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All Posts Tagged With: "rare coins"

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.


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!


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”.

14 Fundamental Reasons Why You Should Be Investing Your Money . . . In Money

Concentrate on popular‚ rare‚ historically significant quality coins as part of an overall investment plan in good times and bad…and history suggests that the rewards are great. There are numerous reasons why the demand for rare coins is growing among collectors and investors alike. Here are fourteen of the most fundamental:

Fundamental Reason #1: Diversification

Investment professionals recommend ten to twenty percent (and sometimes higher) of an investment portfolio be devoted to tangible assets in order to maintain diversification‚ reduce overall risk and create a hedge against inflation. Rare coin investing‚ and owning hard assets‚ should be one of the foundational elements of any portfolio.

Fundamental Reason #2: Stability

There is little history of dramatic sudden price shifts with truly rare and popular rare coins. This is partially due to the huge collector base…an estimated 35‚000‚000 and new ones entering the market all the time…who create a steady‚ consistent demand for the coin market. And‚ since a collector/investor takes physical possession of his or her coins‚ there are none of the destabilizing forces that exist in other markets.

Fundamental Reason #3: Rarity

It is estimated that only 2% of all the rare U.S. coins ever minted still exist. This existing supply is consistently being reduced as collectors/investors buy more‚ hold them longer and take them off the market. By the year 2015‚ experts believe that there will be some 100‚000‚000 coin collectors/investors worldwide‚ or nearly three times the number that exist today. Since there will be no more new coins available for these new collectors/investors‚ prices should continue to rise to meet the increased demand—a basic supply/demand fundamental.

Fundamental Reason #4: History

Since coins have commemorated heroes‚ great achievements and significant events throughout history‚ a collector/investor is essentially purchasing a piece of history AND a piece of art. (more…)

Is There Something Seriously Wrong With The Coin Market ?

Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Market Report


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
  • 3CS 1867-1869 MS 64+
  • 3CN MS67 better dates
  • 5C MS67 Liberty Nickels
  • 25C GEM Lib Seated MS65+
  • 50C 19D+21S MS65+
  • 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…)

Highlights from Heritage’s Upcoming Ft. Worth US Coin Auction

World class collections are the name of the game at Heritage Auction Galleries March 25-28 Signature® ANA U.S. Coin Auction, part of the week-long happenings at the ANA National Money Show in Fort Worth, just down the highway a spell from Heritage headquarters in Dallas. Highlights include commemorative gold, cents large and small, and quarter eagles.

The most impressive grouping of the auction is the commemorative gold, which features no less than seven 1915-S Panama-Pacific fifty dollar gold coins, three round and four octagonal. In most auctions, one of these California commemorative coins would be a star highlight. With seven of them in this auction it’s more like an ensemble cast.

Two featured collections account for six of the seven coins. The Cliff Street Collection has two sets of the coins, with a pair of round $50s in lots 1842 and 1848 and their octagonal counterparts as lots 1843 and 1849.

The Larry V. Cunningham Collection features a round example graded MS65 NGC, CAC as lot 1854, and lot 1855 is its octagonal twin, graded MS63 NGC, CAC. Last but not least is lot 1856, a final octagonal example graded MS63 by PCGS.

Lot 1854 Detail: 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific 50 Dollar Round MS65 NGC. CAC. Like modern commemoratives celebrating the Olympic Games, many issues in the classic commemorative series mark events happening close to the year of issue, rather than anniversaries. Several early series, including the World’s Columbian Exposition coins, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollars, and the Lewis and Clark Exposition gold dollars, blur the edges of the category, since their respective expositions themselves honored anniversaries of 100 or 400 years.

By contrast, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 celebrated strictly recent events. The rebuilding of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake figured into the choice of San Francisco to host the World’s Fair, as did the construction of the Panama Canal, begun in 1904 and completed in 1914. Still, both developments were fresh in the minds of San Francisco’s residents by the time the Exposition opened its doors, particularly the rebuilding; that theme is echoed the name of the “Nine Years After” parade, held at the Exposition in mid-April, a reminder of both all that was lost and how far the city had come.

Bonhams First Coin Auction Had Areas of Incredible Strength, Most Notably in US Gold

The December 3rd Coins and Banknotes sale, presented by Bonhams New York, was the first of its kind to be held at the auctioneers’ New York showrooms, numismatics from across the globe eagerly awaited the opportunity to bid on over 400 exceptional lots.

bonhams_panpac_50_120809“I am delighted to have been able to organize and hold our inaugural auction at Bonhams New York,” commented Director of Coins and Banknotes, Paul Song. “Although some parts of the rare coin and banknote market were selective, we had areas of incredible strength, most notably in the US gold, where we realized prices never seen before for US regular issue gold coinage of the 19th and 20th century. We look forward to our next auction in the spring of 2010”.

Clearly one of the most coveted lots in the sale was a 1915-S $50 Panama-Pacific Round (pictured, above). Considered one of the most desirable of Classic Era commemorative coins, this is the largest official coin produced by the United States Mint and features the helmeted head of Minerva on the obverse and an owl on the reverse. With an amazingly limited number of defects, both sides are bathed in a shimmering velvet bloom. The rarity and importance of this issue, as well as the beautiful quality, resulted in a final price of $54,990.

Also drawing collectors was an 1851-O $20. Although coined in a large mintage of 315,000 pieces, the vast majority of these disappeared long ago. Only a mere handful exist in high grades, and perhaps just 100 or so are of as fine a quality of the present example. Touching off a round of intense bidding, this fine and seldom found piece drew the impressive price of $12, 285. (more…)

Proof 1884-CC Morgan Dollar Headlines Heritage’s Houston Auction

Classics of American coinage ready for Heritage’s final Signature® Numismatic Auction of the year, Dec. 3

1884-CC_dollar_ha_111309A rare and highly desirable branch mint proof 1884-CC Morgan dollar, graded PR66 Cameo by NGC, leads the list of highlights for Heritage Auctions’ December 2009 Signature® U.S. Coin Auction, to be held in Houston, TX. It is estimated at $140,000+.

Though the Carson City Mint had neither the personnel nor the resources to strike proof coins on a par with those produced at the main Philadelphia Mint, it did turn out a small number of special pieces, or branch mint proofs.

“In the second half of the 19th century Philadelphia struck virtually all proof coins,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Only a handful of proofs were struck at branch mints such as Carson City – some with official authorization and some without. While this branch mint proof dollar does not appear in any official records, it is clearly unlike any Morgan dollar struck for circulation.”

Saint-Gaudens double eagles can be found near the top of the list for almost any U.S. Coin auction, and the Heritage Auctions Houston event is no exception. Of the double eagles to be offered in Houston is a 1925-D double eagle graded MS65 by PCGS, a gorgeous specimen that shows why artistry is as greatly desired as rarity. It is estimated at $70,000+.

“Like other D-mint and S-mint issues of the time, the 1925-D was almost completely wiped out in the 1930s,” said Rohan. “Any 1925-D double eagle is a desirable coin, and a Gem survivor such as this is of particular importance.”

What Does An Original Early Gold Coin Look Like?

By Doug Winter –

As you no doubt know, I am pretty obsessive when it comes to “original” gold coins. I like coins that have an appearance that suggests that they haven’t been fooled with. I recently bought and sold an early gold coin that, in my opinion, was the epitome of an original piece and I’d like to share a photo and some descriptive information. The coin in question was an 1814/3 half eagle graded MS62 by NGC and later approved by CAC.

1814-4_half_eagle_original_color_comparisonThere are a few things about the color of this coin that are a give-away for its originality. The first is the glow that this particular hue of coppery-orange shows. It is the result of over a century’s worth of toning and mellowing of the surfaces. This sort of color just can’t be reproduced by artificial means. When chemicals are applied to gold coins in an attempt to recapture a reddish-orange hue, the result is usually a shade that I refer to as “Cheeto Orange.” In other words, the orange is just too intense to look real and there is no gradiation or seperation of the hues.

You may also note that the coloration is different in hue in terms of configuration and intensity on the obverse and reverse. On this early half eagle, there are areas in the obverse fields that are dark and somewhat discolored. I’m not exactly certain what caused this but if I had to guess it would be contact with another source like a coin album or some other sort of sulphur-impregated display. Most recolored coins look similar on the obverse and reverse.

Another thing that I have noticed on original early gold coins is that the color seems to become deeper towards the edges. This isn’t always the case but this color scheme is hard to reproduce and many of the coin doctors who play with early gold are not sophisticated enough to know that this is the sort of color that develops of a long period of storage in an album. If you pay particular attention to the reverse of this coin, you will note that the golden-orange hue at the center changes to a deeper reddish-orange at the border. If you experienced at looking at early gold you will recognize this pattern as being “right.” (more…)

Deal Shopping and Rare Coin Prices

By Doug Winter –

I had an interesting experience at the Long Beach show that I thought was worth sharing. A new-to-the-market collector/investor came up to my table and asked to see my “best coins.” I was happy to share them with him and pulled out a gorgeous 1802 quarter eagle in PCGS AU58 and a lovely 1798/7 eagle in PCGS AU55. After some back-and-forth negotiating, I could see this deal was not going to get done. The reasons why it didn’t are what I want to briefly discuss.

1864-S_Eagle_winter_091509_saleNow let me say in advance that the individual that I was dealing with is younger than I am, better looking than I am, smarter than I am and without a doubt much, much richer than I am. He’s someone whose family has had tremendous success investing in other areas and he is a recent convert to the rare coin market. But I think he’s approaching coins from a totally wrong perspective……………

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Assembling a “Back-Up” Coin Collection

By Doug Winter –

backup_saintI’ve recently had a few collectors ask me a similar question; one that has given me some pause to think. Basically, these are people whose main collecting focus is an expensive, very challenging series. Due to lack of availability (of funds), their purchases may be very infrequent. But they still love coins and the thrill of the hunt. What, they’ve asked me, can they play with as their “back-up” set?

The parameters that they’ve given me for this back-up set have been pretty consistent. They want a group of coins that are fun to collect, reasonably affordable, interesting but not wildly esoteric and different enough that they won’t compete against their primary set(s). Most importantly, they don’t want their back-up set to grow so expensive that it depletes funds from their primary set.

My answer(s) has typically been based on the needs and wants of the collector. I’d like to share a few suggestions that I have given focusing on the ideas that appear to have been popular as opposed to ideas of mine that have gone over like the proverbial lead balloon.

1. Dahlonega half eagles in EF and lower AU grades.

With the exception of two dates (the 1842-D Large Date and the 1861-D), the Dahlonega half eagle set does not include any major rarities or extremely expensive coins. Every issue can be purchased in the EF-AU range for $5,000 or less and there are no “stoppers” that will prove frustrating for the collector. The series is reasonably short (just 26 coins) and the coins themselves are highly collectible. One of the best things about this series is that if a collector gets tired of these coins after buying just a few, he will have little downside risk. I’d say the key to collecting a set of Dahlonega half eagles is to be patient and to wait for choice, original coins.

2. No Motto Philadelphia Eagles.

This is a set that the collector might not want to actually form a date set but it is a great area to dabble in. There are lots of very interesting coins that are priced in the $1,000-3,000 and what’s important to remember is that, generically, just about any still-round ten dollar gold piece from this era is worth in the area of $700. If you become seriously interested in this series, you can pursue the rarities which include the 1844, 1858, 1863 and 1865. If you’d rather just dabble, buy coins like the nice AU50 1857 eagle I just sold off my website for less than $2,000 (it was a great value, in my opinion).

Rare Coin Markets in August 2009, Part 1

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

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

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

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

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