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All Posts Tagged With: "Coin Market"

LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIGGER 2011 – IS BIGGER BETTER?

Hot Topics by Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

Consolidation in reverse! I expected a few firms to fold and smaller dealers to shut. Out of the blue comes the mega merger of Stacks and Bowers and Merena. I was not so shocked because for the last 3 years it had been no secret I tried to talk the owners into selling Stacks to Legend. The apparent loss would have been too great and doing a deal this way, they get a shot at some stock that could go up. Regardless, I feel it was a tragic end to once powerful and glamorus dealership.

It is my strong opinion, in this mergers case, bigger is NOT better for the coin market. Why? We already have one mega monster firm who obviously has reached their limits-Heritage. They know they can’t expand any more with in coins, so they did the smartest thing, branched out into other areas. I give them tons of credit for that because it seems as they grow, they do not forget their roots and promote coins to this new crowd.

To satisfy two large auction companies with huge staffs, where are all the coins going to come from? These firms need expensive coins to generate large fees. If these firms on their own were not getting much prior, where are the coins going to come from after the merger? Think about how big each firms overheads are. Will fees rise? Will coin values artifically inflate because of excessive tiny demand with each auction?

This new mega merger concerns me. My goal in going after Stacks was not to make it bigger-just better. In my opinion, the potential of Stacks combining with Legend was huge. I believe it would have greatly benefited collectors. I do admit, I was nervous about where the consignments would come from, but Legend has sold OVER $600,000,000.00 RETAIL so we have some contacts. I have always viewed owning an auction company as a natural extension for us and our customers. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or energy to try again to enter the auction field from scratch. I saw the demise of Stacks as inevitable. I would have loved to have fixed it. It is frustrating to me ownership decided to end the misery this way. When I was told about it I was angry for one second and have moved on. Now I just wonder if bigger is really better? And how will it effect the marketplace?

I do wish The B+M team good luck in their merger. Greg Roberts, CEO of Spectrum is one of the sharpest executives in this business.

FUN

My prediction is that FUN will be a good show. Out of the clear blue, collectors were buying strong in December-a time when they normally fade away. Yet again, only supply was the problem. So if nothing else, dealers will need to replenish at FUN.

Gold coins are still screaming crazy hot. Prices are NOT moving up, but collectors do want them. We think 2011 will be the tell tale year for gold. It will be interesting to say the least. (more…)

The Record-Setting Sale of an 1875 Half Eagle: What Does it Portend?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

In the Bowers and Merena November 2010 Baltimore auction, a business strike 1875 half eagle sold without a lot of fanfare for a lot of money. I think this was one of the most significant individual sales in the rare gold coin market in 2010 and I’d like to spend a bit of time analyzing both the coin that was sold and the significance it portends for both the Liberty Head half eagle series and the rare gold market as a whole.

The 1875 is the rarest collectible Liberty Head half eagle. (The 1854-S is rarer but with no pieces likely available to collectors in the near future, I regard this issue as “non-collectible.”) Only 200 business strikes were produced and the number of pieces known has generally been estimated to be in the area of ten. I think this estimate is reasonably accurate although I think the actual number known could be as low as seven or eight.

The 1875 is unknown in Uncirculated and most of the examples that exist are in the EF40 to AU50 range. PCGS has graded five coins including an EF40 and two each in AU50 and AU53 while NGC has graded four: one in EF45 and three in AU55. I believe that these figures are inflated by resubmissions and the total number of distinct 1875 half eagles in slabs is four or five. There have been 10 auction appearances since 1991. Six have occurred since 2000 but this includes a number of reappearances of the same coin(s).

The coin in the Bowers and Merena auction was graded AU55 by NGC and it appeared to have been the same coin that was offered as DLRC’s Richmond I: 1444 back in July 2004 where it brought a record-setting $86,250. There had been no other 1875 business strikes that had been available since the Goldberg 2/07: 2335 coin that brought $74,750.

The Bowers coin was part of an interesting set of 1875 gold coinage called the “Kupersmith Once in a Lifetime” collection. Terrible name but an interesting and impressive set with examples of the rare Philadelphia gold dollar, quarter eagle and three dollar gold piece from this year but, curiously without the very rare 1875 business strike (or Proof) eagle. (more…)

November Baltimore Coin Show and Market Report

By William Shamhart, Jr.  – Numismatic Americana

I can figure a coin deal as quick as anyone. In fact I can sometimes just look at a deal and know that I am going to buy it. That is because I am a coin dealer and have been my entire adult life.
baltimoreNov2010
But writing…that’s a whole other story. I’ve had trouble all my life writing papers from grade school all the way though college. Hence my tardiness in getting this show report to you, our loyal readers.

Christine and I made the trip down to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon. We had a few appointments set up and promptly got down to business. After looking at a few dealer’s inventory (and finding the same old “tired” pieces), I went to submit our numerous coins for grading to PCGS. (At the end of this show report, and up on our web site shortly, you will find the fruits of this.)

With an opening bell of 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Christine and I were there bright and early and literally minutes after the doors opened we arrived at our table only to find a client waiting for us. While that was a great way to start the show, sadly it wasn’t going to last. We did some wholesale business from our inventory early on and then proceeded to set up our booth for the “early birds” at 10 and the public at noon. One of the best things about having a client base is that other dealers figure out quickly that you need to buy coins for them, so while neither Christine or I really got to spend a lot of time walking the floor looking for coin to buy, it was nice that there was a steady flow of dealers coming to us, wanting to show us their wares.

Getting to the meat of this report, I will tell you that Baltimore was definitely better than CoinFest, and way better than the Silver Dollar Expo a few weeks earlier. There are many more “collectors” in Baltimore than the aforementioned shows, and while they didn’t spend money like sailors on shore leave, they did spend. As I write this gold has broken the $1400 barrier, yet in Baltimore we didn’t have one person come up to us and ask for bullion, quasi bullion, or generic gold coins. Not one. Gem gold was in demand, stronger than it has ever been in recent history. And we sold virtually all that we brought with us.

Another observation that I came back with is how focused today’s buyers are. No longer do they settle for a lesser coin, they don’t buy something just to fill a hole. They will wait until that special coin, the one with the look that they have been longing for, appears. The collectors in the market place today don’t just have a want list with a denomination, date, and grade on it, there is also the “look” on their list. And some coins, no matter the grade, just won’t make the grade (no pun intended). They are fussy and they should be. I’ve always had the opinion that coin collecting should be fun. It should release the endorphins in your brain and not cause stress. It seems that the collectors I have met recently have learned from the common mistakes that one would make early on in a hobby. They have paid their dues and will wait it out until they get exactly what they want. While I generally agree with that philosophy, it can be a very dangerous double edged sword. Passing up on a truly rare coin, in anticipation of a finer piece showing up, can be, and usually is, a bad deal. If the coin in question is that tough to locate, then there will usually be another collector lined up behind you to buy it. How many time have you looked at a coin, walked away to think about, and then returned only to find it sold?

So what, besides Gem gold, was selling? Nice commems, MONSTER commems, and type coins, both proof and mint state were selling. MONSTER type coins that sold there went for numbers off the charts. Better date walkers, and yes, even proof walkers were also in demand.

Before you start to look over our new purchases, I’d like to remind you that the next show Christine and I will be doing will be the Money Show of the Southwest in Houston the first week of December. Don’t worry, we will still be buying coins and putting them up on the web before then. So while we won’t have any of show reports until next month, there will be plenty of new coins showing up on our site.

The DWN Rare Gold Coin Market Heat Index: 2010

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

As someone who is pretty attuned to the strengths and weaknesses of the rare gold coin market, I can accurately rate how well (or poorly) a specific series is performing. 2010 was an interesting year for gold coins. We saw tremendous price increases in gold bullion but many areas of the coin market were flat. In the first annual DWN Rare Gold Coin Market Heat Index (cue sizzling sound effect…), I am going to discuss the relative position(s) of the most commonly traded areas of the market.

This totally non-scientific study is keyed to the following ratings, which go from 1 to 10:

1. This series is so cold you couldn’t give the coins away
2-5: This series ranges from ice cold to moderate strength
6-9: This series ranges from strong to very strong
10: This series is en fuego

And without further ado, let’s talk hot or cold gold…

I. Gold Dollars

There is pretty solid overall collector support for gold dollars. While there do not appear to be many specialists working on complete sets, there are a number of collectors working on focused subsets; i.e., Dahlonega dollars, Civil War issues, etc. I would say that Type One branch mint dollars are probably the strongest overall segement of this market and the weakest is, clearly, high grade non-branch mint Type Two coins.

In the Type Three series, I am noticing some strength in very high quality Philadelphia issues from the 1870’s and 1880’s. In most cases, the coins that are the strongest are PCGS graded MS67 and better pieces with great eye appeal. The Charlotte and Dahlonega market is very bifurcated. Top quality original pieces in all grades are very strong while overgraded, non-original pieces are hard to sell even at a serious discount.

OVERALL RATING: 5. This denomination is collector-driven and reasonably strong as of the end of 2010. The coins showing the greatest demand include the very rare Dahlonega issues (1855-D, 1856-D and 1861-D), mintmarked Type Two coins in “collector grades” and Finest Known or high Condition Census Type Three issues graded by PCGS and approved by CAC.

II. Quarter Eagles

This is perhaps the most mixed denomination in the entire U.S. gold oeuvre as the heat index ranges from borderline frigid to pretty toasty. Early quarter eagles are showing mixed collector support. These coins are still undervalued when compared to other early gold denominations but they are no longer “cheap.” Some weak auction results for overgraded 1796 No Stars and 1808 quarter eagles have lowered Trends but nice examples of these two significant dates are still in demand. Collectors of early quarter eagles are looking for value. They want either very rare issues that are underpriced (such as the 1826/5 or the 1834) or coins that are choice and original. (more…)

Coinfest 2010 Market Report

By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana

After much anticipation, this years CoinFest has come and gone. In its third location in four years, I must say that this should be the permanent home for this show. Located in the recently renovated Marriott in Stamford, CT, the bourse itself was held in a “ballroom” atmosphere. With carpeted floors this gives a “warmer” environment to conduct business. Parking was plentiful for the attendees, and there are numerous quality restaurants within walking distance. My vote is to do whatever it takes to keep the show there.

Inside the bourse area there were, and are, many opinions as to how the show was. The local demographics, on paper, have all the making for a great show. For some it was, but for most it wasn’t. Let me explain. Unfortunately most dealers suffer from the “immediate gratification” syndrome. Not unlike most of America I suppose. If sales weren’t consummated there, and for large numbers, then some dealers look at the show as a bust. Many of the dealers don’t cater to retail on a full time basis. They set up at shows, looking for that big sale, and when it doesn’t happen then and there, they become disappointed. They don’t maintain websites, advertise in trade publications, have dedicated phone lines, or employ numismatists to handle questions. They live in the here and now.

Other dealers on the other hand look at contacts made as a possible client in the future. They follow up with emails, inquire about want lists, and basically cultivate the collector. Now I’m not looking at this through rose colored glasses, I realize that quite a few contacts made don’t pan out. In fact most don’t. Thing is you just don’t know which ones will and which ones won’t. At CoinFest we spent a lot of our time talking with collectors, some who bought something, some who didn’t. But I came away with a very positive feeling about the show. As I write this, I have numerous emails to return from people who I just met at CoinFest. I guess time will tell.

Sales: From a retailer view, they were somewhat dismal. The collector sales that were done were well thought out by the buyer. No impulse buying here. But that is good. At least the collector feels confident enough with what is going on in the world to continue their pursuit of numismatics. Polite negotiations, trades, and lay-a-ways were all done there. That’s okay. We try very hard to put coins in collector hands. Thank you.

From a wholesale point of view it was mixed. We did sell quite a bit to other dealers, mostly to retailers. No wholesalers and very little producers. That leads me to this thought. Other dealers, retailers in particular, don’t just buy coins to be buying coins. They have a thought process, perhaps another retail consumer (one that hasn’t found us yet). What I am trying to say is that when a coin trade hands wholesale it is done for a reason. Someone, somewhere, is selling the coin to a collector, that my friend is good it shows confidence in the market.

Buying: Here is where it gets interesting. None, and I mean none, of our usual contacts had anything special for us. But…there were a few deals (collections) that came to the show. And while we didn’t buy all of them directly from the original sellers, they found there way to us anyway. Most all of the coins we bought there were raw. That is they haven’t seen the inside of a grading room, ever, or a least until next week in Baltimore where we will submit them. Stay tuned, or shall I say check our web site often after Baltimore for these coins. These pieces along with our new purchases from Baltimore will make for a very special offering of coins.

Christine and I will be attending Baltimore this week starting on Thursday. If you are attending, please stop by and say hello, we are at table 1851. We’d love to chat and talk coins. And maybe even sell some…

The Gold, Silver and Rare Coin Market Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend NumismaticsBelow is a portion of the most recent Legend Market Report

GOLD

This is hard for us to believe that gold spot went up, yet ALL Generic $20’s came down! That is the most ridiculous thing we have ever seen. We have been told that the market makers here are flooded with coins. Plus, there seems to be a huge flood of gold coming from Europe. We have even heard some grumblings that the quality of these new arrivals have been poor (more gradeflation?). So no one wants to step out and make bids.

At one point last week, the LARGEST market maker in MS65 Saints quoted us $2,000.00 as his “buy” on a day when gold went up $20.00 (MS65 BID did end the week at $2,200.00). In the meantime, we know dealers who badly need CAC MS 65 Saints and have open BIDS of $2,300.00-$2,400.00 per coin and are buying very few.The demand for NON CAC generics is obviously thin.

The demand for CAC coins is huge with many MAJOR Funds or financial advisers selling the coins easily. We know they cannot get enough, because we supply them and we haven’t bought squat. We will still buy ALL the PCGS /NGC W/M MS66 CAC we can get at $3,475.00 sight UNSEEN. We will pay $2,675.00 for NON CAC PCGS coins only on a SIGHT seen basis. BTW, for anyone who wants to cat call, the CAC market is NOT artificial, its as real and powerful as you get.

The CAC coins sell by demand, not dealers creating phony bids and trying to pump the market. With gold (especially generics) right now for sure there is a two tier market, and quality is what people want.

You know there is something seriously wrong when graded MS61 $20 Libs are priced at $100.00 OVER melt!

With $20’s, it also seems to us that the market feels they are too high (along with the price of gold). We doubt at the lower grade levels quality is the issue. Something has to give in that market. We believe there will be a correction in the price of gold sometime soon. But, its really the hedges who control the price of gold and it seems they want to take it up a little further.

Its totally bewildering to us why there are not stronger premiums since gold is climbing daily into record territory. Something is just not right with this picture.

Right now the BEST buys are $10 Indians and $5 Indians (no 09D) in MS64 and higher. You can not find them emass, and the grading seems to be OK. If you insist on playing the $20 generic market we still believe MS66’s are too cheap or, you can buy NICE MS61/62 $20 (if you can find them) for little over melt and hope one day the premiums expand. We still recommend building a Gold Type set. You can include ANY coin you want then.

SILVER

People are finally waking up to the fact silver is at its all time high. Here too, things like MS65 Morgans and Walkers have come down. That’s insane! How can such a huge market as coins show little demand for simple $100-$200.00 items that actually were popular? Where are all the collectors? (more…)

Some Recent Observations From A Coin Show Perspective

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com
Having just come from the Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo show and, the week before this, the Long Beach show, I feel pretty qualified to make some market observations. Without further ado, I’d like to share them with you.

1. There Are Too Many Coin Shows Right Now. I’m sure I’m not going to make any friends with coin show promoters for saying this but with Long Beach occuring last week, Philly this week and the St. Louis show next week, this is too many coin shows in a short period of time. I saw few fresh coins in Philadelphia because I looked at many dealer’s coins in Long Beach and the thought of turning around next week and going to St. Louis…uh, no thanks. The market just can’t support this many shows and this is why you are seeing many formerly good regional three and four day events beginning to die rapid deaths.

2. Buying Nice Coins Is Tough, Tough, Tough. If you thought it was hard two or three years ago to buy nice coins at shows, it is as tough now as its ever been; maybe tougher. I’ve heard dealers all of all sizes and shapes complain how hard it is to find interesting fresh material at recent shows. I was lucky and I had an amazing ANA show with lots and lots of great new coins to offer DWN clients. But it is a real grind to find coins now and, clearly, the good stuff is going off the market and staying there.

3. Everyone Wants to Buy Type One Double Eagles. There are many firms and individual dealers (myself included) who are very active buyers right now of Type One double eagles. At the Philadelphia show I saw almost nothing for sale other than the usual motley assortment of Uncirculated S.S. Central America 1857-S , a few lower grade common dates and the odd overpriced rarity here and there. This is clearly an extremely popular area of the market and coins in the $2,000-15,000+ price range are exceptionally popular right now.

4. And CC Double Eagles Too. You can add $2,000-10,000+ Carson City double eagles to this list as well. They are most definitely in strong demand and if the coins are properly priced (or even just a hair too expensive) they are easy sellers. Even big money coins like 1870-CC double eagles are beginnig to sell again and I am aware of at least two EF examples changing hands since ANA. If you have any nice CC double eagles for sale, please contact me as I’d like to buy them from you!

5. Nice New Orleans Gold Has Disappeared. Where has all the nice New Orleans gold gone? Good question. The last few months have seen very, very few interesting New Orleans gold coins available and the few choice or rare pieces that I have had in stock have sold quickly. Clearly, this is an area of the market that is very active.

6. And Dahlonega Gold Also. I think you can safely add choice, original Dahlonega gold in all denominations to the “where the heck are the coins?” list. I can generally only find two or three decent D mint coins at a major show and they seem to sell very quickly when I list them on my website.

7. Coin Pricing Is a Total Disaster. I’ve mentioned this a number of times but I am finding it more and more of a hassle that coin pricing is such out of touch with reality. What typically happens is that one very low quality rare coin trades cheaply at auction and Trends whacks the price for the issue down. This has recently happened with rare, desirable coins like the 1796 No Stars and 1808 quarter eagles and the 1795 eagle. I look at this as, in its own way, as big a concern in the coin market as the doctoring issue. One reason why good coins aren’t being sold is that pricing doesn’t reflect the real value of choice, high end pieces. Fix this problem and you will fix the lack of supply that is hurting the market right now. Don’t fix it and new buyers will be more interested in purchasing MS64 Saints than “real” coins. (more…)

Coin Market: Full Band Roosevelt Dimes

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

The market for full bands Roosevelt dimes is one dominated by a handful of specialists who are willing to spend big for the right coin.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. calls circulation-strike Roosevelt dimes with both the upper and lower pair of bands on the torch showing full separation, having a complete and unbroken line dividing the bands, “full torch” (abbreviated as FT), while Professional Coin Grading Service calls them “full bands” (FB).

Both services began to recognize the designation in 2003 and the popularity of registry sets has fueled four-figure prices for condition rarities.

For example, on Sept. 6, a 1953-S Roosevelt dime graded Mint State 68 full torch by NGC realized $2,600 during an auction conducted by Teletrade.

Earlier this year, a 1951-D Roosevelt dime graded MS-68 full bands by PCGS (pictured above) sold for a very strong $4,600 while a stunning and beautifully toned 1949-D PCGS MS-68 full bands from the same consignor realized $3,105 at a Heritage Auction Galleries sale.

The market for high-end Roosevelt dimes is not entirely dependent on a full bands/torch designation.

At a Sept. 9, 2009, Heritage auction, a 1963-D Roosevelt dime graded MS-68 (without a full bands designation) realized a whopping $5,175.

The market for full bands Roosevelt dimes is the most robust for the series’ silver issues, produced from 1949 to 1964, although the occasional copper-nickel clad issue can soar, such as a NGC MS-68 full torch 1965 dime that brought $805 at a March 25 Heritage auction.

In the PCGS Registry, 137 registered sets are listed, consisting of the 48 Roosevelt dime circulation strikes from 1949 to 1964, with the top four sets 100 percent complete.

Many of the issues are unknown in grades finer than MS-67 full bands and the current No. 1 set contains each issue in MS-67 full bands and finer, with several MS-67+ full bands and a single MS-68 FB.

The owner of the No. 1 set has posted pictures of all but two of the coins in his set, named “close to perfect,” online. Browsing through them gives an introduction to the many different looks that Mint State Roosevelt dimes can have.

Boston ANA Show Report by Bill Shamhart

William Shamhart, Jr. – Numismatic Americana

After months of anticipation and preparation, the ANA’s annual World’s Fair of Money in Boston is over. And while there are always little details that could use a little more attention, I must say that the staff of the ANA produced a convention that blew me away. Many show reports have been written about this year’s ANA, and I sure many more are to come, so let me get to the “meat” of this one:

Bourse floor:

Held on the second floor, actually third if you count the street level, it was set up into two rooms. I have never been a fan of spitting up the bourse floor of a show for many reasons; yet this year’s show seemed to work. Christine’s and my table was in the “main” room, centrally located. We picked this table for a reason. And it worked. Most collectors had no problem finding us (especially if they use the great program the ANA put together). It didn’t hurt that it was on a major thorough-fair into the next room either. Many collectors/dealers stopped at our table, and it was great to see many familiar faces and finally meet so many of our customers in person. The aisles were wide enough so that there weren’t any major traffic jams. This is great, especially in a room where most if not all the attendees had briefcases or rolling carts in tow. I’m sure that the ANA took this into consideration when they decided to use two rooms. I personally think it was a smart move. The only downside to this that I saw was that many of the collectors/dealers never made it into the other room! Seriously! There was more than enough quality material in either room to have a stand alone show in itself.

Bourse floor sales:

Collectors
After 30+ years of attending ANA summer shows, I can say without a doubt that this was our (my) best one to date for collector sales. I can attribute this to many factors, but one stands at the top. Christine Monk. She has been in the business for nearly twenty years and has met many, many collectors during that time. Collectors I knew by sight, but had never met in person. They came up and congratulated her on her new position, chatted like old friends, sat down, looked at coins, talked coins, and walked away with many new purchases. That was what drew me to this hobby as a child, and has kept me in it throughout my adult life. In Boston, Christine reminded me of this. Thanks Chris!

At the top of the list of what was selling was U.S. Commemoratives. I always knew that this series had a great following, and in Boston I saw it in person. Don’t be fooled though. Not all commems, or any coin for that matter, are equal (no matter what the label in the holders says). The coins we sold had that little something special that I always talk about going for them. Abundant luster, wild color, or outstanding eye appeal is and was needed. This doesn’t apply only to Commems though. Every coin we sold had to have it. (more…)

Some Observations About the 2010 Boston ANA Coin Show

To be perfectly frank, I hate coin show reports. I hate to write them. I hate to read them. I don’t care what restaurants a dealer went to and what they ate and I don’t really care that Dealer X spent this much money on those coins at the show. That said, I also know that the ANA is the show that everyone who didn’t attend wants to know about. So, with these people in mind, I thought I’d share a few random observations about the ANA.

On a scale of 1-10, I’d rate this show as a solid 6; possibly a 7. Overall, I’d say a was a tiny bit disappointed. I was expecting the show to be an 8 or a 9 because of the fact that it was the first ANA in Boston since 1982 and the fact that Boston is within a few hours of huge numbers of serious collectors.

I go to coin shows primarily to buy and from a buying standpoint I was reasonably pleased. I bought some great coins. These include an 1854-O double eagle in PCGS AU55, the Garrett specimen of the 1808 quarter eagle (graded AU53 by PCGS) and over fifty crusty original 19th century gold pieces, most of which have already found their way onto my website. I would have liked to buy more buy, hey, that’s what I say at every show; even when I’m wondering how I’m going to sell all the great coins I just bought. And, yes, this paragraph is self-promotion.

Attendance seemed good and the mood among dealers and collectors seemed upbeat and positive. I didn’t have any little old ladies walk up to my table with a New England shilling in a cigar box ( a fella can dream, can’t he?) but I was fairly pleased at the number of fresh coins that I was able to purchase on the floor.

I participated in three auctions. The Stack’s sale contained an interesting fresh deal of Liberty Head eagles and prices were amazing (more on this in a future blog). The Bowers and Merena sale was reasonably strong but prices were mainly reflective on the quality of the coins. In other words, nice coins brought good prices while schlock sold cheaply if at all. The Heritage sale was strong although prices didn’t seem as off the charts as in years past. With the exception of the eagles in the Stack’s sale the coins brought basically what they were worth. That sounds trite but, in past ANA sales, many coins brought alot (stress alot) more than they were worth. Alot.

In the area of rare gold, I noticed some definite market trends. Early date (i.e., pre-1834) gold was almost non-existent. Even the low end, overpriced stragglers that had been overhanging the market seemed to have disappeared. I can’t remember an ANA at which I saw fewer early gold coins nor a major show that I purchased fewer.

There was extremely strong demand for Type One double eagles. The coins that nearly everyone seemed to want were common and somewhat better dates in AU50 and up, especially in the $2,000-7,500 price range. Demand was also strong for interesting Type Ones in the $10,000-20,000 range. Its hard to say what demand was like for expensive, really great Type Ones as there were almost none to be seen at the show. (more…)

THE BOSTON ANA SHOW – Market Report by Legend Numismatics

First, we would like to congratulate the ANA and its entire staff for putting on a great show. Unlike so many previous years, this show was more open to everyone. We heard no real complaints about the show itself.

Legend Numismatics also wishes to thank all of our friends who stopped by our table to do biz or say hi.

We also wish to thank the ANA for displaying the Simpson Bickford Pattern Collection and for NGC for displaying the Simpson $10 1804 Gold J-33 and silver $10 1804 J-34 (worth $6 million combined)!

HOW WAS THE SHOW?

We were wrong. This was NOT the incredible “blockbuster” we had expected. However, we will declare it was the next best thing: a GREAT SHOW! From the time we set up (within the first 15 minutes we had a serious crowd of buyers at our table) until the very last coin we sold Saturday afternoon (a six figure coins too), activity was pretty much non stop. It was interesting the lulls came Wednesday morning and Thursday morning. You could easily tell when a new wave of collectors arrived in town. We have not heard about the attendance, but we’d bet anything it was far more than last years ANA in LA.

Legend had our BEST show EVER. BUT, we will only categorize it as great because our big customers stepped up (which we do not really count). We ended up spending nearly $8,000,000.00! Our sales were OVER $6,000,000.00. Needless to say, we have a blizzard of paperwork that will keep us working 23 hour days for the next week or so. Still, we sold more McClaren coins than ever and we sold dozens of coins from our cases. Our average invoice from the show to collectors was about $7-14,000.00. That’s rare these days, but that was the least we expect from an ANA Show.

You WILL LOVE our NEWPS. We searched hard and bought only the “best” of the “best”!

So far this August, business for Legend has been staggering. We see little let up in the strong demand for quality coins. We doubt this will change anytime soon (however in late August there is small summer lull).

THE TALE OF TWO DEALERS

We find this true story interesting. Dealer #1 is a long time wholesaler who basically is a “sheet”/CCE buyer. He does not sell great quality but does sell a lot of generic gold and other less expensive items (and yeah a lot of dreck). Dealer #2 is an up and coming retail dealer who sells real quality.

On Saturday we chatted with both. Dealer #1 was devastated he had a horrible show. But then we looked in his case and he just drecky stuff left to sell. Dealer #2 grabbed us and complimented us on saying how strong the show would be,. Dealer #2 had his best show ever.

The fact that one is wholesaler and the other retail is NOT the difference. Both have coins on display, both will do business with anyone who walks up to the table.

It was an issue of QUALITY. We have been telling you dreck is become totally undesirable. Which case would you buy from? A case with a few beautiful coins, or one with many ugly looking ones? Quality does rule. We cannot stress enough that if a coin is not 100% all there, its worth MUCH less-if wanted at all. (more…)

The (Very) High End of the Coin Market Needs Feeding

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

With less fanfare than in past cycles, the super high end of the art market has suddenly gone ablaze. In the past few months, two iconic works have broken records.

On May 4th, Christie’s sold the Picasso painting “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” for $106.5 million. This painting was owned by the Lasker estate and it was fresh to the market, not having been offered in many decades. I don’t claim to be a Picasso expert (nor have I ever seen this work in person), and my gut tells me that while it was a very nice quality work, it was not considered to be an A+ quality painting, unlike some of the early masterworks painted by Picasso in the early part of the 20th century) that were sold for epic sums last decade.

In February 2010, Sotheby’s garnered considerable attention when they sold Giacometti’s iconic “L’Homme qui Marche I” for $104.3; an all-time record for a sculpture at auction. I personally love Giacometti’s work and though this was an amazing piece of art it was one of five known and it was a challenging, complex sculpture that I think most people just don’t appreciate.

These two sales bring up an interesting question: if a flashy but non-masterpiece Picasso can bring $106.5 million and an iconic but odd sculpture can sell for $104.3 what would fresh, undisputed masterpieces bring in today’s market?

What these two sales have shown is that there is still an incredible amount of wealth in the world and an incredible desire to put this wealth into something tangible like art. This is probably all the more so due to the Greek debt crisis which has impacted European buyers even more than Americans.

These upper market sales have interesting applications to the very high end coin market. Now, obviously, coins don’t sell for $100 million dollars. But there are a number of coins that have brought (or would bring) $1 million or more if they were offered for sale.

It has been a long time since a truly great, truly fresh collection filled with $1 million plus coins came to market. Despite all the amazing coins that have been sold in the last three to five years, just a handful of these were “fresh.”

You’ll notice that I use the expression “fresh” a lot. What exactly does this mean? A coin that has been off the market for ten, 20, 30 or 100 years is “fresh.” This is especially true if it was owned by a specific collector or family and it was not shopped around in the interim. The aforementioned Picasso was fresh to the market as it had hung in the Lasker house since at least the early 1960’s and hadn’t been surreptitiously offered to a few big collectors by sneaky family representatives. (more…)

Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?

Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Market Report

THERE ARE NO COOL HIGH QUALITY COINS AROUND

We are talking about true rarities and high grade drop dead monster coins (although we have not seen things like MONSTER MS68 Morgans). When is the last time you have seen any of these offered for sale more than once in the past few years?

  • GEM Early Half Cents
  • 2C GEM MS65+ FULL RED
  • 3CS 1867-1869 MS 64+
  • 3CN MS67 better dates
  • 5C MS67 Liberty Nickels
  • 25C ALL MS64+ EARLY BUST
  • 25C GEM Lib Seated MS65+
  • 50C ALL EARLY BUST MS63+
  • 50C BUST HALVES MS66+
  • 50C 19D+21S MS65+
  • SEATED DOLLARS MS65+
  • TRADE DOLLARS MS66+
  • PR GOLD $10+20’s 65+
  • $3 BETTER pieces MS65+
  • $5 1808-1834 MS65+
  • $10 PRE 1890 MS65+

These are just RANDOM areas we could think of. Its nearly impossible to go to a major show today and see anything cool for sale. Even the major auctions are now bone dry of neat coins. Retreads at lower prices have been keeping the demand fairly satisfied but now we are clearly at the breaking point.

The lack of coins has nothing to do with the grading services. GREAT COINS ARE IN STRONG HANDS. Quietly, demand has been growing and taking coins off the market. For years a Japanese group were buying up PR Gold and GEM CC DMPL’s. The worlds largest telemarketer has been buying up all the Early Bust Gold it can find its customers. A major Wall Street Fund had been quietly trolling around and buying all the substantial coins it could. A new breed of “super” collector has emerged and they are assembling collections valued in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS each (which is one of the reasons why there are now OVER 350 coins worth $1 million or more). Our point is, there have been HUGE vacuums of coins all around for the past few years and no one really noticed. Obviously, it did not take much to dry up supply.

Having no coins around is both good and bad. Its bad because the market can actually slow due to lack of trading. We know that if we can not find the coins on our massive Want Lists, then we do not make sales. Sure, we have an inventory, but like everyone elses, it is speculative in nature. Plus at shows it becomes a big psychological negative to go from table to table looking at dreck (again, that’s LOW END, UGLY, PROBLEM coins) or the same stuff priced too high. The good part, in order to dig up the special goodies, PRICES MUST GO UP. Dealers will either bid more or you’ll see coins go crazy in auctions. (more…)

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. (more…)

The Size and Scope of Today’s Rare Coin Market

By laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

The following is a portion of Legend Numismatics Market Report………

“Its drives us nuts when we read the misinformation from a bunch of “know it alls” on chat rooms who think they have collective power in the marketplace. Here is why they are aren’t even a pimple:

Heritage Rare Coin Auctions (the worlds largest) and Blanchard and Co (the worlds largest telemarketer of coins) combined we believe have OVER 250,000 UNIQUE active collectors on their lists. Both of them do heavy marketing to the outside world. Both of them are helping to continually expand the rare coin market. There are several other huge telemarketers who do substantial business-but we just wanted to point out how big these two in particular are.

There is also a little thing that Al Gore created: the Internet. That has to be good for over 1 million plus people buying rare coins in some fashion. There are hundreds of coin companies they can go to. There are several places they can now find to help them learn about coins. Even though it is a dangerous pit, Ebay is probably still one of the largest entry points to the coin market.

When Legend comes home from a major show, we know that between 10,000 and 25,000 UNIQUE visitors check out our web site the first week. We have been steadily gaining new customers-and lately we have seen a small wave of people brand new to coins who want to spend big (like the collector who bought the Eliasberg $20 1927D PCGS MS66 from us in December). These people have money and they want to put it in something solid. For many reasons, coins fit the bill. Our customer base numbers in the THOUSANDS. We are not out to be the biggest retailer. The way we operate, supply would inhibit us anyway.

We chatted with a real billionaire at FUN about the market. He had been seriously thinking about putting $50,000,000.00 million in. In the end, he knew he could not buy the coins he wanted. A number I like that would have driven prices up dramatically overnight-just by word of mouth that someone is trying to spend a huge amount. We have been telling everyone how we know of a few seriously big monied players who are slinking around today looking to buy “big game” rarities. The collector who we purchased the other $20 1927D PCGS MS66 (FUN Auction) for $1,495,000.00 did so because he thinks its cheap. After he bought it he asked us: “got anything else?”. If we could find the coins we could sell $10,000,000.00+ instantly and easily. (more…)

As the 2009 Coin Market Comes to a Close, Where Are We and Where Are We Headed?

By Doug Winter – Raregoldcoins.com

With the year nearly over, we are heading towards a slow few weeks in the coin business followed by what is certain to be an interesting FUN Show in January 2010. As we close the year out, I thought it would be interesting to look at a few points and ask where we are and where we’re headed.

dw_may09_5wvalueI have been through some odd coin markets (1982-84 and 1992-1994 come to mind) but what we are currently experiencing is pretty much unique. We are seeing a market where coins that were considered unfavorable a few months ago (bullion and semi-numismatic) are now what everyone wants and “real” coins are as hard to find as at any time I can remember.

The demand for generic U.S. gold, especially double eagles, remains as strong as I have ever seen. The premiums are as high as I can remember. As I write this, gold spot is at $1,140 per ounce (after having broken the seemingly unreachable $1,200 barrier last week) and an average quality MS60 to MS62 Saint is trading for $1,600-1,700. This 40%+ premium over melt for a low-end Saint is easily the highest I can recall and I think it’s pretty remarkable considering that you had to beg people to buy the exact sort of coins a few months ago at a 10% premium.

I am beginning to see some profit taking in the generic market and I think this will continue for a short period, possibly evaporating the premiums. That said, with the current sad state of the American dollar and the worldwide demand for gold, I wouldn’t be stunned to see gold break $1,500 in the next few months and a lower quality Saint to be worth close to $2,000 (!)

What about the rare coin market? It is, in its own way, experiencing topsy-turvy conditions not dissimilar to generics. The big difference is that there is good supply in the generic market but very limited supply in the rare coin market. (more…)