tow. I’m sure that the ANA took this into consideration when they decided to use two rooms. I personally think it was a smart move. The only downside to this that I saw was that many of the collectors/dealers never made it into the other room! Seriously! There was more than enough quality material in either room to have a stand alone show in itself.

Bourse floor sales:

Collectors
After 30+ years of attending ANA summer shows, I can say without a doubt that this was our (my) best one to date for collector sales. I can attribute this to many factors, but one stands at the top. Christine Monk. She has been in the business for nearly twenty years and has met many, many collectors during that time. Collectors I knew by sight, but had never met in person. They came up and congratulated her on her new position, chatted like old friends, sat down, looked at coins, talked coins, and walked away with many new purchases. That was what drew me to this hobby as a child, and has kept me in it throughout my adult life. In Boston, Christine reminded me of this. Thanks Chris!

At the top of the list of what was selling was U.S. Commemoratives. I always knew that this series had a great following, and in Boston I saw it in person. Don’t be fooled though. Not all commems, or any coin for that matter, are equal (no matter what the label in the holders says). The coins we sold had that little something special that I always talk about going for them. Abundant luster, wild color, or outstanding eye appeal is and was needed. This doesn’t apply only to Commems though. Every coin we sold had to have it. (more…)

Some Observations About the 2010 Boston ANA Coin Show

To be perfectly frank, I hate coin show reports. I hate to write them. I hate to read them. I don’t care what restaurants a dealer went to and what they ate and I don’t really care that Dealer X spent this much money on those coins at the show. That said, I also know that the ANA is the show that everyone who didn’t attend wants to know about. So, with these people in mind, I thought I’d share a few random observations about the ANA.

On a scale of 1-10, I’d rate this show as a solid 6; possibly a 7. Overall, I’d say a was a tiny bit disappointed. I was expecting the show to be an 8 or a 9 because of the fact that it was the first ANA in Boston since 1982 and the fact that Boston is within a few hours of huge numbers of serious collectors.

I go to coin shows primarily to buy and from a buying standpoint I was reasonably pleased. I bought some great coins. These include an 1854-O double eagle in PCGS AU55, the Garrett specimen of the 1808 quarter eagle (graded AU53 by PCGS) and over fifty crusty original 19th century gold pieces, most of which have already found their way onto my website. I would have liked to buy more buy, hey, that’s what I say at every show; even when I’m wondering how I’m going to sell all the great coins I just bought. And, yes, this paragraph is self-promotion.

Attendance seemed good and the mood among dealers and collectors seemed upbeat and positive. I didn’t have any little old ladies walk up to my table with a New England shilling in a cigar box ( a fella can dream, can’t he?) but I was fairly pleased at the number of fresh coins that I was able to purchase on the floor.

I participated in three auctions. The Stack’s sale contained an interesting fresh deal of Liberty Head eagles and prices were amazing (more on this in a future blog). The Bowers and Merena sale was reasonably strong but prices were mainly reflective on the quality of the coins. In other words, nice coins brought good prices while schlock sold cheaply if at all. The Heritage sale was strong although prices didn’t seem as off the charts as in years past. With the exception of the eagles in the Stack’s sale the coins brought basically what they were worth. That sounds trite but, in past ANA sales, many coins brought alot (stress alot) more than they were worth. Alot.

In the area of rare gold, I noticed some definite market trends. Early date (i.e., pre-1834) gold was almost non-existent. Even the low end, overpriced stragglers that had been overhanging the market seemed to have disappeared. I can’t remember an ANA at which I saw fewer early gold coins nor a major show that I purchased fewer.

There was extremely strong demand for Type One double eagles. The coins that nearly everyone seemed to want were common and somewhat better dates in AU50 and up, especially in the $2,000-7,500 price range. Demand was also strong for interesting Type Ones in the $10,000-20,000 range. Its hard to say what demand was like for expensive, really great Type Ones as there were almost none to be seen at the show. (more…)

THE BOSTON ANA SHOW – Market Report by Legend Numismatics

First, we would like to congratulate the ANA and its entire staff for putting on a great show. Unlike so many previous years, this show was more open to everyone. We heard no real complaints about the show itself.

Legend Numismatics also wishes to thank all of our friends who stopped by our table to do biz or say hi.

We also wish to thank the ANA for displaying the Simpson Bickford Pattern Collection and for NGC for displaying the Simpson $10 1804 Gold J-33 and silver $10 1804 J-34 (worth $6 million combined)!

HOW WAS THE SHOW?

We were wrong. This was NOT the incredible “blockbuster” we had expected. However, we will declare it was the next best thing: a GREAT SHOW! From the time we set up (within the first 15 minutes we had a serious crowd of buyers at our table) until the very last coin we sold Saturday afternoon (a six figure coins too), activity was pretty much non stop. It was interesting the lulls came Wednesday morning and Thursday morning. You could easily tell when a new wave of collectors arrived in town. We have not heard about the attendance, but we’d bet anything it was far more than last years ANA in LA.

Legend had our BEST show EVER. BUT, we will only categorize it as great because our big customers stepped up (which we do not really count). We ended up spending nearly $8,000,000.00! Our sales were OVER $6,000,000.00. Needless to say, we have a blizzard of paperwork that will keep us working 23 hour days for the next week or so. Still, we sold more McClaren coins than ever and we sold dozens of coins from our cases. Our average invoice from the show to collectors was about $7-14,000.00. That’s rare these days, but that was the least we expect from an ANA Show.

You WILL LOVE our NEWPS. We searched hard and bought only the “best” of the “best”!

So far this August, business for Legend has been staggering. We see little let up in the strong demand for quality coins. We doubt this will change anytime soon (however in late August there is small summer lull).

THE TALE OF TWO DEALERS

We find this true story interesting. Dealer #1 is a long time wholesaler who basically is a “sheet”/CCE buyer. He does not sell great quality but does sell a lot of generic gold and other less expensive items (and yeah a lot of dreck). Dealer #2 is an up and coming retail dealer who sells real quality.

On Saturday we chatted with both. Dealer #1 was devastated he had a horrible show. But then we looked in his case and he just drecky stuff left to sell. Dealer #2 grabbed us and complimented us on saying how strong the show would be,. Dealer #2 had his best show ever.

The fact that one is wholesaler and the other retail is NOT the difference. Both have coins on display, both will do business with anyone who walks up to the table.

It was an issue of QUALITY. We have been telling you dreck is become totally undesirable. Which case would you buy from? A case with a few beautiful coins, or one with many ugly looking ones? Quality does rule. We cannot stress enough that if a coin is not 100% all there, its worth MUCH less-if wanted at all. (more…)

Official ANA World’s Fair Of Money Starts Today in Boston Featuring Amazing and Historically Significant Numismatic Exhibits

More than 1,100 of the nation’s best coin dealers with the best inventory of coins, paper money, medals, tokens and other numismatic items will gather in Boston August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center for the largest coin show in the world.

Sponsored by the nonprofit American Numismatic Association, the show will feature museum-quality exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution, the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and private collectors. As many as 20 mints from around the world will give visitors an opportunity to collect coins from five continents, and a number of family activities and educational programs make this an attractive event for anyone with an interest in history and money.

The Bebee Collection of United States Paper Money. A spectacular and comprehensive view of United States paper money. The 904 notes in the complete collection include a remarkable series of high-grade large-size national bank notes from virtually every state and territory. A wide range of the premier specimens will be on display in Boston.

The 1874 Bickford $10 Patterns:From the Collection of Bob R. Simpson. This exhibit features a complete set of 1874 Bickford patterns struck at the Philadelphia Mint as part of a proposed plan for an international coinage. The exhibit includes seven Bickford patterns comprising Simpson’s signature set, as well as two duplicates to allow for side-by-side viewing of obverse and reverse.

The Smithsonian Institution’s “Good as Gold: exhibit America’s Double Eagles” The exhibit tells the story of the $20 gold coin, the largest gold coin to circulate in the United States. Rarities on display include 20 coins from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection, including the first (1849 pattern) and last (1933) double eagles ever produced as well as a 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief pattern that President Theodore Roosevelt gave his daughter Ethel as a Christmas gift in 1907.

The Ship of Gold exhibit displaying Gold Rush-era sunken treasure from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America will be in Boston courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins. Highlights include a Kellogg & Humbert ingot – the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush, 13 octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the U. S. Assay Office of San Francisco and remains of a wooden cargo box still containing approximately 110 double eagles.

Mexico, 1810 & 1910: Coins of the War of Independence & the Mexican Revolution An exhibit that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican War for Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This marks the first time since the early 1970s that any part of Banco de México’s extensive historical collection has been displayed in the United States.

Coin Rarities, Paul Revere Silver & Rare Broadside of the Declaration of Independence. From the collection of Brian Hendelson, the first-ever display of a 1861 Philadelphia Mint Paquet reverse gold double eagle and 1921 Proof Roman Finish Saint-Gaudens double eagle. Each coin is one of two known specimens, and each is the finer-known specimen. The Paquet $20 was once owned by Egypt’s King Farouk and Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, while the 1921 proof was not known to exist until 2006. (more…)

Cardinal Collection of US Large Cents On Display in Boston

Bowers and Merena Sponsor display of this Multi-Million dollar collection ranked the Finest Registry Set

The number one-ranked collection of United States large cents in both the PGCS and NGC Set Registry listings will be publicly displayed for the first time in Boston, August 10 – 13, 2010, at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money. The historic coins from the Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation include some of the finest known examples of large cents struck from 1793 to 1857.

The foundation’s exhibit is co-sponsored by Bowers and Merena Auctions (www.BowersAndMerena.com) and Collateral Finance Corporation (www.cfccoinloans.com), and will be displayed at the Bowers and Merena booth, #1017, during the five-day show.

“This is a truly amazing collection, valued at millions of dollars. There are 77 large cents and each is among the very finest known for its respective date and type. Many of them are simply the finest known, period,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena.

This 1793 Chain Cent (S-2), graded PCGS MS65BN, is one of the highlights of the multi-million dollar Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation large cents collection that will be displayed August 10 – 13, 2010 by Bowers and Merena Auctions and Collateral Finance Corporation at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston.  (Photo by PCGS)

While supplies last, visitors to the exhibit can receive a free, 40-page illustrated booklet published by the foundation, “Portraits of Liberty,” that describes the history of U.S. large cents.

Highlights of the exhibit include:

1793 Chain Cent (S-2) graded PCGS MS65BN that set a world’s record in 2005 as the most valuable U.S. cent;

1793 Wreath Cent, PCGS MS69BN, the single highest-graded 18th century U.S. coin of any date of denomination;

1794 Liberty Cap “Head of 1793” Cent, PCGS MS64BN, described by Logies as “the single finest representative work of early Mint engraver, Joseph Wright;”

1803 Draped Bust Cent, PCGS MS66RB, acclaimed by the Early American Coppers society as tied for the finest known Draped Bust cent of any date or variety;

the record-setting 1842 Braided Hair Cent from the Naftzger Collection, PCGS MS65RD, widely acknowledged as the finest existing “Petite Head” type;

and another record-setting coin from the Naftzger Collection, an 1852 Braided Hair Cent, graded PCGS MS65RD, and acknowledged as the finest existing cent from its era.

“The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation is a non-profit educational organization that focuses on the study and publication of information about early coinage of the United States of America. The foundation is delighted at the opportunity for thousands of people to see these superb-quality, early American cents in person in Boston with the valued assistance of Bowers and Merena and Collateral Finance Corporation,” said Martin Logies, a director of the Sunnyvale, California-based foundation. (more…)

Numismatic Theatre Schedule Set for ANA Coin Show in Boston

Numismatic Theatre, a popular part of the American Numismatic Association’s convention education programs, has been finalized for the 2010 ANA World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 10-14 in Boston. Numismatic Theatre consists of 30-40 minute presentations given by ANA members on a wide range of topics. Presentations will be held Aug. 11 and Aug. 13-14 in Room 209 of the Hynes Convention Center.

A highlight of the presentations will be “The Development and Use of the Screw Press for Coin Production,” a two-hour panel discussion Aug. 13 from 3-5 p.m. Led by dealer and early U.S. coinage expert Brad Karoleff, the panel will discuss different aspects of early minting technology in the United States. Panelists include:

* John Dannreuther, author and former ANA Numismatist of the Year
* Dr. Richard Doty, curator, Smithsonian Institution National Numismatic Collection
* Bill Eckberg, noted half cent collector and researcher
* R. W. Julian, prolific numismatic writer and researcher
* Douglas Mudd, curator, ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum
* Craig Sholley, author famous for research into the U.S. Mint archives

Other highlights include “Money as a Social Reflection” with David Liu, 2010 ANA Harry W. Bass Jr. Numismatic Intern (Aug. 11, 9 a.m.); and “Engraver & Patriot Paul Revere: The Man & the Medal” with Jamie Franki, professor of art at the University of North Carolina and designer of the official ANA 119th anniversary convention medal (Aug. 14, 4 p.m.).

Below is a complete list of Numismatic Theatre presentations:

Wednesday, August 11

9 a.m. – “Money as a Social Reflection,” presented by David Liu

10 a.m. – “Henry Morgan: Brutal Pirate & Honored Statesman,” presented by Tom Sebring

11 a.m. – “The Liberty Paper Mill: A Cradle of the American Revolution,” presented by Peter Hopkins

12 p.m. – “Coin Grading for Beginners,” presented by William Robins

1 p.m. – “The Story of One 1786 M 5-3-B-2,” presented by Robert Moffatt

2 p.m. – “To Arms! A History of the American Revolution as Seen on Obsolete Bank Notes,” presented by C. John Ferreri

3 p.m. – “The Coin Finds from the Antioch Excavations – Revisited,” presented by Alan Stahl

4 p.m. – “Curious Currency of the World,” presented by Robert D. Leonard (more…)

Gold to Shine in Forum at World’s Fair of Money

Two leading experts on the acquisition and trading of gold coins and bullion will provide a wealth of inside information on those subjects – free of charge – during the ANA World’s Fair of Money (www.WorldsFairOfMoney.com), the year’s biggest coin show, on Friday, August 13, 2010, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The experts, Scott A. Travers and Maurice H. Rosen, will be the featured speakers at Coin Collector’s Survival® Conference 2010, a 90-minute seminar that will give attendees useful information on how to “survive and thrive during the decade of gold.”

The Survival Conference will start at 10:30 a.m. August 13 in Room 200 of the convention center. Admission is free, and everyone who attends will receive a copy of one of the bestselling books authored by Travers, as well as a newsletter published by Rosen. The free books and newsletters will be vintage copies of earlier editions.

Travers is a nationally known New York City coin dealer, author and consumer advocate who has written more than half a dozen award-winning books, including The Coin Collector’s Survival Manual®, a hobby bestseller that will have its seventh edition published by Random House in November. The New York Times has described him as “the Ralph Nader of numismatics” for his consumer activism.

Rosen is a prominent professional numismatist and coin market analyst from Plainview, New York, whose influential Rosen Numismatic Advisory is recognized perennially as the outstanding newsletter in the field of rare coins and precious metals. He forecasts in the soon-to-be-published edition of the Survival Manual that “by the end of 2020, the price of gold in U.S. dollars will be $5,000 to $10,000 per ounce.”

Travers and Rosen both foresaw the tremendous advance in the market value of gold well before it began. Travers was predicting $1,000-an-ounce gold in books and articles several years beforehand, when the price was less than half that amount and barely one-third its present level of about $1,200.

Also taking part in the symposium will be Jerry Jordan, award-winning news editor of The Examiner, a newspaper in Beaumont, Texas, who wrote a series of articles exposing apparent abuses by traveling gold buyers. Jordan’s four-part series revealed that in many cases, the itinerant buyers – operating out of hotel suites – apparently offered unwary sellers a small fraction of the true value for their gold coins and jewelry.

2010 Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Company Lecture Series Explores History of Numismatics in New England

The Maynard Sundman/Littleton Coin Company Lecture Series will be presented August 12 during the American Numismatic Association’s 2010 World’s Fair of Money at the Hynes Convention in Boston. This annual series features new scholarship on a numismatic topic; the topic this year is “New England Numismatics and Numismatists: Then and Now.

The lectures will take place in Room 209, and are free and open to all attending the show. A luncheon will be held Aug. 12 from 12:15-1:45 p.m. in Room 204, near the lecture area. Attendees may choose from Chicken Roulade, New York Sirloin or a vegetarian option. The luncheon is $10 per person, and is underwritten by the Maynard Sundman Littleton Coin Co. Lecture Series Endowment and David Sundman. To register for the luncheon call 719-482-9857 (pre-registration required).

Below is the lecture schedule for the 2010 Sundman/Littleton Coin Co. Lecture Series:

10 a.m.: “Colonel Edward H.R. Green: Collector Extraordinaire”

Peter Huntoon is a renowned numismatic researcher, author and instructor

Born into a wealthy Bedford, Mass., whaling family, Edward H.R. (“Ned”) Green had an eccentric and miserly mother, Hetty. After her death, he took his half of her fortune and became a famous philatelic and numismatic collector, acquiring anything and everything in his sights, including all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels.

11:15 a.m.: “It May Prove a Drugg in Time: The Rise and Fall of Wampum in 17th-Century Massachusetts”

Max Spiegel is a prolific author and former ANA Young Numismatist of the Year

For three decades, wampum circulated alongside gold and silver coins in Massachusetts Bay. Its widespread use in the colony arose from both necessity and a desire for quick profits from the fur trade. Governor William Bradford’s warning turned out to be a remarkably

accurate prediction, and wampum’s rapid rise was followed by its sudden fall and disappearance.

2 p.m.: “Making Money in Massachusetts”

Richard Doty is a curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Political History

Colonists found ways to obtain metal and produce coins without attracting the attention of the British. Massachusetts also got into issuing paper currency, and in the process found it was a fragile medium subject to alteration and counterfeiting. In response, Jacob Perkins of Newburyport invented siderography (the art and practice of steel engraving) and steel-plate printing, making safe money available in abundant quantity to a growing nation. (more…)