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Coinfest Coin Show Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

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

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

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

Saturday was it, the day every collector in the room was waiting for. At 9:00 there was a large crowd of collectors waiting to get in. When CAC did start to accept coins, they had a line that was snaked along some serious distance! It is our understanding they accepted 78 invoices containing well OVER 1,000 coins BEFORE NOON! That’s over $20,000.00 they gave away (plus the cost of being at the show). Of course after everyone dropped their coins off, they had time to kill. Saturday seemed to be by far the busiest day on the bourse floor. Collectors were definitely buying selectively-but they were buying.

As we mentioned, selling was OK, but buying was as hard as ever. Even though there were power dealers in the room, there wasn’t a ton of fresh and exciting new coins being offered for sale.

Our take on the overall show attendance was that it was slightly weak (take our word on this, we did everything we could to make Coinfest a huge draw). We had asked several dealers how they did and got replies ranging from horrible to a few claim they did better at Coinfest than at Philadelphia. Legends overall show-was acceptable-not great. Imagine that, our own show and we can’t really rant and rave how great we did. Still, our retail sales were multiples better than the last Long Beach and Philadelphia shows we did. We certainly don’t blame the owners of Coinfest :-)!


We’ll finally throw in the towel and agree-yes its the market that is slow to a degree. Do note: retail sales from our office are still crazy strong. Yes, we are still selling big ticket items (last Tuesday-just Tuesday we sold $960,000.00)!   Of course having a show in Hedge Fund Central country probably isn’t the best place to pick right now. But, many of the locals who are major collectors did show up (at least they are still interested). We have been witnessing a progression of fewer and fewer people at the last two major shows we did before Coinfest (LB and Philadelphia). People are definitely still buying coins, but they are now buying fewer coins. So they can just as easily sit at home and shop on the web, or bid on line in any major numismatic auction. So retail at shows has dwindled. That can cause a ripple effect slow down of the market.

You’d think with gold being at all time highs coins would be sky rocketing in value-NOT! GENERIC gold coins have finally fallen to sensible premiums (best way to say it: when gold was $940.00 an MS63 Saint was $1,600-$1,700.00, today gold is $1,035.00 and MS63 Saints are $1,400.00-$1,500.00. We do not see the public buying the cheaper generics like they used too. $5 Indians, $10 Indians, and Saints all have demand in MS64 and higher. The time during the drop in generic prices actually hurt many cash flows and had made the market a tad weaker overall. Dealers really do not want to carry big inventories and are fearful of sudden drop in the price of gold. This means overall dealers are spending less. Spending less means fewer bids and less liquidity.

An FYI on how strong “slightly better” MS65 PCGS CAC Saints are for us-we put four up this AM-and all were SOLD within 10 minutes of being posted to 3 different collectors! Also, we have learned from our sales of the McClaren coins, the world really just wants properly graded and eye appealing GEM Walkers, Morgans, and Peace Dollars. We have sold SEVERAL THOUSAND pieces off our web site in LESS than 45 days (you read that right-SEVERAL THOUSAND pieces)! Most coins sell within MINUTES of us posting them (we had a complete short set PCGS MS65 CAC posted for no more than 15 minutes before we sold it). When people have less money to spend, they do not just settle for any old coin.

We can now see the market being decent but with periods of choppiness for the remainder of the year. Still, great coins will fetch strong prices and monster coins in major collections will still earn “runaway” numbers. The thing is, there is so little of those coins around. Dealers have to trade in low end or horrible widgets and end up either loosing money on them (same as the collectors who buy them) or just sit with them and have no cash flow to improve their inventories with.

We do believe that as the year closes, the coin market will regain its sizzle-especially if gold keeps coin up. Even if gold does not continue to rise, rare coins will still do well. You just can NOT buy dreck-that will hurt you no matter how cheap you might be able to pay.

This is the time when the contrarian buyer does their best buying. Opportunity does indeed knock!

We will not do a breakdown of what is hot and what is not. Coinfest is too small and diverse of a show to gauge that.

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