The Rare Coin Enthusiast: August 2018

on 09 August 2018. Posted in News

Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  August 2018 Issue

The Summer Baltimore Show
By Warren Mills

WOW, the summer has been very busy for us!  I am thankful for being in continual catch up mode and apologetic for not getting an Enthusiast up on our site!

I went to the summer Baltimore show and it was a surprisingly good show for us.  Keep in mind that only about 2/3rds of the dealers that attend the spring and fall show come to the summer show.  Since there are fewer dealers, I can cover the show in fewer days.

I arrived in Baltimore at about 9:00 on Wednesday morning, the day before the show opened.  I hit the dealer set up at the hotel immediately.  The show came on the heels of Long Beach, so there was a lack of anything fresh.  I spent a woeful amount of money before the show and that had me worried. 
When the show opened on Thursday, I went right to my dealer friends that hold nice fresh coins for me and thankfully, I lucked out!  A few of my dealer friends saved the excellent, fresh, original, high-end coins for me.  You have to pay, but I’m happy to get the opportunity. 

When it was all said and done, I’d label the show a nice success.  I didn’t notice any foot traffic, but it’s mainly all dealer to dealer business on the first day of the show.  I would however recommend that collectors attend the summer show.  The reason is a dealer may be more willing to bargain when less people attend. 

There was a good representation of nice coins, certainly enough to justify attending the show.  I did notice a large amount of early dated $20’s at this show.  More Type I and Type II’s than normal, particularly Type I’s.  With a large supply of these in the market, watch out for dealer promotions.  From the coins I examined, the grading services are being a bit liberal with the grading of these early issues.  I would recommend a nice one for TYPE, if you’re so inclined, but if the supply keeps increasing, the price levels should drop!  I was truly shocked at how many I saw.  If you are putting together a year set or a complete set, I’d stand on the sidelines for a bit and see if the prices settle.  Also, with an abundant supply, all the more reason to insist on CAC pieces.  All of these issues are low four figures on up to your comfort level on grade and price.  For your protection and liquidity, get them CAC’d.  I know of one collector that is buying these pieces and when he asked a dealer about them being CAC’d, he got a floor show and diatribe about how CAC wasn’t necessary.  In my book, that’s the time to walk away!!!  If a dealer does not believe in the benefit of expensive coins getting CAC’d to protect their client’s, I’d question their motives.

Some of the most recent Central American coins are entering the market now.  If you like to buy finer rare coins that are now common, that’s your choice.  In my opinion, if you want a shipwrecked coin, the play there is to buy one of the pieces where only a few were discovered.  Promotions can be tricky areas.

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.

Hong Kong Special

By Lou Roten

Recently a collector called me about some old Chinese Coins he had purchased and would like to discuss selling them.  We arranged a time that he could bring them in.  There were 2 large silver coins and one impressive gold coin.  They were in PCGS holders.  I was able to look up the certification numbers and find the very coins listed by PCGS.  The images of these impressive coins are below.  The PCGS Price Guide values for the silver coins were $5,000 and $5,500, while the Guide price for the gold coin was $45,000.

I must admit it was really cool to see these antique, early 20th century coins: one silver and the gold from the Republic of China (ca 1916), and the other silver coin from SW China’s Yunnan Province in the year of the last Qing Dynasty Empress Dowager’s death in 1908; all are historically interesting pieces.  Only the coin images are available on the PCGS website; below are the active links to the PCGS graded coins on their certification page with all the specifics and estimated PCGS Price Guide values.


There followed a discussion that resulted in the decision to send them to Heritage for auction.  Then we waited for the posting of the coins and the lot numbers.  There was the thought that they might possibly do better in a Hong Kong auction with more native bidders, but the client opted for the Heritage auction which would happen a lot sooner.

A few days passed.  Joe Presti got a call from Heritage; the coins, even the holders, were counterfeit!

Doing a little checking on recent auctions, the ‘gold’ coin (#3 above) was listed twice on eBay on May 6 2018; one sold for $260, the other $199, both having the same certification number and shipped from China. A third coin was sold on eBay for $156 in a PCGS MS64 grade, two grades higher than the two identical 62’s, but the certification number was scratched off. The other earlier auctions for the gold coin listed by PCGS appear to have offered legitimate coins.

Joe had the task of calling the client to let him know the bad news.  We learned that the client had bought them in Hong Kong not long ago.  The coins obviously had not been graded and encapsulated by PCGS.  The holders looked right, but there was a little suspicion about the coins, mainly because they were rare and valuable.

The coins are coming back to us and we will have a second chance to see and photograph them.  I am hoping we can learn some diagnostics for the counterfeit holders.  If so I will write a follow-up to this brief article. 
Lou Roten

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.

Are These the Summer Doldrums?
By Dave Carleton

I’d like to say that I didn’t contribute to last month’s newsletter because we’re in the summer doldrums.  Usually, this time of year business is slow and there’s not much to comment on, but that’s not the case this summer.  In fact, we’ve been so busy that we didn’t have time to put a newsletter out last month.

We’ve been in the same location, over the People’s United Bank here in Milford, for almost 30 years and this seems to be the busiest summer that I can remember.  It’s not that we’ve sold a ton of coins, but we have actually bought a ton of coins (literally).  Unfortunately about 98% of the material that comes in off the street has to be moved down the wholesale line.  It’s kind of disheartening to go through so much stuff and not find anything we can sell retail.  Every once and a while we’ll open an envelope or box and find a gem (a coin worthy of certification), and hopefully it’ll even CAC!  These are the finds that keep us excited about opening the next package.

This wave of material is coming here in sheetrock buckets, mint sewn bags, coffee cans, tobacco cans, paper bags, cardboard boxes and even rolling suit cases.  One time we even had a large quantity of coins from an amusement park’s wishing well.  They arrived stuffed in the foot of an elephant that had been made into a container (we had to have them come back and take it away as no one wanted to touch the coins).

As usual, the people that come here are just as or more interesting than the coins they bring in.  Just yesterday a lady came in to see Joe Presti for an evaluation of her coins.  About ten minutes later, I met her in the elevator and asked her how it went with Joe.  She had been here for such a short period that I assumed no transaction took place.  She turned and showed me a couple of raw coins that she had in her hand and asked if I wanted to buy some coins that had been in space.  I asked her to explain, and she told me that her best friend’s husband was an astronaut that had taken these coins into space during one of his missions.  She said that Joe couldn’t buy them because she had no documentation.   She then went on to say that ever since she obtained these coins, a cloud of bad luck has followed her.  The final kicker was that she thought these coins were attracting aliens.  That’s when I said, “Here’s my floor, have a great weekend!”

So we’re up to our gunnels with coins and that’s just where we want to be.  I can’t wait to see what is in the next box that shows up.  Maybe there will be a High Relief or an 1893-S (we’ve found several of each over the years), that’ll make our day and the owner’s too.  

I see a cart loaded with boxes coming in right now.  It’s going to be a great day!

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 

Question:  “Hi Warren, I contacted a major auction house about consigning my collection to an auction.  I sent them a spreadsheet and they want some of the coins, but not all.  What do you think?  Thanks!"  -M.B.
Answer:  Nice question M. B.!  Many people consider consigning their coins to auction when they are thinking about selling.  However, there is a way to assure that you get the best deal, which is a fair amount of proceeds in your pocket. 

We negotiate for our clients all the time at auction consignments.  When you contact the auction house on your own, you do not know what to expect.  They may come out of the chute appealing to your ego, saying that they will put your collection in the auction and even name the section after you with your collection in it!  This is strictly ego appeal.  It will not get you a penny more.  Usually, this is thrown out there as a way to get you to forget about the commission rate. 

Also, you need to consider what material in your collection is actually worthy at auction.  I know of a long time auction company that will accept certified bullion as auction consignment, like common date high-grade gold eagles and buffalos.  Their buyer fee is more than 20%, so the consigner usually ends up with a settlement that is 20% less than if it was sold outright!  Not to mention avoiding the long consignment and settlement period.  You also need to consider if you want to have a coin sent to CAC or resubbed, prior to the consignment.   If a firm hasn’t broached that with you, they should. 

Another consideration is which sale you should consign to.  Auction attendance and show participation should be considered.  You want maximum exposure too!  Major auction firms put a lot of coins into internet sales.  This can be fine for some coins, but could also stunt better coins that should be in a better auction or more significant catalog.  Larger lots of more common coins should have consideration to just sell outright.  Much like the certified bullion coins, the consignment fee and time to settlement is very important.  These are just a few things to consider. 

So if you are thinking about entering the shark infested waters of auction consignment, let us do some of the leg work for you.  I think you’ll be glad you did!!!

Please keep those questions coming.

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