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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.

Do understand that if we get offered coins, even being starved for buying, that does not mean we will buy anything. We read on a big gossip forum how someone brought their coins around the show yet no one wanted them. Chances were, the coins either had problems, were priced too high, or were simply not what dealers had on Want Lists. Right now if someone brought us a colored dollar, we’d pass-we have several in stock. Collectors need to realize the importance of a two relationship with a good dealer. When you have one that works, you’ll never have to take your coins to a show and be rejected.

THE B+M SALE

There was not much in the sale for us. However the two headline coins did capture our attention. There was an 25c 1901S PCGS MS68 and a super fresh Pan Pac Gold Round in PCGS MS66. How embarrasing this is to admit: Legend got shut out on both. We were trying only to buy them for inventory. We bid $175,000.00 on the Quarter (which HAMMERED to a dealer for $285,000.00) and we bid $220,000.00 on the Round which sold for $245,000.00 hammer. We just hope whoeber bought the Round does not mess with it.

While the 1901S has a semi murky history (its been regraded a few times), it is still the finest 1901S. And the Round came out of the wood work. Coins like this, you pay whatever it takes to own them. We broke our own rule of not staying at the auctions and giving them more heave ho effort (our lame excuse is exhaustion-we had just spent 3 weeks traveling).

Overall, NICE coins in the B+M appeared to fetch VERY strong prices. The CAC MS 66 NGC Saints in the sale brought “crazy money” of OVER $4,000.00 hammer!

THE MARKET OVERALL

The market is still good-for GOOD coins. Again, it was all the tired dreck that sat in cases. Fresh coins were NOT in abundance, or they sold pretty much immediately.

We can still report that bigger ticket items (over $25,000.00) are selling strong. At the same time, we can report that we sold HUNDREDS of McClaren Walkers and Morgans (average sale $300.00) at the show, also back at the office we sold even more! As much as many dealers do not want to hear this, the easiest coins to sell were the CAC coins (grade, price, did not matter). This is definitely a quality oriented market.

In several recent Market Reports we have warned you to BUY COINS NOW!¬† We 1000% stand by those comments. Your going to be reading that show after show dealers can not find the good stuff. That means sooner or later you won’t and prices will have to go up. The only thing holding back prices right now-the dreck. The demand is sure there.

One more thing about dreck, if you have lousy coins, TAKE YOUR LOSSES AND SELL NOW! We know what is happening in the market, there will be an even bigger pricing divide between quality and not so quality coins as time goes on. The market will NOT bail you out. And no, these comments are not self serving to stir up business.

WHATS HOT

Cheaper generic gold (Coins prices UNDER $5,000.00). CC coins (all denomenations). Gold Commems were back in vouge. This was interesting: a major telemarketer has decided Cal fractional gold was too cheap and sent his pals out to buy it all up. Proof Silver Type showed a little strength. Walkers+Commems of all grades were top sellers.

WHATS NOT HOT

Dreck. Morgan Dollars. MS Seated and Barber coins. Three Cent Nickels are unloved at the moment. Indian cents-move away from 2-3 smaller deaalers who specialize in them, there is no broad marketplace in the higher grades.

To Read the Full Legend Market Report including information on Legend’s sale of the FINEST KNOWN¬† 1909 VDB NGC PR68* CAC Lincoln Cent

About the Author

Laura Sperber is one of the Owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987. Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top quality rare coins.

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