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All Posts Tagged With: "john Feigenbaum"

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…)

Dominion Grading Service (DGS) to Discontinue Slabbing

DGS announced today that effective immediately, all grading and certification operations at Dominion Grading Service (DGS) has been discontinued.

In a statement posted on the David Lawrence Blog page, the following explaination was given:

“In the time since we started DGS, both PCGS and NGC have made great strides and improvements to their grading technologies and practices and we no longer feel that our services are needed. Additionally, CAC is doing a fantastic job of assessing the quality in PCGS and NGC holders.

As for DGS, we simply do not feel that there is enough demand for collector coins at this time to merit our further investment. We have discontinued grading at DGS at this time. If you have DGS-graded coins to sell, please offer them to us for sale. We remain committed to the quality and standards of our grading at DGS and we still make two-way markets in DGS-graded coins. ”

In April 2008 DLRC launched Dominion Grading Service using the assets of the old PCI grading services thay had purchases as a base. At the time John Feigenbaum said ” “we had initially planned to keep the PCI brand name, but we quickly realized that it would be impossible to overcome the confusion that would ensue as we endeavor to recalibrate the [PCI] grading standards. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue the PCI brand in favor of an all-new grading company named Dominion Grading Service.“

Although Dominion used the same holder as PCI, that’s where the similarities end. DGS grading was based on strict standards (i.e. Photograde, for circulated coins). On mint state coinage, DGS graded conservatively with a focus on eye appeal, freshness of surfaces (including originality) and marketability.

Some of the innovative concepts at DGS were:

1. AuthentiVIEW ™: DGS introduced a service called AuthentiVIEW ™ which was integral to the submission process. All coins submitted above the “Budget” tier (i.e. valued above $100) were imaged — and this imaged serve as an authentication tool for any DGS certified coin. Anyone was able to go online, enter a serial # and see an image of the coin in the holder after it was graded.

2. Visual Population Report: DGS was the first grading service to have an entirely visual population report on its web site. Users who wished to look up populations were able to see the AuthentiVIEW images of all the coins graded. Feigenbaum stated at the time, “We anticipate this to be a useful tool for all numismatists. Just imagine the ability to see every 1901-S quarter we’ve certified; or a more common coin like the 1933-S Walker. This visual archive will be available to everyone.”

3. Net Grading of Problem Coins: Coins that have been cleaned, repaired, or damaged in any way will be slabbed in the same holder and label as undamaged coins, but the holder will describe the problem without “net grading the coin”. Coins will not be double-punished. The actual best determination of grade will be stated along with the notation of the problem. For example a coin may be described as: DGS AU55: Lightly Cleaned, Reverse scratches. According to Feigenbaum, “most coins are not perfect or original and it’s a shame not to have them in holders.”

David Lawrence Rare Coins View on PCGS’ Hard Stance Against Coin Doctors

Guest Commentary By John Feigenbaum – David Lawrence Rare Coins

On Friday, May 28, the numismatic community learned of lawsuit filed by Collectors Universe (the parent company of PCGS) against a group of so-called coin doctors. There’s no reason to rehash the details of this lawsuit as you can find good information on the Coinlink.com site, including a PDF of the actual filing.

From my perspective, action against the “coin doctors” has been overdue. For years, these guys have enjoyed an unfair advantage in the U.S. coin market and their presence in the general marketplace and auctions made it more difficult for legitimate buyers to compete. But we all accepted their existence because these folks have been around as long as there was a profit to be made in artificially improving coins. The grading services were designed originally to eliminate this scourge, but these guys are good and their methods are ever-improving. The extent of the doctoring of late has been somewhat hidden during this time, so some of the revelations in the filing are news, even to me. Now, it seems PCGS has drawn a line in the sand and they are throwing the book at some known offenders. More like a hammer, actually.

The heart of the matter seems to lie in the definition of exactly what is meant by the term “coin doctoring”. Are we talking about the dipping, or conservation of a coin’s surfaces? Are we talking about artificial toning of a coin to cover past cleaning, or scratches? Or, are we talking about the most nefarious acts of moving metal (whizzing, lasering) and surface alteration, like the enhancement of the bands of a Mercury dime to achieve the Full Bands (FB) designation?

I absolutely applaud PCGS for taking this measure. It has been too long in coming and it’s high time the leaders of the coin market took a stand against the alteration of a coin’s surface to deceive the grading houses.

In filing this suit, PCGS has aimed a missile at the latter-mentioned offenders. The so-called “metal movers”. There is no room for argument in any of our minds that this is wrong and should be dealt with harshly. Clearly PCGS has known about these guys for some time because the examples they present in the brief acknowledge a “rebuilt full head standing quarter” back in 2005. So, why now? The most logical conclusion I can make is that – for too long — they hoped the problem would end on its own through better detection techniques, and now they have also announced something called a Coin Sniffer™, for this purpose. I suppose this is the other shoe in PCGS’ “Big One” announcement back in March.

So, if lasering, re-engraving and rebuilding are obviously wrong and (perhaps) criminal acts (see paragraph #47), the bigger question is what is the low-watermark standard for coin doctoring? Is adding any foreign substance to the surface of a coin to conceal damage of any kind (hairlines, gouges, etc) going to be considered “doctoring”?

I would like to see PCGS take the next step of defining what is legitimate conservation versus doctoring. Perhaps a consortium of industry leaders like PCGS, NGC, CAC and PNG could work together to create such a document. It’s not clear that PCGS is interested in doing so, but I hope they would consider such a move to unify the marketplace. (more…)

Highest Certified 1901-S Barber Quarter Breaks Coin Auction Records and Becomes the Star of a Coin Convention

by Greg Reynolds for CoinLink

On March 4, in Baltimore, B&M auctioned a 1901 San Francisco Mint quarter dollar, which was then PCGS certified “MS-68,” for $327,750, an auction record for a Barber quarter and for any business strike Barber coin. John Brush, acting on behalf of DLRC, was the successful bidder. While bidding, he was talking to John Feigenbaum, the President of DLRC, on the phone.

On March 25, this quarter was featured at the PCGS announcement of the SecurePlusTM program in Fort Worth, and had been regraded “MS-68+.” On March 26, Bill Shamhart negotiated with Feigenbaum to buy this quarter. During the following week, it was CAC approved, and Shamhart placed it in a private collection. Other than the Olsen-Hawn 1913 Liberty Nickel that sold during the FUN Platinum Night event, this is the most ‘talked about’ coin in 2010, so far.

I. This 1901-S sells at Auction and then Privately

Early in 2010, this 1901-S quarter remained in an NGC holder, with an MS-68 grade, and was submitted by B&M to PCGS for consideration as a ‘crossover.’ It did, in fact, ‘cross,’ meaning here that the PCGS also graded it as MS-68.

John Feigenbaum explains that, soon after this 1901-S was auctioned on March 4, the “PCGS was looking for a trophy coin to display during their announcement; so they contacted me to inquire if I would be willing to put this coin in their new holder. I was happy to oblige.” Technically, there is a new SecureShield insert in the same type of holder. This quarter became the first coin to be PCGS graded “MS-68+,” under the new system that allows for ‘+’ grades. On March 25, David Hall included this coin in his presentation, in Fort Worth, at the formal announcement of the SecurePlusTM program.

When PCGS officials contacted Feigenbaum about arranging for this coin to be a showpiece, “there was no discussion of the ‘+’ designation,” Feigenbaum reports, “that was a complete surprise. Frankly, I didn’t even know it was an option.”

On Friday, March 26, at the ANA Convention in Fort Worth, Bill Shamhart, [www.numismaticamericana.com] a New Jersey dealer and CAC consultant, arranged for one of his clients to purchase this 1901-S quarter from Feigenbaum, subject to verification of its grade by the CAC. During the following week, the CAC placed a sticker on the holder, and this quarter thus traded again. The CAC approved the MS-68 grade; the CAC will not accept or reject ‘plus’ grades. Shamhart’s client is a “lifelong collector” who desires American coins of “amazing quality.”

At auction on March 4, the firm of David Lawrence (DLRC) acquired this 1901-S quarter for inventory largely because the firm has specialized in Barber Coinage for more than a quarter century. Barber coins were minted from 1892 to 1916. John Feigenbaum’s deceased father, David Lawrence Feigenbaum, founded DLRC in 1979. David authored three books on Barber coinage, one book on each denomination, dimes, quarters and half dollars. In the late 1990s, father and son co-authored a fourth book that focused on Mint State and Proof Barber coins that were certified by the PCGS and the NGC. DLRC sells Proof, Mint State, AU and circulated Barber coins. (more…)

Industry Leaders Comment on New PCGS Secure + Coin Grading Announcement

David Lisot, Executive Producer of Coin Television has put together a montage of comments from industry leaders following the PCGS announcement of its New Secure + coin grading service

[iframe http://www.coinlink.com/Video/033110_ana_pcgs.html 544px 395px]


The PCGS Secure Plus process uses laser scanning to help detect coins that have been artificially enhanced since their last certification, combat “gradeflation” and excessive resubmissions of the same coins, and can also be used to help identify recovered stolen coins. Additionally, PCGS graders can now designate deserving, superior-quality coins as “Plus” within their respective grades, an important distinction when there are big differences in value between one grade point and the next.


The following industry professionals are included in this video as follows:

Video used with permission and courtesy of CoinTelevision.com and CoinVideo.com.

The New PCGS Secure+ and what (it might) mean for the coin business…

By John Feigenbaum – David Lawrence Rare Coins

Well, now that PCGS has made it “Big One” announcement, it’s possible to speculate on how this might affect the coin industry (I used to call it a hobby but I think that ship sailed a long time ago). There’s an awful lot to digest here, but I had the benefits of advance notice of this announcement by Mr. Hall himself and I was able to personally attend the Press Conference at the Ft. Worth ANA National Money Show when the Big One was unveiled publicly.

For starters, if you are not familiar with the “Big One” I recommend that you read/view all about it on the PCGS web site first. This was actually a dual announcement:

1) PCGS is going to start laser-scanning/fingerprinting certain submissions (the submission tier is called “Secure-Plus”, which costs a little more) to make certain these items haven’t already been submitted. If so, the system will allow the graders to compare the coins with images of the same coin to be certain it hadn’t been doctored or altered in any negative manner.

2) Coins submitted in the “Secure Plus” tier are eligible to be examined for a “Plus” grade which is awarded to any coins the graders determine to be in the top 30% of quality in the grade range. Or, as David Hall defines it, the “A” category.

Let’s start with the laser scanning technology. Mr. Hall claims that it was “never PCGS’ intention to grade the same coin 40 times” which is a way upgraders use the system to repeatedly send the same coin in until it finally gets the added benefit of doubt and achieves a higher grade that it typically would get. This ultimately is a cause for “gradeflation” which has long term negative effects on the hobby. The logic also follows that a database of stolen coins that have previously been “fingerprinted” can be marked for future submissions. In the event they ever come back in to PCGS, the coins will be flagged and justice can be served. Apparently one major insurance company is offering a discount for SecurePlus coins thanks to this service.

I love this concept for all the reasons PCGS is brandishing. But it’s flawed… Clearly, from the outset, there is a major loophole (or, chasm) in the service because only coins submitted in the more expensive “Secure Plus” tier are being fingerprinted. So a doctored, or stolen coin, can simply be submitted without the added expense and we’ll never know if it was doctored. Or, what happens if a coin is upgraded via the non-Plus service but later submitted for “crossover” into the “Secure Plus” and PCGS realizes what has happened? Will the buy it off the market? That could be very expensive for them. I directed these inquiries directly to PCGS’ President Don Willis, to which he replied that this is merely the initial launch of the product and they need some time to refine the details. I hope, at a minimum, that they ultimately choose to fingerprint every coin submitted (at least every coin over $500). I think that would benefit PCGS as much as the consumer.

(more…)

David Lawrence Rare Coins Auctions to Offer the “Picky Collection” of Bust Coins

David Lawrence Rare Coin Auctions will be offering 94 coins from the “Picky Collection” in a special 2-week Internet Auction #461 closing March 11th.

This meticulous collection is the culmination of 25 years of numismatic searching. DLRC owner John Feigenbaum noted, “The Picky Collection is an AMAZING group of 90+ bust coins (mostly halves). We called it the “Picky Collection” as the collector was sooo fussy. It paid off as most of the coins CAC’d, giving it their seal of approval. If you love Bust coinage check this out.”

Feigenbaum continues..”Collectors are getting tired of hearing how there are now fresh coins out there…blah, blah, blah….But it’s really true. We haven’t seen anything like the regular flow of fresh coin collections coming from our clients in the last 18 months, like we had in years prior.

Many high-end quality pieces that are becoming harder and harder to find in the marketplace ! … John Feigenbaum

It’s hard to explain the phenomenon but collector’s are keeping the prized numismatic holding close to their chests. Prices have come down across the board in this time period, and I’m guessing folks don’t want to lose money on their collections. Sure, at a profit we’d see more sellers, and I think this fueled the activity in the late 1990’s.”

Bust Halves (71) make up the majority of the Picky Collection with an additional (6) Bust Dimes, (5) Bust Quarters, (5) Liberty Seated Half Dollars along with a few Early Gold pieces.

Each coin has its own unique look and charming characteristic as the owner was insistent upon in order to fit into his collection.
(more…)