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Category: Market Reports & Prices

Prices for Proof American Eagle Gold Coins Tumble

By Steve Roach – First published in the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of Coin World

Proof American Eagle gold coins have provided some sparks in the marketplace this past year, but the fast fall in prices over the past several weeks serves as a reminder that what goes up usually comes down.

Some major buyers have stopped buying these and prices have fallen sharply.

For some smaller dealers who were stockpiling the coins in anticipation of continued demand, the change in the market means they have lost substantial money, for now, as the coins are now worth substantially less than what the dealers paid for them.

During July, several large dealers were paying between $1,950 and $2,000 per ounce for Proof American Eagle gold coins in original Mint packaging – the inner and outer boxes, original capsules and original certificate of authenticity with the same year as the coins.

For example, on July 14 a major wholesaler was paying $2,025 per ounce; the dealer’s price gradually declined to $1,900 July 26. Then on July 27 the dealer’s buy price went down to $1,850. On July 29 in the morning the dealer’s buy price was $1,830 and by the afternoon it went to $1,800. On Aug. 3, the price hit $1,750 and then, with orders filled, that dealer stopped buying.

Incidentally, the price of gold on July 26 was $1,189 per ounce and the price on Aug. 3 was $1,184, meaning that the drop in demand was not directly related to the bullion market.

On Aug. 6, when gold increased to $1,205 per ounce, one dealer offered $1,650 per ounce for coins with original packaging, and for coins without the packaging, the price dropped sharply to $1,400 per ounce.

If those who are closest to the market are not buying at the high levels that have characterized these Proof issues for the last year, are they doing this because they know something that we at Coin World don’t know?

On Aug. 6, the U.S. Mint told Coin World that no decision has been made as to whether Proof 2010-W American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins would be struck.

If the U.S. Mint releases Proof American Eagle gold bullion coins in 2010, supplies will increase and less pressure will be placed on the current supply, likely ending the bull market for these issues.

Mr. Roach maintains a website/blog titled The Rare Coin Market Report

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…)

ANA Coin Show Recap by John Feigenbaum

by John Feigenbaum – Stella Coin News

Well, another ANA Show has come and gone. I think this was my 22nd consecutive ANA and they all have a similar flavor no matter what the outcome. In a word…”long”. They have always been too long because there have always been “pre ANA” shows the weekend prior with important auctions, so we’ve always attended both shows and stayed the duration.

“Ok, enough whining” you say. “I feel your pain. It’s sooooooo hard being a coin dealer. You are forced to visit exotic cities, stay in fine hotels and eat out at top-notch restaurants and all you can do is complain.” Yes, that’s all true but it is indeed very hard work and staying away from home for extended periods of time has never been my strong suit. So, I always have high expectations for ANA shows but they rarely match up.

This show (I will combine the two shows for convenience), like others, was a marathon rather than a sprint — but is especially noteworthy because we came back with the best set of new purchases that I ever recall.

I have read on other dealer’s blogs that “great coins are red hot, yada yada yada”. But if you carefully read between the lines, you will still see that the majority of “great coins” are generally cheaper today than they were a couple years ago. It’s a very selective market, as all collector markets are, and the reality is that some collectors need to sell some big coins for reasons other than profit. I don’t recall ever having been to an ANA show where I saw more great five- and six-figure coins available for sale. We sold some great coins like our 1932 Saint PCGS MS66 and we bought even more great coins because I think this is one of those rare, historic moments when cash is king — and one cannot find these coins at anywhere near reasonable levels in a hotter market.

Examples of new purchases from the ANA Show:

1794 $1 PCGS XF40

1796 No Stars $2.50 PCGS XF40

1848 CAL. $2.50 PCGS AU50 (sold @ show!)

1796/5 $5 PCGS XF45

1930-S $20 PCGS SecurePlus MS65+

As you can see these are great coins. Of course, we didn’t limit ourselves to major rarities, and we have scores of other exciting collector coins that have been untouchable these past few years. Please keep an eye on the web site as these coins appear. (Or send me an email if you want more information on any of these.)

The Mood of the Show

“Ok, you say. Enough shameless promotion of your new purchases at the ANA show. Any dealer can do that and it’s not informative.” Ok, you’re right. Somehow we have to pay the light bills around here so please forgive me the transgression…. The show came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. Plain and simple. The pre show was entirely dealer-driven and dealers came to the show very tentative. Everyone wanted to see if anyone else was buying so it was generally a hot, boring affair. We slogged it out and did a fair amount of business, but it was the same business we’d do at ANY show, so that’s not exciting. (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…)

The Ten Rarest Three Dollar Gold Pieces

top_10_three_dollarIn my continuing series that has focused on the ten rarest coins in each denomination of United States gold coin struck from the late 1830’s to the early 1900’s, I’ve nearly reached the end of the road. The last major denomination to discuss is the enigmatic Three Dollar gold piece.

This denomination was produced from 1854 to 1889. For more details and history behind the series I suggest that you read the book the Q. David Bowers and I wrote in 2005. It is available through Stack’s and fine numismatic booksellers everywhere.

The ten rarest Three Dollar gold pieces are as follows:

1. 1870-S:

The 1870-S is the only unique regular issue U.S. gold coin. The sole example resides in the Harry Bass core collection that is currently housed in the ANA Museum in Colorado Springs. Bass purchased it for $687,500 at the Eliasberg sale in 1982. It had been acquired by private treaty from Stack’s in January 1946 for $11,500. The coin is not visually impressive when you see it in person. It has the details of Extremely Fine/About Uncirculated but it was once used as a watch fob by the former Chief Coiner of the San Francisco mint. It has the numbers “893” scratched on the reverse above the wreath tips at 12:00. Nonetheless, it remains one of the two most desirable regular issue United States gold coins, along with the 1822 half eagle. What would this coin bring if sold in the near future? That’s a hard question to answer. There are not many collectors that specialize in this series and the coin itself, as I mentioned above, is not destined to win any beauty contests. That said, it’s unique and it’s a legitimate regular issue with no mystery or controversy trailing it. I’d set the over/under line at $5 million and probably take the over…if I were a betting man.

2. 1875:

This date has been a celebrated rarity for well over a century and it is the first United States coin to eclipse the $100,000 mark at public auction, all the way back in 1972. The mintage is traditionally said to be 20 pieces, all in a Proof format. We can deduce with certainty that more than this were made to satisfy contemporary demand. Today, there are between two and three dozen known. Ironically, the 1875 is among the least rare Three Dollar proofs from this era, in relation to the total numbers known. But the fact that business strikes do not exist make it a very rare issue from the standpoint of overall availability. Gems continue to sell in the $175,000-250,000+ range and the level of demand for the 1875 continues to be as strong as ever.
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Legend Market Report – The PCGS Invitational

This was by far the BEST one we have EVER attended since they began about 5 years ago. No, its not because our Jose sat down and in a few spins won a 4800 quarter jackpot, no activity on the bourse was strong.

Grading wise, we were happy they held the line and there were no massive quantities of drecky generics made. In fact, most dealers who do make coins like that did not seem happy with their results. Maybe they need to change their rose colored glasses? Those days are over!

Selling wise we were shocked. WHOLESALE was strong, as strong as we have EVER seen it-in fact we were surprised. Another deler who was only there for a day claims he sold six figures (we do believe him). Dealers wanted to do business. It is a possibilty they saw this small show as a chance to stock up for ANA. There were only about 25 tables.

The public turn out was decent. You don’t get more than 50 or so collectors coming to these (especially with the temps at 110 outside). But each show we are seeing a different collector or two who are there to spend some serious money. This show, we sold two coins OVER $25,000.00 to collectors! Thats more than we can do at Long Beach these days! Even more to our surprise, we were able to BUY some really nice coins as well from the public. We look forward to the next show in Septemeber.

BACK AT THE OFFICE

Sales were strong. We had hoped to make it a week to catch up on our paperwok-NOT! We ran a little sale (did very well) and managed to sell some bigger Want List coins. Collectors now can see there is not a ton of exceptional material in the ANA and pre ANA Sales to satifisy their hunger. So they are now back buying off of web sites (so it seems).

We also did a totally surprise huge seven figure sale in matter of minutes. We will be announcing that sometime next week.

You will be shocked how strong the $1 million dollar PLUS market for coins is. Does it make a difference to the collector buying an 1879S MS65? in our opinion, YES! It shows confidence. ALL levels of coins buyers always seek confirmation of confidence. Plus, you will find dealers with strengthen their bidding on less expensive items knowing the top tier is really strong, or they may have sold a huge coin and have become flush.

THE ANA AUCTIONS

We have now looked at B+M and Heritage. If you wish representation, please contact us NOW! We will be pretty cranky if you show up at the ANA table and ask us then. ALL representation is on a first come first serve basis. There are some great coins in these sales.

Do not forget to check out the Simpson coins in the Heritage sale. We sold him virtually ALL the coins and most are of the top quality you have come to expect from us. NOTE: We did NOT send all the coins to CAC. If you need to know which did go, please contact us. We will give you an honest opinion of the coins. Pattern collectors, this offering represents some exceptional opportuntiies-do NOT miss them (and Mr. Simspon will not be bidding-how refreshing)!

THE DENALI PATTERN COLLECTION

WOW, this is some collection. We did get all the coins graded at the PCGS Invite. Even David Hall came up to us to say how blown away he was at what he saw. Due to time restraints, we are hoping to have some portion of the collection ready for offering by next Monday. We know the bulk will not be offered until either at the ANA Show or shortly after. We still need to figure pricing and reinventory the coins.

We will confirm the collection consists of a 2Cent set, a 3CN+3CS set, a 20C set, and the most comprehensive set of patterns from 1870 (not he 1870’s, just 1870) EVER formed. There are an incredible amount of 1-2 known R-8 coins and many FINEST KNOWN coins (including a MONSTER 1869 25C PCGS PR68 cameo J-894-which we believe is the FINEST known Standard Silver 25C). If you need top quality coins from any of these sets, stay tuned!

Legend Market Report – THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

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

THE SECOND HALF

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

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

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

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

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

GOLD

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

By David Lisot  – CoinTelevision

The 34th Memphis International Paper Money Show Convention is now under new management. Currency dealer and paper money enthusiast Lyn Knight purchased the show and has instituted some changes to keep this annual gathering as the premier paper money show.

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/070510_knight.html 544px 395px]

See and learn what Lyn plans to do running the show as well as hear from some of the attendees what they think about the show, the market and the town of Memphis.

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/070510_market.html 544px 395px]

Lyn Knight, Doug Davis, Tom Conklin, Michael Findlay, Pierre Fricke, Lowell Horwedel, Harry Jones, Donald Kelly, Debbie Knight, Morland Fischer, Mike Moczalla, Gilman Parsons, Vern Potter, Jeremy Steinberg, Peter Treglia, and Crutch Williams provide commentary.

Legend Market Report – The June Baltimore Coin Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

The show turned out exactly how we thought it would be-decent but quiet. Most dealers we spoke to (on our level) did very little. Several left Friday. Yet we know of a few smaller dealers who had nice coins and did VERY well. Collectors did attend, but the usual gang did not show up in any group larger than one or two. Most attendees did not seem to be serious buyers. They came to kick some tires and chat. One dealer friend commented he’d have done better if he rented his coins out to the lookie loos each time they sat down. As usual, the Whitman staff put on a class act show.

WHY THE JUNE BALTIMORE SHOW IS A BAD BAROMETER FOR THE MARKET

The June Baltimore Show is the equivalent of the stock market making a major gain/loss on a lightly traded short day. We do have a serious comment/opinion: While we love the show, absolutely ranking ALL Whitman Baltimore shows as the BEST run, and love having them in Baltimore, having it two times a year might be better than three. The summer show is typically 1/3 the size smaller. Traffic is significantly lighter. For some reason, its always harder to get in and out of town in June (this year we were lucky the O’s were not home).

At this show, very few of the West Coast dealers attended due to close scheduling of the Long Beach Show. For the markets sake, we think a few shows have to give. The reason why we think one Baltimore has go is because of their own Philadelphia Fall show (which they need to move as well since it yet again follows on the heels of Long Beach). Hard for us to believe Whitman does not realize it is the same market. It stretches everyone thin by overloading shows-and this is NOT the time of year to do so. That definitely contributes to why the show was quiet.

We still can sell ALL the great coins we can get our hands on. We know other dealers in the same position. Just having show after show does not help the market if everyone is spent, tired, and needs time to refresh their inventories especially when the public wants to be outdoors.

WHEN DRECK RULES

WOW dreck can slow a show! We saw just about EVERY major dealer at one time or another actually walk the floor seeking coins. They ALL came back pretty much empty handed and shaking their heads. There were few fresh and nice coins in anyones display case. If you had the nice fresh material, it was sold instantly. So there really was nothing but either tired or dreck coins in a lot of cases. That equated to either huge losses or no sales. A few major dealers are now in weak cash flows and have too much dead inventory. But then we all kind of expected this between now and ANA (which means activity and rising prices will slow). Watch the ALL the ANA auctions for a serious amount of retreads.
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A Look at the Current Market for Type One Gold Double Eagles Coins

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

How’s the market doing for Type One double eagles? Good question and one that I feel well-qualified to answer, having been a very active participant in this market for over two decades.

We’ve had a lot of interesting external factors shape the Type One market in the last few years. Naturally, the severe economic conditions of 2007-2009 had a profound influence; especially at the high end of the market. And even if the economy had been strong there’s a chance that prices for rarities might have slowed down on their own, given the extreme rise in prices we had seen in the Type One market for the previous five years. It was natural that there would be some profit taking; what I didn’t expect was some of the forced sales we saw in 2007 and 2008.

And then there is the X factor in the Type One market: the incredible run-up in gold prices that has seen metal prices top $1,200 per ounce, and the associated pressures on supply that this has brought with it.

All that said, I’m pretty amazed at how strong this segment of the market is right now. In my mind, there is no question that most Type One double eagles valued at less than $5,000 are in greater demand than I can ever remember. I also think that prices are about as strong as I can recall for these coins. If you look at recent auction, nearly all decent quality EF45 to AU58 Type One double eagles are bringing in excess of Trends (more on pricing in a second…) and these coins are typically selling at auction to dealers; not necessarily end-user collectors.

The coins priced at $5,000-20,000 are generally quite strong as well, although not as much so as at the lower price point. The key factors for Type One double eagles in this price range are: eye appeal, eye appeal, eye appeal and the “sexiness” of the date. This is clearly a collector-oriented market and really pretty coins (i.e., those that are not excessively bagmarked, those that are not all bright and shiny and those that are well-made) are in great demand. Average and below-average quality coins still sell; especially if they are useful dates. But they do not bring the premium prices that the nice coins bring.

The real weakness in this market a few years ago was with the expensive coins. As I touched on above the reasons for this were twofold. When the world economy seemed to be melting down, people weren’t all that crazy about dropping $50,000 on a coin. And prices had risen so much on many of the key issues that many market participants wondered if certain key issues were still good values at the levels they had risen to.

Before addressing some specific areas in the market, I mentioned earlier about difficulties with pricing. Coin World Trends ability to keep up with this area in the market appears to not be as good as it was before and many Type One issues now sell for over Trends. This is particularly true with less expensive coins in circulated grades. (more…)

Rare Coin Market Report: The June 2010 Long Beach Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

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

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

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

WHEN THE DOORS OPENED THURSDAY

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

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

THE MARKET

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

World Gold Council: STRONG GOLD DEMAND EXPECTED FOR 2010

Economic uncertainty, sovereign risk in western markets and appetite for gold from Asia to underpin market

The World Gold Council (“WGC”) expects that demand for gold will be strong during 2010, driven by growing demand for jewelery in China and India as well as an increase in European and US investment in the context of continued economic instability, sovereign risk and the threat of a ‘double dip’ recession.

According to WGC’s Gold Demand Trends report, published today, demand in India and China will continue to grow driven by jewelery demand, in spite of high local currency gold prices. In Q1 2010, India was the strongest performing market as total consumer demand surged 698% to 193.5 tonnes. In China, demand proved resilient; demand increased 11% in Q1 2010 to 105.2 tonnes.

This strong demand is despite high local gold prices, which on May 12 in India increased to Rs 56,032/0z, the highest level for the year, while at the same time in China prices reached an all-time high of RMB8,480/oz, suggesting that consumers in India and China are becoming accustomed to higher gold prices.
Concerns over Greece’s public finances and debt contagion fears in Europe have led to strong buying in particular for gold coins, bars and gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) during May which may show up in the Q2 2010 figures. While momentum in ETF tonnage paused during Q1 2010, gold ETF flows started to rise strongly again in April and May as investors sought less volatile investments in which to protect their funds against economic turmoil. On 20 May the GLD SPDR Gold Trust held a record 1,200 tonnes, with a value of US$46.88 billion.

Aram Shishmanian, CEO of the World Gold Council commented:

“Currently, European gold investment demand is exceptionally strong, especially from German and Swiss investors. This is mainly attributable to concern over public debt levels in the Eurozone and the potential inflationary impact of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) announcement of the US$1 trillion rescue package to purchase Eurozone government bonds to address the Greek debt crisis.”

“With the global economic recovery still burdened by high and rising debt levels in Western economies, as well as the renewed threat of recession driving down the US dollar and equities, the outlook for gold as a liquid, reliable asset class and as a store of wealth remains highly favorable.”

According to the WGC, global jewelery demand in non Western countries will continue to recover after reaching 470.7 tonnes in Q1 2010. Economic recovery in Europe and the US will add to this demand, as a potential return to restocking in the jewelery sector is likely, given that existing inventories have been run down since the first half of 2009 to very lean levels. This should provide fundamental support to the gold price. (more…)

Legend Numismatics Market Report

By Laura Sperber – www.legendcoin.com

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

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

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

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

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

OUR COMMENTS ABOUT GOLD

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

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

A CORRECTION TO A STATEMENT

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

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…)

The PCGS Las Vegas Invitational Coin Show

Market Report by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

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

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

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

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

THE MARKET

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

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

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

Legend Numismatics Mid May Coin Market Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

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

WE FIGURED OUT WHERE ALL THE COINS ARE!

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

IT MUST BE THE DRINKING WATER

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

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

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

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…)

Legend Market Report: The 2010 Central States Coin Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?

Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Market Report

THERE ARE NO COOL HIGH QUALITY COINS AROUND

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

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

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

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

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

The Best Values in Todays Rare Coin Market

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

There are many issues that face collectors in the coin market of 2010. A lack of quality coins is driving many collectors to seek new areas of specialization. Both PCGS and NGC have recently added “plus” grades which will no doubt change certain areas of the market as well.

More than ever, collectors are gravitating towards areas that offer value. The days of new collectors and uninformed wealthy investors arbitrarily throwing money at plastic rarities are over and we appear to be back to a collector-oriented market.

So what are some of the areas in this new market that offer the best value to collectors? I have chosen three price ranges ($1,000-5,000; $5,000-10,000 and $10,000 and up) and included some of the series and/or types that I feel are especially good values. Some are currently popular; some are not.

What I have tried to focus on are coins that are actually available in some quantity and issues that I gladly buy to put into my own inventory when they are available.

$1,000-5,000

a) Gold Dollars, 1865-1872:

The eight year run of gold dollars produced at the Philadelphia mint from 1865 through 1872 doesn’t include any real rarities but nearly all of these coins are scarce and undervalued in MS63 to MS64 grades. Most are priced in the area of $1,500-2,000 in MS63 and $2,000 to $3,000 in MS64 (the 1865 is rarer and more expensive in both grades) and they seem like good value to me. Take the 1872 as an example. Just 3,500 business strikes were made and only a few hundred exist in all grades. In MS64 this coin is worth around $3,000 yet it might take me months to find a decent example in this grade. Yes, gold dollars are small but this is a very collectible series and one with a number of really undervalued issues. (more…)

Legend Market Report – The Mid Winter ANA Coin Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

THE ANA SHOW

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

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

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

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

THERE ARE FEW IF ANY HIGH END COINS TO BE BOUGHT

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

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

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

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

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

Are Rare Coin Auction Prices Wholesale or Retail?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

Until a few years ago, the vast majority of coins that sold at auction were purchased by dealers. It was a safe bet to say that the prices realized at auctions were wholesale and collectors could assume that they would typically pay 10-20% more than what coins were selling for at auction.

But this has all changed. One of the key elements to Heritage’s rousing success in the coin auction business has been to make sales more collector-friendly. Today, a sizable amount of the coins that sell at auction are going directly to collectors. So, are auction prices now representative of the wholesale or retail markets? The answer is not as easy as you might think…

The answer is actually, as you might have, guessed, “answers.” Nothing in the coin market is cut and dry anymore and the new auction market and the prices that coins fetch in an auction conducted in 2010 can have a broad range.

The first thing that has to be analyzed is what coin is being sold. If it’s something that’s extremely collector-friendly (like a rare date Type One Liberty Head double eagle) the price realized is likely to represent a retail level as it is likely to have been sold to a collector. If it’s a widget or a low-end coin that sells cheaply we can assume that a bottom-feeder dealer bought it and the price it brought is clearly at the wholesale level.

The next thing that has to be gauged is the quality of the sale itself. One of the most amazing things about the Bass sales, in my opinion, was the fact that virtually all the coins were bought by dealers. If the Bass sales were to be held today (and conducted by a technologically savvy firm like Heritage) I would venture to guess that over 50% of the coins would be sold for retail as opposed to wholesale prices.

Is the coin in an auction a grading play? (In other words, is it an AU58 in an older holder that would upgrade to MS61 to MS62?) In this case it is a virtual certainty that the coin sold to a dealer. But there is an immediate asterisk that must be applied to the sales price. If the coin is worth $5,000 in AU58 and $13,000 in MS62, it is highly possible that at least two ramblin’ gamblin’ dealers would pay $10,000-11,000 for the coin. In such an instance, the collector needs to be careful not to assume that just because one AU58 coin sold at auction for $10,000-11,000, the next one(s) will as well.

Auction records are most useful when they occur with some degree of frequency (two or three examples per year) and when any anomalies can be discarded. (more…)

NGC launches a new free website resource for collectors of certified gold coins from around the world.

NGC’s website now features a value guide for the most popular world gold coins. Included are sovereigns, 20 francs and other frequently-traded world gold coins. Average asking prices for common-date examples are shown in all grades from MS63 to MS67. This chart also details each coin’s intrinsic metal value calculated from current market gold asking price. Gold ask is updated approximately every 20 minutes and the values for graded coins will be updated periodically as current market information is made available. For each set of figures, the last time of update is also displayed.

The World Gold Coins Value Guide is entirely free and can be seen by visiting the following link:

World Gold Coins Value Guide

In addition, NGC’s website also features the most accurate and comprehensive price guide for US coins available, the NumisMedia FMV Price Guide. A free NGC Collectors Society account provides complete access to the NumisMedia Guide.

“This new site feature is part of NGC’s ongoing commitment to provide the most comprehensive and valuable suite of resources to coin collectors. It’s one of a number of great site enhancements coming this year from NGC,” comments Scott Schechter, NGC Vice President, Sales & Marketing, “We hope to improve the accuracy and number of issues covered on the Gold Values Chart, and welcome any user feedback.”

To suggest a revision or an update to the World Gold Coin Value Guide, users can e-mail goldvalues@NGCcoin.com. To explore other numismatic resources available from NGC, visit the NGC Research Home Page.

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…)

Value Compression: A New Trend in the Dated Gold Coin Market

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In the past few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in relation to the pricing of rare date gold coins. I refer to this as “value compression.” Let me explain what I mean.

When I mention this term I am referring to a small price premium between grades. The classic value-compressed issues have long been the Iowa and Roanoke commemorative half dollars. According to the most recent CDN Greysheet , the difference in value between an MS60 and MS65 Iowa half dollar is a whopping $12 (!) while a Roanoke shows a value increase of just $70 between MS60 and MS65.

This phenomenon has begun creeping into the United States gold market as well. Areas which appear susceptible to value compression include common date St. Gaudens double eagles, gold dollars, lower grade Carson City double eagles and early gold in the EF45 to AU55 grade range.

Why do values compress in certain series? The most basic explanation has to do with current grading standards and appearance; a secondary reason is based on the actual design and size of a coin.

As an example, an 1851-C gold dollar is a $1,250-1,350 in EF45 in today’s market. In AU53 it is worth in the area of $1,500-1,600. Why is there such a small difference for what should be a pretty hefty increase in grade? This is mainly due to the way that these coins are now graded. There is no longer much aesthetic difference between an EF45 and an AU53 gold dollar and the market recognizes this by compressing the price spread between these two grades. In the case of the 1851-C dollar, the value is even more compressed between an AU50 and an AU53 or an AU53 and AU55. Simply put, if a collector can see no discernible difference between two grades, then why pay a premium.

In no series is this compression more evident than with common date St. Gaudens double eagles. If you take a random sample of freshly graded MS62 coins and freshly graded MS64’s, there is probably going to be little difference. In fact, the 62’s might even be nicer than the 64’s. This inconsistency of grade is why an MS62 is currently worth $1,450 and an MS64 is worth just $1,600. Back in the days when there was an appreciable difference between the two grades, there was an appreciable price difference. (more…)

Market Report: The March Baltimore Coin Show

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

THE SHOW

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

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

ACTIVITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE 2010 WINTER LONG BEACH SHOW

A Market Report by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

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

THE GOLDBERG SALE

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

THE LONG BEACH SHOW

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

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