Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
October 2017 Issue
Strive for Those Win-Win Relationships
Welcome to the October issue. It seems that people are getting a bit more interested in specific ideas and recommendations. In this issue, I’ll try to address a few things that have been brought up that I hope you find interesting.
This month, I had a chance to examine a collection of coins that included most issues in a specific series from 1801 to 1964. Wow, what a neat undertaking. I was asked about my interest in the set and my first question was “from where did you acquire most of the coins?” When I was told from where they were purchased, I said, “It was not for me!” I hated to do it, but the source of acquisition was known as a dumping ground for marginal coins. Imagine that – I couldn’t believe I had to pass.
We try to act as stewards for future collections. I knew right away the degree of over-grading and commercialism that I would see would be a disappointment to both me and the customer. He e-mailed and said he really wanted my opinion and hoped I would help him. If someone needs help, I’m all in and so I said I would examine, critique, and price every coin… which I did. I described and priced everything: all the brilliant circulated bust issues, and all the circulated pieces that were graded and were mostly one full grade off. For six straight hours, I went at it. I came up with a price of just under $75,000 and said that if the coins were more technical for the grade, I would have easily paid well over $100,000.
One of the coins was certified as AU and I graded it VF. He said upfront he was going to get other offers; yet, I knew that going in and I told him that was fine. After a couple of weeks, he e-mailed me and asked if I could stretch almost $3,000. When I considered the hours of work I would have to dedicate to re-grading, a handful I could send to CAC and what I would accept from PCGS as downgrades, I couldn’t stretch. I was thankful for his kind consideration and giving me the ability to have the final opportunity.
I couldn’t believe I had to say no. If the collection were solid and original, I would have been stretching probably to $125,000. Yet, I had to let someone else offer these coins to others. I know that of the 200+ coins in this collection, I could only offer less than twenty to our list of great clients. I just couldn’t stand behind the rest.
The lesson here is on my part – stick with your gut and be nice. I could have used those six hours. On the collectors’ part, establish a relationship with a handful of knowledgeable caring professionals! Anyone can be an order-filler and take one’s money on commercial fodder. A dealer that cares about their clients and industry wants to have a great relationship and sell the best coins. This way, they have a chance to help you get real value for your money and a hopeful opportunity to help you make a profit and sell your coins to other customers that keeps the circle going. In other words, strive for those win-win relationships!
By Warren Mills
I tried last month to establish a relationship with a new dealer. He had some coins that I would have loved to acquire if they met my criteria: #1 original, #2 no damage, and #3 accurate for the grade. This dealer is a long time advertiser in many coin publications. I had never done business with them before. I called the office the first time and no one called me back. I just thought the coins were sold. Next month, the same pieces are in their ad. I called back and spoke to a nice customer representative and told him I was interested in the entire lot, but only if they were original, undamaged, and graded accurately. If not, I didn’t want to waste my time and theirs.
I was assured all the coins were fine. Since we hadn’t done business before, he asked if I would send a check in full and they would refund on any pieces I wanted to return. I gave them references, but I said to myself, “Well, they are Coin World advertisers and I’d love to establish a new relationship,” and so I said “okay.” I sent a check… they sent the coins. I was mortified at what I saw! I tried my best to buy what I could, but I then sent back the rest. Now beforehand, we agreed on a price for each coin. When I relayed to them over the phone what I was keeping and returning, the rep said “fine.” A few days later, they called me and reneged on the pricing because I didn’t keep enough of the coins. Wow, this stuff is still happening!
Renege on your word and misrepresent the product??? I’ll let you know how it works out! Is it a lack of knowledge, ethics, or both?
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.
A Lucky Turn of Events
By Dave Carleton
I want to make a brief comment on an observation I made earlier this month.
A client came in to our office toward the middle of the month. I thought I recognized her and when she reminded me that she had been in here about a year ago, it all came back to me. At that time, she had come in to sell a large assortment of silver-related items --silver rounds, bars and junk (90% pre-1964 circulated coins). The total came to $75,000 dollars and, as I remember, she said that she was raising funds for a project on which she and her husband were about to embark. This time she had 90 ounces of gold to sell and, again, it was an accumulation of a variety of pieces from 1 oz. rounds to 10 oz. bars.
We figured the assortment for approximately $120,000, but we would have to wait to write the check for another 24 hours until our wholesaler tested the larger bars for authenticity as we don’t have the equipment to test those bars that are 10 oz. or larger. She was a little upset because she was hoping to leave with a check in hand that same day. That’s when she told us that her husband’s job had taken them all around the world for the last several years and that the traveling aspect of the job was winding down and they were looking for a nice quiet town in New Hampshire in which to settle.
She apparently had found a “nice little place” and was anxious to put a substantial down payment on it, and that’s why she was in kind of a rush to get the money from the sale of the gold. She had mentioned earlier that they had been accumulating these hard assets for just this purpose. I remember thinking that it probably was a pretty small place based on the town she mentioned and the fact that they had about $195,000 to spend.
At one point our conversation focused on timing and how when you need the money, it seems like the market isn’t cooperating. That’s when it was mentioned that perhaps her selling of the silver last year was a bit premature. A big smile came to her face and she said that sometimes things work out for the best in strange ways. She then said, “Thank goodness for Bitcoins.”
I must have shown a strange look as I asked her what she meant. She told me that last year when she sold the silver that her son talked her and her husband into buying $75,000 worth of bitcoins and that they were now worth $280,000. She was going to use these funds and the money from the sale of the gold to buy the new house.
I know that we delivered a good check to her the next day, but I have no idea if she was able to sell her Bitcoins. I hope everything went well and I can’t help thinking that her son must have demonstrated some pretty good salesmanship to get them to dive into the Cryptocurrency market.
I seem to remember being offered bitcoins about 5 or 6 years ago for $15.00 bucks. Who knew? I think I’ll just keep buying silver. I even like the fact that it’s heavy.
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.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
R.S. posed an interesting question: Warren, I enjoy reading the articles in “The Enthusiast,” but when are you going to come out with specific recommendations about what people should buy?
Thanks for your question, R.S., and the question hit between the eyes! Everyone has different time frames for holding and collecting or investing objectives. It’s hard to know what to say when you don’t know the criteria you are trying to meet. I will try to give a basic idea to coin purchasing success and I hope it will help.
First and foremost, establish a relationship with ethical dealers that have a long standing reputation in the industry. They will guide and help you not only learn about the coins but also help you avoid pitfalls. Then, enjoy the pursuit. Try to buy coins with nice eye-appeal. I don’t mean that you have to become an expert grader - that’s what your dealer will do for you. Just learn the difference between original and dipped or enhanced surfaces.
When you’re not sure, CAC is a good protective area to consider allocating funds. Even though CAC will sticker non-original dipped coins, they will still have meat on the coins and they won’t be totally stripped. Grey Sheet just had a recent article about commercially graded brilliant Morgan Dollars that are white but are over-graded; rest assured, these coins will pull down the prices on Morgan’s in virtually all grades from MS-63 to MS-67. Have the right coins and you will weather the storm.
Try to acquire coins that are under the radar. In all series there are undervalued coins. A good source to determine what is undervalued is to examine pop reports. Look at the coins from the lowest circulated grades to the highest uncirculated grades. There are many dates in all series of coins that have not been exposed that are vastly under-valued. I like Indian Cents, but copper coins have been fully exposed. There are no secrets. The same is true for nickel pieces. Everyone knows how rare certain business strikes are in the Three Cent Nickel series or how rare the True 1880 Shield Nickel is in business strike. However, these coins are exposed.
Examine series of coins that you enjoy! Seated Half Dimes to Seated Halves have many “P,” “S,” and “O” mint issues that are a joke! They are rare and unexposed. The same with gold $2.50, $5, and $10 pieces: there are many “P,” “S,” and “O” mint coins that are under-valued. In the silver series, the “CC” and rarest dates are coins to buy with an objective of set completion but not as much for investment. The same is true for most “CC,” and “C” and “D” mint gold: these coins are exposed, plus there is rampant over-grading and surface alteration. Do some homework on the above series and you could be a huge winner!
I also believe in diversity. The specialist that is a die-hard for one series and more interested in investment return may have to wait for years for their ship to come in. That person may want to collect coins from two or more series that are not exposed. In addition, key dates are coins about which everyone knows. Look for the under-valued coins in a series. You may be able to buy ten or more underexposed coins for the price of one key.
I hope this answer helps, and keep those questions coming.