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All Posts Tagged With: "Steve Roach"

Three Big Rarities Offered at FUN Auctions

By Steve Roach – First published in the Jan. 3, 2011, Special Edition of Coin World – Rare Coin Market Report

For the past few years, arguably the main annual event for the rare coin market has been the massive Heritage auctions at the Florida United Numismatists convention, a major coin show that will take place during the first week of the new year in Tampa Jan. 6 to 9.

The multiday auctions and the packed bourse floor at FUN set the tone of the market for at least the year’s early months, as dealers reposition their inventories, and collectors make their first buys of the year.

Some expensive coins were sold at the 2010 FUN Heritage auction, including $3,737,500 realized for one of finest known examples of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coin, tying the third-place record for the largest sum ever paid at auction for a single U.S. coin.

Two other million-dollar coins traded hands in the 2010 Heritage FUN auctions: a 1927-D Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle graded Mint State 66, which sold for $1,495,000, and an 1874 Dana Bickford gold $10 eagle pattern in Proof 65 deep cameo, which sold above expectations for $1,265,000.

In total, more than $36.5 million in coins traded hands at the 2010 Heritage official FUN coin auctions.

While the new year’s first auction lacks an obvious million-dollar superstar on the level of the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece, three exceptional coins could prove dazzling.

Perhaps the most noteworthy is an 1852-O Coronet $20 double eagle graded MS-65. It is the finest known example of the date and the catalog description states that it is “quite likely the finest New Orleans twenty of any date.”

In 2009, a Specimen 63 1856-O Coronet double eagle realized $1,437,500. In addition, 1850 to 1866 New Orleans Mint double eagles enjoy a healthy popularity.

Since the offered 1852-O Coronet double eagle has been off the market for more than 30 years, it’s anyone’s guess as to what this grand condition rarity will bring.

Another New Orleans Mint gold coin may also soar – the finest collectible 1909-O Indian Head $5 half eagle, graded MS-66. The lot description counts 19 examples graded MS-64 to MS-66 and the issue is the key to the series. The offered example last sold publicly in May 1998 as part of the Thaine B. Price Collection for $374,000, where it was described by auctioneer David Akers as “the finest collectible example of the rarest issue in the entire series.” (more…)

Low Mintages To Create New Modern Rarities

By Steve RoachThe Rare Coin Market Report Blog

The U.S. Mint’s Dec. 1 announcement that it is placing tighter than expected mintage limits on the new 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion quarter dollars may result in the creation of some new modern rarities.

The large (3 inches in diameter) and undoubtedly impressive coins will surely be in hot demand, especially with such limited supplies.

The bullion issues are made available to authorized dealers who then resell the coins to the market. The mintages are strictly limited to not more than 33,000 of each design – a sharp decline from the 100,000 previously announced. The Mint will charge its distributors $9.75 per coin above the price of silver.

Uncirculated examples will be offered for sale directly to collectors during the first quarter of 2011. With mintage limits of 27,000 per coin, the 2010 issues seem destined to be modern classics, as the coins relate to circulating coins, are likely affordable to many collectors, and are simply big and flashy.

Of course, the long-term demand is largely dependent on whether collectors take to the large silver coins and seek to build sets.

Time will tell about the long-term popularity of these coins, but in the meantime, the lower-than-expected mintages should provide great action for speculators and spectators alike.

The American Eagle silver bullion coins provide a comparison point, having as key to the series the Proof 1995-W American Eagle with a mintage of 30,125 pieces. Examples of that issue regularly sell for $3,000.

Collectors’ difficulties in acquiring Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver bullion coins, with strict 100-coin per household ordering limits, have already created a robust aftermarket for these coins.

On eBay, ready-to-ship examples have been regularly selling for $55.

At least one major market-maker is offering $49 a coin for 100-coin confirmed orders of Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins. At an issue price of $45.95, this allows a profit of nearly $300 for dealers, and provides the market-maker a large group of coins to market during the holidays.

Rare Slabs Can Carry Big Premiums!

By Steve Roach- First published in the December 6, 2010, issue of Coin World

Some collectors wouldn’t agree with the statement, “buy the coin, not the slab,” because to them, the slab is just as important as the coin.

In particular, some collectors have acquired a taste for Numismatic Guaranty Corp. “black” holders.

NGC was formed in 1987 and these holders were used for the first several months of operation, roughly from September through November 1987.

They are similar in shape to today’s NGC slabs, but differ in that the insert securing the coin is black, and the white insert with the coin’s identifying information is on the side that displays the reverse, where the coin seems upside down.

The obverse in black holders is displayed on the side with the NGC stamped logo, which for current holders is on the back of the slab.

Few of these holders remain today. Estimates on the number of surviving black holders range from 35 to 200, and they are collected as novel relics of the early days of third-party coin grading.

Occasionally they turn up and trade at auction.

At a Nov. 14 eBay auction, a New Jersey seller offered a 1924 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle in an NGC Mint State 62 “black” slab. (Pictured, image courtesy of Danielle’s, on eBay as onionsavenged)

It sold for an astonishing $3,805. In comparison, one major dealer is selling current-holder NGC MS-62 double eagles for $1,600 and MS-66 coins for $2,850.

While grading was perhaps more conservative back in the early days of NGC, and the seller said the coin “looks like a MS64,” the huge premium must be attributed more to the holder than to the coin.

Nine bidders competed for the coin, with the underbidder dropping out at $3,755. The seller set the starting bid at $2,750 – a price nearly comparable to a current holder NGC MS-66 piece.

While the black holders were flattering to brilliant silver coins or lustrous Mint State gold coins, the holders did little to flatter dark coins and copper, and the holder was retired at the end of 1987.

There is even a 420-page book on slabs by Michael Schmidt, Third Party Grading/Certification Services, that covers more than 80 companies that produced slabs and 200 varieties of normal production slabs.

Higher premiums don’t seem to hinder demand for Silver American Eagle Coins

By Steve Roach – the Rare Coin Market ReportCoin World

While bullion markets continue their wild fluctuations, demand for American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coins remains vibrant.

In October, the United States Mint increased the premium charged to its authorized purchasers for American Eagle silver bullion coins from $1.50 to $2 per coin. The premium was increased in 2009 from $1.40 to $1.50 per coin and in 2008 from $1.25 to $1.40 per coin.

While Proof American Eagle silver coins may be purchased directly from the Mint, the Mint sells the silver bullion coins only to dealers in minimum 25,000-coin shipments.

However, the premium increase seems to have had no noticeable impact on demand, as the Mint has sold more than 30 million silver American Eagles thus far in 2010, eclipsing 2009’s sales record of 28,766,500 pieces.

Surely silver hitting 30-year highs including a flirtation with $29 earlier in November has helped keep demand for the attractive and easily portable silver American Eagles robust. Demand for the coins throughout the holiday gift-giving season will mean that 2010 sales figures will continue to climb.

Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins went on sale Nov. 19, priced at $45.95, with a 100-coin household limit.

The Mint’s Web site already warns customers of possible ordering delays on Nov. 19, due to the deluge of customers who are likely to order in light of “unusually high demand.”

Until Proof 2010-W coins enter the marketplace, wholesalers are paying up to $57 for earlier Proof American Eagle silver coins in original Mint packaging.

Grading service population reports show that 2010 American Eagle silver bullion coins are extremely well-produced. Of the 44,160 graded by Professional Coin Grading Service so far this year, a whopping 36,470 pieces have received Mint State 70 grades. Currently PCGS MS-70 2010 silver American Eagles are selling in online auctions for $60 to $100, while certified MS-69 representatives can be found for around $35 and uncertified examples are seen at $30.

In large quantities, 2010 American Eagle silver bullion coins are available from wholesale dealers at silver spot price plus $2.60 per coin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold Dominates Coin Market as Records Fall

By Steve Roach
First published in the Nov. 1, 2010, issue of Coin World

Gold is currently the engine that is driving the rare coin market.

It seems that Coin World’s Market Analysis of late has been alternating between gold one week and everything else the next week. However, an emphasis on gold is appropriate as the market has never seen gold hit the levels that it is currently hitting.

On Oct. 11, the price of gold hit a record London PM fix of $1,351 an ounce and at one point during the day hovered at $1,360.

On Oct. 12, the banking investment firm Goldman Sachs raised its gold price forecasts to $1,400, $1,525 and $1,650 for three-, six- and 12-month horizons, citing falling interest rates and a slowdown of the U.S. economic recovery.

Other investment firms are similarly bullish on the prospects of gold to continue rising in value.

Gold is up nearly 25 percent in 2010, and if trends continue, gold will be heading for its tenth consecutive annual gain.

The U.S. Mint’s release of Proof 2010-W American Eagle gold coins in early October has taken pressure off the secondary market for earlier 1-ounce issues.

At an issue price of $1,585, the 2010 1-ounce coins are trading at the same level as older issues in the wholesale markets, where several dealers are paying up to $1,600 an ounce for coins available for immediate shipment to fill orders from wholesalers who still have customers demanding these coins for inclusion in Individual Retirement Accounts.

As of Oct. 12, the Mint’s Web site posts an expected delivery date of Oct. 27 for new orders of Proof 2010-W gold American Eagles.

The recent announcement that the Mint will produce Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins has also cooled off the market for earlier coins tremendously.

Immediately after the news about the Proof 2010-W silver coins broke, market makers reduced their buy prices for Proof silver American Eagles from $55 to $45, in line with the Mint’s $45.95 price of the Proof 2010-W coins when they go on sale Nov. 19 at noon with a household limit of 100.

The Mint has not given any indication of how many Proof 2010-W American Eagles silver coins may be produced.

Gold’s astounding ride

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report Blog
First published in the Oct. 18, 2010, issue of Coin World

Gold continues to astound as it broke the $1,300 ounce level for the first time on Sept. 28, closing in New York at $1,306.60 an ounce.

The next day, gold hit a high of $1,313.20 before closing at $1,308.50.

In a nice contrast to the previous week’s House Subcommittee hearings focused on fighting fraud in the sale of gold coins, the Sept. 29 Wall Street Journal featured a front-page story that was overwhelmingly positive about gold’s potential to top $1,500 next year.

It focused on investors’ growing desire to hold actual gold in the form of coins and bars.

Reports by numerous analysts and banks seem to share a bullish view for gold, evidenced by a Sept. 28 report by Deutsche Bank that stated that $1,600 an ounce gold would not be surprising for 2012 and that gold would not be in a “bubble” until hitting $2,000.

The recent bull run-up in gold prices has been attributed to many things: continued uncertainty in the real estate market; concern about the value of currencies, especially China’s; low consumer confidence in the United States; and general concern about large central banks’ ability to control the money supply adequately.

But to collectors, one thing is clear: gold coins are much more expensive than they were in 2000, in large part due to the price of gold rising 353 percent over that time.

The increased threat of intrusive federal regulations in the coin industry, such as the recently introduced Coin and Precious Metal Disclosure Act (H.R. 6149) have done little to dampen the public’s appetite for gold coins.

But dealers have responded vocally to fight multiple pieces of legislation that could affect the coin market, forming political action committees aimed at fostering better communication between the coin community and legislators.

Many dealers reported that gold was the lone bright spot in the market at the recently completed Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectables Expo, where several market-makers elected to stay home, instead budgeting to attend the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Philadelphia Expo, another major show, scheduled for the following weekend.

Coin Market: Full Band Roosevelt Dimes

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

The market for full bands Roosevelt dimes is one dominated by a handful of specialists who are willing to spend big for the right coin.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. calls circulation-strike Roosevelt dimes with both the upper and lower pair of bands on the torch showing full separation, having a complete and unbroken line dividing the bands, “full torch” (abbreviated as FT), while Professional Coin Grading Service calls them “full bands” (FB).

Both services began to recognize the designation in 2003 and the popularity of registry sets has fueled four-figure prices for condition rarities.

For example, on Sept. 6, a 1953-S Roosevelt dime graded Mint State 68 full torch by NGC realized $2,600 during an auction conducted by Teletrade.

Earlier this year, a 1951-D Roosevelt dime graded MS-68 full bands by PCGS (pictured above) sold for a very strong $4,600 while a stunning and beautifully toned 1949-D PCGS MS-68 full bands from the same consignor realized $3,105 at a Heritage Auction Galleries sale.

The market for high-end Roosevelt dimes is not entirely dependent on a full bands/torch designation.

At a Sept. 9, 2009, Heritage auction, a 1963-D Roosevelt dime graded MS-68 (without a full bands designation) realized a whopping $5,175.

The market for full bands Roosevelt dimes is the most robust for the series’ silver issues, produced from 1949 to 1964, although the occasional copper-nickel clad issue can soar, such as a NGC MS-68 full torch 1965 dime that brought $805 at a March 25 Heritage auction.

In the PCGS Registry, 137 registered sets are listed, consisting of the 48 Roosevelt dime circulation strikes from 1949 to 1964, with the top four sets 100 percent complete.

Many of the issues are unknown in grades finer than MS-67 full bands and the current No. 1 set contains each issue in MS-67 full bands and finer, with several MS-67+ full bands and a single MS-68 FB.

The owner of the No. 1 set has posted pictures of all but two of the coins in his set, named “close to perfect,” online. Browsing through them gives an introduction to the many different looks that Mint State Roosevelt dimes can have.

Fall’s Busy Coin Show Schedule

By Steve Roach – Rare Coin Market Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Gold Record Set; But Generic Gold Coins Still Lag

By Steve Roach – First published in the October 4, 2010, issue of Coin World

With all this interest in gold and the mainstream attention it is getting, one would think that generic gold coins would be blazing hot. Yet, many of the most popular issues trade at heavy discounts to earlier in the year when gold was trading at the $1,100 an ounce level.

The coins that investors typically flock to during bullion run-ups, Saint Gaudens $20 double eagles and Coronet double eagles, are trading at substantial discounts to what they were trading for at the start of the year.

For example, one major wholesale market maker at the close of 2009 was selling certified Saint Gaudens double eagles for $1,660 in Mint State 62, $1,820 in MS-63, $2,070 in MS-64 and $2,580 in MS-65. Today, that same dealer is selling the coins at $1,550, $1,590, $1,660 and $2,080 in the same grades respectively.

Other gold series are experiencing declines at the wholesale generic level, as market makers are not taking large positions in these coins, but $10 eagles and double eagles have suffered the worst declines.

Earlier this year one dealer was selling Indian Head eagles in MS-64 for $2,470; today the same dealer is selling them at $1,580.

In general, the only generic gold coins that have gained value this year are circulated coins, which are dependent on bullion prices for value.

In light of rapidly increasing gold values, one wonders how much longer these discounts will persist.

The recent announcement that the Mint intends to release Proof 2010-W American Eagle gold coins has put a further chill on the market for earlier Proof American Eagle gold coins.

In the Aug. 30 Market Analysis, I reported that major market-maker buy prices for the earlier coins with original Mint packaging had fallen to $1,750 an ounce, down from $2,000 an ounce.

As of Sept. 16, many of the market-makers have dropped out of the market and the few who remain are buying the earlier coins for as low as $1,575 an ounce, with the highest price being a small order at $1,600 an ounce.

Visit Steve’s Rare Coin Market Report Blog at http://coinmarketreport.blogspot.com/

Prices for Proof American Eagle Gold Coins Tumble

By Steve Roach – First published in the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of Coin World

Proof American Eagle gold coins have provided some sparks in the marketplace this past year, but the fast fall in prices over the past several weeks serves as a reminder that what goes up usually comes down.

Some major buyers have stopped buying these and prices have fallen sharply.

For some smaller dealers who were stockpiling the coins in anticipation of continued demand, the change in the market means they have lost substantial money, for now, as the coins are now worth substantially less than what the dealers paid for them.

During July, several large dealers were paying between $1,950 and $2,000 per ounce for Proof American Eagle gold coins in original Mint packaging – the inner and outer boxes, original capsules and original certificate of authenticity with the same year as the coins.

For example, on July 14 a major wholesaler was paying $2,025 per ounce; the dealer’s price gradually declined to $1,900 July 26. Then on July 27 the dealer’s buy price went down to $1,850. On July 29 in the morning the dealer’s buy price was $1,830 and by the afternoon it went to $1,800. On Aug. 3, the price hit $1,750 and then, with orders filled, that dealer stopped buying.

Incidentally, the price of gold on July 26 was $1,189 per ounce and the price on Aug. 3 was $1,184, meaning that the drop in demand was not directly related to the bullion market.

On Aug. 6, when gold increased to $1,205 per ounce, one dealer offered $1,650 per ounce for coins with original packaging, and for coins without the packaging, the price dropped sharply to $1,400 per ounce.

If those who are closest to the market are not buying at the high levels that have characterized these Proof issues for the last year, are they doing this because they know something that we at Coin World don’t know?

On Aug. 6, the U.S. Mint told Coin World that no decision has been made as to whether Proof 2010-W American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins would be struck.

If the U.S. Mint releases Proof American Eagle gold bullion coins in 2010, supplies will increase and less pressure will be placed on the current supply, likely ending the bull market for these issues.

Mr. Roach maintains a website/blog titled The Rare Coin Market Report