RCNH Monthly Newsletter: July 2017 Issue
Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
A Newsletter By:
July 2017 Issue
By Warren Mills
Ah, summertime… but the livin’ ain’t easy for a coin dealer. However, it’s a great time for an astute buyer. Long Beach was two weeks ago and it was very slow, with limited availability for nice coins. It’s the same old song and dance… get the music theme to this article! Now is the time to play this up to your advantage. When the market is slower and thoughts are diverted to summer vacations and/or travel or just the temperature outside, it’s a big buying opportunity. If you see a nice coin, don’t hesitate to buy it now.
I can’t remember the last time this happened, but on June 19th, we added 25 new nice coins to our inventory. As soon as they came up on our site, a dealer bought eight of them at our full asking price! This is a reflection of two things. First, the market is starving for fresh original coins. Second, when the price is fair and the coins are nice, don’t let a great piece pass you buy! A knowledgeable buyer will always be there and have an interest in a great coin.
We looked at many dealers’ coins at Long Beach, but there weren’t too many exceptional coins to be had. There was the odd six-figured rarity but a noted lack of $1,000 to $10,000 strictly graded coins. We did acquire a very nice 1914-S $10 Indian in MS-64 and a handful of large size gold pieces, but not many. I did see a group of gold pieces that were all CAC’d, but the price levels at which they were offered was almost for the next higher grade. Again, astute purchasing has a lot to do with value consideration, too!
I have no problem stretching for a nice coin, particularly if there is a nice price spread to the next grade. As an example, if I find an exceptional $2,500 bid piece and the coin is high-end, but the next grade up is $9,000, I will stretch to between $3,000 and $3,500 for a corker. However, I won’t go to $4,000 or more. I’ll look for better value unless it is a silver piece with great color or a copper coin that is labeled as red and brown but nearly is full red.
Old dealer and personal friend, Charlie Browne, is teaching the advanced grading class at the ANA Summer Seminar. He asked me if he could come in to pick out some of our coins for the class. I used to always let the ANA have a group of our coins for the summer classes, but sometimes it would take over a month to get our coins back after classes had ended! I said for their lack of consideration, I would not do it again after four years of this happening. However, Charlie said they really need nice coins for the advanced class and could I help them out. I said sure, so he came in and picked out 20 coins for the advanced grading course. And you know what was really nice about it is that Charlie said he would personally be sure our coins got back to us right away, and he was very complimentary about how nice our coins are. If you don’t know, Charlie was a long time PCGS graded and finalizer.
Try to make that your goal with your collection… to buy coins that impress the most knowledgeable numismatists.
Partner and owner of Rare Coins of New Hampshire, Inc. since June, 1990 and a full time coin dealer since 1979. Warren is a full member of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a life member of the American Numismatic Association. He was selected by the Rosen Numismatic Advisory as one of the ten leading numismatists in the country for twelve consecutive years. He was selected by PCGS and written up in their newsletter as handling and submitting some of the nicest coins they have ever seen.
My hopes for the future are being restored
By Dave Carleton
I got a call a couple of days ago from a lady that wanted to make an appointment for her and her nephew. She reminded me that she and her nephew had been in before and that her nephew had requested that she bring him in again. It all came back to me as she reminded me of a $10 Indian I showed him last year. She said that he was totally enamored with the coin and was hoping that we still had it so he could check it out some more. She usually buys him a few coins because as it turns out she has brought him here on his Birthday for the last two years and this will be his third visit on his 11th Birthday. I told her that the $10 Indian she was referring to had been placed and that the only affordable one I had right now was a 1915 PCGS AU-55 for $750. She said that was way out of her price range for now but it would definitely be a consideration in a couple of years on his 13th Birthday.
They arrived right on time and I was immediately flattered when I was told that he specifically wanted to work with me. He had his portable strong box with a cipher lock and when he opened it I complimented him on the many new acquisitions he had since last year. He wanted an evaluation of his collection, which I was happy to do. I think we’ve got it straight now that the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars are 90% Silver and the ones minted from 1965 through 1970 are 40% Silver and the Bicentennial Halves are just copper nickel. He had quite a few Bicentennial coins that had been given as gifts because a lot of the older folks saved them at the time because they were different. His Aunt bought him a couple of coins last year and he was particularly interested in their current value. The first was an 1896 Indian cent PCGS MS-62 BN which he paid $55.00 and we would purchase it for $50.00. The second was a real nice 1889-S Morgan PCGS AU-55 CAC which his Aunt paid $165.00 and we would repurchase it for $135.00. He was OK with the evaluation as he understands that there is a mark up on the purchase price of the coin and that it takes time for the coin to appreciate to a profit position. He also understands that there are many other forces that affect coin prices like the fluctuations in the Gold and Silver markets.
It was at this point , because I was so impressed with his enthusiasm, that I asked him if I could interview him for an article I was about to write for this column. He was happy to oblige. I asked him how he got interested in coins and he said that one of his Uncles has a coin collection and he showed it to him one day and he loved it, so his Uncle gave him a few coins , and that was all it took to get him on the Numismatic path. I asked him what he expected from a coin dealer and he said that he wanted the dealer to educate him and share some coin knowledge and not just try to make a sale and that was why he wanted to come to our company. Apparently he was not impressed with some other places his Aunt has taken him. I asked what area in Numismatics interested him the most and he said that small coins were his favorite like Indian cents and Lincolns and that Quarter Dollars were probably his favorite series. Then he said something that really struck me. He said that he was done with the Disney coins and the fancy packaged sets and that he wanted to focus on coins that would appreciate over time. I asked what he would do with his collection years from now if it had appreciated significantly and he looked at me in a strange way like I had asked a stupid question and said “I’d give them to my kids”…that’s coming from an eleven year old. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with this young gentleman, and how my faith in some of the youth has been reinstated just by meeting with this young man.
In closing, I had assembled a few coins in anticipation of our meeting. The first was an 1853 Arrows and Rays Seated Quarter in Fine for $35.00 which he jumped on because it was a one year type and because it was a Quarter. An 1883 No Cents Liberty Nickel in MS-63 for $29.00 which he liked because it was such a short run and he liked the history of the “Racketeer Nickel”. The last coin he wanted, that his Aunt purchased, was a 1942 Mercury Dime PCGS MS65FB for $35.00. He almost didn’t want it because “it was too shiny”. Then he saw the reverse toning and wanted it. He told me that he didn’t like flashy brilliant coins because they looked too new and he just likes old coins that are Original. That was music to my ears and like I mentioned earlier, I am so happy to see that there are some real good young collectors coming along.
He did say or should I say whispered to his Aunt, something like” what are we going to do when he’s not around “. His Aunt told me what he said right after he said it and that he was referring to me being dead. I said that I was hoping to stick around at least until his thirteenth Birthday.
I just want to say to anyone that’s out there trading coins to treat these young collectors with respect and answer their questions (they’ve got to start somewhere). These kids are the future of our hobby and the way I see it …the future looks pretty good.
David Carleton, a New Hampshire native was introduced to coin collecting by his father and Grandfather in the 50’s. Gold bullion speculation dominated the 70’s culminating in 1980 when focus on Numismatics returned. He became a life member of the ANA , met Warren Mills (his coin Guru) and they cofounded RCNH in 1990.
THE NEED AND THE ALLURE FOR FRESH COINS
is a plain FACT.
Paul V. Battaglia
Yes, yes, Paul….we’ve all heard this from you, Warren and the rest of the guys at RCNH. The weekly sheets tout it most admirably as well. The major auction houses report their sell-through percentages with the so-called exorbitant prices on one or two of their multiple date/mint mark coins as quite probably being the “sight-seen” specimens and price realized to boot. The CCE clearly lists activity in all categories. Every show has its report with exceptional coins being mentioned and the price another dealer or customer paid.
Yesterday afternoon, Monday the 19th of June, was when Warren passed around a modest number of coins for us to review. I must admit they were as diverse group as I have ever seen in a month of Sundays. Every coin was CAC Green which did not surprise me as our batting average on our coins is between 85 – 90%. Yes, the coins were all captivating and fetching, but that was not at all a surprise either. The real surprise came in the form of a well-known national dealer who, after having reviewed our newps, stepped up to the plate and purchased seven (7) pieces at my regular retail level without quibbling, whining or hesitation. This man is well-known, a gentleman and KNOWS REAL COINS through and through. He thanked me for including him in my BCC email to my customers and is eager for future pieces we acquire.
Obviously, I will not mention his name. I will only state that when someone of his stature and notoriety snaps up our material, at FULL RETAIL, in this market, in this global economy and with such a scarcity of cash among most people out there, well then, REAL COINS, like tide and time, transcend mortal cares and all the parlance that sees only the surface of this life instead of its heart.
Carpe diem et praeoccupemus!
Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA. He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country. Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990. He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.
The Value of a Superior Coin
The 2018 Red Book was delivered to us last week. Over the weekend I started reading the introduction to the Red Book once again. On the first page of “How to Use This Book”, there is a brief paragraph that reads as follows:
“Those who edit, contribute to, and publish this book advocate the collecting of coins for pleasure and educational benefits. A secondary consideration is that of investment, the profits from which are usually realized over the long term based on careful purchases.”
Recently, a 1799 Bust Dollar was acquired for our inventory. The grade: XF45 in a PCGS holder with a green CAC sticker. There was immediate interest in the coin and it has been sold. I was able spend some time examining it and saw that there remained traces of the original surface in the hair on the obverse. The obverse also showed evidence of being a later die state with some remarkable die cracks. Warren attributed it as a rare Die State IV.
The reverse is free of major hits and has no die cracks. The obverse has an overall subtle gold toning; it is a remarkable coin for one that is circulated and is 218 years old.
We all agreed that this was a considerably above average coin with its condition, color and lack of tampering. It is a common date, but not at all common in this condition.
Third Party grading service price guides provide average retail prices for coins. The key words are “average” and “guide”. The Red Book provides “average” retail prices, as the book states, “approximately two months prior to publication”. It is June of 2017 and the 2018 Red Book has just now been delivered to my desk. The 2018 Red Book will be in use until approximately one year from now with prices established in April 2017: not exactly current, especially for coins in high demand. Those who follow the grey sheet are comparing average wholesale prices to market prices. The publications are guides and do not reflect, in real time, an active market. I certainly do not mean to denigrate the services provided by guides; they are very useful for the information provided, coin details, images, manufacturing data, varieties and pricing trends. I make use of them all every day.
From my perspective, it is a treat to be able work with and examine examples like this remarkable 1799 Bust dollar. For some it is an opportunity to obtain a beautiful piece of American coin making history, like obtaining a work of art. The Philadelphia mint had been in operation for just 6 years and silver dollars were going to be discontinued four years later by Jefferson in 1803 after a brief minting period of only 10 years, 1794 to 1803; for most collectors, the 1794 might as well be made of unobtainium.
Then, what is a fair price for such an above average coin: plus 10%, 20%? Coins do not just appear in our inventory. Each coin is selected, cherry- picked, among hundreds of coins that are searched at shows, from collections and from estates. An efficient search takes time, patience-the result of many decades of experience, as well as careful attention to RCNH’s ‘Prime Directive’ – make every effort to buy and offer to our clients original surface, untampered with coins.
Lou Roten - adjunct instructor emeritus - mathematics / physics, Franklin Pierce University; environmental scientist; fiddler; life-long interest in collecting coins and stamps with some interruptions; very interested in the evolution of the coin making process.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
I have always enjoyed collecting coins and, at one point, you helped me to assemble a very highly ranked registry set of U.S. gold type issues. Why was the $20 Liberty in MS-66 so hard to find? I looked at a piece here and there that I didn’t think deserved the grade, but you then found me a real “corker.” It just seems that with so many years and high mintages, it should have been an easy piece to put into my set. Even after all of these years, I still haven’t seen one at a show or auction that I’d consider a true 66, except for yours. Yet, $20 Saint Gaudens are all over the place. Most are over-graded, but at a show I seem to always find a real beauty. L.M.
This is an excellent question, which I’ll paraphrase as “why are MS-66 $20 Libs so hard to find, yet MS-66 and even 67 Saint Gaudens are readily available?”
There are a few reasons why $20 Libs are so much harder to find above gem or MS-65 grades. Keep in mind that it gets even harder when you are looking at a strictly graded MS-66 as opposed to a commercially graded 66. To refresh our readers’ memories, a commercial 66 is a coin that may have nice eye-appeal but falls short of the true technical grade. It may fall short for a number of reasons; too many marks, altered surfaces, hidden hairlines, etc.
For the entire series, PCGS has graded 193 Type I $20’s in MS-66 with 188 accounted for from the 1857-S hoard date. There are also 14 in 67 with 12 from the 1857-S hoards. There is only one MS-66 Type II and one MS-67 Type II. The Type II’s are truly rare! Now the Type III may seem like a lot of coins, but factor in all the dates, not to mention resubmissions, which is a critical factor to determine rarity, and you are dealing with a scarce grade. The Type III in MS-66 has a pop of 243 for all dates; 10 in MS-66+, 10 in MS-67, and one lone 67+. The 1904 accounts for 200 in MS-66 with eight in MS-66+ and two in 67. Even accounting for hoard dates, the total current PCGS pop is 437 in MS-66, 25 in MS-67 and one 67+.
Now let’s look at CAC pops. For the Type I, there are 66 in MS-66 and six in MS-67. Sixty-four are the 1857-S hoard and five of the 67’s are 57-S’, too! The Type II has a CAC pop of two with one in 67. In addition, the Type III has a pop of 45 in MS-66 and one in MS-67. So, the total CAC pop - including hoard dates - is only 113 in 66 and eight in MS-67. CAC also takes both PCGS and NGC coins into consideration. The possibility of resubs distorting pops for CAC is also very remote.
As you can see, MS-66 and MS-67 $20 Libs are scarce to rare and if we eliminate the 57-S and 1904 dates, they are rare to very rare. For a quick comparison, PCGS has graded 33,042 Saints in MS-66, 878 in MS-66+, 1252 in MS-67, 15 in MS-67+, 109 in MS-68 and 11 in MS-69.
So why are $20 Lib’s so much rarer? First, is the design… look how little detail is on the coin’s surface. Aside from the hair on Miss Liberty on the obverse and the lettering and date, you have a large area
of open flat surfaces that make it impossible to not see marks of all sizes; the coin’s large size made them subject to abrasion. In addition, it was a common practice in the 1800’s and probably later to take bags of large size gold coins and throw them off the roof of buildings or beat the bags with coal shovels. When the bags were shaken, small flakes of chips of gold would slip to the bottom of the bags and when the bags were cut from the bottom, the coin count was correct but these chips and flakes could be pocketed and accumulated and taken for assay and, viola, instant money. Yet, imagine the abrasions on the coins… ouch!
The economic times were different when the $20 Libs were circulating. Aside from the odd bank holding, most coins were being used in commerce. When the Saint started to be struck in 1907, the mint vault and banks did not need as many coins for commerce. More people were using paper money and then came the roaring 20’s. Everyone was pretty flush and large coins became impractical to carry around. Then when Roosevelt started recalling gold, many bags were sent to Europe. I had the opportunity to work with large companies in the late 70s and early 80s that tapped into and are still tapping into these European U.S. gold hoards; almost all of the 20’s that come back to our shores are Saints.
Bottom line, true gem 20 Libs in MS-65 or better are great coins. Even 1904’s are neat in true gem. For the more knowledgeable buyers, I would try to stick with a non-1904 in MS-65. However, I would not be opposed to a wicked MS-66 if strict for the grade. If the budget allows, a real MS-67 $20 Lib is a sight to see. For protection and maximum demand, try to stick with a CAC example. However, I would avoid at all costs the 1857-S $20’s. Many of those sea-salvaged coins had to be treated to remove detritus and who knows how many are still out there. When you compare the pops of $20 Libs to Saints, they seem like no brainers to me!
Thanks for your question, L.M., and please keep your questions coming. If anyone would prefer for me to answer your questions privately, I would be happy to do so.