|May 2017 Issue|
Some Thoughts From Warren
Protecting the interests of our clients sometimes costs us money! I know as a business person, you may read this and be skeptical. I’ll give you an example in a moment.
First, I would like to recommend that you read Joe Presti’s excellent article about consigning a collection to a local auction. The job of the auction house is to acquire consignments to keep the lights on, I get it. They can also give an added incentive by agreeing to rebate some of the commissions or include the nicer coins in a more prominent sale. Recently, a large well established auction house succeeded in getting a nice collection for one of their sales. Good for them. However, it was not all good for the consignor. Why have collectors consign certified bullion coins to an auction? After commissions and fees, the consignors usually receive 15-20% below melt! I feel these firms should have a sense of obligation to tell customers to sell the graded bullion coins outright instead of increasing the commission to the auction house by selling them in an auction.
When we were at the FUN Show in January, a family of four came to our table and asked me what I would pay for eight early Bust coins that were PCGS and NGC graded. I said that I loved two of the coins but the others, even though they were graded, were not original and exhibited varying degrees of cleaning or alteration. I was then told that the two coins I loved were acquired from us at Rare Coins of New Hampshire and that the client was a customer of Dave Carleton’s. I put a price on the two nice coins and told the family that I would put a value on the other pieces just to establish a basal value. I would buy the whole collection but my prices on the other six coins would reflect a price that would allow me to wholesale the unwanted coins. If I lost money on them, so be it, I would have the cream of the collection to retail. I recommended that they keep all eight coins together and offer them as a lot. The two nice coins would make the deal more desirable to others who may look at the coins. I gave them the name of two or three other dealers that are more commercially oriented sellers and told them to take the highest offer. I’m sure I could have convinced them to sell the two coins I liked back to us, but from day one, we feel we have an obligation to protect and help our clients. It’s simply the RCNH way!
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.
Don’t Outsmart Yourself
By Joseph Presti
There was recently a local auction that included some nice Draped Bust $5 along with a host of other coins, bullion and paper money. The local dealer community, as usual, bid up the coins to unrealistic levels because some of the material was fresh and there is a great need for these types of coins. However, when you get through adding the 23% buyer’s fee to some of the prices realized the prices paid were a little top heavy.
So, after the auction, the gossip lines opened up and the dealers started talking. Come to find out a local dealer had bid on the collection two years earlier. Being nosey, I called him to get the scoop on what happened, what he bid for the coins and why he did not get the deal. I have known this dealer since I was 15 years old and he is nothing but a straight shooter so when he tells me something I can take it to the bank.
The story he related is one I have experienced many times in the years I have dealt in rare coins and I may have written about it here as well. A family brought the collection to my friend including the early five dollar coins. He told me that the coins and paper money brought exactly what he offered two years prior! The unknown here is why did the family decide to consign the collection and pay a hefty seller’s commission versus sell it to the dealer? There are several assumptions we can make as to why they would have made this decision. May be they felt that the dealer’s offers were too low or possibly felt that selling at auction gave them access to a wider range of people interested in their coins.
I can almost understand selling the coins at auction but what I don’t understand is why anyone would want to sell K-Rands and 100 oz. silver bars at auction and pay a 15-23% seller’s fee. My friend told me that he only made an offer on the coins and paper money, not the bullion. Since the prices realized were equal to his offer, the consignors netted 15-23% less because of the commission charged by the auction house. In this case that amounted to $20,000-$30,000 less than if they had accepted the dealer’s offer two years prior. I don’t even want to consider the bath they took on the bullion.
There is a lot of information available especially on the internet, so much so that it only leads to confusion. Realize what you don’t know and do not try to determine what your coins are worth unless you have specialized knowledge. More important decide on a dealer you trust for an honest evaluation and offer. If you are not going to trust the dealer you bring your coins to please don’t waste their time or yours. As a seller, you have to allow the buyer to be able to make some money when they buy your collection, which is why they are in business.
For The Love Of Coins
By Dave Carleton
I love coins, always have and always will. I love to hold them, look at them and wonder where they’ve been. I often wonder how a “key” date got so worn before someone identified it for what it was. I like the people that collect coins and the people I work with who share my passion for coins. Along with the physical aspects of coin collecting, I also enjoy reading the history surrounding all the different types of coins. There are many really great numismatic authors out there who have done incredible research into the many aspects of our hobby. I’d like to mention an article that I just read and that I thought was not only educational but a pleasant story as well.
The April issue of Coin World is honoring the 225th anniversary of Congress’s establishment of the Federal Mint. The cover feature is written by a very prolific numismatic author Joel Orosz. I enjoy his writings because of both the depth of research and his ability to weave an interesting story in a very understanding and entertaining way. The article entitled “Jefferson’s morning walk” dispels, right off the bat, a belief that I had and I believe many other collectors have had, that America’s first coinage, the Half Dismes, were made from some Silverware donated by Martha Washington. Mr. Orosz’s research shows from Thomas Jefferson’s personal memorandum book, states that on the morning of Wednesday July 11th 1792 Jefferson withdrew $75.00 worth of Silver from his personal bank account to be coined into 1500 Half Dismes. Two days later on Friday, Jefferson picked up the coins from the subcontractor who made them as the Federal Mint was still under construction and was not ready for coin production. According to the story, Jefferson left Philadelphia with his daughter that Friday to travel the 250 miles to their home at Monticello. He spent many of the Half Dismes traveling and when Congress convened in the fall, all the coins had been distributed.
This was just the latest article that got me excited about coins and their history. There are plenty of excellent numismatic writers with great sources for stories like this. The Numismatist, the monthly publication from the ANA will certainly have an article that will appeal to just about every collector. I’m going to read one right now by David Lange.
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.
My Experiences With The 1936 & 1937
Proof Washington Quarters
By Paul V. Battaglia
Well, my experiences have been rather few and far between, but educational most of all. My points, on which I shall elaborate further, are the instances where I encountered not only original specimens but ATTRACTIVE and ORIGINAL pieces.
I have seen very few of these dates in original condition. Of those that were original they were technically correct, yet too dark in coloration. The few that were not very dark possessed splotchy, non-descript, occluded neutral shades that were plainly ugly-blah. Or, I saw specimens resembling lighthouse beams which, as we know, have been stripped of their natural toning. I have to surmise the reason for dipping out those pieces was primarily due to the coin being ugly and/or very dark. “Totally stripped out white” as well as “dark environmental damage”…is one superior to the other? Two schools of thought exist on that subject. Personally, I would pass on BOTH CHOICES and wait patiently for the right coin. I generally pass on coins that have been turned into permanently damaged specimens.
Also, I have seen a minute number in both dates that were both original coupled with natural hues. I wish that I had not passed on those very few in years gone by. Readers will now ask, “OK, Paul, why the fuss and WHY so much attention about a coin within a proof set that garners little or the least attention??” Granted, the Lincoln Cent, the Indian Head Nickel, the Winged Liberty Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar all have their huge following. I am certain an unknown number of collectors also back these quarters, but I have yet to be cognizant of them….honest. Are there so few of these proof quarter dates rating “pretty” that nobody cares?
My conclusion and my opinion: both dates are highly underrated, possibly forgotten and deemed to be an overall insignificance in numismatics. My choice for an upcoming rarity is the 1937, not the 1936 which, of course, has proven it to be the ultimate acquisition proof set in so-called contemporary proof sets. Those sets I have seen most often have a rather poor looking or blast white quarter. The strength and following on all the other pieces greatly outweighs the quarter’s visuals…unfortunate, but true.
NUMBERS….yup, they are on-line but they do need to be seen and reflected upon by readers and collectors just the same.
1936 original Proof Quarter mintage: 3,837
1937 original Proof Quarter mintage: 5,542
1936 PCGS PR pops total in all grades: 969
1937 PCGS PR pops total in all grades: 974
1936 PCGS pops in PR65: 251: PR66: 164; PR67: 25, PR68: 15 and PR69: 1
1937 PCGS pops in PR65: 289; PR66: 274 and PR:67: 104
PCGS Proof Cameo: None
PCGS Proof Deep Cameo: None
NGC Proof Cameo: None
NGC Proof Ultra Cameo: None
NGC 1936: No CAC designation
PCGS 1936: 65: 2 and 66: 6
NGC 1937: No CAC designation
PCGS 1937: 65: 1; 66: 11 and 67: 12
(Please note that there are currently no varieties of these dates in proof, but both dates, in business strikes, have a single doubled variety that is extremely rare…start looking through junk bags of quarters when that privilege is extended to you!!!)
There, done with what I consider to be pertinent numbers, but correct me if I left out something of importance, please. Keep in mind that all population figures have been skewed for many years. Obviously, these numbers became incorrect through cracking out otherwise already viewed-recorded coins to simulate a hitherto “new sub”, re-coloring, re-surfacing and submitting said coins through creative outlets.
All over the board as to be expected with higher/highest numbers to be construed as probably? Being SIGHT-SEEN QUALITY due to that coin’s 1) Immediate, positive visual impact on the viewer because the coin required no more than the classic “2 second look” 2) Hopefully, FULL ORIGINALITY and 3) Affordability. The last is often the killer, the stopper, the decider, which has nullified so many purchases. After all, we do have budgets. Therefore, I am not going to come on like some arrogant fat cat and have you throw your budget out the window. Should you come across either date in the series, try, try, try and try to work out a layaway plan. These two dates represent the rarest quarters in the 1936-1942 (inclusive) proof set series. Settle only for those coins that possess a combination of original/naturally attractive toning, are graded and pass the SIGHT-SEEN test! Ask me about this TEST!
CAC green and gold stickered specimens receive higher or highest attention as a general, not conclusive, rule of thumb.
Above all, enjoy the hunt and thrill of knowledge.
P.S. “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” – Dave Willis
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.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
This question was actually posed to me by a long-time client of ours over the phone.
Please let me set the stage. We assisted the client with the assemblage of an Indian cent set. He originally wanted a raw set and then decided to get them all graded by PCGS. Our raw coins certified fabulously. Many of the others he acquired from other dealers came back as cleaned!
Now, he is onto Washington quarters. As an enthusiastic collector, he wants the coins sooner rather than later. We try to help everyone acquire the strictest graded coins in the market place which puts us at a disadvantage. Patience is truly a virtue in the coin business. The client had me look at other dealers’ certified coins and I have not seen any that I thought weren’t over-graded or commercially graded at best. Recently, I looked at three Washington quarters for him from a large retailer. Two of the coins were graded MS-65 and the other was MS-66. The NGC-65 had a foreign substance like tape residue on the obverse and the PCGS-65 had a long wipe across the upper one-third of the obverse. The PCGS-66, had a wipe on the cheek.
Here is the question at last,
Warren, I looked at the short set of B.U. Washington quarters that I bought from you and many of the coins have small marks and maybe a slight wipe. Why are you rejecting coins like these that are certified for me?
Thanks G.D. for the question.
Brilliant uncirculated coins in sets will normally grade MS-61 to MS-64. Sure the odd AU-58 or MS-65 may turn up in a nice B.U. set, however, I expect a large difference between an MS-62 or MS-63 quality coin when compared to an MS-65 or MS-66. In my opinion, a wipe is inexcusable on a MS-65 or better coin, period. I know that Washington quarters, aside from a handful of dates, are very affordable and inexpensive in MS-65 or better. However, it does not justify over-grading a coin because it is inexpensive. If you settle for commercial quality, you will never learn how to grade technically. I’m sorry that, your Indian cent set was not a lesson learned, but we will not compromise our standards and sell coins any other way. If the coin is not good enough to put in RCNH inventory, it is not good enough for our clients.
Next year at the F.U.N. Show, feel free to bring any coins you wish to our table and I will be happy to help you understand the nuances of certain grades. If a new grading service replaces PCGS or NGC, you’ll be glad to have strictly graded coins.