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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.

We can never stress enough how much eye appeal and quality mean to a coins value and saleability. Having a coin that is 90% all there for the grade is NOT acceptable anymore. The demand is intense for accurately graded coins. A saying we have on the bourse floor about dreck: “cheap my not be cheap enough”. If you won a so/so or dreck coin and have tried to sell it recently, you found this out the hard way. Even auctions can’t bail you out anymore. Meanwhile, CAC coins have become extremely scarce and are still kicking butt in the auctions. In the end, its all about quality.

Our stealth sales team yet again told us they can not sell so/so coins on the bourse floor unless they are dirt cheap. They had trouble selling better gold in moderate grades. Overall, our team did very well, one sharp seller even sold a five figure coin within an hour of us giving it to them. Legends sales at the show were good and were slightly better than expected. Our performance at the show only added to our already record month. The more coins we find for our Want Lists, the better we do. At the show our problem was NOT buyers, it was sellers-we need cool and better CAC stickered coins!

GENERIC GOLD

Everyone was asking: “Gold hit a record high, why are the prices of generics falling”. There are actually two reasons. The first, its a pure supply and demand issue. Right now the major dealers have gotten huge shots of coins from their overseas banks so they are loaded with inventory. The interesting issue (and the answer to the second question) is they can’t sell the coins because most of the generics are pure horrible (and we mean ugly over graded) dreck. Even the telemarketers have been demanding better quality. The only heavy demand that there is wants $10 Indians and $20 Saints in MS65 and better. Much to our amazement $5 Indians have slowed again-the telemarketers have orders for Saints this week (another opportunity to buy everything else). When they run out of them, they will be forced to move into the smaller denominations.

We walked the floor and we did not see one single CAC MS66 Saint. We are paying $3,450.00 for any. Take our word on this, we could sell everyone we could find (as could many other dealers). You can BUY great incredible deals on the lower denomination MS63 (and below gold coins). But you can expect to receive coins that look like hell. These coins are directly tied to spot with little % movement on the premium. Our opinion is if you believe gold will continue to rise (as many do) there are some very good buying opportunities. We strongly believe their is a pent up demand building for NICE 63 and higher grade generics. The premiums could rise dramatically in as little as week once this glut/slump is broken. Its a powerful statement that people want nice looking coins. Saints with marks, $5 Indians with fake color, $2.5 Libs that are just ugly-its not something even the non educated collector wants to look it. The prices are now pretty much reflecting that.


WHATS HOT

At this show, anything nice and fresh. CAC gold coins are hot-and you could not find many. GEM Bust coins.

WHATS NOT HOT

Lower grade generic gold, any coin that earned the term “dreck”. Patterns were quiet.

About the Author

Since 1987. Legend Numismatics has been building an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top quality rare coins. Exceptional coins are always in demand - and we believe you should never settle for anything less than the highest quality coin at the best possible value.

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