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All Posts Tagged With: "coin markets"

Laura Sperber: 2010 IN REVIEW-MY VISION

EVERYTHING WRITTEN HERE IS THE SOLE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR.

2010

What a year it was. We saw gold hit a new record and the stock market made a semi come back. The coin market had what I would call a turbulent but productive year. Prices did not go up as much as good coins weren’t being drowned by dreck anymore. There actually has been a small influx of new collectors.

It was also great year in the sense of we dragged certain taboo subjects (like gradeflation, coin doctoring, etc) through the mud and brought them out in the publics eye in the nick of time. While the bad guys all have been pissed off, it unquestionably has given the collecting public a better feeling and renewed sense we can self police ourselves and that some of the “leadership” of the hobby does indeed care. Consumer confidence is critical to having coins rise in value and maintaining a healthy marketplace.

I do NOT regret saying or doing what I did to help make coins and the coin market a better place.

COIN DOCTORING

Exposing how bad the coin doctoring issue had become, was by far the MOST important POSITIVE thing to have happened. Had everyone just kept their heads turned and let these criminals rape coins and the coin market, it would have killed the hobbies future.

PCGS took a heroic lead in firing off a lawsuit with absolute hard evidence against a small crew. Other coin small to mid size docs took notice and are running scared. Now, PCGS is coming out with even more sophisticated technology to catch these guys and hopefully make them stop forever. I knew this was a critical problem when the Kutasi Collection of $10’s and $20’s was sold a few years ago and the putty was so thick on many coins sometimes you could not see all the details! I do not regret standing up and speaking out about this subject when it was really taboo to do so. Just passing on a coin certainly was not stopping the doctors fromtheir reign of destruction. In my opinion, destroying a coin should be considered a full criminal act. These low lifes are taking away the few pieces of original history we have and are slowly ruining our enjoyment of collecting. They deserve to be harshly punished and shamed.

The grading services are definately doing their share to work on the problem, however I am disgusted with so many retail dealers who will not speak out. No, its not just the lame PNG (next topic), but the dealers who want to be your friends, the ones who can’t grade for crap, or have huge web sites. They are greedy cowards in my book, worth no more than the bad slabs they sell. There needs to be a shake out of these people.

I know there is still a long, long way to go in this fight. A few major firms who still employee doctors are still quietly practicing thinking they are just too big to tackle. I believe in 2011 they will be exposed and will fall. Its a matter of compiling more evidence. They certainly have been frustrasted at the very least in 2010. At least this issue is moving forward and not backwards. I hope this year to get more people speaking out. EVERY voice is important-no matter what size collector you are! (more…)

What Gold Coins Do CAC Stickers Add the Most Value to?

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

After two+ years of being traded on the open market, I think few collectors and dealers would argue the statement that CAC stickering has added considerable value and liquidity to many types of United States gold coinage. But are we now able to determine with a decent degree of accuracy which coins are most affected by a CAC (or the absence of a sticker)? Let’s take a look at some areas of the gold coin market and see how CAC is adding value.

One of the areas that CAC has added the greatest amount of value is in the St. Gaudens double eagle market. The impact is seen two ways. The first is with common “generic” issues in MS65 and MS66. One of the main reasons why the premium for non-CAC certified MS65 Saints is so low when compared to MS64 coins is that most of the coins in MS65 holders are not significantly better than those graded MS64.

What CAC has done is to identify those coins graded MS65 that are nice quality and which are “real” 65’s. Currently, non-CAC Saints in MS65 trade for around $2,300. Those with CAC stickers are worth at least 10-15% more. They are also quite liquid and can be sold even when dealers have extensive numbers of non-CAC coins in stock. Non-CAC MS66 Saints are currently worth around $2,750-2,850 per coin. The premium for MS66 Saints with CAC stickers is at least $750-1,000 per coin. Given the fact that the stickered MS66 coins I have seen are very nice (as compared with the non-stickered coins which range from inferior for the grade to decent) this premium makes sense.

Another area where CAC stickered coins are selling for a significant premium is in the better date Saint market. Let me pick a random issue: the 1927-S in MS64. This coin has a current bid of $70,000 in this grade and a bona-fide Gem is worth double this. The quality of 1927-S double eagles varies greatly and there are coins that are very low end and hard to sell for $55,000 and coins that are very high end and worth over bid. I can’t recall having ever seen a 1927-S in MS64 with a CAC sticker but if I had a PCGS/CAC coin that I liked I’d quote $75,000+.

Early gold (i.e. gold coins struck from 1795 to 1834) is area that has shown itself to be influenced by CAC stickers. I don’t like every single piece of CAC-stickered early gold that I see but I like at least 90% of the coins. Compare this to non-CAC early gold where probably 50-60% (or more) of the coins offered at auction or through dealer’s websites are not, in my opinion, nice for the grade. I find this to be especially true with early gold in the MS63 and MS64 grades. As an example, an 1812 half eagle in MS64 with a CAC sticker is currently worth around $40,000. The same coin in the same grade that is not stickered and which is not a CAC-quality coin, in my opinion, might be hard to sell for $32,500. More and more collectors of coins like this are demanding that they be CAC stickered and the premium for the pieces that have the Green Bean is at least 10-15% and climbing.

Because so many Proof gold coins have been doctored over the years, CAC-stickered pieces are currently garnering high premiums. This is more so with Matte Proofs than Brilliant Proofs. I can’t remember seeing more than a few Matte Proof gold coins in the last two years that weren’t doctored to the point that they weren’t even the right color. When the few remaining fresh pieces come onto the market, they realize strong prices. As an example, Stack’s just sold at auction a lovely 1913 Matte Proof gold set. All four coins were CAC stickered and all four brought exceptional prices. I see similarly graded washed-out NGC Matte Proof gold from time to time and it brings Greysheet prices or lower; these superb, vibrant Gems brought numbers that were way over “sheet.” (more…)

Fast Profits Not Guaranteed At Auction

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

While many dealers continue to grumble about weak bourse action at the recently finished back-to-back Long Beach, Calif., and Philadelphia coin shows, in which a review of the dealer bourse lists seem to show a clear bifurcation between West and East coast dealers, the market continues to be robust in the auction sector.

In the official Heritage Auction Galleries Long Beach sale, the top lot was an Extremely Fine 45+ 1856-O Coronet gold $20 double eagle that surfaced in Ohio and was the cover story of the July 26 Coin World. It brought $345,000.

The Heritage auction realized $13.4 million total.

The next two top lots were large gold ingots; further evidence for the market’s insatiable appetite for gold.

Heritage has had a curious auction history in the last two years with 1856-O double eagles, with five auction appearances in the past two years. The recent auction price seems to break what has been a downward trajectory for the issue in auction results.

In January 2009, an EF-45 example sold for $276,000 and the same coin sold again in July 2009, for $253,000. In October 2008, an AU-58 example sold for $576,150 and that same example brought $460,000 in July 2009.

Perhaps too many auction appearances skewed bidders’ sense of its rarity. Heritage estimates that fewer than 20 are available for collectors and the most recently offered example, held by a family in Ohio for nearly 100 years, was as “fresh-to-market” as they get.

For top rarities, the perception of rarity can be almost as important as actual rarity to justify six- and seven-figure prices.

The next week, Stack’s Philadelphia Americana sale realized a very healthy $9,676,867.

One of the highlights, a Proof 65 Cameo 1887 Coronet gold $5 half eagle, brought $97,750, a bit less than it realized at auction in January 2007 where it brought $103,500 when offered as part of the Robert J. Loewinger Collection (pictured above, left).

Results like this serve as a cautionary tale that even at the top-end of the market with coins of superlative quality and absolute rarity, quick profits are not a guarantee

First published in the October 25, 2010, issue of Coin World

Legend Numismatics Market Report – THE PHILADELPHIA COIN SHOW

HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE SAY THIS?

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.

THE PHILADELPHIA SHOW RESULTS

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%! (more…)

Video: Boston ANA Coin Market Perspectives

The recently concluded Boston ANA World’s Fair of Money provided CoinTelevision Producer David Lisot ample opportunity to discuss the current market conditions with a variety of dealers and numismatic personalities.

Over the next few days CoinLink will present several of these short interviews along with some of the National Mint press conferences which highlight new coins that are going to be releases this coming year.

Our first installment presents Ed Reiter, well known numismatic writer and current editor of Coinage Magazine.

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/081410_boston_reiter.html 544px 395px]

Ed recently retired after 50 years as a newspaper writer and copy editor, including nearly a decade as coin columnist for the Sunday New York Times. He remains senior editor of COINage, a monthly hobby magazine where he have held this post, working from home as a sideline to his newspaper work, for more than 23 years.

ED also handle free-lance writing and editing projects, mostly related to coin collecting but sometimes on unrelated subjects. He is the author of “The New York Times Guide to Coin Collecting,” a book published by St. Martin’s Press in 2002. Since 1990, he have been executive director of the Numismatic Literary Guild, a professional organization made up of several hundred writers, editors and others around the world who help disseminate information about the hobby.

Aging Baby Boomers and Rare Gold Coin Prices

By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com

I recently received an email from a collector who asked what I thought were an extremely intelligent group of questions. In a nutshell, he asked the following. As boomers age, are we nearing a bubble in coin prices? At some point will the number of collectors with the financial means to collect rare gold decrease and will prices suffer accordingly?

Go to any coin show and you will see a disturbing trend. The buyers of most “serious” coins (i.e., coins priced at $1,000 and above) are in their 50’s or 60’s and the dealers selling them these coins tend to be at least the same age, if not older. There are not many young collectors at shows and the number of “A” level dealers in their 20’s and 30’s can be counted on one hand. This spells trouble for the coin market, right?

I contend that the answer is not as obvious or as clear-cut as it would seem to be. I am a keen student of the history of the numismatic marketplace and, as far as I can tell, ever since coin collecting became popular in the United States (in the late 1850’s/early 1860’s) it’s been a hobby that mainly attracts older people. Think about it: coins are expensive and people in their 20’s and 30’s have never had enough discretionary income to be making impulsive non-essential purchase. When you are 27 years old, you are thinking about buying a house and saving money for your child’s education; not deciding what series of 19th century gold coin to specialize in.

But the world has changed in the last generation or two and wealth is no longer the exclusive province of the middle-aged and the mature. For the first time that I can remember I have a few good clients who are younger than I am and these collectors tend to be self-made entrepreneurs.

In the 1950’s, many collectors grew old at around the same time and the hobby was in a precarious spot. Lots of great collections were coming on the market at the same time and it seemed unlikely that these coins would be absorbed. For a while, prices were depressed and the short-term outlook of the market was gloomy. But along came the roll craze of the early to mid-1960’s and the market was suddenly reinvigorated by young collectors; some of who became famous dealers who are active to this day.

In the mid to late-1970’s the same trend was occurring. Collectors were graying and lots of coins were coming on the market. All of a sudden, precious metals prices began to boom and lots of new blood came into the market. Two decades later it was the State Quarter program that jumpstarted a moribund market. Again and again, we have seen cycles of demand in the coin market and when things appeared gloomy, something would happen that infused youth into the hobby.

The X factor in today’s market—and the future coin market(s)–is, of course, the Internet. Unlike in 1960 or 1980 or in 1990, it will be easier to replace this generation of graying numismatists with younger buyers due to the accessibility of information and the ease of purchasing rare coins on-line. And there is another factor that I believe will come into play as well: foreign buyers.

As is well-known, huge middle-class and upper-class populations are being created in China and India. These are countries with an interest in American culture and cultures that greatly prize gold. It is possible (not likely, but possible) that new markets for American gold coins could develop in these countries and this, of course, would greatly change the dynamic of the future coin market.

My guess is that some time in the next decade or so, we will see a significant change in the demographics of the coin market. Many of today’s “super-collectors” are going to be net sellers in a decade or so and it is certainly possible that prices at some point could drop in the short-term. But if this scenario occurs, I think it is highly possible that this dip will be short-lived and that a new generation of eager collectors will fill the void.

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Collections of Claude Davis and Brandon Smith, Coin Pricing and Government Regulation

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #10

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

After writing about two collections in the Boston ANA auction to be held in August, I will address the topic of ‘overpricing.’ A vocal U.S. Congressman has called for government regulation of rare coin and bullion businesses. He has attacked one prominent seller of bullion and modern coins as having overpriced some of their coins and he seems to imply that the Federal Government should combat overpricing, presumably with price controls. In my view, while such overpricing of bullion coins and of other common coins occurs, his approach is flawed and counter-productive. Moreover, government regulation of prices would make trading less efficient and would not substantially lessen the extent to which careless, or mentally incompetent, coin buyers are harmed. Please see my discussion below.

I. The Collection of Dr. Davis

Please read last week’s column for general remarks regarding upcoming events in Boston and prior columns for discussions of very rare coins that will be auctioned. Furthermore, I will soon write about Dr. Duckor‘s collection of Barber Halves, which is, indisputably, the all-time best collection of this series. Duckor’s halves will be auctioned during Heritage’s Platinum Night event on Wed. August 11, as will many coins from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. Claude Davis. In my column of July 7th, I discussed a few of the coins in the Davis collection. There are many more in the ANA auction.

Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President of Heritage, relates that Dr. Davis “started collecting coins in the 1930’s!” Further, Imhof remarks that Dr. Davis “is perhaps best known for putting together the famous Foxfire Type Collection that sold intact a number of years ago.” My (this writer’s) impression is that the Foxfire type set consisted mainly of coins that were (and mostly still are) NGC graded from MS-65 to MS-67. Indeed, some or all of these were placed by the NGC in holders with the name ‘Foxfire’ on the respective inserts. I have seen only copper and silver coins that are pedigreed to the ‘Foxfire’ collection. I remember the “Foxfire” NGC graded MS-66 1818 quarter, for example, that Heritage auctioned in Feb. 2008 and, again, in May 2009.

Dr. Davis has consigned a much more extensive type set and other coins to the upcoming Boston ANA auction. Imhof reveals that “Dr. Davis, after completing and selling the Foxfire collection, went back into collecting Type coins in a more moderate grade range. He loves high-end AU specimens and felt that grade often represented super value.”

There are many coins in the Davis collection that are graded AU-55 or -58 by the PCGS or the NGC. One example that imaged well is an 1829 half dime that is PCGS graded AU-58 and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. Likewise, the Davis 1815 quarter is PCGS graded AU-58 and CAC approved. The online images of this quarter look marvelous. It is necessary, though, to view a coin in actuality, or have an expert do so for you, to draw firm conclusions about its physical characteristics.

One of the most important coins in the Davis collection and in this ANA auction overall is the Atwater-Hawn 1797 half dollar. The Draped Bust obverse (front), Small Eagle (reverse) halves of 1796 and 1797 are the rarest silver type coins. The William Atwater collection, which B. Max Mehl sold in the mid 1940s, is one of the twenty greatest U.S. coin collections of all time.

The eminent collector Reed Hawn assembled landmark collections of several series, especially quarters and halves. The 1913 Liberty Nickel that was auctioned in January was previously owned by Reed Hawn. (Please click here to read my article about it.) Hawn’s halves were auctioned by Stack’s in 1973. Like the two Davis collection coins just mentioned above, this 1797 half is PCGS graded AU-58 and has a CAC sticker.

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Rare Coin Markets in August 2009, Part 1

Part One of a Three Part Series on the state of the Rare Coin Market. by Greg Reynolds

Proof Saint Gaudens $20 Gold coinsIn early August, while attending the recent ANA Convention in Los Angeles, I spent considerable time interviewing dealers and checking out coins that were being offered. Coin markets are very healthy in that there are plenty of buyers for scarce and rare coins at the current price levels, and there were a substantial number of serious collectors buying at the Convention or being represented by dealers. Certainly, collectors are more active now than they were in March or April, or even in June. Quite a few dealers and collector-sellers refuse to sell many of their coins at the current levels.

Some categories of rare coins have maintained their values or fallen only slightly over the past year; other categories have fallen 20% to 45%. My impression is that markets for scarce and rare U.S. coins, on average, are down 18% to 25% over the last twelve months, though many great coins have held their value.

There has always been a gap between the prices for coins that are mid range to high end for their respective PCGS or NGC assigned grades and those that are low end or have substantial negative characteristics. As is analyzed in my companion article, the price gap between the high end and low end for coins of the same type, certified grade and date (or equivalent date) has widened over the past twelve months and was especially evident in trading at the ANA Convention.

John Feigenbaum, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, declares that, at the ANA Convention, he “found the market to be a lot more vibrant than expected with many of [his] contemporaries ready to do deals. The key remains that one has to price coins at current market prices, which are generally down from six months ago. But the difference between [the ANA Convention] and say the Central States show was that people were looking to do business. The last nine months have been lethargic at the wholesale level.”
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