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Legend Numismatics Market Report – THE PHILADELPHIA COIN SHOW


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

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

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

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

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


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

Much to our surprise as well, we sold a significant amount of Patterns and we sold MANY McClaren coins.

The three retail sales we did were significant. One was an 1885 5C PCGS MS67-the UNDISPUTED FINEST KNOWN (our calibre of coin), the other two were larger Gold and Pattern deals.

Buying was the usual futile effort. We did spend about $250,000.00 on the floor (at a good show, we will spend $1 million plus), but we were not able to buy the types coins we really wanted. Sure, we could buy all the dreck we wanted or widgets (ok, here we go again DRECK is: UGLY, OVER graded, LOW END coins). For the first time, we heard another dealer in high end coins saying how concerned he was nothing is showing up. He was worried how he will fare if he does not find coins to sell. Fortunately, around Long Beach (including back at the office) we were able to buy some very neat smaller deals. We will definitely be offering some special coins this listing and next few weeks!

Sooner or later, prices for BETTER coins, prices WILL go up. Just look at the results from last weeks Heritage auction of the TB Brown Collection (a fresh collection of PR Type that was just graded). The prices went through the roof (example: 3CS 1865 PCSG PR66DC $23,000.00, or the $1 1864 PCGS PR65 Cam $34,500.00). We predict even simple coins like true monster 80S $1 in MS67 will start to fly as the supply is quite limited (again, we are NOT talking about the drecky ones all over the bourse floor). Do note: QUALITY IS CRITICAL. The difference between a high end coin and a low end coin of the same date, same grade, can now be THOUSANDS of dollars. Be VERY careful, what you may think is a bargain, probably is not.


Of course the majority of coin dealers and shows will revolve around gold right now. The telemarketers are having a field day and are producing huge orders from a common generics to RARE GEM Proof $20’s.

An interesting trend has happened to generic gold. In MOST cases, the PREMIUMS have DROPPED. How can that be?

While commodity traders are pushing the price of gold up, the supply of generic gold has actually increased. So even though there is strong demand, demand does NOT outweigh supply. In some cases, you have lower grade generics practically selling for melt! Quality has also been another issue. Either people are selling back drecky coins already graded at the new higher levels, or the services are rushing out product that is inferior (we think its the old stuff resurfacing). The public has wised up and pretty much values it as the dreck it is. GEM CAC gold is selling for 20-30% OVER NON stickered coins with out a doubt (we are paying $3,450.00 for CAC Motto Saints vs $2,675.00 for non stickered). The only problem w/the CAC market: NOT ENOUGH coins (demand is huge)! We know the MS66 Saints we had that were NON CAC, were harldy picked up. And when they were, the dealers wanted them as sharply discounted rates. Nothing frustrates us more than gold rising and generics falling.

Better GEM Gold is on fire. Things like Bust Gold, ALL GEM Proof Gold, Gold $1 MS67, $5+$10 Indians in MS64 and higher, better $20’s in GEM are selling fast and for a lot of money. We have confirmed several SMALL “funds” seeking to buy quantities of these types of coins. Telemarketers are turning some of their customers from bullion to rare coin buyers. These are the types of coins that generally buy. If the price of gold stays up, this area could be the best for a huge potential short term bump. The long term looks even better regardless of what happens short term.

We still fully endorse “better” GEM gold for collections (including the best thing to build: a Type set). The speculators really are not back yet as they got badly whupped two years ago. So there is still plenty of time and even some opportunity. We actually do see a few NEW collectors coming around-something we take as a very bullish sign.


There are NO major shows in October save for Coinfest. Heritage is having major auction there. There several minor shows. It should set the stage for a potentially VERY healthy Baltimore (assuming this Philadelphia show did not cannibalize it and gold does not crash and spook everyone).

We think gold will probably have a correction in the middle of the month. It just can’t keep going up. Even if it does correct, the telemarketers will still have orders to fill. So on the numismatic side, the effects might not show until the very end of the year. Or even never if drops just a little.

One more not about coinfest: CAC will NOT be setting up this year.


GEM Proof Type, Bust coins, we’re going to step out on a limb: Commems are strong at the “levels”. MS Walkers. Of course GOLD. ALL BETETR GOLD. generics, need to be CAC. Still, there are buyers at the lower levels.


DRECK! Merc Dimes. Lincoln Cents.

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