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All Posts Tagged With: "Coin Shows"

Rare Coin Road Warrior Market Report

By Vic Bozarth – Bozarth Numismatics

What’s happening on the rare coin show circuit?

The Whitman Baltimore Coin Exposition was really ‘cooking’! In my opinion the Baltimore Coin Expo is the hottest show on the rare coin show circuit. The folks at Whitman know how to run a show. The Fall show is the best of the three shows that Whitman Publishing holds in Baltimore each year. Attendance is always heavy and the Bowers and Merena Auction is a big draw. Business was brisk and gold was the major culprit.

I will talk more about the Baltimore Coin Exposition, but first let me tell you why I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior Column each month.

My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year to buy rare coins for our customers. We attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional and state numismatic society shows. We own and operate Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is bozarthcoins.com. I have attended coin shows since the age of 13 and set up as a dealer at my first show at the age of fifteen. Of course, I love coins, but shows are where the action is! Because many of you don’t have the luxury of attending many coin shows, I like to share with you the news and market trends I have witnessed while attending and working the ‘bourse’.

The October Show schedule was grueling. Although the only major show was the Silver Dollar Show in St. Louis we actually attended four shows in total flying coast to coast twice. After the stellar Philadelphia Whitman Coin Expo in late September/early October we flew to Manchester, NH for the NH Coin Show. Although bracketed by the bigger Philly Show and St. Louis Silver Dollar Show, the NH Show was both well attended and well run. Ernie Botte does an excellent job with this show. The show itself is growing and we are among many who really enjoy visiting the Northeast during the Fall.

The Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, is well run in an excellent facility, but there are several problems with the show. Maybe it is the economy, maybe it is the city, but the show just isn’t what it once was in years past. The Silver Dollar Show also faces some major hurdles next year. The new Pittsburgh ANA Fall Show is scheduled the week prior to the Silver Dollar Show next October. The ANA is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room-they stomp around with no regard for anyone else. (more…)

NGC at the Beijing International Coin Expo

The premier numismatic event was well attended and provided an opportunity for Chinese dealers and collectors to learn more about NGC and submit coins for certification.

Among the most important annual coin shows held in China, the Beijing International Coin Expo provides an ideal opportunity to look at the previous year’s coinage and look ahead to the next year. It is an event focused on modern coinage, with mints from Asia and around the world showcasing their coinage. NGC was present with its Guangzhou-based submission center, both accepting coins and providing information about certification. Additionally, NGC hosted an educational numismatic seminar conducted during the show.

The Expo, jointly hosted by China Gold Coin Corporation, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, and the China Numismatic Museum, was held on November 7 to 10, 2010, in the China World Trade Center. Nearly 250 exhibitors from 27 countries were present at the 15th annual Expo. This event is very popular with the public. On opening day, large bustling crowds made it difficult to maneuver down the aisles. As in previous years, a special-edition commemorative coin was issued in celebration of the event. Owing to its popularity, the opportunity to purchase this coin is awarded in a lottery.

The Chinese coin market itself is extremely vibrant, with many scarce modern commemorative issues trading at record price levels. Collectors identify strongly with commemorative issues from the past 30 years that celebrate Chinese cultural heritage. In particular, large-format coins that are five ounces and larger are highly coveted, as many have small mintages. The NGC Oversize Holder is especially popular for these coins because of the inherent challenges of storing and transporting large coins.

It is also evident that certification is gaining a greater foothold in the Chinese market, as NGC-certified coins could be seen throughout the exposition area. During the official auction of the Expo, nearly a dozen of the 110 lots were NGC-certified. Once again this year, NGC was the only certification company represented in the auction.

NGC also hosted an educational symposium to discuss certification with prominent members of the Chinese numismatic community. A detailed discussion of the grading process and grading terminology was followed by an open question-and-answer session. “Certification is attractive to collectors in China for three major reasons: first, collectors appreciate the protection it affords against counterfeits, which are of concern even in the Chinese modern coin market; second, collectors value the standardization of grade, which makes it easier for them to identify superior condition coins; and, third, collectors love NGC’s holder, which provides incredible long-term protection for their coins,” said Scott Schechter, NGC vice president, sales & marketing, who presented at the symposium.

Strong bourse + auctions at Baltimore coin show; Rarities keep soaring

By Steve Roach
First published in the November 29, 2010, issue of Coin World

The Nov. 4 to 7 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo was characterized by both a strong bourse floor and well-performing auctions with interesting and fresh material.

The Baltimore show, held three times a year, has become one of the most robust on the circuit, with dealers and collectors alike praising Whitman for being responsive and Baltimore for being a good convention city, characterized by inexpensive flights, reasonably priced hotels and good local restaurants.

A walk around the bourse floor on Friday revealed healthy dealer-to-collector business being done.

Prior to the show’s start, Stack’s presented its 75th anniversary auction, which realized nearly $4.6 million across 2,500 lots.

It was anchored by the W.L. Carson Collection of U.S. Proof sets, a remarkable and large fresh-to-market collection put together decades ago consisting of more than 500 lots of Proof coins from 1837 to 1964.

The quality was characteristic of many old collections put together prior to third-party grading: some coins were amazing high-grade beauties while others were harshly cleaned or displayed artificial toning and were in Professional Coin Grading Service “Genuine” holders. The market absorbed the collection at strong prices.

Bowers and Merena Auctions hosted the official expo auction with more than 3,500 lots, anchored by the No. 2 collection of Standing Liberty quarter dollars with full head designation.

A toned 1916 Standing Liberty quarter dollar graded Mint State 67+ full head sold for $195,500 (pictured left, image courtesy of bowersandmerena.com), while a more brilliant example in the same grade without the “+” brought $115,000. A 1927-S quarter dollar graded MS-65+ full head brought $149,500. All three were graded by PCGS and carried Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers.

In total the auction saw 12 separate Standing Liberty quarter dollars realize more than $25,000 each.

The sum of the auction results shows continued health for a wide range of issues including gold, especially at the $20,000 to $200,000 level, as collectors continue to seek objects of lasting and proven value during times of economic uncertainty.

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! (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: The CoinFest, Washlady Dollar, 1861-O $20 gold coin, Connecticut Coppers

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #25

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. The CoinFest

The fourth annual CoinFest was held in Stamford (CT) from Oct. 28th to Oct. 30th. For the first time, Heritage conducted the official CoinFest auction and this auction was very successful. Below, I discuss specific coins that were sold in the auction. Also, the exhibit of Gerry Fortin‘s collection of Liberty Seated dimes added luster to the CoinFest. Listings of Fortin’s dimes may be seen in the PCGS and NGC registries.

In my view, bourse floor displays and trading activity were much more impressive at the second and third CoinFest events, in 2008 and 2009. This is partly because the scheduling of the show was then better. This year’s event was just too close to the better established Baltimore Expo and related auction events. Lot viewing in Baltimore for a Stack’s auction started less than forty-eight hours after CoinFest closed. More importantly, this year’s security policies at CoinFest were just too aggressive.

A lot of collectors who attend coin shows do not know that a particular show’s owners are nice people, and, whether a show’s owners are nice or not, collectors often do not wish to be placed on mailing lists or on any other kind of list. Over the last ten years, it has become common for marketing firms and other firms to keep relatively secret databases regarding consumers and to trade such information. Adults certainly should not have to reveal their home addresses or their ages. A list owned by nice people may be sold to nasty people in the future, or stolen by computer hackers.

Indeed, collectors should be able to anonymously attend coin shows. They should have the right not to be bothered and the right not to have their personal information scrutinized. Like identity theft, an individual’s privacy can be invaded without him knowing about it.

Collectors who attend coin shows know that they are likely to be video recorded, which is a sufficient deterrent for wrongdoing, and video recording should be the limit to privacy invasions. The very rare attendee who causes trouble because of severe psychiatric problems is not going to be deterred by aggressive security policies. Moreover, a criminal who is planning to follow dealers from the show is certainly not going to attend the show and be video recorded. Such a criminal will wait outside or use binoculars from a distance.

Aggressive security policies do more harm than good, and when collectors tell their collecting friends about such policies, coin show attendance drops. Besides, I strongly recommend that a collector who attends a coin show keep his driver’s license in his car or in a hotel safe (as people often do with passports in Europe). If a collector is robbed after walking from a coin show, he would not wish for the thief to get his driver’s license, too, which could lead to problems more serious than a loss of a few coins.

Coin show personnel, security or otherwise, should not be asking collectors for ID or pressuring people to reveal their home addresses. Before a few years ago, this was never done at a coin show, for good reason.

II. Washlady Silver Dollar

The Washlady Dollar is one of the most famous of all U.S. pattern issues. In 1879, there were also minted Washlady dimes, quarters and half dollars. These designs were considered and never adopted for regular U.S. coinage. Though the Washlady patterns are of silver denominations, these were struck in copper as well. Copper is much less expensive than silver. On Oct. 29, Heritage auctioned one of the finest known Washlady Dollars in silver. (more…)

Bowers and Merena Selected for 2011-2013 ANA Pre-Show Auctions

Bowers and Merena Auctions has been selected by the American Numismatic Association as the official auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show, which will immediately precede the World’s Fair of Money conventions. This three-year agreement includes the ANA Pre-Shows to be held in Chicago in 2011, Philadelphia in 2012 and Chicago in 2013.

“The ANA is very pleased with the selection of Bowers and Merena as the Official Auctioneer for the ANA Pre-Show Auctions,” said Larry Shepherd, ANA Executive Director. “We are working to ensure that our official ANA Pre-Shows are great events for everyone, and we are excited that Bowers and Merena’s top-tier auctions will be a significant part of these events.”

Bowers and Merena will hold live auctions of coins and paper money including:

• U.S. Coins, U.S. Colonial Coins, U.S. Tokens, U.S. Exonumia
• U.S. Paper Money, World Paper Money
• Ancient and World Coins

The Bowers and Merena Auctions will increase the availability of numismatic material at the World’s Fair of Money convention which starts immediately after the ANA Pre-Show ends.

“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with the ANA and honored to have been entrusted with the rights to host the Official ANA Pre-Show Auction for the next three years,” said Greg Roberts, CEO of Bowers and Merena Auctions. “The ANA World’s Fair of Money is one of the most important coin shows in the world and the ANA Pre-Show presents an amazing auction venue. We look forward to working with such a well-respected organization as the ANA.”

The ANA Pre-Show is scheduled the three days prior to each ANA World’s Fair of Money convention. The 2011 Chicago ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. In 2012 the ANA Pre-Show will be held Aug. 4-6 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The ANA Pre-Show returns to Chicago Aug. 10-12 in 2013.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Bowers and Merena Auctions is a world leader in numismatic auctions. For more information, visit www.bowersandmerena.com or call 800-458-4646.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org.

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…

W. Philip Keller Colonoal Coin Collection Leads Heritage COINFEST Auction

Locked in a Pennsylvania vault for 43 years, one of the most comprehensive collections of colonial and early American coins ever to reach public auction, The W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials, is the principle highlight of the upcoming Rare U.S. Coin auction, Oct. 28-31 in conjunction with COINFEST in Stamford, CT.

Mr. Keller apparently stopped actively collecting around 1966, with intermittent purchases through the early 1970s, and stored his collection in a bank vault where it was discovered nearly 40 years later by his surprised family after he died last year, who knew that Mr. Keller was a collector, but had no idea of the depth, or value, of his collection.

This is Heritage’s first official auction with COINFEST, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Fittingly enough, our debut at this New England venue is filled with a variety of colonial and early American coins, including dozens of different Connecticut coppers struck shortly after independence.

One of those Connecticut coppers is a 1785 African Head Connecticut copper, the extremely rare Miller 4.2-F.6 variety, graded VF30 by NGC. It is estimated at $40,000+, but could go significantly higher.

There are two varieties of the African Head Connecticut copper, one relatively common, the other extremely rare. This piece is one of the rare variety, one of just two or three known. Its appearance at COINFEST is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Keller bought most of his collection from leading dealers and auctioneers in the 1950s and 1960s, and this African Head copper has been in Keller’s collection, and thus off the market, since 1966.

Another anchor consignment of the auction is The Diotte Collection, which spans U.S. Mint history from some of the earliest issues to noted modern rarities. Its chief highlight is a 1797 half dollar, O-102 variety, graded Fine Details by NCS. It is estimated at $50,000+.

The half dollars of 1796-1797 are among the most prized U.S. type coins regardless of grade. Just four varieties were struck between the two years, all of them are very scarce to very rare, and the 1797 O-102 variety is the most elusive of them all.

In addition to colonials, pattern coinage is among the strengths of this auction. In a relatively small but impressive selection, the most prominent piece is an 1879 “Washlady” dollar struck in silver, Judd-1603 variety, graded PR66+ by NGC. It is estimated at $50,000+.

This design’s nickname was originally an insult. In 1891, just a dozen years after this pattern was struck, David Proskey called it the ‘Washlady,’ a negative reference to how Liberty’s hair appeared. Today, however, the ‘Washlady’ is considered one of the most beautiful patterns ever produced, and the very rare examples struck in silver are especially sought-after.

The 20th century has its share of highlights as well, led by a 1909 half eagle, graded PR67 by NGC. Like other gold proofs of that year, it has a distinct semi-bright finish sometimes called “Roman gold,” which tried to find a balance between the mirrored proofs of the 19th century and the dull-finished matte proofs that were popular in Europe but had received a disastrous reception among U.S. coin collectors. The “Roman gold” experiment failed, but survivors from the issue’s mintage of 78 half eagles are popular with modern numismatists. It is estimated at $55,000+.

A more conventional mirrored proof offered is a 1904 double eagle graded PR65 Cameo by PCGS. Just 98 proof $20s were struck in 1904, and most of them lack the contrast that was often seen on pre-1902 specimens. Thanks to its Cameo status and solid all-around preservation, it is one of the most important representatives of its issue. It is estimated at $60,000+.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

Rare Coin Road Warrior – October 2010

Hi, my name is Vic Bozarth and I am a Rare Coin Road Warrior. I have spent most of my twenty plus years in the rare coin business at shows or on buying trips all over the continental U.S. My wife, Sherri Bozarth, and I own Bozarth Numismatics Inc. and our website is Bozarthcoins.com.

In my first Rare Coin Road Warrior column for September I talked about the ANA Convention in Boston, MA held in early August as well as the Illinois State Numismatic Association Show in Chicago, the Long Beach Show, and the newer Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia. This month I will write about some of the news from Long Beach and Philadelphia as well as previewing shows in Manchester, NH, St. Louis, MO, Portland, OR, Stamford, CT, Baltimore, MD, and Boston, MA. As you might have guessed the Fall season is very busy with lots of big coin shows. We try to attend all the major shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

The coin business is very busy right now with the gold bullion price hitting an all time high with each new day. Currently gold is at $1356 as I pen this article from my seat (20C) on a Continental Airlines flight to Boston. Although we are at an all time high price for bullion many rare gold coins are trading at a smaller premium (over melt) than at any time in recent memory. Prices are rising with both the higher bullion prices and increased demand, but good values are still readily available.

The Long Beach Coin and Stamp Expo is one of the largest and most successful shows in the rare coin business. Dealers have been attending the Long Beach Show since the sixties when there were two shows annually. Since the seventies there have been three shows each year generally in February, June, and September. Personally I have attended over 70 straight Long Beach Shows and wouldn’t miss one for the world. We love to visit CA and the Long Beach Show has hundreds of dealers in attendance plus a major Heritage Auction at each show.

Over the last several years the Long Beach Show has had some challenges. Attendance has slipped and many smaller dealers were, to put it frankly, just priced out of the room. I was pleasantly surprised at the September show to see some ‘new’ dealers set up as well as healthy attendance by the public. Indeed, prior to the show, the management of the show did a good job trying to fill the bourse by offering some more attractive table prices to both new attendees and those who had not had a table recently. Long Beach is cool and a lot of dealers make it a better show for everyone.

The Whitman Philadelphia Coin Expo is only in the second year of existence, but these folks know how to run a show. Philadelphia is the home of our first, and for many years only, mint. Philadelphia and the Northeast comprise a large portion of the original thirteen states and ‘old’ coins come out of the woodwork there. After all, the ‘old’ coins were made there. Not only is Philadelphia a great coin town, but it is fun to visit also. The Convention Center itself is conveniently located with lots of lodging and dining options. Public transportation is available too. We really enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market and the dozens of vendors and restaurants available there. (more…)

W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials leads Heritage COINFEST Auction

Oct. 28-31 auction in Stamford, CT features one of the most important offerings of early American coinage in decades

DALLAS, TX — Locked in a Pennsylvania vault for 43 years, one of the most comprehensive collections of colonial and early American coins ever to reach public auction, The W. Philip Keller Collection of U.S. Colonials, is the principle highlight of the upcoming Heritage Auctions Rare U.S. Coin auction, Oct. 28–31 in conjunction with COINFEST in Stamford, CT.

Mr. Keller apparently stopped actively collecting around 1966, with intermittent purchases through the early 1970s, and stored his collection in a bank vault where it was discovered nearly a 40 years later by his surprised family after he died last year, who knew that Mr. Keller was a collector, but had no idea of the depth, or value, of his collection.

“This is Heritage’s first official auction with Coinfest, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage. “Fittingly enough, our debut at this New England venue is filled with a variety of colonial and early American coins, including dozens of different Connecticut coppers struck shortly after independence.”

One of those Connecticut coppers is a 1785 African Head Connecticut copper, the extremely rare Miller 4.2-F.6 variety, graded VF30 by NGC. It is estimated at $40,000+, but could go significantly higher.

“There are two varieties of the African Head Connecticut copper, one relatively common, the other extremely rare,” said Rohan. “This piece is one of the rare variety, one of just two or three known. Its appearance at COINFEST is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Keller bought most of his collection  from leading dealers and auctioneers in the 1950s and 1960s, and this African Head copper has been in Keller’s collection, and thus off the market, since 1966.”

Another anchor consignment of the auction is The Diotte Collection, which spans U.S. Mint history from some of the earliest issues to noted modern rarities. Its chief highlight is a 1797 half dollar, O-102 variety, graded Fine Details by NCS. It is estimated at $50,000+.

“The half dollars of 1796-1797 are among the most prized U.S. type coins regardless of grade,” said Rohan. “Just four varieties were struck between the two years, all of them are very scarce to very rare, and the 1797 O-102 variety is the most elusive of them all.”

In addition to colonials, pattern coinage is among the strengths of this auction. In a relatively small but impressive selection, the most prominent piece is an 1879 “Washlady” dollar struck in silver, Judd-1603 variety, graded PR66+ by NGC. It is estimated at $50,000+.

“This design’s nickname was originally an insult,” said Rohan. “In 1891, just a dozen years after this pattern was struck, David Proskey called it the ‘Washlady,’ a negative reference to how Liberty’s hair appeared. Today, however, the ‘Washlady’ is considered one of the most beautiful patterns ever produced, and the very rare examples struck in silver are especially sought-after.”

The 20th century has its share of highlights as well, led by a 1909 half eagle, graded PR67 by NGC. Like other gold proofs of that year, it has a distinct semi-bright finish sometimes called “Roman gold,” which tried to find a balance between the mirrored proofs of the 19th century and the dull-finished matte proofs that were popular in Europe but had received a disastrous reception among U.S. coin collectors. The “Roman gold” experiment failed, but survivors from the issue’s mintage of 78 half eagles are popular with modern numismatists. It is estimated at $55,000+.

A more conventional mirrored proof offered is a 1904 double eagle graded PR65 Cameo by PCGS. Just 98 proof $20s were struck in 1904, and most of them lack the contrast that was often seen on pre-1902 specimens. Thanks to its Cameo status and solid all-around preservation, it is one of the most important representatives of its issue. It is estimated at $60,000+. (more…)

Coin Show Myth: The Long Beach Curse

By Pinnacle Rarities

Gold Closes Up, But the Myth Lives On

Before last week’s convention, I had a discussion about the myth referred to as the “Long Beach Curse.” The prevailing sentiment is that the spot price of gold always goes down during the week of the convention. This phenomenon is often bantered amongst gold dealers deciding whether to load up or unload inventories around these major conventions. During last week’s show, gold touched an all time high, and settled on Friday about nine dollars up for the week seemingly debunking the myth. A quick review of spot prices for the last decade’s thirty shows reveals the trend has some statistical backbone. However, the true curse has been the lack of quality material available for purchase. And this isn’t limited to the Long Beach Convention.

Collectors have continued to cull their collections as economic uncertainty has caused many to tighten their belts. However, they sell off the lesser quality material first. Spending habits have become more selective with the prevailing market focused on value and rarity. When major collections and true rarities enter this market the best quality material is quickly absorbed. The dregs are then recycled through dealer inventories and the myriad of auction houses that also clamor for fresh material. But rest assured, if you’ve been selective in your purchases and your collection was purchased for the coins it contains and not the plastic that contains it, you’re in good shape. The rare coin industry is alive and well – with an emphasis on “rare.” Looking at auction records over the last couple years, it’s easy to see quality and rarity still rule in this hobby of kings.

Now, back to that myth. During the last decade the spot price of gold has gone from a $256 in 2001 to $1297 (the Friday close after the latest Long Beach). It’s hard to imagine during this meteoric rise that the price of gold in any given week faltered. But overall, there were 19 of 30 weeks that showed declines in spot gold during the Long Beach convention. During the first five years of the decade, the rate of down cycles was an astounding three of four shows.

The number of down weeks is a bit padded as several of the weeks with advances only showed modest gains of $2 or less. So if you left the show early, the spot price would have been theoretically down for that show also. Regardless, with over three quarters of the conventions showing weak or down trends, it is no wonder the rumors started. The last five years have shown an improvement on the trend, but gold was still down at more than half the shows (eight of fifteen had declines).

So there is some statistical indications as to how the Long Beach Curse gained acceptance. But again, the real curse is one we recognize with all numismatic venues. There is an extremely diminished amount of quality material. True rarities and top pop condition rarities are commanding strong premiums, while the more common and lesser quality stuff has fallen stagnate. This increasing shift in the supply and demand equation coupled with an ever stronger precious metal price makes the outlook for rare coins seem bright – if only we could find the more coins.

A quick note to thank all our customers who have recently sold us coins or collections. Many of these items were exceptionally rare and of high quality. Thanks to you we have avoided the curse.

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…)

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…)

Long Beach Coin Show and Market Report by William Shamhart

By William Shamhart – Numismatic Americana

Everyone wants to know: So how was Long Beach? In one word: HOT!

OH…you meant how was the coin show? Well if you’re an optimist, it was partly sunny; if you’re a pessimist, it was partly cloudy. Confused? So was I.

I’ve been going to Long Beach for almost 30 years now. And it never ceases to amaze me. This year’s fall show didn’t suffer the Long Beach curse of falling precious metal prices as most have. In fact gold is at an all time high. And? And generic gold was dead. No demand that I could see. While Christine and I don’t really make a market in bullion or generic gold, we do get some in deals at times, or from customers that are changing their collecting strategy. So we sort of deal in it I guess. Anyways, I would have thought that generics would have shown some sort of surge in demand. But alas, they didn’t. In fact we sold MS 62 Saint Gauden $20 pieces for $1,500. And that was with gold just shy of $1,300!

There was definitely a larger amount of no-show dealers this time. I blame that on the fact that as I write this, I am getting ready to leave for Whitman’s Philadelphia show. I heard that many of the East Coast dealers just didn’t want to do back to back major shows. I can’t say that I blame them.

Retail customers – There were several people that I expected to be there that were also no-shows. Maybe they are saving their money for this week. I guess next weeks show report will tell if I was correct or not.

So from what I am writing, you’d think that Long Beach was a bust, right? Wrong. While not as heavily attended as usual, those that were there, came to buy. Most of the customers we saw there were again (I’m seeing a trend here) carrying want list and would wait for just the right piece. Quality was paramount and price was secondary. Today’s collector wants quality, with no excuses. And they are willing to pay for it. Slightly off quality, and low quality weren’t really sought out. At least from what I could see. That’s not to say that they aren’t selling because we saw a lot of coins trade hands at some very attractive prices. Oh wait, that was wholesale.

So what was selling? Ready? Drum roll please…Proof Walkers and Mercury Dimes. Yes, it surprised me too. But then again, they are dirt cheap in comparison to some other series. And they can be downright pretty. Sound inviting?

Commemoratives – This series has a somewhat “cult” like following. Those that collect them never stop. Maybe they slow down, but they never stop. They just graduate to the “top pops”. Even seasoned veteran commem people were buying duplicates, and even triplicates, but only if the coins were “all there”. Don’t rush out and buy all the commems you can get your hands on though. Be picky, like our customers, and wait. When that special coin presents itself, then, and only then, do you pull the trigger.

Gem Gold – While the lower grade, i.e. MS 61-64, pieces weren’t as in demand as one would think, Gem specimens, were. We sold many at the show, and while we bought some to take home for customers there just are not that many around. Whether a collector is building a set of Gem $3 pieces, or just looking for a few MS 66 $5 Liberties, it can be a daunting task.

Confused? I understand.

Like I said earlier, I will be attending the Whitman Show in Philadelphia this week. If you go, and have a chance, stop by the table and say hello.

Fall’s Busy Coin Show Schedule

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

When gold hits record levels, coin shows get a bit more press and attendance than they normally do, and in the next two months four major shows and hundreds of local shows will cater to a public curious about how they can buy into or cash out of gold at $1,300 an ounce.

After the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August, there is a typical lull in the market and an absence of major shows until the Long Beach (Calif.) Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo in September, this year held Sept. 23 to 25 with an official auction by Heritage Auction Galleries and a pre-Long Beach auction by Ira and Larry Goldberg.

Then, the following weekend on the East Coast is the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Philadelphia Expo, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, with an official auction by Stack’s and an official pre-auction by Bowers and Merena Auctions.

While the three-times-a-year Long Beach Expo is well established, the Philadelphia Expo (held just once before) has provided an alternative to dealers who wanted a major early-fall show but did not want to set up business in California for tax nexus issues.

Next on the big show calendar is Coinfest, in Stamford, Conn., from Oct. 28 to 30. With a New York City area location, the show has quickly grown in influence, perhaps evidenced by Heritage Auctions’ sale there.

Following Coinfest is the Whitman Baltimore Expo, Nov. 4 to 7, which like the Long Beach Expo is also held three times annually. It has an official sale by Bowers and Merena Auctions.

The continued vitality of these shows is a sign that they are viewed as useful by both dealers and collectors, and continue to be profitable for the sponsors.

On the auction results front, at Bonhams and Butterfields Sept. 20 coin auction, an uncertified 1889-CC Morgan dollar sold for $87,750 against an estimate of $27,000 to $30,000 (pictured above).

It was cataloged as “Brilliant Uncirculated,” but the price realized suggested a coin between Mint State 64 and MS-65. With MS-64 coins bringing $60,000 and an MS-65 possibly worth as much as $350,000, it will be interesting to see where the coin ends up.

Baldwin’s Ancient and World Coin Auction 67 & 68: The Official COINEX Auction

September 2010 brings with it “Coinex”, one of the most exciting events of the numismatic calendar and the largest Numismatic coin show in the UK. This year Baldwin’s are proud sponsors of the occasion and, as hosts of the official Coinex auction, a spectacular event awaits.

Baldwin’s two day auction is to be held over the 28 th and 29 th September and begins with the third part of the Michael Hall Collection of Renaissance and later medals, of which, parts one and two were sold earlier this year through Baldwin’s.

New York based collector and art expert Michael Hall spent over fifty years putting together an awe-inspiring collection and this, the final part, offers an array of choice pieces. Lot 2090, a 1671 Louis XIV Damascened Medal (estimate £800-1,000) by Jean Warin II is a beautifully crafted piece by arguably the best and most powerful French engraver of coin dies of the 17 th Century.

Warin (or Varin) came from a family of artists and distinguished himself primarily as a painter and sculptor. He was one of the first engravers to use the power of the medallic form for propaganda purposes in France. Carrying the title of controleur general Warin imposed strict controls over artists that they were allowed no artistic license, but were instead forced to reproduce official designs that commemorated the magnificence of the state.

This lot is a prime example of the effectiveness of his creations to this end. Lot 2614, a Gustav II Adolf Silver medal of 6-Riksdalers by medallist Sebastian Dadler, estimate £1,200 – 1,500, is another one of the stand out pieces of the sale and distinguished by the intricacy of the artwork on both the obverse and reverse of the medal. Dadler was one of the leading medallists of the 17 th Century, working widely throughout the courts of Germany and princely houses of Europe, amassing an array of high profile supporters at the time.

The Hall Collection is immediately followed by a diverse selection of commemorative medals and a section of Orders, Decorations and Medals. The extensive Commemorative medal section includes lot 3005, a fantastic 1666 Dutch silver Medal (estimate £1,500 – 2,000) depicting the “Four Days” Naval fight on the obverse and crafted by medallist Jerian Pool. The medal commemorates the famous action and carries a poem on the reverse by the Dutch writer and playwright, Joost van Vondel, which appears to have been written especially for the medal.

Commemorative and historical medals have become a feature of Baldwin’s flagship London auctions and the variety on offer in this sale is testament to the accurate cataloguing and historical referencing that assure Baldwin’s achieve the highest possible prices.

A small collection of military medals and decorations from the Seddon-Brown family are some of the most interesting pieces in the sale, most notably lot 3196, The Order of the Nile group of awards to Lieutenant Colonel Seddon-Brown J.P.O.N. the lots includes three attractive copied pictures, one of which portrays Sir Winston Churchill, with whom he worked closely and was personal friends with through his role as chairman of the Conservative party in the North East. (more…)

Stack’s Pens Three Year Deal with the ANA to be Official Coin Show Auctioneer

Stack’s will be the official auctioneer for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money, ANA Executive Director Larry Shepherd has announced.

“I’m very pleased to have received multiple strong bids for these prestigious auctions,” Shepherd said. “This reflects a renewed confidence auction companies have that the ANA can host high-quality auctions with exceptional potential.”

Shepherd was also pleased that Stack’s bid included a commitment to support the Association’s educational programs and seminars at the World’s Fair of Money and in New York City, where Stack’s is headquartered. “In a very competitive bidding process, Stack’s commitment to ANA educational programs was an important consideration,” Shepherd said.

“We believe strongly in the educational mission of the ANA,” said Stack’s President Christine Karstedt. “This is a great opportunity for Stack’s to deliver first-rate auctions in association with the hobby’s premier membership organization. We look forward to holding extraordinary auctions in Chicago and Philadelphia.”

Live auctions will be held during the 2011 Chicago World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 16-20; the 2012 Philadelphia show, Aug. 7-11; and the 2013 Chicago show, Aug. 13-17.

Stack’s, founded in 1935 by Joseph B. and Morton Stack, is holding its 75th Anniversary Auction in Baltimore this November. No other numismatic auction company has ever had such an anniversary. For more information, visit www.stacks.com.

ESM Collection of Early Proof Copper Coins To Be Displayed at Long Beach Coin Show by PCGS

Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) will provide on-site authentication and grading services and showcase the first West Coast public display of the acclaimed, award-winning ESM Collection of early proof copper coins during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 23 – 25, 2010.

PCGS will accept Show Service submissions starting with dealer set-up on Wednesday, September 22 through 5 p.m. Friday, September 24. All other submission levels, excluding bulk, will be accepted through mid-afternoon on Saturday, September 25.

In addition to viewing the coins from the ESM Collection, visitors to the PCGS booth (#807) can Meet the Expert with PCGS Co-Founder David Hall, and have their coins personally examined by him from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories with some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents. The weighted Grade Point Average for the collection is an astounding 65.974.

“This amazing treasure of early proof copper certainly was one of the highlights of the recent ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston when it was displayed at the PCGS booth. Now West Coast collectors and dealers will have an opportunity to see these coins in person in Long Beach,” said Don Willis, PCGS President.

An informative, illustrated brochure about the ESM Collection will be available free at the PCGS booth while supplies last.

The following show specials will be available in Long Beach to PCGS Authorized Dealers and members of the PCGS Collectors Club:

* Walkthrough: one-day turnaround for $100 ($125 for Secure Plus) on any coin with a maximum value of $100,000
* Show Economy: $65 per coin for U.S. and world coins valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of five coins
* Show Gold: $45 per coin ($55 for Secure Plus) for any U.S. gold coin valued up to $3,000 each with a minimum submission of ten coins.

Customer Service representatives will be at the PCGS booth to answer questions and accept submissions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see demonstrations of the convenient PCGS Photograde™ Online applications for the Apple iPhone™ and Apple iPad™.

“Aside from our PCGS Members Only Show at The Venetian in Las Vegas, September 9 – 11, this will be the only opportunity in September for collectors and dealers to take advantage of PCGS on-site grading services at a national show. We will not be attending the Whitman Philadelphia show scheduled for the week after Long Beach,” said Willis. (more…)

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…)

ANA Coin Show Recap by John Feigenbaum

by John Feigenbaum – Stella Coin News

Well, another ANA Show has come and gone. I think this was my 22nd consecutive ANA and they all have a similar flavor no matter what the outcome. In a word…”long”. They have always been too long because there have always been “pre ANA” shows the weekend prior with important auctions, so we’ve always attended both shows and stayed the duration.

“Ok, enough whining” you say. “I feel your pain. It’s sooooooo hard being a coin dealer. You are forced to visit exotic cities, stay in fine hotels and eat out at top-notch restaurants and all you can do is complain.” Yes, that’s all true but it is indeed very hard work and staying away from home for extended periods of time has never been my strong suit. So, I always have high expectations for ANA shows but they rarely match up.

This show (I will combine the two shows for convenience), like others, was a marathon rather than a sprint — but is especially noteworthy because we came back with the best set of new purchases that I ever recall.

I have read on other dealer’s blogs that “great coins are red hot, yada yada yada”. But if you carefully read between the lines, you will still see that the majority of “great coins” are generally cheaper today than they were a couple years ago. It’s a very selective market, as all collector markets are, and the reality is that some collectors need to sell some big coins for reasons other than profit. I don’t recall ever having been to an ANA show where I saw more great five- and six-figure coins available for sale. We sold some great coins like our 1932 Saint PCGS MS66 and we bought even more great coins because I think this is one of those rare, historic moments when cash is king — and one cannot find these coins at anywhere near reasonable levels in a hotter market.

Examples of new purchases from the ANA Show:

1794 $1 PCGS XF40

1796 No Stars $2.50 PCGS XF40

1848 CAL. $2.50 PCGS AU50 (sold @ show!)

1796/5 $5 PCGS XF45

1930-S $20 PCGS SecurePlus MS65+

As you can see these are great coins. Of course, we didn’t limit ourselves to major rarities, and we have scores of other exciting collector coins that have been untouchable these past few years. Please keep an eye on the web site as these coins appear. (Or send me an email if you want more information on any of these.)

The Mood of the Show

“Ok, you say. Enough shameless promotion of your new purchases at the ANA show. Any dealer can do that and it’s not informative.” Ok, you’re right. Somehow we have to pay the light bills around here so please forgive me the transgression…. The show came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. Plain and simple. The pre show was entirely dealer-driven and dealers came to the show very tentative. Everyone wanted to see if anyone else was buying so it was generally a hot, boring affair. We slogged it out and did a fair amount of business, but it was the same business we’d do at ANY show, so that’s not exciting. (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…)

Official ANA World’s Fair Of Money Starts Today in Boston Featuring Amazing and Historically Significant Numismatic Exhibits

More than 1,100 of the nation’s best coin dealers with the best inventory of coins, paper money, medals, tokens and other numismatic items will gather in Boston August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center for the largest coin show in the world.

Sponsored by the nonprofit American Numismatic Association, the show will feature museum-quality exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution, the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum and private collectors. As many as 20 mints from around the world will give visitors an opportunity to collect coins from five continents, and a number of family activities and educational programs make this an attractive event for anyone with an interest in history and money.

The Bebee Collection of United States Paper Money. A spectacular and comprehensive view of United States paper money. The 904 notes in the complete collection include a remarkable series of high-grade large-size national bank notes from virtually every state and territory. A wide range of the premier specimens will be on display in Boston.

The 1874 Bickford $10 Patterns:From the Collection of Bob R. Simpson. This exhibit features a complete set of 1874 Bickford patterns struck at the Philadelphia Mint as part of a proposed plan for an international coinage. The exhibit includes seven Bickford patterns comprising Simpson’s signature set, as well as two duplicates to allow for side-by-side viewing of obverse and reverse.

The Smithsonian Institution’s “Good as Gold: exhibit America’s Double Eagles” The exhibit tells the story of the $20 gold coin, the largest gold coin to circulate in the United States. Rarities on display include 20 coins from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection, including the first (1849 pattern) and last (1933) double eagles ever produced as well as a 1907 Saint-Gaudens ultra high relief pattern that President Theodore Roosevelt gave his daughter Ethel as a Christmas gift in 1907.

The Ship of Gold exhibit displaying Gold Rush-era sunken treasure from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America will be in Boston courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins. Highlights include a Kellogg & Humbert ingot – the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush, 13 octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the U. S. Assay Office of San Francisco and remains of a wooden cargo box still containing approximately 110 double eagles.

Mexico, 1810 & 1910: Coins of the War of Independence & the Mexican Revolution An exhibit that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican War for Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. This marks the first time since the early 1970s that any part of Banco de México’s extensive historical collection has been displayed in the United States.

Coin Rarities, Paul Revere Silver & Rare Broadside of the Declaration of Independence. From the collection of Brian Hendelson, the first-ever display of a 1861 Philadelphia Mint Paquet reverse gold double eagle and 1921 Proof Roman Finish Saint-Gaudens double eagle. Each coin is one of two known specimens, and each is the finer-known specimen. The Paquet $20 was once owned by Egypt’s King Farouk and Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb, while the 1921 proof was not known to exist until 2006. (more…)

Legend Market Report – The PCGS Invitational

This was by far the BEST one we have EVER attended since they began about 5 years ago. No, its not because our Jose sat down and in a few spins won a 4800 quarter jackpot, no activity on the bourse was strong.

Grading wise, we were happy they held the line and there were no massive quantities of drecky generics made. In fact, most dealers who do make coins like that did not seem happy with their results. Maybe they need to change their rose colored glasses? Those days are over!

Selling wise we were shocked. WHOLESALE was strong, as strong as we have EVER seen it-in fact we were surprised. Another deler who was only there for a day claims he sold six figures (we do believe him). Dealers wanted to do business. It is a possibilty they saw this small show as a chance to stock up for ANA. There were only about 25 tables.

The public turn out was decent. You don’t get more than 50 or so collectors coming to these (especially with the temps at 110 outside). But each show we are seeing a different collector or two who are there to spend some serious money. This show, we sold two coins OVER $25,000.00 to collectors! Thats more than we can do at Long Beach these days! Even more to our surprise, we were able to BUY some really nice coins as well from the public. We look forward to the next show in Septemeber.

BACK AT THE OFFICE

Sales were strong. We had hoped to make it a week to catch up on our paperwok-NOT! We ran a little sale (did very well) and managed to sell some bigger Want List coins. Collectors now can see there is not a ton of exceptional material in the ANA and pre ANA Sales to satifisy their hunger. So they are now back buying off of web sites (so it seems).

We also did a totally surprise huge seven figure sale in matter of minutes. We will be announcing that sometime next week.

You will be shocked how strong the $1 million dollar PLUS market for coins is. Does it make a difference to the collector buying an 1879S MS65? in our opinion, YES! It shows confidence. ALL levels of coins buyers always seek confirmation of confidence. Plus, you will find dealers with strengthen their bidding on less expensive items knowing the top tier is really strong, or they may have sold a huge coin and have become flush.

THE ANA AUCTIONS

We have now looked at B+M and Heritage. If you wish representation, please contact us NOW! We will be pretty cranky if you show up at the ANA table and ask us then. ALL representation is on a first come first serve basis. There are some great coins in these sales.

Do not forget to check out the Simpson coins in the Heritage sale. We sold him virtually ALL the coins and most are of the top quality you have come to expect from us. NOTE: We did NOT send all the coins to CAC. If you need to know which did go, please contact us. We will give you an honest opinion of the coins. Pattern collectors, this offering represents some exceptional opportuntiies-do NOT miss them (and Mr. Simspon will not be bidding-how refreshing)!

THE DENALI PATTERN COLLECTION

WOW, this is some collection. We did get all the coins graded at the PCGS Invite. Even David Hall came up to us to say how blown away he was at what he saw. Due to time restraints, we are hoping to have some portion of the collection ready for offering by next Monday. We know the bulk will not be offered until either at the ANA Show or shortly after. We still need to figure pricing and reinventory the coins.

We will confirm the collection consists of a 2Cent set, a 3CN+3CS set, a 20C set, and the most comprehensive set of patterns from 1870 (not he 1870’s, just 1870) EVER formed. There are an incredible amount of 1-2 known R-8 coins and many FINEST KNOWN coins (including a MONSTER 1869 25C PCGS PR68 cameo J-894-which we believe is the FINEST known Standard Silver 25C). If you need top quality coins from any of these sets, stay tuned!

Numismatic Theatre Schedule Set for ANA Coin Show in Boston

Numismatic Theatre, a popular part of the American Numismatic Association’s convention education programs, has been finalized for the 2010 ANA World’s Fair of Money, Aug. 10-14 in Boston. Numismatic Theatre consists of 30-40 minute presentations given by ANA members on a wide range of topics. Presentations will be held Aug. 11 and Aug. 13-14 in Room 209 of the Hynes Convention Center.

A highlight of the presentations will be “The Development and Use of the Screw Press for Coin Production,” a two-hour panel discussion Aug. 13 from 3-5 p.m. Led by dealer and early U.S. coinage expert Brad Karoleff, the panel will discuss different aspects of early minting technology in the United States. Panelists include:

* John Dannreuther, author and former ANA Numismatist of the Year
* Dr. Richard Doty, curator, Smithsonian Institution National Numismatic Collection
* Bill Eckberg, noted half cent collector and researcher
* R. W. Julian, prolific numismatic writer and researcher
* Douglas Mudd, curator, ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum
* Craig Sholley, author famous for research into the U.S. Mint archives

Other highlights include “Money as a Social Reflection” with David Liu, 2010 ANA Harry W. Bass Jr. Numismatic Intern (Aug. 11, 9 a.m.); and “Engraver & Patriot Paul Revere: The Man & the Medal” with Jamie Franki, professor of art at the University of North Carolina and designer of the official ANA 119th anniversary convention medal (Aug. 14, 4 p.m.).

Below is a complete list of Numismatic Theatre presentations:

Wednesday, August 11

9 a.m. – “Money as a Social Reflection,” presented by David Liu

10 a.m. – “Henry Morgan: Brutal Pirate & Honored Statesman,” presented by Tom Sebring

11 a.m. – “The Liberty Paper Mill: A Cradle of the American Revolution,” presented by Peter Hopkins

12 p.m. – “Coin Grading for Beginners,” presented by William Robins

1 p.m. – “The Story of One 1786 M 5-3-B-2,” presented by Robert Moffatt

2 p.m. – “To Arms! A History of the American Revolution as Seen on Obsolete Bank Notes,” presented by C. John Ferreri

3 p.m. – “The Coin Finds from the Antioch Excavations – Revisited,” presented by Alan Stahl

4 p.m. – “Curious Currency of the World,” presented by Robert D. Leonard (more…)

PCGS at Boston ANA: On-Site Grading, Award-Winning Proof Copper on Display

At this year’s American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money convention in Boston held August 10 – 14, visitors will be treated to a number of museum-quality exhibits of historic rare coins. At booth #105, Professional Coin Grading Service will display an amazing numismatic treasure of early proof copper.

PCGS will provide on-site authentication and grading services at the show including show specials for on-site submissions. And booth visitors can enjoy some of the finest known proof Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and matte proof Lincoln Cents from the award-winning ESM Collection.

Assembled by Illinois collector Pete Miller, the ESM Collection ranks among the all-time finest of its kind in several PCGS Set RegistrySM categories, according to BJ Searls, PCGS Set Registry Manager.

“The ESM Collection is a numismatic treat. Many of the coins in this collection are extremely rare and seldom appear on the market. When they do, they are auction highlights,” said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDA Q: CLCT).

“It staggers me that these coins could stay in that kind of condition for so long,” Miller exclaimed. “They are all red or close to red. Most are well over 100 years old and they look almost brand new, even colorwise.”

Miller’s “top five” personal favorites are:

* 1832 Large Cent, graded PCGS PR64RD
* 1848 Large Cent, PCGS PR65CA
* 1847 Half Cent, PCGS PR64RD
* 1843 Half Cent, PCGS PR64CA
* 1842 Half Cent, PCGS PR65RD

“The weighted Grade Point Average for the ESM Collection is an astounding 65.974,” Searls explained. “These coins were once owned by such astute collectors as Eliasberg, Naftzger, Norweb, Pittman, Parmelee, Atwater, Garrett, Anderson-Dupont, Byron Reed and others. Pete Miller has graciously arranged with PCGS to display many of the coins in his set in Boston.” (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Collection of Carson City Half Eagles, WPE Classic Commemoratives & Summer Coin Shows

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #9

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Summer Topics

Today’s main discussions are about Carson City Half Eagles and commemorative silver coins. I admit that I am not a specialist in either area. I will not, however, limit my writings to my favorite topics, as other coins ‘make news’ and are important in a variety of ways. I aim to write for a wide audience. Plus, I have a fondness for most all rare coins and I learn when I prepare to write. I enjoy researching rare coins of almost every kind.

Typically, the coin business is relatively slow between the Spring Long Beach Expo and the Summer ANA Convention. Collectors and dealers often vacation, or are just less active, during this period.

The relatively new, Summer FUN Convention is moderately successful, though it makes far more sense to hold it in West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale. It was in West Palm Beach for three years and I attended all three events, which seemed successful. The Summer FUN Convention was developing a following in Southern Florida. Was it a good idea to move it to Orlando?

Many wealthy coin collectors live in Southern Florida, which is much more densely populated in general than Central Florida. As people are not eager to travel to Florida in the middle of the summer, a Southern Florida location, for a coin show, makes more sense in the summer than does Orlando, which is a city that has evolved into a destination for travelers. Besides, people elsewhere are more likely to have relatives, friends or business ties in Southern Florida than in Orlando. Consider the populations, wealth and business activities in the metropolitan areas of Fort Lauderdale and Miami!

Boston seems to be a good choice for a Summer ANA Convention. Many (though not all) rare coin sales are exempt from sales tax in Massachusetts. There are thousands of serious coin collectors within driving distance of Boston and hundreds more who may fly to Boston. Certainly, it is a city with attractions for girlfriends, spouses or kids. Besides, in relation to the founding of the United States, and the pre-revolutionary period, Boston is of tremendous historical importance.

It has been a very long time since an ANA Convention has been held in New England. Further, there are no longer any regularly held, first tier coin conventions in Massachusetts or the State of New York. CoinFest is held, annually each autumn, in Stamford (CT). In my view, CoinFest has been very successful and may eventually become a first tier event. It would be better if the fourth CoinFest, in October, were not scheduled within a week of the Fall Baltimore Expo. Could its time frame be moved a week or two earlier?

In August, both pre-convention shows will attract collectors. While the “Boston 2010” show at the Park Plaza Hotel has received some recent attention, the Bay State Coin Show has been a tradition in Boston for decades. The special summer Bay State Coin Show will be at the Radisson Hotel, at Park Square, from Friday, Aug 6th to Sunday, Aug 8th.
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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.
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