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Category: Dealer News

Park Avenue Numismatics Sells Classic Key Date US Gold Coin: 1854-O Double Eagle in AU-55

[CoinLink News] June 10, 2010 – Park Avenue Numismatics is pleased to announce the acquisition and sale of the one of the Finest Known examples of the rare and elusive 1854-O $20 Liberty Type 1 Double Eagle graded AU55 by NGC.

The coin, worth an estimated $650,000, was sold to a Collector attempting to complete a set of $20 Liberty Head Double Eagles. This 1854-O, Green says, “was sold to a client as an upgrade to his complete set.” Green has “handled two other 1854-O deals with him over the past decade. Moreover, his set is fast becoming one of the finest complete $20 gold sets known.” If it were registered, “it would compete with the best sets out there,” Bob declares.

“We are fortunate to be able to handle major rarities such as this and our clients’ rely upon us to continue to aggressively pursue and locate key date gold coins and assist them in completing sets and series, stated Bob Green, President of Park Avenue Numismatics.

“This example was fresh to the market and when it surfaced I went after the coin without hesitation,” Green continued. “This is the finest I’ve seen.”

Of the 3,250 originally minted only 4 have been graded AU55 by NGC with only 2 graded finer in AU58. The 1854-O Liberty Double Eagle is one of the most important rarities in U.S. numismatics and is the second rarest New Orleans Mint Double Eagle (Only behind the 1856-O) .

There are no 1854-O Double Eagles that grade MS-60 or higher, with only a handful of AU specimens available. As such demand for properly graded 54-O’s is intense according to Green. The coin is listed as one of the TOP 100 Greatest US Coins.

Park Avenue Numismatics, a Miami based rare coin firm established in 1987, specializes in Ultra Rarities, and has handled this date before including examples grading V35, XF45, AU50 and AU53 in the past decade. “Collectors contact us regularly with Key Date gold coins because of our stellar reputation in this specialized area of the market,” Green continued. Other numismatic rarities acquired recently include a 1907 $10 Indian MS67 NGC, and a collection of Pre-1908 MS68 United Stated gold coins (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Southern California Auctions and Market Realities

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #4

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

While both the Goldbergs and Heritage auctions contained a significant number of appealing coins that attracted collectors, both firms had much more exciting offerings in their respective Southern California auctions in the Springs of 2007, 2008 and 2009. Moreover, as John Albanese has emphasized, much of the demand in current coin markets is for Eagles ($10 coins) and Double Eagles ($20 gold coins).

Albanese is the founder of the CAC, and was the sole founder of the NGC. He finds that, this year, there has been “less demand for silver coins dating after 1837.” From my (this writer’s) perspective, demand for rare silver coins has fallen since the January 2010 FUN Convention, though will probably rise again soon.

There will be more exciting offerings of rare silver coins, in Boston in August, than there have been from February to June. Exciting offerings may spark collectors. Plus, relative prices for Eagles and Double Eagles will not increase, forever. Collectors will tend to gravitate towards other areas.

For decades, Jim McGuigan has been a specialist in U.S. coins dating from 1793 to the late 1830s. Jim finds that “things really slowed down after Sept. 2008.” This year, McGuigan says, there has “not been a lot of good pre-1840 stuff coming up at auction; when a good coin does come up, it usually does pretty well. 1793 half cents and large cents are as strong as ever. 1794 to 1796 [dated] coins are still pretty good” in terms of demand, McGuigan observes. The market for early coins that are not very rare is weak. “Randall Hoard large cents,” for example, “are easy to buy,” Jim points out. These are high grade, often appealing uncirculated, large cents, dating mostly from 1818 to 1820.

Demand is not great for Liberty Seated coins and Barber coins, I conclude. Matt Kleinsteuber, of NFCcoins, asserts that “this [Spring] was not a good time to auction” a collection of “gem Buffalo Nickels.” Matt twice put forth a similar point to me before the Heritage Long Beach auction.

Trading volume in common gold coins continues to be large. High End gold rarities, which are not necessarily expensive, are extremely difficult to find. (Please refer to my article on the Widening Gap for a definition of ‘high end.’)

Below, I discuss an 1854-O Double Eagle that sold at the Long Beach (CA) Expo. I devote considerable space to Dan Holmes’ Middle Dates as numerous collectors have expressed interest in reading about this event. Even collectors who do not collect large cents like to read about a comprehensive and famous collection that was built over many years by a dedicated coin enthusiast.

I talk about coins in the Goldbergs and Heritage Southern California auctions that I find to be newsworthy. Sometimes, coins are mentioned as examples to illustrate larger points. It is never possible for me to discuss all the very interesting or otherwise newsworthy coins in a major auction. (more…)

The DWN Online Rare Gold Coinapedia

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

For many years, it has been my strong belief that the best DWN client is one who is educated. An educated collector is a confident collector and a confident collector is a more active collector. This is one of the reasons that I have tried to share as much of my knowledge about United States gold coins as possible. I’ve written the standard reference books on Charlotte, Carson City, Dahlonega and New Orleans gold as well as hundreds of specialized articles and blogs that can be found on my website www.raregoldcoins.com.

With few exceptions, I don’t think there are many other dealers who can make the claim that they are as interested in educating their clients as much as I can.

My current work-in-progress is something that I am especially proud of. I call it the DWN Online Rare Gold Coinapedia and I am proud to officially announce that it is available for collectors to use immediately.

What this online project consists of are hundreds of high-quality images (obverse and reverse) of 18th, 19th and 20th century United States gold coins along with descriptions of each. These descriptions, while taken from write-ups that originally appeared on my website, are informational as opposed to commercial and should provide the new collector with lots of basic facts about the coins they are interested in.

The beauty of this project is that it is totally non-commercial. None of the coins that appear on the on-line encyclopedia are currently for sale. No hype, no sales pressure, just useful facts about coins. And the quality of the images is superb.

At this point in time there are around 300 different images posted. These include the following:

As time passes, I will be adding images and descriptions to this resource. I hope to double it in size by the end of 2010. While it will never be totally complete (there are clearly a number of very rare issues that I will not be able to image in the near future) I anticipate that it will become an important, widely used reference in the months to come.

Please visit the DWN Online Rare Gold Coinopedia. Use it often and give me input as to how to make it better and more useful to you. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Gainesville Coins Launches Mobile Coin and Bullion Website

Gainesville Coins announces the launch of the mobile version of GainesvilleCoins.com. Inspired by an increasingly mobile society, the mobile site development was seen a natural progression in serving our tech-savvy customer base.

Notable Features of the Gainesville Coins, Inc. Mobile Website, Mobile.GainesvilleCoins.com, Include:

  • Access from any Internet-Capable Cellular Phone: The mobile site was designed to give Smart Phone users the ability to easily access spot pricing, product pricing (both bank wire and credit card price) and other precious metals market information. To this end, the mobile website has been designed for ease of access from any internet-capable cellular phone, without the need to download a program or application.
  • Search All Products: Striving to add to the growing list of mobile-friendly websites and create a better customer experience, Gainesville Coins included an easy-to-use search function on their mobile website. For ease of navigation, this feature allows customers to find products by a keyword, such as the name of a specific coin or type of coins.
  • Live Spot Pricing: Precious metals investors know to closely watch spot prices, and Gainesville Coins is committed to helping investors make smart purchases. The new mobile website includes a feature which extends this information on a moment-to-moment basis.
  • Click-to-Connect: When the time and price is right to make a purchase, Gainesville Coins’ mobile site makes it easy with a Click-to-Call feature. With the click of one button, customers can be instantly connected to a precious metal expert who’s ready to help or send an email for more information.

In combination with Gainesville Coins’ Price Level Alerts, customers who buy precious metals at certain price levels can be automatically notified of their preferred price and easily get more information and/or purchase their preferred products with ease.

If you don’t have an internet capable phone, take a sneak peak at Mobile.GainesvilleCoins.com.

Unique NJ Banknotes Stolen 2 Years Ago Returned to Owner at Long Beach Coin Expo

A unique six-note uncut sheet of $5 New Jersey National Currency notes stolen two years ago was returned to its grateful owner at the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo during dealer set up on June 2, 2010. The sheet was taken in an October 2008 burglary from the offices of dealer Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, California, and is the only item recovered so far.

Beverly Hills, California dealer Kevin Lipton happily holds the recovered six-note $5 National Currency sheet from the Branchville, NJ Bank stolen from his office in 2008.  It was recently recovered by Virgel Nickell and brought to him at the June 2010 Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo.  (Photo credit: Donn Pearlman.)

“It’s the only thing stolen from my office that I ever cared anything about,” said Lipton who gratefully gave a $5,000 reward to the part-time dealer who recovered and returned the sheet.

“The notes are from Branchville, New Jersey, and that’s the town where I went to summer camp as a child. I bought the sheet at a Christie’s auction in 1982, and they were framed and displayed in my office for years. The notes are reminiscent of my youth,” explained Lipton.

The sheet is the only known six-note uncut sheet of Series 1929 Type II National Currency $5 notes from The Branchville Bank in Branchville, New Jersey. The notes are consecutively numbered, A000001 through A000006.

It was recovered unframed by Virgel Nickell of Santa Ana, California who describes himself as “a dabbler” in National bank notes. Nickell was at a swap meet in Huntington Beach, California in early May when he was approached by a young man who wanted to sell the notes.

“He wanted $500 for it. I figured it was a common sheet, but my reaction was that it was good buy at $500. But when a friend and I researched it on the Internet we learned it was not only rare, it was not mine,” said Nickell.

“I knew I couldn’t keep it. I had to return this to its owner, so I brought the sheet to Long Beach because I thought Kevin would be there. I wasn’t expecting anything in return. I cried when he gave me money for it. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“I couldn’t believe it when he showed me the notes. They’re the only thing taken that I cared about,” Lipton reiterated.

Long Beach Expo General Chairman Ronald J. Gillio was at Lipton’s table as the notes were being returned.
“Kevin was ecstatic. He was so excited, his face was just beaming,” Gillio said.

Anyone with information regarding the theft or the still missing coins and paper money is urged to contact the Detective Division of the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 285-2158.

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…)

PNG Praises Efforts to Combat Coin “Doctoring,” Monitors Suit Against Three Members

[ CoinLink News ] The Board of Directors of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) met in Long Beach, California on June 2, 2010 and issued the following statement.

The Professional Numismatists Guild Board of Directors applauds the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in its efforts to battle the deceptive practice known as coin “doctoring.” The deliberate, deceitful alteration of a coin can pose an egregious financial consequence to individual collectors, investors, dealers as well as the general public. PNG believes the unconscionable practice of “doctoring” is an enormous detriment to the numismatic marketplace.

We congratulate and support both Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and Professional Coin Grading Service for their diligent work to detect ‘doctored” coins, and encourage both organizations to continue to aggressively combat this assault on the hobby.

“Doctoring” of coins is a definite violation of the PNG Code of Ethics, Section 7, that prohibits members from “knowingly dealing in counterfeit, altered or repaired numismatic items without fully disclosing their status to my customers.” “Doctoring” is also a violation of Section 4 of the PNG Code of Ethics that prohibits “misrepresenting the quality of a coin.”

The PNG Board regrets that three of its member-dealers have been named among the defendants in a Federal Court Complaint filed May 28, 2010 by Collectors Universe, Inc., the parent company of PCGS. The PNG takes allegations such as the ones made by PCGS very seriously. The board will monitor the progress of the complaint and react promptly, appropriately and in accordance with the organization’s bylaws.

Furthermore, in response to the recent influx of fraud related hobby concerns, the PNG board has pledged to revisit, review and update each and every ethical standard adopted by the PNG over the past 55 years. In particular, the board acknowledges the need to clearly define the term “doctoring,” in order to establish an enforceable criterion for its membership. The PNG board is unified in its resolve to nurture and maintain the PNG member-dealers’ standards of excellence through a more proactive posture regarding egregious acts of fraud in the numismatic marketplace.

Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers. For additional information, visit online at www.PNGdealers.com or call (760) 728-1300.

David Lawrence Rare Coins View on PCGS’ Hard Stance Against Coin Doctors

Guest Commentary By John Feigenbaum – David Lawrence Rare Coins

On Friday, May 28, the numismatic community learned of lawsuit filed by Collectors Universe (the parent company of PCGS) against a group of so-called coin doctors. There’s no reason to rehash the details of this lawsuit as you can find good information on the Coinlink.com site, including a PDF of the actual filing.

From my perspective, action against the “coin doctors” has been overdue. For years, these guys have enjoyed an unfair advantage in the U.S. coin market and their presence in the general marketplace and auctions made it more difficult for legitimate buyers to compete. But we all accepted their existence because these folks have been around as long as there was a profit to be made in artificially improving coins. The grading services were designed originally to eliminate this scourge, but these guys are good and their methods are ever-improving. The extent of the doctoring of late has been somewhat hidden during this time, so some of the revelations in the filing are news, even to me. Now, it seems PCGS has drawn a line in the sand and they are throwing the book at some known offenders. More like a hammer, actually.

The heart of the matter seems to lie in the definition of exactly what is meant by the term “coin doctoring”. Are we talking about the dipping, or conservation of a coin’s surfaces? Are we talking about artificial toning of a coin to cover past cleaning, or scratches? Or, are we talking about the most nefarious acts of moving metal (whizzing, lasering) and surface alteration, like the enhancement of the bands of a Mercury dime to achieve the Full Bands (FB) designation?

I absolutely applaud PCGS for taking this measure. It has been too long in coming and it’s high time the leaders of the coin market took a stand against the alteration of a coin’s surface to deceive the grading houses.

In filing this suit, PCGS has aimed a missile at the latter-mentioned offenders. The so-called “metal movers”. There is no room for argument in any of our minds that this is wrong and should be dealt with harshly. Clearly PCGS has known about these guys for some time because the examples they present in the brief acknowledge a “rebuilt full head standing quarter” back in 2005. So, why now? The most logical conclusion I can make is that – for too long — they hoped the problem would end on its own through better detection techniques, and now they have also announced something called a Coin Sniffer™, for this purpose. I suppose this is the other shoe in PCGS’ “Big One” announcement back in March.

So, if lasering, re-engraving and rebuilding are obviously wrong and (perhaps) criminal acts (see paragraph #47), the bigger question is what is the low-watermark standard for coin doctoring? Is adding any foreign substance to the surface of a coin to conceal damage of any kind (hairlines, gouges, etc) going to be considered “doctoring”?

I would like to see PCGS take the next step of defining what is legitimate conservation versus doctoring. Perhaps a consortium of industry leaders like PCGS, NGC, CAC and PNG could work together to create such a document. It’s not clear that PCGS is interested in doing so, but I hope they would consider such a move to unify the marketplace. (more…)

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against “Coin Doctors” by Collectors Universe / PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) today sent out a Press Release  announcing  a major lawsuit has been filed in United States District Court, Central District of California, against six individuals claiming they engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, breach of contract, conspiracy, unfair competition and fraud for allegedly submitting “doctored” coins to PCGS for grading on multiple occasions for a period of years.

The Defendants named in the suit include: Al Rossman of Nevada, Rick Wesslink of California,  Robert Lehmann of Maryland, in addition to three members of the Professional Numismatists Guild ; Eric Steinberg of Florida, Silvano DiGenova of California, and Greg Krill of California

PCGS stated that as many as 10 other defendants could be added to the Complaint.

The suit claims the dealers violated federal laws, including the Lanham Act involving interstate commerce and RICO racketeering statutes, and also alleges “unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices” for submitting coins that were deceptively altered in an attempt to increase their value.

Click Here to view a Copy of the Complaint

The Complaint states: “Defendants knew that these coins had been ‘doctored,’ by themselves and/or other persons engaged by them for that purpose. Their methods included lasering the surfaces of extremely rare proof gold coins to remove surface imperfections, building up commonly-worn or weakly-struck portions of coins, and other physical and chemical processes. Defendants represented to PCGS that these coins had natural surfaces, intending to deceive PCGS’s graders so that the ‘doctored’ coins would be certified by PCGS and then sold in the rare coin marketplace.”

A couple of examples given in the complaint include the following coins:

  • 1885 $5 gold piece, originally submitted to PCGS on Dec 16, 2009 by Steinberg on behalf of Defendant Rossman. Foreign substance added to coin’s surface to cover marks.
  • 1879 $4 Stella gold piece, Originally submitted by Heritage on May 8, 2008. Resubmitted on August 28, 2008 by DiGenova after having been laser treated to remove lines. PCGS refused to grade the coin.

The suit claims the “Defendants have caused, and are continuing to cause, substantial and irreparable damage and injury to Collectors Universe and to the public and Defendants have benefited from such unlawful conduct and will continue to carry out such unlawful conduct and to be unjustly enriched thereby unless enjoined by this Court.” (more…)

Cristiano Bierrenbach and David Michaels Take New Positions at Heritage Auction Galleries

Cristiano Bierrenbach promoted to Vice President of International Numismatics at Heritage

Heritage Auction Galleries (HA.com) has announced the promotion of Cristiano Bierrenbach to the position of Vice President of International Numismatics.

“In the short time Cris has been with Heritage, he has become instrumental to the impressive growth enjoyed by our World Coin category,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Cris will continue to drive our World Coin category growth here in the U.S. while working to expand our role into a leadership position in markets abroad.”

Bierrenbach started at Heritage in January 2008 and his impact on the business was almost immediate. That same year, the NYINC auction totaled $4.3 million. Within one year, at the January 2009 NYINC show, the auction total had almost doubled to $7.2 million. By January of this year, 2010, the NYINC auction total was more than $11.5 million.

“Besides driving the amazing growth of the category overall at Heritage, Cris also started monthly World Coin Internet Auctions at Heritage,” said Rohan, “which have performed very well. He also has increased house purchases, brokered the successful auction partnership with the Chicago International Coin Fair and increased the number of floor sessions in the NYINC auction from three to four.”

“”I’ve been a coin guy most of my life and absolutely love what I do,” said Bierrenbach, “this makes my job a whole lot of fun. I’m also incredibly lucky to be working alongside Warren Tucker, who besides of being a walking numismatic encyclopedia, has become a close friend.”

Besides overseeing Heritage’s multiple live and Internet world coin auctions, Bierrenbach’s duties include working with collectors and dealers on strategies for marketing their numismatic holdings, overseeing production of catalogs, including description of world coin lots, photography and provenance, managing the customer client database, working with potential bidders, advising them on upcoming sales, evaluating and estimating world coin collections, buying, selling and brokering world coins and collections by private treaty, promoting growth strategies and fomenting new venues and channels for consignments and marketing Heritage in international markets. (more…)

Ancient Coin Importation Restrictions: Thoughts on becoming a target of the “cultural property” advocates.

By Wayne Sayles – Ancient Coin Collecting Blog

Some people crave attention and will do almost anything to draw a spotlight toward themselves, even if it is outrageous. I’m not one of those people by nature. I much prefer the serenity and seclusion of our pastoral environment here in the Ozarks to the hustle and bustle of the city or the glad-handing that people in the corporate and political world call “networking.”

In fact, my most precious moments have been on a sailboat ghosting along in a light breeze with nothing but sky and water to contemplate. I find an isolated mountain stream equally inviting if I have a rod in hand and a trout waiting to be tempted. Yet, I often find myself drawn to the city and sometimes into the spotlight as a matter of necessity. Why? Having endured all that I could stand of the outlandish criticisms and insults hurled by fanatical archaeologists at the antiquities market, and by extension at my lifelong passion of ancient coin collecting, I felt compelled to speak out.

That happened in 2004, and here I am six years later still speaking out against the same atrocious behavior. If anything, the situation has gotten worse since the antiquities trade and the museum world have essentially abdicated before a combination of foreign and home-grown nationalist attacks. The numismatic community seems to be the only roadblock these days to sweeping nationalist and institutional control of cultural property and thereby to absolute control of history and the record of the past. Is that bad? Only from the point of view of those who favor truth over revisionism or those who feel that culture is as much a personal as a national heritage, or believe in personal property rights and freedoms. Of course it is also bad for the numismatists who have suddenly been thrust into that unwelcome spotlight.

Personally, my career in numismatics dates back some 40+ years and I enjoyed that time in the comfort that the discipline, call it a hobby if you will, was genteel. The relationships between professional and amateur numismatists were not only friendly and cooperative, they were in most cases collegial. Respect flowed both ways. What a difference we see today! Understandably, I’ve become a focal point for criticism, along with others, by virtue of my active opposition to cultural nationalism. That, I expected.

What I did not expect and am sincerely saddened by is the depth of hatred and hostility that permeates the opposition today. Being the focus of an ideological polemic is one thing, but being personally villified and ridiculed by educated people, from a discipline that I once respected, is something entirely different. That sort of verbal barrage has now become a daily event in my life. Initially, I was offended.

My career as an officer in the U.S. military instilled in me a very strong sense of personal pride, integrity and responsibility. I founded the ACCG to create a voice for ancient coin collectors that was conspicuously absent in the face of a growing assault. The numismatic trade in this field had its advocacy groups, collectors had none. I’ve spent the past six years, as a volunteer, working for the interests of collectors. (more…)

Spectrum Group International Joins Fortune 500 and Extends Greg Roberts Contract

Spectrum Group International, Inc. (SPGZ.PK) announced today that it has entered into a new employment agreement with SGI President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Roberts. Mr. Roberts will also continue to serve as a member of the SGI Board.

In addition the Company announced that it has joined the Fortune 500 group of America’s largest companies. SGI is ranked at number 480, with $4.3 billion in annual revenue for 2009 and earnings per share of 23 cents on net income of $7.1 million.

In making the announcement, the SGI Board cited Mr. Roberts’ strong operational and financial leadership. “Greg is a great leader who has demonstrated an extraordinary and consistent ability to deliver results over his ten years with the Company, first as head of our West Coast operations for eight years and then as President and CEO of SGI as a whole,” said SGI Executive Chairman Antonio Arenas. “Greg has strengthened SGI’s brands, instituted operational initiatives, forged important long-term relationships with customers and other partners, and driven several significant acquisitions. Most important, he has revived our creative spirit. With nearly 30 years of industry experience and a unique connection to SGI, Greg has the perspective and the vision to lead SGI to new levels of success for many years to come.”

A significant portion of Mr. Roberts’ compensation is in the form of a performance-based bonus, which is subject to the achievement of certain financial targets. Compensation Committee Chairman Jay Moorhead commented, “Our primary goal in reaching a new agreement with Greg was to align his interests with those of the SGI’s shareholders. With this agreement, I think we have achieved this goal.”

Mr. Roberts said, “I have had the privilege of leading an incredible team in a job that I truly love and a business that I am passionate about. I look forward to guiding the Company into the bright future we see ahead.”

Mr. Roberts continued, “We are obviously very pleased to join the Fortune 500. After several very challenging years for our company and the economy as a whole, we feel especially proud that we were able to excel during these difficult times and come out strong. The Spectrum Group International family of companies has grown tremendously in the past 18 months, in both our collectibles divisions and especially our metals trading company, A-Mark Precious Metals. This is a true milestone for us.” (more…)

The Not-So-Secret Secret 1883-O Eagle in a Swiss Coin Auction

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

About a month ago, I received an auction catalog from Olivier Chaponniere and Hess-Divo, two well-known Swiss firms located in Geneva and Switzerland, respectively. I often toss these catalogs directly into the recycling bin but thought I’d check this one out; if only because Hess-Divo has the reputation of selling some exceptional ancient and European coins.

I went right to the United States gold section and started browsing. A few minutes in, I was startled to see an 1883-O eagle that had been graded AU58 by PCGS. From the photo, the coin looked very fresh and very nice and I was, needless to say, very interested.

For those of you that are not familiar with the 1883-O eagle, a little background information is in order. This is the single rarest eagle from New Orleans with an original mintage of only 800. There are around 35-45 known in all grades including a unique Uncirculated piece that I sold around three years ago. There are a total of five graded AU58 at PCGS with none higher. I did a little bit of research on this specific coin and learned that it was new to the PCGS population report and, in all probability, totally fresh to the market.

At this point, I was feeling pretty cocky. After all, it was a European auction and not many American dealers were even going to know about the coin, right?

I started feeling a lot less cocky when I saw these two firms at the Central States show with the American gold coins from the auction on exhibit. My hat goes off to Chaponniere and Hess-Divo. I can’t think of many times that European firms have brought American coins to an American show to market them to an American audience. And especially at a non-ANA show; can you imagine the excitement that these Swiss guys must have had regarding four days in Milwaukee? (But that’s another story…)

I viewed the coins in person at CSNS and loved the 1883-O. It was fairly baggy but it had nice color, attractive semi-prooflike surfaces and a virtual absence of wear. It was the best 1883-O eagle I had seen in a few years and I felt it was at least the third or fourth finest known; and certainly the only one that was going to be available. (more…)

New Weekly Column: Coin Rarities & Related Topics

Coin Rarities & Related Topics #1News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community

A New Weekly Column By Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I maintain that the demand for rarities, while not readily apparent or provable, is very strong, and that reports of minimal supply in 2010 have been overstated. There have been considerably more transactions of rarities, so far in 2010, than even most dealers realize.

Specimen-63 1856-O Double Eagle CACYes, it is true that there are far fewer rarities in auctions during the first six months of 2010 then there were during the first six months of any other year since 2004 or earlier.

The diminishing supply of rarities consigned to major auctions is at the forefront of the ‘news.’Consider that Heritage’s ‘Central States’ convention Platinum Night, on April 29, 2010, contained only a shadow of the offerings in Heritage’s CSNS Platinum Nights in 2009, when the “Joseph Thomas” collection was featured, and 2008, when David Queller’s complete set of silver dollars was offered, including an 1804 that realized $3,737,500! All coin auction firms have experienced declines in consignments of rarities, not just Heritage.

Widely published reports of a dearth of available rarities are not entirely true, at least not in every respect. There is considerable volume in private trading of rarities, more so during the last three months than during the period from Feb. to mid-May 2009. Discussion and examples follow.

II. Introduction to My New Column

Before discussing private sales of rarities, I wish to welcome readers to this inaugural installment of my new column. While my articles tend to focus on SPECIFIC coins, coin issues, collections or auctions, each weekly ‘Rarities & Related Topics’ column will include discussions of several items that may only be loosely connected. This first column will be longer than most subsequent columns. Much has occurred in coin markets since my reports relating to events in Orlando in January. (Click to see Platinum Night review, 1913 Liberty Nickel, or Proof Denver Mint Double Eagle articles.)

I have already written about the coin that has received the most attention since the FUN Convention, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter. In this column, I become the only analyst reporting on private transactions of rarities so far this year, including Great Rarities. (more…)

Carson City Double Eagles Gold Coins: An Introduction and Overview

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Carson City twenty dollar gold pieces, or double eagles, are the most available gold coins from this mint. Only one date in the series, the 1870-CC, can be called truly rare, although a number of other dates are very rare in high grades. Amassing a complete collection with an example of each date is an enjoyable pursuit. And if you decide not to include the 1870-CC because of its prohibitive cost, don’t despair; many collections do not include this date.

A collector of average means can put together a nice set of Carson City double eagles with the average coins in the Extremely Fine and About Uncirculated range. The collector will soon learn that only the 1870-CC presents a great challenge in terms of availability. There are an estimated 40-50 examples known in all grades. This means that no more than four dozen or so complete collections of Carson City double eagles could possibly exist. In comparison, the maximum number of Carson City half eagles that could exist is around five dozen while around three dozen (or a few more) eagle sets from this mint might be formed. In each series, the 1870-CC is clearly the “stopper” or key date.

The completion of an average quality Carson City double eagle set is somewhat easier than a comparable half eagle or eagle set, provided that the collector is willing to accept coins that do not grade Mint State-60 or better. There are just 19 dates required to form a complete set. Carson City double eagles are without a doubt among the most popular United States gold coins. Their large size, combined with their romantic history, makes them irresistible to many collectors. This fervent collector base is most evident when one examines the great popularity of the 1870-CC. This issue has increased dramatically in price and popularity since the last edition of my Carson City gold coins book was published in 2001. As this is being written (2010) there are a few examples actually available to collectors but a few years back it was nearly impossible to locate an 1870-CC double eagle at any price.

The greatest challenge for the collector of these coins is not finding specific dates but, rather, locating clean problem-free coins.

As with the other Carson City gold series, it is very challenging to pursue the double eagles in higher grades; in this case About Uncirculated-55 and higher. It becomes even more of a challenge when the collector demands clean, original coins with a minimum of bagmarks and abrasions. As a rule, CC double eagles are less rare in high grades than their half eagle and eagle counterparts (at least the issues from the 1870’s and 1880’s). This means that locating really choice coins is not as difficult as with the half eagles and eagles from the first decade of this mint’s operation. (more…)

CSNS Coin Show Report

By Bill Shamhart – NumismaticAmericana.com

I just returned home after a short 1 1/2 flight from Milwaukee, and thought I’d write about the Central States Numismatic Society’s show that was just held. First off let me say that this year marks my 30th year as a Life Member of the CSNS. And I’ve attended at least that many shows of theirs. But this one was different.

I arrived on Tuesday to look at the inventory of some of my contacts, as I usually do. Not much to report there. I know it sounds like a broken record, but really nice coins aren’t available like one would think. Basically a wasted day. Centralstates2010Homepage On to Wednesday, PNG day. I was able to find a few morsels, but I sold at least two coins for every one that I bought. For the first time in a long time, every time I sold a coin I asked myself when (and how) was I going to replace it. Let’s give PNG day a B-. But it ended on a good note at a great restaurant: STANFORDS.

Thursday was the “official” set-up day for Central States. All dealers. All day. Unless of course the collectors wanted to pay a ridiculous fee of $75.00 for a “professional pre-view” badge. Which in my opinion was a bad move on the show management’s part. Serious collectors may have, or may not have, been at the PNG day and expected to attend the “show” the next day, only to find this arrangement. Every dealer we spoke with thought this was a horrible idea. I must say I agree with them. First off, no where was this publicized. Nobody knew of this move until they got to Milwaukee. Hopefully the board of Central States will learn a lesson from this blunder and NEVER do something like this again.

So…how was the show after the public got in? Good. No, really good. We saw many familiar faces, met some new ones, and sold coins. Gem type coins and Commemoratives (both silver and gold) were in demand. Several collectors looked at pieces, said they might come back (and they did) only to find their items of interest already in the hands of another. I have always said, and will continue to say, that the time to buy the “right” coin is when you see it. I’m not talking about an impulse buy, or maybe a coin you have a passing interest in, but that special one. The one that you’ve been looking for for a long time. I know that when I see a great coin, I know that I will be buying it. It is just a matter of negotiating price. Collectors should learn that trait. Good coins sell themselves, and quickly.

The membership of the Central States Numismatic Society is a diverse one. Coins, paper money, medals and tokens, and Americana. There were collectors at this show looking for it all. In addition to our rare coin sales, we sold quite a bit of Numismatic Americana. Original memorabilia for U.S. Commemorative coinage was in “big” demand. In fact, we sold all that we brought. Items from the 1896/1900 election between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were also sought out. It’s great to speak with collectors and hear the “passion” in their voice when they talk. It reminds me of why I do what I do. (more…)

Superior Galleries Launches New Website, Hires New Manager, and Starts a New Era

On April 30, 2010, a new website was launched, and it reflects the wide variety of products and services that Superior offers. The Superior coin firm in Los Angeles County has gone through several transformations over the decades.

It was founded by Isadore Goldberg about 1930. Superior Stamp & Coin and Superior Galleries were operated by the Goldberg family until the early 1990s. It was later owned by A-Mark and then Tangible Asset Galleries (TAGZ).

In 2007, Superior Galleries was purchased by the Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange (DGSE). In 2009 and 2010, a series of changes were implemented, including the closing of the longstanding auction division.

Coin business veteran Aaron Ware has been named the ‘Numismatic Manager’ of Superior. DGSE has long been very active in markets for ‘high end’ watches, jewelry, and bullion. At the relatively new location in Woodland Hills, CA, Superior deals in a variety of valuable goods, including, of course, coins, paper money, and other numismatic objects.

For more information about the DGSE and the acquisition of Superior Galleries, click here to read Greg Reynolds’ interview of Kris Oyster, the managing director of numismatics for all DGSE companies.

Aaron Ware reminds everyone that “coins are a major portion of the business. We do have a resident expert in diamonds and high-end watches. Our focus is on U.S. coins; we will stock American coins and paper money from colonial times to the present.”

From 1993 to 1998, Ware and Tony Mitchell owned a coin store, Classic Coin and Bullion, in Reno, Nevada. Next, Ware was a partner in a coin store in Carson City, OldMint Coins. During most of the last decade, Aaron was Director of Operations for Northern Nevada Coins. Ware specializes in Carson City Mint coins and in silver dollars, “stuff that you would expect to see often in Nevada.” Over the years, he gained experience in “all series of U.S. coins,” from the 1790s to current issues. Now, at Superior, he has “shifted focus a little. We don’t see as much CC gold, and we do see a lot more early gold.” Already, at Superior, Ware has handled a fair number of pre-1840 U.S. gold coins, some of which are now available.

Ware has chosen not to collect coins because he does not wish “to compete with the customers.” He does “collect stuff [relating to] World’s Fairs and Expos, tickets, brochures, books, and primarily medals.”

As for the future of Superior, Ware says, “Now that we are no longer in the auction business, [the emphasis] is on offering a large and diverse inventory at very competitive fixed prices. We have brought old Superior clients back and we have rapidly been expanding our customer base.” While the old Superior offered mostly, expensive, high grade coins, Ware reports that “we offer coins in all grade ranges, everything from nice Almost Good coins all the way up to MS-67+ coins; we are now able to serve the needs of all variety of collectors.” Ware is “really pleased to be at the vanguard of a new era at Superior Galleries.”

Highest Certified 1901-S Barber Quarter Breaks Coin Auction Records and Becomes the Star of a Coin Convention

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On March 4, in Baltimore, B&M auctioned a 1901 San Francisco Mint quarter dollar, which was then PCGS certified “MS-68,” for $327,750, an auction record for a Barber quarter and for any business strike Barber coin. John Brush, acting on behalf of DLRC, was the successful bidder. While bidding, he was talking to John Feigenbaum, the President of DLRC, on the phone.

On March 25, this quarter was featured at the PCGS announcement of the SecurePlusTM program in Fort Worth, and had been regraded “MS-68+.” On March 26, Bill Shamhart negotiated with Feigenbaum to buy this quarter. During the following week, it was CAC approved, and Shamhart placed it in a private collection. Other than the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel that sold during the FUN Platinum Night event, this is the most ‘talked about’ coin in 2010, so far.

I. This 1901-S sells at Auction and then Privately

Early in 2010, this 1901-S quarter remained in an NGC holder, with an MS-68 grade, and was submitted by B&M to PCGS for consideration as a ‘crossover.’ It did, in fact, ‘cross,’ meaning here that the PCGS also graded it as MS-68.

John Feigenbaum explains that, soon after this 1901-S was auctioned on March 4, the “PCGS was looking for a trophy coin to display during their announcement; so they contacted me to inquire if I would be willing to put this coin in their new holder. I was happy to oblige.” Technically, there is a new SecureShield insert in the same type of holder. This quarter became the first coin to be PCGS graded “MS-68+,” under the new system that allows for ‘+’ grades. On March 25, David Hall included this coin in his presentation, in Fort Worth, at the formal announcement of the SecurePlusTM program.

When PCGS officials contacted Feigenbaum about arranging for this coin to be a showpiece, “there was no discussion of the ‘+’ designation,” Feigenbaum reports, “that was a complete surprise. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was an option.”

On Friday, March 26, at the ANA Convention in Fort Worth, Bill Shamhart, [www.numismaticamericana.com] a New Jersey dealer and CAC consultant, arranged for one of his clients to purchase this 1901-S quarter from Feigenbaum, subject to verification of its grade by the CAC. During the following week, the CAC placed a sticker on the holder, and this quarter thus traded again. The CAC approved the MS-68 grade; the CAC will not accept or reject ‘plus’ grades. Shamhart’s client is a “lifelong collector” who desires American coins of “amazing quality.”

At auction on March 4, the firm of David Lawrence (DLRC) acquired this 1901-S quarter for inventory largely because the firm has specialized in Barber Coinage for more than a quarter century. Barber coins were minted from 1892 to 1916. John Feigenbaum’s deceased father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, founded DLRC in 1979. David authored three books on Barber coinage, one book on each denomination, dimes, quarters and half dollars. In the late 1990s, father and son co-authored a fourth book that focused on Mint State and Proof Barber coins that were certified by the PCGS and the NGC. DLRC sells Proof, Mint State, AU and circulated Barber coins. (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…)

US Coin Profile: The 1878-CC Gold Half Eagle

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Having just acquired one of the two or three finest known examples of this date (a PCGS AU58 that is illustrated below) I thought it would be interesting to share some information about one of my favorite half eagles from this mint.

The 1878-CC is among the rarest Carson City half eagles, both in terms of overall and high grade rarity. It is not nearly as well known as the 1870-CC and it doesn’t have the cult following that the rare and undervalued 1873-CC has. That said, it is still a coin that is very well respected by specialists.

A total of 9,054 were struck. When I wrote the second edition of my book “Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint” back in 2001, I estimated that there were just 60-70 known in all grades. A decade later this estimate seems a bit on the low side and I’d probably revise the total number known up to the area of 75-100.

As of May 2010, PCGS has graded a total of 64 examples in all grades with none in Uncirculated and a total of twenty in About Uncirculated including five each in AU55 and AU58. NGC has a total of 48 in all grades with one in Uncirculated (more on this in a second) and nineteen in AU including five each in AU55 and AU58. My previous estimate of just three to five known in About Uncirculated now seems very low but I believe that the PCGS and NGC populations for AU are significantly inflated by resubmissions. My best guess is that there are around ten or so properly graded AU’s known today.

A few years ago, an example graded MS63PL appeared on the NGC population report. I have never seen this coin and am assuming it is a data entry error. If it does actually exist, it is one of the most significant Carson City half eagles in existence and it is a coin that I would really like to view in person.

The finest 1878-CC Carson City half eagles that I have seen are a small number (around three or four) that grade AU58 by today’s standards. The all-time auction record for this date is Stack’s 5/08: 4235, graded AU58 by PCGS, that brought $63,250. (more…)

Numismatic Literature Dealers George Kolbe and David Fanning Join Forces

George Frederick Kolbe and David F. Fanning are pleased to announce that they have combined their numismatic literature firms to expand business opportunities and to better serve their joint clientele. The new entity will operate as Kolbe & Fanning Numismatic Booksellers and will have an office in Gahanna, Ohio, just outside Columbus. Both Kolbe and Fanning will be actively involved in the business.

Established in 1967, George Frederick Kolbe Fine Numismatic Books is the largest and longest currently active rare numismatic literature auction firm in the world. George Kolbe has been selling important numismatic books at auction since 1976 and David F. Fanning entered the numismatic literature field in 2003. The two have conducted 115 auctions featuring well over 100,000 lots selling for many millions of dollars. Dozens of fixed price lists offering important numismatic works have also been issued over the years and that aspect of the firm’s business will be enhanced by more frequent lists, both in print and online at the Kolbe & Fanning website.

In addition to conducting regular auctions, Kolbe & Fanning are always eager to purchase important numismatic books and libraries for cash; in complete confidentiality if so desired. Over the years, the firm has packed libraries and arranged for shipments on three continents and are willing to travel anywhere in the world to do so. Written appraisals are also available as well as advice concerning the value and salability of rare numismatic works. There is no charge for this latter service.

By joining forces, Kolbe and Fanning believe they will be able to ensure that the business will continue to operate for many years, as they assist collectors, dealers, and researchers in developing their libraries and discovering new avenues for numismatic study. The firm’s first auction will be the second part of the Stack Family Library, which will close on June 3, 2010. A printed catalogue may be obtained by sending $10.00 and the catalogue is available online at no cost. Two auctions are planned for September 2010 (details to be announced soon) and a major public auction has been scheduled on January 8, 2011 in conjunction with the New York International Numismatic Convention at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Consignments of outstanding numismatic books, sale catalogues, periodicals, manuscripts and correspondence archives covering the numismatic spectrum are currently being accepted for the January 2011 public auction sale at NYINC.

The firm’s website can be found at www.numislit.com. Additional information for the firm and its principals will be added to the website as it becomes available over the following weeks. (more…)

Professional Numismatists Guild Seeks 2010 Coin Industry Award Nominees

Nominations now are being accepted for the 2010 Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers.com) awards, according to PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman and President Paul Montgomery.

“Once again we are asking collectors and dealers to nominate candidates in a half dozen award categories to formally recognize achievements in various areas of the hobby and profession,” said Brueggeman.

“These prestigious awards will be formally announced at the annual PNG Day summer banquet that will be held this year in Boston, Massachusetts on August 9,” explained Montgomery.

Nominations should be made directly to the appropriate award category chair. The categories and contacts are:

Abe Kosoff Founders Award: Presented to a PNG member-dealer who has made a significant contribution to the Guild or to the numismatic fraternity in general the past year. The award is named after PNG’s Founding President who spearheaded the 1953 launch of the organization. Committee Chair: Gary Adkins. E-mail: Gary@coinbuys.com.

Art Kagin Ambassador Award: This award is named after a former PNG President and well-known Iowa dealer who provided distinguished service as an advocate of numismatic goodwill. Chair: Fred Weinberg. E-mail: Fred@FredWeinberg.com.

Significant Contribution Award: Given to those who have made exceptional, beneficial efforts on behalf of PNG and the profession, and added to the hobby. Co-Chairs: Dana Samuelson and Barry Stuppler. E-mails: Dana@AmerGold.com and Barry@Stuppler.com.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Presented to a numismatist for his/her devotion to numismatics and who, over their lifetime, significantly contributed to the hobby or profession. Co-Chairs: Terry Hanlon Jonathan Kern. E-mails: THanlon@DillonGage.com and Jon@JKernCoins.com.

Sol Kaplan Award: Presented to someone who has given of their time in an attempt to rid the profession of fraud and thievery. The award is jointly presented by the PNG and the Lewis M. Reagan Foundation, and is named after a former PNG President and Ohio dealer who was personally responsible for the apprehension of several people suspected of committing numismatic-related crimes. Chair: Jeffrey Bernberg. E-mail: JBernberg@rarcoa.com.

Robert Friedberg Award: Presented to an author in recognition for an outstanding book or other literature. Named in honor of a publisher and author of numismatic reference books, this award is not automatically given each year; only when there is deemed to be a worthy recipient or recipients. Chair: Tom Denly. E-mail: Denlys@aol.com. A copy of each book nominated for this year’s award must be sent as soon as possible to Tom Denly, 10 High St., Room 1107, Boston, Massachusetts 02110.

The Finest $10 Indian Head Eagle Gold Coin Registry Set: The Simpson Collection

The all-time finest set of Indian Head Eagles was among the first coins certified under the new PCGS Secure Plus (http://www.pcgs.com/secureplus.html) system.

Known as “The Simpson Collection” and now added to the popular PCGS Set RegistrySM, the 32-coin set was assembled with the help of Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey.

The set includes 18 of the finest known gem mint condition examples of their date and mint with none graded higher. Eleven of those are unique in their top grade including a 1920-S graded PCGS MS67+, the owner’s personal favorite coin in the set.

The set was displayed at the Professional Coin Grading Service booth during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas, March 25 – 27, 2010. The revolutionary new PCGS Secure Plus system was formally announced there on the first day of the show by David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe, Inc. President, and Don Willis, PCGS President.

“This is the finest $10 Indian set ever assembled,” said David Hall – Co-Founder of PCGS. “The quality and originality of the set are unsurpassed in numismatic history. In my opinion, the 1920-S is the most important $10 Indian in existence.”

The Simpson collection is ranked in the PCGS Set Registry as the All-Time Finest set of gold Indian Head $10 circulation strikes, 1907- 1933 (http://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/alltimeset.aspx?s=71313). It has a weighted grade point average of 66.335 and is 100 percent complete.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural set to be submitted through PCGS Secure Plus. Thirteen of the coins received the ‘+’ designation. Our entire team was blown away by the quality of these coins,” said Willis. (more…)

Industry Leaders Comment on New PCGS Secure + Coin Grading Announcement

David Lisot, Executive Producer of Coin Television has put together a montage of comments from industry leaders following the PCGS announcement of its New Secure + coin grading service

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/033110_ana_pcgs.html 544px 395px]


The PCGS Secure Plus process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification, combat “gradeflation” and excessive resubmissions of the same coins, and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins. Additionally, PCGS graders can now designate deserving, superior-quality coins as “Plus” within their respective grades, an important distinction when there are big differences in value between one grade point and the next.


The following industry professionals are included in this video as follows:

Video used with permission and courtesy of CoinTelevision.com and CoinVideo.com.

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…)

Adkins, Garrett and Leidman will lead PNG “Ask The Experts” Seminar at Central States

The Professional Numismatists Guild will conduct another in its continuing series of PNG Share the Knowledge seminars at the Central States Numismatic Society 71st anniversary convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2010. The educational session is free and open to collectors and dealers, and a complimentary light lunch will be available for audience members.

“Gary Adkins, Jeff Garrett and Julian Leidman, three outstanding professional numismatists including two former PNG Presidents, will conduct an Ask the Experts session to answer the audience’s questions about the hobby and the rare coin marketplace,” said PNG Executive Director Robert Brueggeman.

“Any and all numismatic topics are open for questions, from what to collect, the best ways to buy and sell, third-party grading and so on,” explained Paul Montgomery, PNG President. “These three distinguished panelists have over 100 years of cumulative experience and knowledge in numismatics.”

Former PNG President (2007 – 2009) Adkins is President of Gary Adkins Associates, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota and helped create the PNG Share the Knowledge series that was launched in 2008 to underscore the organization’s motto, “Knowledge. Integrity. Responsibility.”

Former PNG President (2005 – 2007) Garrett is President of Mid-America Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Kentucky and Sarasota Rare Coin Galleries in Sarasota, Florida. A current member of the American Numismatic Association Board of Governors, he is the author of Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coinage and co-author of 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, among other books, and was a featured speaker in the first PNG Share the Knowledge seminar in February 2008.

“Sometimes the world of coin collecting can be quite confusing. Having access to a seasoned professional can be informative and useful, and collectors of all levels will be able to get answers from us on a wide range of subjects. Remember, knowledge is one of the most valuable assets when purchasing rare coins,” said Garrett.

(more…)

Harlan White Honored by California Coin and Bullion Dealers

The California Coin & Bullion Merchants Association (CCBMA) has presented an Exceptional Service Award to veteran rare coin dealer Harlan White of San Diego, California.

“Harlan White is a nationally-known and highly respected coin dealer whose strong commitment the past 25 years to help numismatists avoid needless state regulations and taxation has made my job easier,”said CCBMA President Barry Stuppler of Woodland Hills, California.

Stuppler and CCBMA Vice President Jim Hill of San Diego made the surprise presentation of the award to White at the California State Numismatic Association (CSNA) Educational Symposium in San Diego on March 20, 2010.

Time for the previously unannounced honor was discreetly arranged in the symposium schedule by CSNA Education Director Jim Hunt, according to Stuppler.

The California Coin & Bullion Merchants Association works with elected and appointed government officials in California to inform them about the benefits of rare coin and precious metals ownership.

With the assistance of a lobbyist in Sacramento, CCBMA seeks to prevent legislation that negatively affects the entire numismatic and bullion community. The organization also provides information to the public and law enforcement agencies to assist in the recovery of stolen coins.

For additional information about CCBMA, visit www.ccbma.com. For additional information about the California State Numismatic Association and future educational symposiums, visit www.calcoin.org.

Legend Announces Purchase and Sale of the SECOND FINEST Set of MS Seated Dollars

By Laura Sperber as Part of the Legend Numismatics Market Report

While everyone is waiting for the “big announcement” from PCGS, we have an important one of our own!

LEGEND NUMISMATICS IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE The purchase and sale of the SECOND FINEST Set of MS Seated Dollars

Having built and sold the all time finest ever collection of MS Seated Dollars left us hungry for another challange. Little did we expect the challenge would come in the form of another MS Seated Dollar set!

For the past few years Legend has been building the second finest set of MS Seated Dollars. Only the FINEST PCGS/CAC GEMS on the market were included. This collector was inspired by our #1 set and wanted to build a set as close as possible. We are extremley proud of the collection we built him. A few of the highlights of this incredible set are: 1840 PCGS MS64, 1853 PCGS MS65, 1868 PCGS MS66. The purchase price was well in excess of $1,000,000.00.

The new owner of the collection is our own limited partner, Bruce Morelan. His love for MS Seated Dollars never faded after selling his collection (which ranked as the third highest dollar value transaction for a collector assembled set-in excess of $10,000,000.00!). He and Legend will be searching hard for the few pieces were never included in the first set, and to make this second collection as complete as possible. Legend relishes the challange Bruce has given us.

As you can see, the principals of Legend deeply believe in the market and have put huge sums of money into it. Its our strong feeling that NOW is truely one of the BEST times buy properly graded, eye appealing,truely RARE coins. You can not go to major shows now and even major auctions and find anything cool in any frequency. Coins like GEM MS Seated Dollars just are not around.

We look forward to completing this set, we love the challenge. If you have or know of any FINEST KNOWN PCGS MS Seated Dollars, email or call Legend. We are also highly aggressive on ALL rare high grade PCGS/CAC coins. (more…)