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The 2018 Baltimore Show
By Warren Mills
Welcome to the April issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast. I recently attended the Whitman Coin Show in Baltimore. Many flights were cancelled due to inclement weather, but I was lucky enough to make it to the show. About 15% of the dealers weren’t able to fly in, so the tables weren’t full. I’m not sure why, but it worked as a plus it seems, because we were able to pick up a fair amount of coins. Activity was brisk with many aggressive buyers. If sellers were realistic with their prices, coins sold. We filled many want lists and anything really expensive sold immediately.
I had about twenty-five auction lots to check for customers, to see if the coins were worthy of placing bids on. About half of the coins were fine, with a couple of very P.Q. examples. The coins we labeled as the choicest pieces brought incredibly strong prices. One example that comes to mind was a very fresh, lustrous and original 1925-D Saint Gaudens in MS-64 PCGS CAC. My bid was $23,000 plus the 20% buyer’s fee which would mean that the price to me would be $27,600. I did not label the coin as an upgrade, but it was a very fresh and lustrous example. Could it 64+ on its attributes? I guess so, but it really was just a very nice 64. I felt it was worthy of a premium bid due to the fact that a knowledgeable buyer would recognize the true value of the coin. The Greysheet bid is $13,500, CCE high bid is $11,500, the high CAC bid is $18,000 and the PCGS Retail Price Guide is $17,000. When you look at the numbers, it seems that $27,600 is absurd. Then look at the CAC wholesale bid and compare it to the PCGS Retail Price Guide! Why the discrepancy? For the most part, the price guide reflects a coin that may be low end to average for the grade at best! Also, certain denominations may have price guide numbers that are way too low, way too high or close to accurate numbers. At best, you have a rough retail price for a low end coin to mid range coin. On rarer issues, which seldom come onto the market, you have to go by your gut. This coin was so fresh and original, but not an upgrade in my opinion, that I felt was worthy of a premium bid. It finally sold, including the buyer’s premium, for over $32,000. The CCE bid in MS-65 is $50,000 and the CAC bid in MS-65 is $100,000. In this business, the most knowledgeable buyers are setting the prices. Also, look at the differences between CAC and non-CAC issues for the same coin in the same grade! It really is astonishing.
Public attendance at the show was so-so, but those people that came were there with a purpose to buy. Overall, auction prices for the nicest coins were super strong. Demand at the show was strong and if things really break right we could be in the beginning of a resurgence in the coin market. If people gain a better understanding of the difference between low-end and high-end coins for the grade, watch out!
Finally, Lou spoke to a knowledgeable buyer last week. He said he will complete his sets with coins that may not be CAC’d and CAC them later. To me, this is puzzling. It’s a good strategy if everything you buy is at a cheap price and then it CACs. If however, you are paying high prices for non-CAC coins and they don’t work at CAC, you are taking a giant risk. I would say it’s not worth it.
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.
Is CAC Worth The Money?
By Joe Presti
Are you skeptical of CAC? Well, we were cautious of CAC when they first started 10 years ago. After all, we have seen a lot of new numismatic enterprises come and go over the years. So before we fully embraced CAC, we wanted to see what the product looked like and judge if they were “real.”
We are glad to say that after a short period of time we were convinced that CAC was the real thing by offering an extra layer of protection for anyone buying coins. Not that we questioned our credentials and ability to grade coins, but our goal is to always minimize the risk to our clients. So if we can sell coins that are top end for the grade, we will do it and have done it since our inception. Even after 10 years of CAC’s existence, we still hear an occasional dealer say that it is a scam, a collector just doesn’t believe in it or that someone really doesn’t want to spend the $14 to submit their coin. Ridiculous.
At the recent Baltimore Coin Convention, we looked at 17 lots of gold coins for potential inventory or client acquisition. Some we chose to bid on, others we did not. The coins were all CAC stickered and ranged from $2.50 Liberty to $20 Saints in grades from MS-62 to MS-65. Nothing extremely rare, but some common dates to scarcer coins were bid on. The PCGS Price Guide, which is basically a retail price sheet, lists the coins anywhere from $1,900 to $17,000 each.
In the end, the coins all sold for more than we could justify paying for. Since we have an obligation to our clients to provide nice accurately graded coins, we also feel obligated to provide good value. And the final selling prices of these coins exceeded what we felt was good value. The reasons could vary from a collector wanting to fill an empty spot in their collection, to a dealer feeling that the coin is an upgrade shot.
You will notice that I have not mentioned the Coin Dealer Newsletter (Greysheet) in my discussion. That is simple, you cannot buy accurately graded coins at Greysheet levels, and if you think you can you are fooling yourself. I just wish that the publishers of the Greysheet would recognize this and not be so reluctant about raising bid levels.
When the auction was over, the coins we wanted to bid on had a Greysheet bid total of $118,920, a PCGS Price Guide total of $145,950 and sold for $221,700. That represents a premium of 52% over the PCGS Price Guide and a whopping 86% over the Greysheet. I will leave it to you, is CAC worth the premium? There is a reason CAC coins consistently bring higher and sometimes much higher prices than non-CAC stickered coins, overall they are generally better coins.
If you think I have salted this article by cherry picking only the coins with the biggest discrepancy, then please do your own research. Go to any auction, pick any series and compare auction prices realized for the same coin, same grade, CAC and non-CAC. Then let me know the results.
If you are interested in having your coins submitted to CAC, we will be happy to do that for you at our cost. We will even sit with you, examine your coins and advise which coins we feel are worthy of submission. As always if you have coins to sell please, please, please think of RCNH when you want to liquidate.
They Did The Right Thing
By Dave Carleton
I like to write about how my interest in coins has been a constant thread in my life. Obviously coming to the same office in the People’s United Bank Building for the last 30 years is a constant thread, but the coin related stories and occurrences outside the office are constantly happening. It seems that whenever it comes out that I’m involved in numismatics, someone has an interesting tale of coins they’ve found or coins they’ve lost.
Recently, I met a gentleman that told me an interesting story of how he got started with the coin collecting hobby. Apparently, when he was a young man back in 1972 he worked at a bowling alley, where one of his duties was to take the change out of all the pinball machines and other arcade games. One day a group of three young men were having a grand old time playing all the various games for what seemed like hours. After they left he went over to one of the machines to check the coin container, thinking that it must be quite full because the boys had played it the most. When he dumped out the coins, he immediately noticed that something was different. They sounded different and had a different look than what he usually finds in the machines. Upon closer scrutiny he realized that all of the coins were pre-1965 silver coins. While he was examining the coins, he became aware of the various dates and then determined that all of the dates were consecutive. He then went around to the other machines and found basically the same thing.
He knew something wasn’t right so he went to his boss, the owner of the bowling alley, and showed him what he had found. His boss told him right off the bat that it was someone’s coin collection and that they needed to find out who the owner was. It seems that the owner of the establishment knew who one of the boys was and called his father. Sure enough, the boys had taken several Washington Quarter and Mercury Dime sets and spent the coins at the bowling alley.
The way the story ended was that the owner of the coin collection was so happy to get his coins back that he offered both the owner and my story teller a reward of several coins from that collection. That was it, the seed was planted and my story teller was off on a 45 year numismatic journey. This journey by the way has been a remarkable one according to my story teller.
I thought I’d share this story as it was fresh and told to me last week. This is just another reason why I love coins!
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.
This Is Why We Wait 10 Business Days For Checks To Clear
By Joe Presti
When I saw this short video I said to myself, “Perfect, maybe now people will understand.”
For years we have had a policy of waiting 10 business days for checks of any kind to clear before we will ship product to a customer. Despite our explanations people would still call us and want to know why the check has cleared their bank and why we won’t send their bullion or coins.
All I can say is watch this video and you will have a better understanding of why we have this policy in place.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
D.T. emailed us the following question:
"I’ve been collecting for several decades and have accumulated some coins that have been certified by ANACS. I want to maintain maximum value when I sell. Is it best to keep them in their current ANACS holders or try to cross them over to PCGS or NGC?" - D.T.
Old timers like us always feel that the coin should carry its own weight regardless of the holder that it is in. However, that is not true now! For over three decades, people have been conditioned to think more about PCGS or NGC. Why? Because they have a strong dealer network of buyers, and the retail end user clamors for them. ANACS does a great job of authenticating coins and like all of the other services, they have high-end and low-end coins slabbed in their holders. However, ANACS just doesn’t have anywhere near the support network that PCGS and NGC has. Just check the auction results for these services and compare the prices. Also, look at how infrequently you see really expensive coins in ANACS holders. PCGS and NGC have a virtual lock on this market. So if you want maximum value when you sell, yes by all means cross them over.
Please keep your questions coming.