News Article

Welcome to the Winter Edition of The Rare Coin Enthusiast

Let me apologize for being so late with this edition of The Enthusiast.  It seems like when collections come in for sale the quality is lower than ever, but the quantity of coins is greater than ever. Years ago, I could break down a decent collection in a few hours. Today, these bulk collections are taking days and days to sort and price.  It’s a lot of work, but we’re happy to have the opportunity to evaluate these collections.

I have also been asked once again to participate in the latest “Rosen Advisory Crystal Ball Survey”.  This annual survey is the most anticipated issue of the year due to the hard-hitting questions and exceptional numismatic luminaries that participate.  When completed, I will ask Maurice when I can post the questions and answers on our website, so our readers can get an insight into what is happening in the market and what knowledgeable dealers are thinking.  This will be my 20th time being asked to contribute and it is always appreciated.  Maurice knows I can get a little excited about some of the problems I see in the industry and he is kind enough to mellow out some of my responses.

I had an interesting situation happen with one of my customers recently.  They went to the bank to send us a wire and the bank would not send it!  They compromised and sent us a bank check.  I have no idea for the reasoning behind this since we have used the same bank for 30 years.  The customer’s money is in the bank and they could not send it the way they wanted.  I’m not sure if this could be a weird harbinger of things to come in the banking industry, but if it were me, I would have cancelled my accounts immediately and gone to a different bank or credit union.  It’s a little odd and scary too!  This customer had been a long-time customer of the bank.  

Disappointment upon disappointment abounds with the promotion of the 2019 Reverse Proof Silver Eagle.  Once again, dealers show their disregard for customers and do their best to make as much money as possible with no regard for the client’s future.  This coin was issued at $65.99.  I’ve heard of some of the first issued coins being offered for $15,000!  Don’t look at this as a bargain if someone offers you one of these coins for $2,000-$3,000.  Remember the promotion for the gold Kennedy ¾ ounce coins?   Similar scenario, dealers paid people to stand in line to buy these limited mintage issues.  They sold for thousands of dollars and now they are trading close to melt!  I know the mintages were different, 30,000 coins for the Silver Eagle and 73,000 for the Gold Kennedy, but always keep in mind who makes the money on these modern low mintage issues, the promotors!

When I go to major shows, I am asked to view auction lots for customers and look for some scarce coins on want lists.  At the Baltimore Show, I was asked to view three, six-figure coins for a customer.  I thought two of the coins were horribly over-graded and one was decent to bid on.  It may seem idiotic to miss out on commissions for six-figure coins by telling customers that they are not worth bidding on, but it’s the truth.  If you need a rare coin for your collection, I can find it.  In Baltimore, I looked at multiple 1895 Proof Morgan Dollars and 1916 Standing Liberty Quarters.  All PCGS and NGC graded, not one had original surfaces.  I understand that dealers will always blame the grading services when they sell the bottom of the barrel coins in holders.  Aren’t you paying the dealers to represent your best interest?  CAC has proven that there is a high-end for grade and low-end for grade.  Most dealers could care less, they will get the money and run.  Educate the customer.  Take a stance to clean up the problem coins in the business, don’t leave it up to the grading services.  The problem is that there are plenty of six-figure coins in the marketplace that are mistakes.  It’s not just two, three or four figure coins.  I’ve told many people that were buying six to seven-figures worth of coins that they were being taken advantage of, upon review of their collection.  Then they would send the coins in to CAC and get a 2-5% success rate, and they’re right back to buying from the same dealers that took advantage of them to start with.  Amazing!

One well known author and specialist in the field of copper coins helped a mutual client of ours assemble a complete set of raw coins.  The client decided after the set was completed to send his coins to PCGS.  The coins he bought from us did great and graded exactly as we sold them, since we guarantee our raw coins to grade as sold.  The coins he bought from the so-called authority came back mostly as cleaned!  The customer asked him what gives and the “expert” responded that the customer should have told him he did not want cleaned coins!

CAC coins are not the be all and end all.  I see many CAC coins that have no business having a sticker on them.  Always buy the coin not the holder.  But, if you are opposed to learning anything about coins and don’t trust a dealer to be truthful with you, then CAC is your best option.  However, not all CAC coins are solid or original for the grade.  I feel that CAC is particularly weak on circulated type.  Be careful of old cleanings that have toned back over.  Buy coins with eye-appeal.  A dingy dark CAC coin is still a dingy dark coin.  A dipped CAC coin is still a coin that could change in the holder and I’ve seen it happen.  Some dealers carry no inventory and buy to order, is it because they have no faith in the industry?  Watch out for just anything with a CAC sticker ending up in your collection, just so they can fill an order.  The concept is great, but the coins themselves in many instances may not be.