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The Baltimore Coin Show – Legend Numismatics Market Report

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

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

LEGEND SPENDS $2,000,000.00

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

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

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

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

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

A note about Bowers, they have a new, young, and VERY aggressive staff. They attended to the smallest details for us and even tolerated our diva like behavior (we needed plenty of caffeine to last thru a 1600 lot session) and did what ever we needed to be comfortable. We do believe they will be true powerhouse in the next year (especially if they keep getting killer fresh collections like Malibu).

One thing we feel is extremely important to note about our auction purchases: all the coins mentioned went to different people. There were many more coins purchased buy us that will never make our web site. When FRESH material that’s nice come around, we are there. We only represent people who understand and are willing to do what it takes to secure these types of coins. Paying 10-20, even 30% too much today, is nothing as compared to seeing these items return 200-1000% in years to come! Plus, the like the 1877 $3, when will you ever see another true GEM that is also CAC’d? There still are plenty of buyers out there!

Dealers inventories were still drab and really full of dreck. Had you asked us before the show if we expected to buy well, we’d have told you no. The stars all aligned and we even had some absolute killer coins walk up to the table from collectors. We were very aggressive and ended up buying coins that ranged from a pop 1 fantastic Gold rarity to a six figure GEM! You will see the difference between what we will be offering this week and next vs the “stuff” other dealers have.

THE BALTIMORE SHOW-SELLING

Upfront and honest: we did extremely well WHOLESALE. We had our stealth team of 3 out on the floor and our associate Julie at the table and on the floor. Combined they sold well into six figures. Also, many of the coins sold brought strong money. However our sales to collectors at the show were weak. At no time did we have a crowd at the table. We know it was hit or miss for others too. If you had collector oriented coins, you did awesome. If you had high end rare coins like us, the results were the same according to others we spoke too. Can’t really explain it. The auctions certainly did not show any weakness. We do realize not every show will be a home-run.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE

There seems to be a funny thing happening to the market. Consumer confidence is growing MUCH stronger. Its not just that collectors like hearing the coin doctors are on the run, gradeflation is being dealt with, or that CAC exists. What we are seeing all of the sudden are collectors (yes, real collectors) who are moving outside their typical areas and buying better coins. They are doing this because they do not want to be sitting on cash. They want tangible items. Not fully trusting stocks or even real estate, many are turning to buying more and better coins. Its a very important and interesting phenomena that we’ll have to monitor. No, it is NOT the return of the dreaded investors.

We were worried that Want Lists for collectors were so long and not being filled that they would get tired and walk away. NOT! In fact, its making more people switch to areas they can complete or at least build forever (like Type sets). Some people are finally doing what we have been suggesting forever, simply buying nice cool coins-without a theme.

In the upper tier or more expensive items (over $25,000.00), we can tell you consumer confidence and buying is strong as ever. No one we have encountered is thinking short term buying or looking for quick profits. We can not stress enough how important that is.

GOLD

Gold is still going up. Of course there are many geniuses who believe gold will hit $2-$5,000.00. Us, we do not know. If we did, we’d be writing this from our yacht off Hawaii! We do think gold will keep rising a bit more. The correction we predicted was short and small. We think there could be another, but now that the elections are over, people are not really liking what they see.

We still recommend MS66 Saints. They are the best “bang” if the price of gold really pops (meaning the premium will rise). The next thing we like-a simple gold Type set. The beauty of that-it can be loaded with common dates or rarities. MS 62 or MS67 coins. And if numismatic coins scare you, buy American Gold Eagles. There are plenty of ways to play the gold market.

Right now the premiums on generic gold are ridiculously low. There is a serious over supply of dreck, but at some point you expect it to be absorbed. Last November and December gold and the rare gold coin market were strong. We fully expect the price of gold to stay up and no question, the rare gold market WILL get even stronger this year!

WHATS HOT

HIGH GRADE Commems! Finally! The B+M sale has a collection of decent coins. MS Seated Halves and Dollars-just check the B+M Auction. ORIGINAL GEM PR Gold. ALL Bust coins. Walking Liberty Half Dollars. Patterns, we should know, every day we have been selling a decent amount (plus is you follow auctions, they prices are definitely firming).

WHATS NOT HOT

MS Indian cents in high grade. Morgan Dollars seem to be a bit quiet. dreck or average coins. To quote a major dealer ” if its not fresh and cool, nobody wants it”. 3C Nickels have quieted down too.

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