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All Posts Tagged With: "Laura Sperber"

LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIGGER 2011 – IS BIGGER BETTER?

Hot Topics by Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

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

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

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

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

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

FUN

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

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

Laura Sperber: 2010 IN REVIEW-MY VISION

EVERYTHING WRITTEN HERE IS THE SOLE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR.

2010

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

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

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

COIN DOCTORING

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

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

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

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

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…)

Opinion: Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics – SO WHATS (NOT) NEW?

By Laura Sperber – Hot Topics

MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!

NOT! I can not believe how lethargic and pathetic the leadership of the coin business has become. PCGS launched their lawsuit back in May. Other than scaring the greedy bastards into slowing their dirty deeds-NOT MUCH ELSE HAS HAPPENED. No hobby groups have stood up what so ever and done anything about the situation. The attitude among dealers still seems to that the grading services are there to be abused.

I think its a crime that the best the PNG could do is announce they have a definition of coin doctoring. Whuppie! Did they do anything? Apparently not a damn thing. They are hiding behind the lamest of lame excuses (they are a reactionary, not proactive group). The perpetrators named in the suit got caught (by their own stupidity) still trying to ruin coins yet again recently (the evidence was even posted in Coin World). Even better, at the ANA Show this past summer one of the parties in the suit set up and proudly displayed his PNG banner at his table! What a slap in the face to those of us who do care. I know the PNG’s time has come and gone. They do nothing and are nothing for this coin biz-in MY opinion. Their PNG Days prior to major shows not only have become a show case for the parts of their membership they refuse to punish, they are a complete joke anyway (one must be invited for admission-how arrogant and stupid). I hope the PNG tries to prove me wrong about their total waste and ineffectiveness.

My head hurts from shaking so much after seeing what they are NOT doing! Besides, we all know its not the entire group of PNG dealers who are bad-so where are the innocent ones? You telling me they have little to no powers on these critical issues? Just more of a point about the bad dudes who apparently control that organization. if they wanted too, they could chase after and maybe even prevent coin doctoring-btye clearly choose not too. Looks like I will never have to pay $1,000.00 I promised for anyone the PNG catches and expels for coin doctoring. Yeah PNG, I am grandstanding for attention (NOT)! -at least I am not sitting on the sidelines with rose colored glasses doing nothing about all this!

Its not just them. I have only seen a handful of smaller dealers-the ones who get screwed by the coin docs perpetually stand up and make statements. Where are all the other big shot retailers? Why I am the lone wolf speaking out? But then I guess when you have a coin doc who sits behind your table and who sells you a lot of coins cheap your not going to complain about them. This doesn’t rock the boat culture has to change. Its for the good of the hobby for the long term.

READ THIS AND WEEP

Many people ask me why I do not like so many other dealers. It has nothing to do with them being competition. It has to do with them not caring or worse, they are phonies. One of the problems in today’s coin market place-many of the “newer” dealers just can not grade. That’s right, give them a raw coin out of the holder and they are clueless. Sadly, they have the best web sites and act like they are kings and hook the public. They are just one more means keep to the coin doctors longevity going. These unqualified dealers certainly are not going to be involved in stopping the coin docs. But we can make them change since they are too dumb to know what to do. Yet again, I call for more public scrutiny of dealers. (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…)

Legend Numismatics Pays $2 Million Dollars For 3 Lincoln Cents!

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatic Market Report

You may have noticed the past two weeks or so we have been saying and doing little with our web site. NEWPS have been minimal and Market Reports and Hot Topics have slowed. We can now tell you why. We have been super busy traveling completing deals-not just any deals, deals that are at world record prices and that include some of the rarest coins on earth! We are now finally back home and are pleased to make the following announcement:

LEGEND NUMISMATICS HAS BOUGHT AND SOLD THE UNIQUE 1C 1943D COPPER FOR $1,700,000.00!

We actually purchased a 3 coin coin deal for $2,000,000.00. We figured the 1943D at $1.7 million cost. The other two coins in the deal were the finest 1944 P Steel cent PCGS MS64, and a 1C 1942 PCGS 65 made out of white metal. Yes, you have read this right-3 pennys for $2 million dollars!

The 1943D and the 1944P are both now part of the ONLY COMPLETE PDS sets for their metals. The steel cent collection is by far the finest, as are the coppers. We are hoping to display both these sets at the PCGS table at FUN 2011.

Hard to believe, but Legend tried unsuccessfully for four years to buy the 1943D. The seller in the end was still reluctant. However, we can state ALL of the monies he received from the sale are going to a pet charity project of his. The seller (who wishes to remain anonymous) was represented by Lincoln Cent Specialist Andy Skrabalack of Angel Dee’s.

Our customer is thrilled to own the 1943D. Ever since he heard the coin existed, we had been sent on a mission to acquire it. His desire to own the complete and only PDS copper set came from his finding what he thought was a 1943 copper when he was young. Sadly, this piece was found to be a fake. Still he keeps this coin in his desk draw. He believes 43 Coppers are one of the ultimate classic rarities (and so do we). While the price we paid was stiff, the monies went to a good cause and the coins are now locked away in a great home.

Legend Numismatics has handled MANY million dollar plus classic rarities over the years. The 1943D really is one special highlight for us. We thank the seller and congratulate the new owner. For us, it really has been a career highlight.

WHAT ELSE DID WE TRAVEL FOR?

We have now flown several coast to coast trips over the past 2 weeks. There have also been stops in Dallas, NYC, and Denver in between.

One exciting collection we purchased was a spectacular Pattern Collection. When we got the call we were like, “oh great, more patterns”. This deal turned out to be an incredible “old time” collection with the majority of the coins being raw. Highlights included Earring Quarters, Amazionan Dollars, and several R-8 Seated patterns. These coins will be sent in for grading shortly. We did not grade anything less than PR65! ALL of the coins have been off the market for at least 20+ years. Guess we can never have enough great Patterns!

Besides patterns, we also bought and sold a 50C 1919D PCGS MS65. The price was in excess of $200,000.00. This sale now completes what maybe the second finest Walker set assembled (no, its NOT registered). (more…)

Unique Bronze 1943-D Lincoln Cent Sold for $1.7 Million by Legend

A one-of-a-kind Lincoln penny, mistakenly struck in 1943 at the Denver Mint in bronze rather than the zinc-coated steel used that year to conserve copper for World War II, has been sold by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey for $1.7 million to an unnamed Southwestern business executive.  The coin’s anonymous former owner made arrangements for the entire sale proceeds to go to a charitable organization.

The only known 1943-dated Lincoln cent mistakenly struck at the Denver Mint on a bronze planchet has been sold for a record $1.7 million by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey. The unique coin, not publicly known to exist until 1979, is graded PCGS MS64BN.

The new owner is a Southwestern United States business executive who wants to remain anonymous, but who plans to exhibit this coin and others in January at the Florida United Numismatists convention.

He also purchased in the same transaction through Legend a 1944 Philadelphia Mint cent struck on a zinc planchet, graded PCGS MS64, for $250,000, and an experimental 1942 Philadelphia cent mostly composed of tin for $50,000. The unnamed new owner plans to exhibit these coins and others at the Florida United Numismatists convention in January.

(Photo credit: Legend Numismatics.)

“The 1943-D bronze cent is the most valuable cent in the world, and it took four years of aggressive negotiations with the coin’s owner until he agreed to sell it.”

“The new owner is proudly now the only collector to ever own the all-time finest and complete sets of Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco 1943 bronze cents and 1944 steel cents,” said Laura Sperber, President of Legend Numismatics.

“The new owner is a prominent Southwestern business executive who’s been collecting since he was a teenager, searching through pocket change looking for rare coins. As a youngster he thought he’d actually found a 1943 copper cent in circulation but it was not authentic. He still has that in his desk drawer, but now he’s the only person to ever assemble a complete set of genuine 1943 bronze cents, one each from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints. He will display that set at FUN along with his 1944 Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco zinc cents,” said Sperber.

The anonymous collector who formerly owned the coin “donated it to a charitable organization so they could sell it with all of the proceeds going to the charity,” according to Andy Skrabalak of Angel Dee’s Coins and Collectibles in Woodbridge, Virginia who acted as agent on behalf of the former owner.

“As a specialist in small cents, this transaction is the ultimate accomplishment for me and I’m privileged to be part of it. I don’t think it will ever be duplicated in my lifetime,” said Skrabalak.

Zinc-coated steel was used for producing cents in 1943 to conserve copper for other uses during World War II, but a small number of coins were mistakenly struck on bronze planchets left over from 1942.

“We estimate that less than 20 Lincoln cents were erroneously struck in bronze at the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints in 1943, but this is the only known example from the Denver Mint,” explained Don Willis, President of Professional Coin Grading Service.

Sperber said the collector’s historic, mis-made World War II era cents will be displayed during the first three days of the FUN convention in Tampa, Florida, January 6 – 8, 2011. (more…)

GUEST COMMENTARY: Coin Doctors – CAN’T STOP NOW

All Editorial and Commentaries posted on CoinLink represent the opinions of the author(s), who are soley responsible for this content. All points of view are encouraged and comments are welcomed.

By Laura Sperber – Hot Topics Blog

I say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who has emailed me support concerning the fight against coin doctors the past several months. Due to my hectic travel schedule, sometimes I just can’t respond to all your emails-but do know I read EVERY SINGLE ONE!

EVEN IF YOU ARE A NOT BIG DEALER, YOU COUNT

Every single person counts and is needed in this fight. Every single person has a voice that counts. Do not think there is nothing you can do.

You do not have to right on a blog like I do, you can just talk to your fellow collectors or dealers, at shows, clubs, or wherever. Send an email or a letter to the grading services, the numismatic organization, or the coin papers. The more “pressure” that is put applied, the better the results will be. If people don’t speak up it will be back to biz as usual for these bad guys.

A small dealer came up to me at the PCGS Invitational. He told me “I support you 100%”. He told me how badly he HATES the docs and anyone who is a mule for them. He told me how he has told one dealer friend why he won’t do business with him anymore and how he shoos away the docs from buying his coins. But he was upset because he felt he has no where to speak out. I told him if he can write a letter to an editor of a publication that’s great. I also told him-his voice has already spoken and he is a HUGE help. He definitely has the “RIGHT” attitude. Just imagine if very non doc did what he did-or had his attitude. I believe he also told me he is quitting the PNG.

At this point, the PNG has PROVEN (to me, in my opinion) with out any doubt to be the most WORTHLESS organization ever formed in coins when it comes to protecting the consumer and the coins themselves. As predicted, the PNG came up with a definition of coin doctoring and then all has been quiet since. I was totally disgusted that one of the PROVEN trouble makers of the PCGS lawsuit proudly displayed his PNG flag and was set up and doing business PNG day. That is a slap to EVERYONE (from the smallest collector to the biggest dealers). Meanwhile a high ranking PNG official told me he thought I was grandstanding on these issues for publicity. That’s why nothing makes me prouder than NOT being a PNG member.

I BELIEVE THIS IS THE BACKBONE OF TODAY’S PROBLEMS

Nothing disgusts me more than how dealers-especially young dealers disrespect the coin business. I watch the brightest potential talent all lean toward being “crack out” dealers and eventually fading in to full coin doctoring. Why isn’t the PNG working to scare them straight? Why can’t they educate them that coins are a treasure that need to be carefully saved in their original form? We desperately need to break this negative attitude or in 20-30 years it is a real possibility that the % of coins that will have been messed with in as high as 50%. The docs are all about making money. They will do whatever they can to a coin to gain a profit.

All the dealers refuse to blame their buddies or are in pure denial about the issues. So many dealers tell me I am so wrong and that its the grading services who should catch the bad coins. Here is what they need to wake up too: DEALERS WHO FEEL ITS THEIR RIGHT TO VIOLATE THE GRADING SERVICES SUBMISSION CONTRACTS AND FRAUDULENTY SUBMIT “WORKED ON” COINS. Key word: FRAUD. These guys should not only be exposed, but they should be forced to pay back ALL their ill gotten gains in multiples and perform numismatic community service of retraining and supporting dealers from NOT being doctors.

THE PCGS LAWSUIT HAS STARTED TO SHOW SOME CHANGE

I was speaking with John Albanese (the founder and finalizer at CAC). He confirmed to me that the amount of “messed with” coins he has seen since the lawsuit has been seriously reduced. That’s a huge plus. But that does not mean these rats are on the run. As evidenced in a Coin World Article recently, even after the lawsuit was filed one of the defendants still had the disgusting audacity to be ready to doctor more coins. So as you can see, this is nasty and serious war against sick and greedy individuals. (more…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Great Coins at the ANA Convention in Boston

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #14

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

When people talk about an ANA Convention, they tend to emphasize the coins that they bought or sold, rather than about the overall impact of the event. At any first or second tier coin show, collectors with modest budgets can find appealing coins. Collectors can also socialize with other collectors at a wide variety of coin related events. The Winter FUN Convention, the Summer ANA Convention, and very few other first tier events, are special for other reasons. Of course, educational programs and the meetings of specialty clubs are among these reasons. Multiple mammoth auctions, during a six to ten day period, in the same neighborhood, offer material of a tremendous variety and of startling depth in particular areas. While I will put forth some remarks regarding bourse and auction activity, I focus here, however, on the great coins that were present at this year’s ANA Convention and in the accompanying auctions in Boston.

Yes, readers of this column are aware that, for weeks, I have been writing about rarities that were offered in Boston at the B&M, Stack’s and Heritage auctions. In last week’s column, I covered some of the prices realized for famous rarities in the B&M auction. As I will discuss below, the Boyd-Cardinal 1794 dollar traded again.

In my column of July 28, I wrote about the Simpson Proof 1804 Eagle, a Kellogg $50 gold coin, the two Half Unions in the B&M sale, and an 1854-S Quarter Eagle in the Heritage auction. In my column of July 21, I covered the Platinum Night offerings of the collections of Dr. Claude Davis and Dr. Brandon Smith. In earlier columns, I analyzed the offerings in these Boston auctions of one-year type coins and Great Rarities. Before I provide further coinage of coins in auctions, I wish to emphasize that there was an impressive assortment of important rarities on the floor of the ANA Convention, many of which could have been easily viewed by all those who attended.

I. Rarities in Boston for Everyone to See

There is a need for collectors to understand and appreciate coins that they cannot afford. To comprehend the coins that a collector owns, he (or she) has to have some understanding, often subconsciously, of the values and traditions of coin collecting in the United States. Furthermore, to fully enjoy coin collecting, there is a need to learn about Great Rarities, famous coins in general, supergrade representatives of non-rare issues, and/or beautiful classic coins. These are central to the culture of coin collecting. Would it make sense for an art enthusiast to only view paintings that he (or she) can afford to buy?

Many (though not all) dealers in sophisticated material are delighted to show rarities to collectors who cannot afford to buy them. I realize that there are non-affluent collectors who feel too embarrassed to ask dealers to show expensive coins.

There were many great coins for all to see at this ANA Convention in Boston. The Smithsonian Institution had the incomparable 1849 Double Eagle and other rarities on display. Further, a collector allowed for the public display of the finest of two known 1861 Philadelphia Mint Double Eagles with the distinctive reverse (back) that was designed by Anthony Paquet. Additionally, the NGC had the Simpson collection Proof 1804 Eagle ($10 gold coin) on display, along with an 1804 Eagle ‘pattern’ that was struck in silver! (Please see my column of July 28.)

At the PCGS tables, there was a simply astounding display of the Peter Miller collection of Proof Half Cents and Proof Large Cents. I spent some time viewing Miller’s early Proof Large Cents. Though I am very tempted to write about them here, the characteristics of these are just too complicated to discuss in a weekly column. Someday, I will write a series on Proof Large Cents. All collectors, however, may see images of Miller’s copper coins in the PCGS registry, which is available online. Before actually purchasing such coins, however, I would strongly recommend consulting an expert in 19th century Proof coins, rather than an expert in die varieties of half cents and large cents, though I would not rule out the possibility that someone could be an expert in both areas.

The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit contained numerous historical items relating to the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America. The largest known gold bar from the era of the California gold rush was featured. Years ago, Adam Crum sold it for a reported price of “$8,000,000.” Other than the private sale of the ‘King of Siam’ Proof set in 2005, a numismatic item has not sold for more than $8,000,000.

To anyone who expressed an interest, the staff at Legacy Rare Coins was delighted to show Prooflike 1857-S Double Eagles ($20 gold coins) that were recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Central America. For more information about the shipwreck and these coins, please see my recent article on Prooflike 1857-S Double Eagles. I admit that I was very curious about these Prooflike San Francisco Mint Double Eagles, which I had never thoroughly examined before, and that Legacy Rare Coins supported my research in this area. (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…)

Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Proof 1804 Eagle, Kellogg $50 gold coin, Half Unions, and an 1854-S Quarter Eagle

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, markets, and the collecting community #11

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

After discussing the Proof 1804 Eagle that has repeatedly sold privately for startling sums, I will discuss a few famous rarities that will be offered in Boston. Indeed, I have discussed other coins in these auctions in a few past columns. There are, though, a startling array of rarities in the upcoming auctions, and I have not yet covered the offerings of a “Proof-60” Kellogg $50 gold coin, two gold-plated Half Unions, and the worst known (though still attractive) 1854-S Quarter Eagle.

I. Proof 1804 $10 Gold Coin

As I have been writing extensively about famous rarities for years, I could hardly resist writing about the Proof 1804 Eagle ($10 gold coin) that was just sold by Laura Sperber to Bob Simpson, who is the leading collector of patterns and has landmark collections in other areas as well. Although the sale price has not been disclosed, it may be fair to assume that the price is between $2.5 million and $7.5 million.

There probably exist four Proof 1804 Eagles, and this one is NGC certified ‘Proof-65 Ultra Cameo.’ Further, this coin has been approved by the CAC. John Albanese, the founder of the CAC, and earlier of the NGC, was involved in enabling Simpson to acquire this coin. In 2007, a coin firm in upstate New York arranged for one of their clients to sell this coin to another one of their clients, for a reported price of “$5 million.” Coincidentally, the owner of this firm is also named Albanese, though he is not related to John.

This same upstate New York Albanese coin firm sold this same exact Proof 1804 Eagle earlier, in 2005, for a price that they reported to be “$2,274,000.” A famous collector, who refers to himself as “TradeDollarNut,” has publicly stated that he was offered this same coin, in 2001, for “$587,500.”

The value of many gold rarities has multiplied since 2001; a five to ten times increase in value is not unprecedented. Consider, as examples, the post-2005 values of many gold rarities that were included in the auctions, in 1999 and 2000, of the Harry Bass collection. It is not unusual for a Bass rarity to be worth multiples now of the price it then realized.

It is also true that this same 1804 Eagle was NGC certified ‘Proof-64 Cameo’ in 2001, or earlier, and remained so certified in 2003 and maybe later than 2003. At some point, it was PCGS graded “Proof-64.” Certainly by 2007, the NGC upgraded it to “Proof-65” with an “Ultra Cameo” designation.

How rare are Proof 1804 Eagles? It seems that there exist four, though it has been argued that there are only three. The Bass-Dannreuther book (Whitman, 2006) states “3 known,” but also indicates that the issue is “R-7+,” which means an estimate of four to six in existence. The “3” may have been a typographical error. The tenth edition of the Judd book (Whitman, 2009), which is the leading text on patterns and related pieces, lists this issue as Rarity-“8,” which means two or three or thought to exist. This same section, however, lists an auction result for a Proof 1804 Eagle that is incorrect. Oddly, the Judd book values a gold Proof 1804 Eagle at “$1,500,000.”

If there are just three, it would have impossible, in 2009 or 2010, for someone to purchase one for $1,500,000. The Eliasberg-Bass Proof 1804 Eagle is impounded in the Harry Bass Core Collection, for at least a long time, maybe forever. The ‘King of Siam’ 1804 Eagle remains in the ‘King of Siam’ Set, as far as I know. If the current owner were to dismantle the set, then the current owner would ask millions for the ‘King of Siam’ Proof 1804 Eagle.

As I just became aware of Legend’s sale of a Proof 1804 Eagle on Tuesday morning, I have not had time to research this issue before this column was posted. I am almost certain, however, that the Baldenhofer Proof 1804 Eagle exists and is different from the Eliasberg-Bass coin.
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Legend Numismatics Adds Proof 1804 Gold and Silver $10 Eagles To Impressive List of Rare Coin Transactions

One of the three known proof 1804 Eagles made on behalf of President Andrew Jackson and a rare 1804 Eagle silver pattern have been acquired by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey and sold to a Texas collector. Both coins will be publicly displayed together for the first time at the upcoming American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money convention in Boston, August 10 – 14, 2010.

“The 1804 proof gold Eagle is a classic American rarity and the silver pattern is an amazing companion to it. Both coins are now part of the incredible collection being assembled by Bob R. Simpson of Texas, a connoisseur of numismatic quality and rarity, and a long-time client and friend,” said Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics (www.LegendCoin.com)

The gold 1804 $10 (Judd-33), graded NGC PF65 Ultra Cameo, was obtained by Legend from a private collector with the assistance of John Albanese of Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC). The silver 1804 $10 (Judd-34), graded NGC PF64, was purchased from Steven L. Contursi, President of Rare Coin Wholesalers in Irvine, California.

Graded NGC PF65 Ultra Cameo, this 1804 proof Eagle (Judd-33) was recently acquired and sold by Legend Numismatics, and now will be displayed at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston, August 10 – 14, 2010. (Photo credit: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)

The coins will be displayed at the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation booth (#704) at the ANA convention (www.WorldsFairOfMoney.com).

“It’s beyond incredible to see these two coins side-by-side. A silver proof 1804 $10 redefines ‘coolness’ in my book, and I’ve handled an awful lot of world-class rarities. The gold 1804 $10 is so sharply struck it looks like a medal, and it’s one of the most beautiful coins I have ever seen,” said Sperber.

This rare 1804 proof silver pattern Eagle, graded NGC PF64 (Judd-34), was recently acquired and sold by Legend Numismatics, and will be displayed at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Boston, August 10 – 14, 2010. (Photo credit: Rare Coin Wholesalers)

The purchase and sale prices were not disclosed for these transactions. The 1804 gold proof Eagle made national headlines in 2007 when it was sold for $5 million, a record price at the time for a certified, encapsulated U.S. gold coin.

Although dated 1804, the coins were struck in 1834 or 1835 with the gold Eagle intended for use in overseas diplomatic gift presentation sets presented on behalf of President Jackson. The pedigree of this coin includes such famous collectors as Waldo Newcomer, former U.S. Treasury Secretary William H. Woodin and Col. E.H.R. Green. It was displayed at the opening reception for the Smithsonian Legendary Coins and Currency exhibit in 2005.

“The preparation of diplomatic presentation sets of United States coins circa 1834-35 prompted the minting of this proof-only edition. As no ten-dollar pieces had been issued since 1804, the Mint Director requested and received several proof examples from dies back-dated to 1804 but prepared for this occasion using technology of the 1830s,” explained David W. Lange, NGC Research Director.
The 1804 gold Eagle and 1804 silver Eagle are listed in the standard reference book, United States Pattern Coins (10th edition) by J. Hewitt Judd, M.D. The gold coin is described on the book’s rarity scale as R8 (two to three examples known) and the silver pattern as H7 (four to six known).

“Mr. Simpson’s patterns collection is unparalleled. Over the years, we’ve helped him assemble a collection that includes such famous rarities as the Amazonian set, a marvelous example of the 1792 silver-center cent (Judd-1) and two quintuple Stellas. His gold Bickford $10 will be displayed as one of the highlights in the Museum Showcase area at the ANA convention in Boston,” said Sperber.

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!

Legend Numismatics acquires the Denali Collection of Patterns and more..

By Laura Sperber as part of the Legend Market Report

Legend has acquired the Denali Collection of Patterns. One of the most comprehensive collections of 2C, 3C, 20C pieces along with 1870 pieces. While we do know of several incredible Pattern collections out there, none are of the scope or size (this collection is OVER 350 pieces). There are many R-7/R-8’s (with the only other coin being in the Simpson Collection). We rank this multimillion dollar Collection second only to our Simpson Collection.

This collection was assembled by a long time friend and customer of Legend. Ironically, he built this collection before we ever started dabbling in Patterns!

The collector is also a true scholar. In fact, since we started working on the acquisition of this set, we have learned MANY things about certain Patterns from him we never knew (like how the Mint tested dipping one side of a coin in silver, or how it made some dies, etc).

There are some monster wicked cool coins we never knew existed even though they are in the Judd book -like 793A, a 2C piece obverse with a 25C Standard silver reverse. WOW! We could go on and on.

ALL of the coins in this incredible collection are graded by PCGS. Grades range from VG 08 to PR67! Due to time restraints, we are hoping to have the coins inventoried by the end of the month (we have another major deal incoming). Our goal is to offer some coins starting at or immediately after the ANA Show.

If you have a Pattern Want list, make sure we have it, or subscribe to our email blasts (we are NOT spammers) to find out when these coins will be available. in many cases, this will be your ONLY chance to acquire a certain Judd number.

THE SIMPSON COLLECTION DUPLICATES-THE HERITAGE SALE

As you may know, Legend is the exclusive dealer for the Simpson Collection. This collection already ranks as one of the greatest EVER assembled. So we’d like to let you know whats happening with the collection.

Legend did indeed place a multimillion dollar consignment of coins from the this incredible collection in the ANA sale. No, Mr. Simpson is not slowing down or selling (you’ll certainly see that by the next few major announcements we’ll make). He actually needed more room! He is building so many sets that his boxes become cluttered. So he allowed us to outright buy a few coins, but his desire was that his duplicates be placed in auction so other collectors have the opportunity to finish their sets. The majority of the coins are UNRESERVED. We can assure you, the quality is all there and then some. His standards are amazingly high. Legend did sell him the majority of what is in the sale. So if you have any questions, please feel free to ask us about any coin. (more…)

Legend Market Report – THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Even though it was very volatile, the first half of 2010 was pretty amazing in the coin market. Gold hit an all time record price in excess of $1,200.00. A new “worlds most expensive coin” was crowned when the 1794 $1 PCGS MS66 sold for $7,850,00.00. We witnessed many coins hit record price levels at auction. And the hobby took several huge steps forward to self police itself (we still have a long way to go in that area). In all, we saw a lot of positive events happening.

THE SECOND HALF

We’re going to step out on a limb with a bold prediction. The second half of 2010 will be the strongest on record barring any major catastrophes or gold suddenly taking a prolonged plunge.

We can say that with total confidence from being a real “insider’ in the marketplace. If you thought that hamburger ad from years ago: “wheres the beef?” was dramatic, then just watch as time goes on and EVERYONE asks, “where are the coins”?. Right now there are many series we could not start or even finish MS64 or higher sets in. Gone are the days when we’d be offered one or two truly GEM Bust halves or rare high grade Morgans at a show. Rare gold? First, you have to wade through all the dreck to find the nice properly graded coins. Even then you won’t find many that are truely rare. Demand is not slowing one bit. The hobbies standards have changed back to the original ones that meant a GEM is a GEM.

To set the momentum, we believe that this years Boston ANA Show will be the BEST SHOW EVER. There has not been one held there since 1982-and that was a great show. Pent up demand in the area sure will help. People forget, back in the last 60’s-late 70’s, Boston had been the heart of numismatics. There are still many great collectors and incredible collections hidden up there. Plus, it seems everyone knows someone who lives there. We have heard of far more people going to attend than last years disaster in LA.

The coin market is actually quite healthy. Supply does NOT exceed demand. And demand is not weak. We think a small problem that does exist (and always has) is the fact no matter how many time you tell people, the coin market is NOT like the stock market. Yes, it is volatile on a short term basis, but you can not expect it do rise 10-15% every year. In reality, coins are a VERY long term hold. Even we have said 5 years, but realistically, its more like 10+ to feel the full effects. Just study the great old time collections. They put coins away for 30+ years and they blew away all other investment returns when they sold. The better the collector, the better the return.

Our optimism is not a case of a dealer hyping the market. In case you haven’t noticed, Legends customer base is affluent and can buck market trends easily, so we do not need to hype anyone or anything for sales. We see what really goes on and we report it to you like it is. The first half of 2010 we unexpectedly had RECORD sales. In June alone we SOLD $10,000,000.00! That’s a real number. In fact, in a few weeks (before the ANA Show) we will be making the first of SEVERAL major announcements concerning major acquisitions or sales we have done recently. If we could find the coins (we’re not even talking about the big game trophy stuff), our sales would be $20,000,000.00 immediately!

GOLD

Geez is this market crazy. The swings gold has taken recently have even stumped the group we call “forever gold bugs” (if gold is up-they say it will never stop going up, if its down, they buy all they can). We have still seen the bottom line of the large players continuing to stay their courses and buy. In the recent Heritage FUN Auction, ALL MS66 CAC $20 Saints sold for $3,750.00-$4,000.00. In fact, ALL CAC gold sold WELL ABOVE the current levels. You know it was not dealers buying the coins (for a fact we know of TWO MAJOR groups who are buying ONLY CAC MS65 or better generic-semi-generic gold). The quality DOES indeed make a huge difference in the case of gold coins. These days its easy to tell why one MS66 Saint is $2,700.00 while the others sell for $3,750.00 or more! Do NOT think for a minute the cheaper one is a bargain-we have a saying, “sometimes cheap is not cheap enough”.
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Simpson Collection of Bickford $10 Pattern Coins to be displayed at Boston ANA

A complete set of 1874 Bickford $10 Pattern coins will be exhibited at the American Numismatic Associations Boston Money Show August 11-14th. 

The set is part of perhaps the most complete collection of US pattern coins ever assembled and include all seven of the  variations attributed according to Judd numbers (US Pattern Coins, Experimental & Trial Pieces by J. Hewitt Judd, Edited by Q. David Bowers), include Judd-1373, one of just two known examples struck in gold.

Texan Bob Simpson is the ultimate numismatic connoisseur, desiring only those coins that meet his exacting standards. He knows what he wants, and nothing less will do. Facilitating his efforts is his longtime numismatic consultant, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics. The old saying, “Know your coins or know your dealer” is particularly apt, as Mr. Simpson knows both, and this relationship has paid off with an epic collection of coins that compares favorably with the great named collections of the past.

Mr. Simpson’s premier passion is United States pattern and trial coins, and his collection of these is unparalleled. Comprising most of the entries found in Dr. J. Hewitt Judd’s standard reference work, United States Pattern Coins, now in its 10th edition, the Simpson Collection is the greatest assemblage of such coins since Judd’s own collection was dispersed some 50 years ago.

The coins in the collection include the following:

The Bickford pattern ten dollar gold pieces, Judd-1373, were not known to numismatists of the 19th century. The design was struck in copper, aluminum, and nickel compositions, as well as gold, with both plain and reeded edges. Examples of the design in copper appeared in various auction catalogs of the period, but even the greatest pattern collections of the era did not include an example of Judd-1373. Robert Coulton Davis published the first important work on U.S. pattern coins in the Coin Collector’s Journal in 1885, where he described both plain and reeded edge varieties of the design in copper, but he was unaware of the strikings in other metals. (more…)

Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics – BACK TO HELL?

THIS ARTICLE SOLELY REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF LAURA SPERBER

At the Baltimore Show I heard many rumors about the PCGS lawsuit. One was great-but also was especially disturbing.

That rumor was that PCGS and some of the “named” defendants in the suit were discussing a possible settlement. That news is terrific! Or is it? I should point out what I heard is ONLY rumor and I have not spoken to anyone from PCGS about it. Legend FULLY supports PCGS in this lawsuit and its efforts to stop coin doctors.

PCGS is absolutely deserving of being refunded with penalty for all the damages these disgusting people have caused to them. A note to promising to cease probably will be included in any settlement. So I started to think, if there should be a settlement where does that leave the rest of us? The others who have been damaged by coin doctors actions with no restitution?

I believe it leaves us right back where we started. The coin doctors will just continue on their merry way. Sure, one small group is down, but the others all got away-with out so much as even a slap on the wrist (assuming there is a settlement). Of course since I had my meeting with my favorite party club of dealers-The PNG, they have issued only one statement and seem to be intent of claiming to try and define what makes up the standard for a coin being doctored (my bet is they will NEVER end the debate). Of course that will have to wait until their next meeting, then the board has to discuss, yada, yada.

EVERYONE MUST TURN ON THE PRESSURE NOW

Collectors, its going to be up to you to make changes apparently. Talk to your dealers. If they do not become vocal about this, before you walk out the door for good, ask what they could possibly be afraid of? How can any dealer not see coin doctoring as a serious crime? Ignoring it will not make the dirt bags who do it stop. Do they really believe this does not affect them? So far I have only seen 3-4 dealers actually speak up. All others seem to be hiding on corners.

Anyone who cares needs to speak up NOW. Keep writing letters to the PNG. Write letters to Coin World. Discuss the subject on the gossip boards. Write the grading services too.
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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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Coin Rarities & Related Topics: Bowers & Merena auction, Proof 1876-CC dime, and $150 million for the CAC

News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community #5

A Weekly Column by Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I will not be discussing the most expensive or the rarest coins that are coming ‘on the auction block’ this week. Rather, I have selected a few that I find to be both newsworthy and particularly interesting. Admittedly, these are expensive. I continue to insist, though, that an understanding of rare coins, and of the values in the coin collecting community, requires knowledge of coins that most collectors cannot afford.

Suppose that this column was geared towards art enthusiasts rather than coin enthusiasts. Would it then make sense to discuss only the paintings that most art collectors could afford? Collectors who cannot afford great and culturally important paintings enjoy learning about them and often learn to apply their knowledge of famous painting to their interpretations of a wide variety of not-so-famous paintings. Likewise, coin enthusiasts, in general, appreciate coins that are great, famous, very rare and/or important to the culture of coin collecting.

Please see my discussions below of the following coins. The 1851-O trime is the only Three Cent Silver issue that was not struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Indeed, it is curious that the New Orleans Mint struck this denomination, as the Branch Mints tended not to manufacture small denomination coins in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Eighth-Dollar is certainly extremely rare and extremely curious. The 1926-S nickel issue is just incredibly difficult to find in MS-65 or MS-66 grade. As I discussed one in last week’s column, I could not resist mentioning another, as B&M will auction it this week in Baltimore. Similarly, I discussed a rare and historically important King James II English gold coin last week and B&M will auction a coin of the same design type this week. Plus, the unique Proof 1876-CC dime is one of the most exciting coins of all.

II. The CAC Surpasses $150 Million Level

It is widely known that the CAC approves (or rejects) submitted coins that are already graded by the PCGS or the NGC. Approved coins receive a green sticker, or, in rare instances, a gold sticker. It is not as widely known that the CAC will make sight unseen commitments to pay competitive prices for CAC approved coins. These are not ‘low ball’ bids. As of June 15, the CAC has purchased $154 million of coins, almost all of which are CAC approved.

The CAC was founded by John Albanese in Oct. 2007. CAC purchases have thus been averaging more than $4.7 million per month. The $150 million level was reached in early June.

Albanese was the sole founder of the Numismatic Guaranty Corp (NGC) in 1987. Around Dec. 1998, he sold his shares in the NGC to Mark Salzberg, who is the current NGC Chairman. (For more discussion of the CAC, please see my articles on CoinFest, Jay Brahin’s Coins, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter, the 20th Century Gold Club, and Dr. Duckor’s quarters.)

Although the CAC has acquired thousands of coins that are valued at under $5000 each, the CAC has approved and acquired some very famous coins. Among others, the Eliasberg 1870-S silver dollar and the finest known, Rogers-Madison 1796 ‘No Stars’ Quarter Eagle ($2½ gold coin) come to my mind.

III. Unique Proof 1876-CC Dime

Laura Sperber, of Legend Numismatics, acquired the unique Proof 1876-CC dime from a New Jersey dealer in early June. On Saturday, June 12, she sold it for an amount in excess of $200,000. It “went into a collection of Proof Seated Dimes,” Sperber reveals. It is certified as Proof-66 by the PCGS and has a sticker of approval from the CAC. (more…)

Phenomenal Simpson Collection of United States Pattern Coins Helps NGC Launch Plus Designation

Many of the coins from this superb collection have received NGC’s new Plus Designation.

Followers of the numismatic scene have already learned of the fabulous Simpson Collection of United States pattern coins, but one remarkable numismatist is a connoisseur of other series, as well. He possesses superb holdings of nearly all United States coin series spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1930s, most of which have been graded and certified by NGC.

Many Simpson Collection coins have received the new Plus () Designation from NGC. Launched on May 25, 2010, the is used to identify coins at the high end of their assigned grade, approaching the quality requirements for the next grade. This new NGC service offering is heralded with the placement of the important Simpson Collection coins on the NGC Registry. Now updated to accommodate graded coins, the NGC Registry is the go-to place to find the rarest and most beautiful coins from around the world. The addition of the Simpson Collection sets only confirms this trend, and users of the NGC Registry will be able to view these remarkable coins for themselves in glorious color.

Texan Bob Simpson is the ultimate numismatic connoisseur, desiring only those coins that meet his exacting standards. He knows what he wants, and nothing less will do. Facilitating his efforts is his longtime numismatic consultant, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics. The old saying, “Know your coins or know your dealer” is particularly apt, as Mr. Simpson knows both, and this relationship has paid off with an epic collection of coins that compares favorably with the great named collections of the past.

Mr. Simpson’s premier passion is United States pattern and trial coins, and his collection of these is unparalleled. Comprising most of the entries found in Dr. J. Hewitt Judd’s standard reference work, United States Pattern Coins, now in its 10th edition, the Simpson Collection is the greatest assemblage of such coins since Judd’s own collection was dispersed some 50 years ago.

Among its amazing highlights is a complete set of the highly coveted stellas, or four-dollar pieces, complete in all types, dates and metals. While perhaps less known to most collectors, his array of early US Mint patterns is of the greatest historic value and rarity. These coins include 1792-dated pieces such as the silver-center cent (J-1), the even more rare example of this coin without a silver center (J-2), the most popular of early federal patterns — the HALF DISME (J-7) and the exceedingly rare DISME in all three varieties (J-9,-10,-11).

Also included are both uniface impressions of Joseph Wright’s famed quarter dollar pattern (J-A1792-1,-2). These coins are seldom offered for sale, as their owners are typically devoted numismatists who cherish their immense historical importance. Such a figure is Bob Simpson. (more…)

Laura Sperber Meets with PNG Board to Discuss Coin Doctoring

The Following is taken from Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics concerning her invitation to meet with the Board of Directors of the Professional Numismatists Guild [ www.pngdealers.com ] on June 2nd in Long Beach, CA., to discuss the issue of “Coin Doctoring” in light of the PCGS Lawsuit filed against 6 coin dealers, three of which are PNG Members.

First, I would like to thank the PNG Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity discuss my grievances direct. They seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, however that is where it ends.

To make sure I am not overreacting, I waited until I was back home to write this. Plus, I wanted to see what the PNG press release had to say. Unfortunately my gut instinct was correct.

THE PNG MEETING I ATTENDED WAS A SLOW MOTION TRAINWRECK. EVERYONE ON BOARD HAD THEIR HANDS OVER THEIR EYES.

Even though the board was attentive, they were highly combative. MULTIPLE times they told me they are a REactive group, not a proactive one. They proved to me with out a doubt they do not have a grasp on the situation and no matter what rhetoric they release, they will do very little about it.

The most damning statement they said: “WE HAVE NEVER HAD A COMPLAINT ABOUT COIN DOCTORING FROM ANYONE”. Ok, so in their eyes there had been no problem? Adding to that, they dwelled on the fact “people knew we were here”. Who the heck is going to complain to them? Collectors had to go to the services to be made whole. Besides, according to the PNG, just having an altered coin is proof of nothing. Still, I freak when I think about how no one at the PNG knew there was this horrible abuse happening-some of it created by their own membership. Talk about denial.

They did ask me what I would do about the 3 members in the lawsuit. Of course I said “suspend them”. They hammered back with “we can’t suspend the members in the lawsuit. Its a complaint. There has been no trial, they are not guilty”. Another member said “we’d love to take action, We can not do so on hearsay”. Unless the PNG learns to stop living in fear of being sued by its members and take the actions it should, they will NEVER be able to effectively control them.

The best one was when the board challenged me. They dragged a name of a coin doctor from me acting like they would take action (stupid me). I told them I saw him put putty on a coin at a show. They charged back: What proof do you have? Do you have photos, what solid proof?” One member wanted me to go start my own lawsuit. Give me a break.

Here is the ultimate proof they do not have grasp of the situation: one member said to me: “You sell puttied coins”. My response,: “so do you”. He failed to understand the problem is with coin doctoring. We do NOT intentionally sell puttied coins-ever, nor does he. Its the coin doctors who fraudulently try and get this crap by the grading services who are the problem. They couldn’t even grasp that-one member said “aren’t the grading services supposed to catch this?.

As the meeting went on, I was called a hypocrite yet also was asked to help them. It ended up exactly how I knew it would-they would have a debate to decide the definition of coin doctoring before moving on. I asked them, “being so quick to take NGC’s money as the preferred grading service, why did they not know any of this and why do they have to debate the definition?”. Their state of denial is unbelievable. These guys are dealers, dealers who do shows, dealers who do retail, how the hell can they not know about coin doctoring? In my opinion, this is far worse than a case of selective retention. (more…)

Commentary: Thoughts on the PCGS Lawsuit Against Coin Doctors

Below is a Hot Topics Article posted on www.LegendCoin.comCoinLink has reproduced it in it’s entirety. This article is the opinion of the author, Laura Sperber.

KUDOS PCGS!

Please, no one pinch me, this is one dream I do not want to end. My sincere congratulations to David Hall and Don Willis for taking the ultimate step in the fight on coin doctors-filing a lawsuit!

For years the situation with coin doctors has only been growing more desperate. The grading services have been fighting them as hard as they could privately. Every time they thought they had a handle, the coin docs just figured out new ways to continue their destruction. This lawsuit is not for glamour, rewards, or a money grab, it was a necessity. PCGS has done the absolute right thing. TO SEE A COPY OF THE SUIT, VISIT www.coinlink.com

LEGEND NUMISMATICS FULLY SUPPORTS THE COMPLAINT AND PLEDGES TO HELP PCGS BECOME VICTORIOUS.

THE DEALER CULTURE

There is a rotten to the core subculture of coin dealers close to these guys who truly believe that it is their right to doctor, recolor, or do whatever they please to coins for a living. These people have little respect and nothing but contempt for the grading services and the public. Its time they learn they are not above the law. I have already spoken to several dealers who making their living cracking out coins. They see no wrong because they do not consider themselves full coin doctors. Much to my shock, they have the attitude that PCGS is wrong and the complaint will be dismissed. WRONG!

Its mind boggling these greedy whores fail to realize is that FRAUD has been committed. One dealer said to me “Its the grading services job to not allow doctored coins to get through”. True. However, it is against the law to try and defraud them by altering the coins they submit. Once this complaint starts progressing, the peripheral players will be exposed. Those are the guys who really have to be sweating right now. They are the ones who quietly sent coins off to these guys to have the work done for them while they look clean. I think you’ll be shocked to see who some of these names are-especially including some well known longtime PNG members. Plus, sooner or later, it probably will be exposed about a few major firms who employ well known coin docs. They will be a tougher fight because they hire them and called them “conservationists or curators”. In the end, they won’t win-the evidence will be too overwhelming.

PCGS has started the fight “right”. They are not just shooting the dark, they gathered the most facts and proof possible then waited for the right opportunity to file the complaint. There never was any secret among major dealers who the real coin doctors are. Dealers like myself were helpless to fight them other than to publicly complain (if you notice few of my fellow dealers ever stood up and spoke out). I could name most docs, I know who a lot of these guys are, however I would have been sued for sure. PCGS can file suit because they have been directly harmed and they have the physical evidence with the proven patterns of deceit these guys followed. It will be interesting to see the defense tactics the defendants will employ. In my opinion, the best they can do will be to deflect and totally deny. Too bad for the docs, facts are facts-no court or jury should rule against a consumer injury by fraud. (more…)

New Weekly Column: Coin Rarities & Related Topics

Coin Rarities & Related Topics #1News and Analysis regarding scarce coins, coin markets, and the coin collecting community

A New Weekly Column By Greg Reynolds

I. Today’s Theme

I maintain that the demand for rarities, while not readily apparent or provable, is very strong, and that reports of minimal supply in 2010 have been overstated. There have been considerably more transactions of rarities, so far in 2010, than even most dealers realize.

Specimen-63 1856-O Double Eagle CACYes, it is true that there are far fewer rarities in auctions during the first six months of 2010 then there were during the first six months of any other year since 2004 or earlier.

The diminishing supply of rarities consigned to major auctions is at the forefront of the ‘news.’Consider that Heritage’s ‘Central States’ convention Platinum Night, on April 29, 2010, contained only a shadow of the offerings in Heritage’s CSNS Platinum Nights in 2009, when the “Joseph Thomas” collection was featured, and 2008, when David Queller’s complete set of silver dollars was offered, including an 1804 that realized $3,737,500! All coin auction firms have experienced declines in consignments of rarities, not just Heritage.

Widely published reports of a dearth of available rarities are not entirely true, at least not in every respect. There is considerable volume in private trading of rarities, more so during the last three months than during the period from Feb. to mid-May 2009. Discussion and examples follow.

II. Introduction to My New Column

Before discussing private sales of rarities, I wish to welcome readers to this inaugural installment of my new column. While my articles tend to focus on SPECIFIC coins, coin issues, collections or auctions, each weekly ‘Rarities & Related Topics’ column will include discussions of several items that may only be loosely connected. This first column will be longer than most subsequent columns. Much has occurred in coin markets since my reports relating to events in Orlando in January. (Click to see Platinum Night review, 1913 Liberty Nickel, or Proof Denver Mint Double Eagle articles.)

I have already written about the coin that has received the most attention since the FUN Convention, the PCGS graded MS-68+ 1901-S quarter. In this column, I become the only analyst reporting on private transactions of rarities so far this year, including Great Rarities. (more…)

The PCGS Las Vegas Invitational Coin Show

Market Report by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics

We were blown away at how many people attended. Dealer wise, the list was impressive. Collector wise, Thursday was a list or who’s who! In our opinion, it was the best attended show so far.

Dealer to dealer was not just strong, it was almost crazy. Our first sale was to the first dealer we saw and it was for $40,000.00! From there it was off to the races. Interestingly, Gold was red hot (especially generics) but soup to nuts coins were right up there too. Better gold did enjoy the strongest demand (things like MS65 $5 Indians, better date $10 Indians, and of course any rare date Saints). Selling was too dealer to dealer was almost too easy.

There were a few dealers who came in to “walk” the room. Our top stealth team seller was there and sold six figures just by walking around! Others were there trying to buy for Want Lists (we had two serious offers on our PCGS $2 1/2 Indian set) . And of course a dealer really wanted to buy our flipped over (sold back home) High Relief PCGS MS65 CAC. We actually stopped our wholesale activity early to keep some coins inventory for the upcoming Long Beach Show!

Selling to collectors at this mini show (there are only about 15 tables) was better than our last Long Beach and Baltimore Shows! The first collector who we saw sat down, looked at our PCGS PR66 CAC Barber Dime set and just wrote the check! After that we sold two two coins for over $10,000.00 each to other collectors.

THE MARKET

As you can expect, Gold has heated up and is back in demand. We did warn you! However, we are not certain this week gold won’t take a short breather. Even if it does not, apparently the telemarkters recieved massive orders and are back out searching for coins ranging from bullion to expensive rarities. We expect ALL rare gold to remain strong (even if spot gold comes down) becuase there is strong demand and practically no supply. It seems many people feel building a GEM Gold Type set is a very acceptable way to own gold and hedge on it (we do agree).

NOTE: When buying better gold-make sure it is CAC’d. It is not so much because of the grading, its because of so many coins being doctored in some way. Legend is an owner of CAC and sells ONLY CAC stickered coins. We made this decision based upon the serious number of bad gold pieces we have seen. Dreck like that you do not want to be stuck owning. We can tell you BOTH David Hall and Mark Salzberg are committed to the war against coin doctors as are the principals of CAC. We just wish more dealers would take a stand against these villians among us who are ruining coins.

We saw very few coins “made” at the show that were not of the generic gold nature. So the supplies of all metals of all rare coins is still slim to non existant! We still urge you to buy when a great coin does become available-even if there is a strong premium involved. There was some dreck in a few dealers boxes, but those dealers will always have more dreck than nice coins as they are price buyers/crackout dealers.

Legend Numismatics Mid May Coin Market Report

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics

We figured not many people would miss us not posting NEWPS after CSNS, but we must have had fifty emails asking us what happened. Fortunately our reason for no NEWPS was all good. Soon we will have a major announcement about another big deal Legend Numismatics completed. This one just had to completed immediately after CSNS ended. So hence we had no time to go through our purchases. We’re back in the office and are up to full steam. Activity at our level of the market is as strong as ever!

WE FIGURED OUT WHERE ALL THE COINS ARE!

We’ve been crying for months that the supply of neat, fresh, and accurately graded coins is virtually non existent. Except for auctions, prices are virtually “stuck in mud” due to a fair level of dreck still floating around and the fact most cool coins are in VERY strong hands (which means no trading).

IT MUST BE THE DRINKING WATER

We started to thinking as to what hoards exist or how big some collections are. We scared ourselves when we realized that in the Dallas/Fort Worth area alone there are TWO (yes, just TWO) collections that are highly active and if combined would be worth in excess of $500,000,000.00! Anyone who knows either collection would not dispute that number. As caretaker of one of the collections, we know it has at least 15 coins valued in excess of $1 million dollars! We wouldn’t even know where to begin counting with the collection on the other side of town (they probably have 25+ coin over $1 million each)!

Its not just the glamour or money that attracts us to these huge collections. If you think about it, for anyone to put that kind of money into a coin collection today, not only are they rich, but they have extreme confidence in the market. Rich people do not throw their money away. BOTH collections contain some of the VERY BEST coins ever minted. Both owners will pay extreme premiums to obtain the classic rarities that fit. We highly doubt any significant pieces from these collections will be on the market again in our lifetime. However if either of these monster collections are ever sold in years to come, the returns would be staggering-even on their short term holdings!

Thinking about other ares in the country, we could not find a pocket anywhere near the size of those two collections. NYC has a few collections we know worth over $25,000,000.00 each (we know of at least $100 million total in NYC), the Midwest we know of one collection worth at least $50,000,000.00, and surprisingly, we do not know of any mega collections worth more than $10,000,000.00 on the West Coast. However, all across the US we know of dozens plus collections worth $1 million to $10 million. That is just amazing that without much effort we can figure where ONE BILLION DOLLARS worth of rare coins are. (more…)

Legend Market Report: The 2010 Central States Coin Show

We were VERY surprised at how the show ended up for us. But then our expectations were small. It took a tremendous effort to make things happen.

Arriving on Tuesday, we immediately did business within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel. Since everyone was scattered around different hotels, activity was limited until set up began. At CSNS they have a PNG Day. So as usual us lesser folk had wait outside while the mighty members of PNG set up. Once allowed in, true to form for PNG days, activity was non existent. Many dealers got spooked fearing the entire show could be lame. We feel very strongly these PNG days add nothing to a show and actually hurt momentum.

Thursday was dealer set up day. Since there had been a full PNG Day and the night before PNG set up, the majority of dealers were ruffled by the fact the CSNS people did not allow any public in until Friday. If you wanted in Thursday, you had to pay $75.00. We heard one angry collector say he’d much rather go tip cows.

However, a funny thing happened during regular dealer set up: activity started to happen. We can’t say there was a rush, but we saw signs of coins selling. By the end of the day, we had done some significant sales and we spoke to others who had seen some life too. When the public was allowed in Friday-there was activity! We were totally surprised at how many collectors did show up Friday. In the morning there was a light buzz. Buying was not aggressive, but you could sell a coin here and there.

The biggest problem Legend had: BUYING. Yes, this is broken record: THERE ARE NO NICE, FRESH, COINS TO BUY! On Friday evening as the show closed, we tallied up our buying on the floor: $93,000.00-of which ONE coin was $50,000.00. Each day dealers would ask each other: did you buy anything? We know this lack of nice coins made many collectors leave the show earlier than they had anticipated.

One huge positive note: dreck was finally being bought! Since the floor was so dry, dealers realized they needed to make a living. So the intelligent soles who knew better lowered yet again the prices of their dreck and made the pieces more attractive. Two of our stealth sales team each sold an expensive coin (over $50,000.00) that we have had in our inventory for a year! We knew this would happen eventually. (more…)

Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?

Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Market Report

THERE ARE NO COOL HIGH QUALITY COINS AROUND

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

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

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

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

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

The Finest $10 Indian Head Eagle Gold Coin Registry Set: The Simpson Collection

The all-time finest set of Indian Head Eagles was among the first coins certified under the new PCGS Secure Plus (http://www.pcgs.com/secureplus.html) system.

Known as “The Simpson Collection” and now added to the popular PCGS Set RegistrySM, the 32-coin set was assembled with the help of Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, New Jersey.

The set includes 18 of the finest known gem mint condition examples of their date and mint with none graded higher. Eleven of those are unique in their top grade including a 1920-S graded PCGS MS67+, the owner’s personal favorite coin in the set.

The set was displayed at the Professional Coin Grading Service booth during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show™ in Fort Worth, Texas, March 25 – 27, 2010. The revolutionary new PCGS Secure Plus system was formally announced there on the first day of the show by David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe, Inc. President, and Don Willis, PCGS President.

“This is the finest $10 Indian set ever assembled,” said David Hall – Co-Founder of PCGS. “The quality and originality of the set are unsurpassed in numismatic history. In my opinion, the 1920-S is the most important $10 Indian in existence.”

The Simpson collection is ranked in the PCGS Set Registry as the All-Time Finest set of gold Indian Head $10 circulation strikes, 1907- 1933 (http://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/alltimeset.aspx?s=71313). It has a weighted grade point average of 66.335 and is 100 percent complete.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural set to be submitted through PCGS Secure Plus. Thirteen of the coins received the ‘+’ designation. Our entire team was blown away by the quality of these coins,” said Willis. (more…)