The Rare Coin Enthusiast: Spring 2019

on 23 April 2019. Posted in News

Over 150 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.

  Spring of 2019 Issue

Welcome to a New Issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast
by Warren Mills

As a follow up to our last Enthusiast, we are contacting our clients to have them consider sending many of their old purchases from us to CAC.  If the economic justification is there to pay the small fee and shipping, it’s a no brainer.  Our most recent results for our last three customers were 8 for 11, 9 for 11 and 3 for 3.  I know it’s only 80%, but that is way above the industry average by about double!  One of the coins became the one and only top pop gold piece for the grade!  It is now a Pop 1 with none finer for CAC and only a pop of 2 at PCGS with none finer.  The 5 coins that did not work out were nice original pieces, but the toning was a little deep.  Overall, we had a happy group of customers that added many thousands of dollars to the value of their coins, increased their demand dramatically and also their liquidity!  When you factor in the CAC fees and a modest shipping charge, the 11 coin submissions in total were less than $200 and the 3 coin submission was well under $100.  And all 3 of the coins on that submission were nice gold coins.  The bottom line is if you are remotely contemplating selling at some point or want to get things in order for your heirs, send you coins to CAC or leave specific instructions to do so.

The coin community is like a club, many coin collectors know others that buy coins.  You may want to think about passing on the word about CAC to them.  If you like a coin with or without a sticker, that’s fine.  However, if someone is spending thousands of dollars per coin and has no idea what CAC is, it may behoove them to learn.  Every month, I still see buyers of coins that never received the proper education.  Many of these buyers are acquiring modern issues at beyond the moon money or are buying so called certified coins from ACME, Hilltop or insert any name of a never heard of grading service, a tricky one is TCGS, sounds like PCGS over the phone.  These collectors are being annihilated and many don’t know it yet.  As stewards to the industry and just a good neighbor to others, we need to try and do our part.
 
Deceptive business practices happen in many if not most industries.  I spoke to an old time dealer that I’ve known for many years, who is a good guy too!  He told me how he personally filed off the reins on hundreds of wire edge High Reliefs to sell as flat edges.  Can you imagine that?!  Flat edges commanded a fair premium so it paid to do it!  I’m so thankful that we do have the legitimate certification services we have right now in our business.  As it is, even with legitimate recognized services, there’s a high-end and low-end for grade, commercially graded or technically graded, real color or enhanced, dipped or original and on we can go.  If you’re not an expert, align yourself with a couple of good ones.  PNG is a good affiliation to start with.  Remember, there’s always someone out there trying to work a scam.

Thanks,
Warren


Market Watch
by Warren Mills

What’s happening with the metals market?  I never thought I’d see the day when palladium was higher than gold!  It blows me away.  So, now that many industrial applications were changed from platinum to palladium, does that mean that platinum is a good deal?  Will there be a reversal from using palladium to platinum?  My feeling is to watch the metals market.  Short term, I feel there will be downward pressure, but every now and then I’m putting away an ounce of platinum.  Also, when you buy, you should buy from APMD members or someone you really trust.
 
Furthermore, have you checked out the ratio of silver to gold lately?  It’s now at 89 to 1!  This is also a surprise to me.  It’s a general thought in the business that the ratio should average closer to 50 to 1.  However, that’s just guess work.  Again, I feel the metals can continue to weaken from here, but any economic or financial problem could send them soaring.  Start to consider adding 90% circulated coins to your metals portfolio and from there, price average occasionally until the lid blows.  I like circ silver or junk silver coins for a few reasons.  First, you get about 10% more silver for your money than if you bought silver Eagles.  Second, unlike silver bars, rounds or even Eagles, the likelihood of junk silver being counterfeited is very small, it just doesn’t pay.  Third, it is legal tender, so these could become very valuable in a pinch.  Fourth, I feel the premium to melt is very low now and could escalate dramatically in the future.  This could be a double play for your money.  Fifth, there has been many coins melted over the years, but for now there is still a decent supply.  This could change rapidly.  Unlike platinum, circ silver can be acquired anywhere with some confidence.  An Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) is not as important here as it is with your platinum acquisitions.
 
Next, take a look at the price of uncirculated 20s to bullion!  You can acquire certified 20s for a bit less or comparable to a gold Eagle.  Now I’ve seen some awful certified 20s in slabs, so pick a coin with good eye-appeal.  There are enough to choose from, but MS-61 to MS-63 certified pieces are a good buy.  Keep in mind, there is .9675 ounces of gold in a $20 gold piece, but the historic premium is so low now that it seems like a wonderful opportunity.  Even CAC pieces can be acquired for a modest premium over non CAC coins.  When a major counterfeiting scare hits, these slabbed 20s will garner a larger premium over bullion values.  I prefer CAC pieces personally, but that’s because I am a coin nerd.  I’ve always believed in the best for the grade.
 
Finally, what is underrated in the coin market?  Nice original 1700s to early 1800s, original, problem-free coins.  CAC is a must here.  Also, nice Seated and some Barber Types are cheap.  Check out populations and compare them to most series of coins and you’ll find them to be a great buy.  Just remember original, problem-free coins only!

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.


What Are You Waiting For?
by Joe Presti

Since the inception of RCNH 30 years ago, one of our goals has been to sell accurately graded coins for a fair value.  Occasionally, opportunities arise to maximize value for coins in our client’s collection.  Once we are convinced that a legitimate avenue exists for our clients, we will notify them and offer this service.  Over the years this has presented itself in many ways from our legendary upgrade service to notifying clients that certain issues are prime for liquidation. In other cases, should a client decide to liquidate, we can often times receive a better auction rate for a client than if they consigned coins on their own.  For more than 10 years we have offered to send client coins, whether purchased from us or not to CAC for evaluation.

Our two primary salesmen, Lou and Dave will periodically speak with clients with regard to CAC.  Some of the objections they have heard regarding CAC is that it is a scam, it won’t last and it is only one man’s opinion. I heard some of these same arguments more than 30 years ago when PCGS and NGC began. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what the market accepts. Time has proven these skeptics wrong and will do so again.

If someone told you that they had a way to make your home or stocks worth 20% more with a very small investment you most likely would listen.  So why the skepticism when someone who does this for a living advises you to send your coins to CAC?  It is not a profit center for us since we only charge what it costs us for the service plus nominal postage to and from.  The only thing that we realize from offering the service is to strengthen the quality of our client’s collections and to possibly purchase nice coins come liquidation time.

We do not advise to send each and every coin into CAC, that doesn’t make sense.  For instance, the lower tier service costs $14.50 plus postage back and forth.  If a coin is only worth $100 this would obviously not make sense to submit the coin, but if you have a $1,000 coin that could possibly increase in value by $200, it certainly is worth the small investment.  Or to send in a low-end $20 St. Gaudens worth $1,250 would not be advisable since there most likely will not be enough of a price difference to make it worthwhile.  Again, we would screen a client’s coins so that if we felt a coin did not have a good chance of being stickered we would not send it in to CAC.

So again I ask, what are you waiting for?


An Interesting Perspective
by Dave Carleton

One of the many services that we offer to our customers is to submit coins for certification to either PCGS or NGC.  We don’t charge a fee for this so the only cost to the collector is the grading service’s fee plus postage coming and going.  We will offer our opinion as to whether the coin will grade or not and we usually have a good idea of what grade the coin will receive.  Ultimately, it’s the customer’s coin and we’ll do whatever they want us to do.  When the coins return from the grading service, we will review them and in some cases we will recommend that the coin get sent to CAC for review and hopefully a sticker attesting their approval.  We keep records of successes and failures and are constantly learning from this information.  We’d rather not submit coins that we think will fail, generating unnecessary grading fees.  We also see coins that are original and will surely grade, but the value of the coin in a certified holder doesn’t justify the cost of having it certified.

The way we handle certification submissions reflects our conservative Yankee approach to things, but there are special circumstances that come up that fly in the face of that.  Recently, a gentleman has been coming in with coins that he wanted to get graded and certified.  The first time he came in I told him that we’d be happy to send his coins in for grading, but we felt that several of them would grade at a level that wouldn’t justify the grading fees.  He told me to go ahead anyway, which we did.  The coins returned and as we thought, their value fell short of the fees.  I told the man who was undaunted and actually quite pleased at how the process went and said that he would be back with more coins.

Eventually he came back with another small batch of coins to be submitted for grading.  This time the person that submits coins for grading came to me and said that I should tell the guy that the coins weren’t worth certifying.  I told him that I did, but the man didn’t care.  So when I called the gentleman to tell him that his coins were in, he told me that he’d be right in and that he had even more coins to certify.  When he arrived I sat him down and went into my speech as to how he was screwing up.  That’s when he stopped me and said that he didn’t care about the value of the coins or the cost of certification, and that these were coins that were in his father’s personal belongings when he passed away.  All he was concerned with was preserving the coins in their original state so that he could eventually give them to his kids as mementos from their grandfather.  That really set my head spinning, as I realized that coins mean different things to different people, and that it’s not always about the value or potential value.  I needed that interaction to give me a broader perspective of our hobby/business.

I always try to tell people to have fun with coins and if you’re spending too much and worrying too much, then back off a bit and get back to having fun.  My interaction with this gentleman made me realize that I was having a problem based on the business aspect of coins, when all he was trying to do was have some fun while preserving some history for his family.  We all need a reality check sometimes (I know I do).

Thanks,
Dave  

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.


Original Coins are Endangered Specie
by Lou Roten

One of the most important, and most difficult things, I have been trying to learn at RCNH is to know when I am looking at a cleaned coin. A circulated coin that is 100 years old or more, for example, that has no age-related patina and no accumulation of dirt anywhere had to have been cleaned at some time, whether gently with soap and water or dipped, or harshly with a brush, whizzed or wiped, the latter three leaving hairlines, the former possibly not. Hairlines are usually easily spotted under a good lamp and are scratches. Hairlines should not be confused with die polish lines which appear as raised lines on the fields but do not continue through the devices – they vanish under the pressure of the die strike whereas hairlines are post minting.  A dipped coin can be difficult depending on the solution used and how complete the neutralizing of the dip solution. Coins that have been cleaned can re-tone but probably will no longer show the dirt that accumulated over time in the details of the device, in the letters, around stars, around the date, and so on. As a relative newcomer to this level of examination of coins, I can be easily fooled. Some coins are obvious, like a silver coin that has no luster, has a dull appearance, almost like weathered aluminum. This Barber Dime has that appearance. In addition, there is a bit of dip residue that was not entirely removed near 1 o’clock on the obverse and is evident in the brownish coloring through the lettering and date. Neutralizing is usually accomplished with alcohol, not just rinsing the coin under water.

NGC AU58

An AU58 coin that seems to be too bright has almost certainly been dipped. This may be difficult to see in the image here, but a very bright white AU58 with no color, no age-related patina, is suspect. This 1918 is actually bright and has no color. It looks flat in the image but is very bright in hand, too bright for a circulated coin.

PCGS AU58

Natural toning of uncirculated coins will be removed by dipping, the sad condition that has befallen so many classic silver commemoratives. Finding attractive original silver commemoratives can be difficult. An unsightly (to some) spot that speaks to originality can be removed, but the coin will never be the same. Grading services and CAC are somewhat forgiving if the coin has not been completely ruined. Overdipping completely strips the surface and leaves the coin with a steely to aluminum appearance. Any dipping removes a micro layer of metal, stripping the original protective surface that has been exposed to air for decades, a surface that protects the coin and allows the development of an attractive patina. The brownish color on the 1936 Walker below is not age related patina, but is dip residue. This coin has a nice strike with a strong left hand, but has been, in my opinion, ruined by dipping. Some collectors prefer white coins no matter what. Knowing the chemicals that are used on coins to make them white should encourage those collectors to learn more about original surfaces.

PCGS AU58

Original coins are an endangered commodity. We, as responsible dealers and collectors, are custodians of these representatives of our national history. Just as we would be loath to strip an old antique piece of furniture down to the wood surface, removing the patina of age, we must be as sensitive to preserving the evidence of age on a coin.  Here is an 1883 Nickel from our inventory, a Fine. At 135 years old, there is dirt around the stars, the date, in the hair in spots, in the ear and around the device profile, and a nice even grey, what you would expect from a coin that has been in use for a long time, going from grubby hands to dusty pockets to more grubby hands. 

Here is a large cent (VG) from our inventory. It is 176 years old and shows it has been used. Who would want this coin with all the evidence of age removed? With natural aging, a coin develops character. When the surface of a coin is stripped, the coin is relegated to all the others that have been put into chemical baths to remove their original color to make them ‘attractive’ and salable to the uneducated buyer, and even worse, to novice buyers, like myself several years ago when my interest in coins was renewed. The practice of cleaning coins makes me angry because it deceives the buyer. The coins become ordinary. Understanding and appreciating character in a coin takes some time for all of us and is worth the effort.

Lou Roten - adjunct instructor retired - 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.


Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills

I’m going to paraphrase this question from two different customers.  Both customers are specialists and have expressed concerns over the accuracy of the CAC Pop Report.  Here is the gist of the questions.

Question:  Warren, as you know I enjoy acquiring specific coins, but I prefer PCGS graded coins.  I have purchased NGC coins that are CAC stickered, crossed them over to PCGS and then sent them back into CAC for re-stickering.  Once I get the coins re-stickered, I keep them in my collection.  However, I do have a problem with the accuracy of the CAC Pop Report.  When I look up the old NGC number, it still comes up as a CAC coin on the verification site!  I know that due to resubmissions, the PCGS and NGC Pop Reports are a mess.  It is not unusual to have a scarce coin that shows a combined Pop of maybe 10 pieces, which in fact, could be only one or two coins resubmitted multiple times.  This Pop distortion could have a negative impact on pricing and demand in the future.  Is there any way to maintain a more accurate CAC Pop Report?

Answer:   I want to thank both of these customers/friends for this question.  For one of these collectors, virtually every coin he has purchased is a five figure coin!  Pop distortions in this rarified air are unbelievably important.
 
First and foremost as good stewards for the industry, all dealers and collectors should feel a responsibility to preserve and maintain as accurate information as possible.  For the last 30 years we have offered a very successful upgrade program to all of our customers and increased the value of their collections up to six figures.  It’s a very simple process to save old cracked out tags and return them to the grading services so they can remove the old tags from the pop reports.  However, many of the largest crack-out artists in the industry never return old tags!  It’s a shame.  All they want to think about is the potential profit for themselves, with zero regard for the future impact on the Pop Reports and the future of the industry.  I know dealers that have resubmitted the same coin over 20 times!  This selfish attitude is awful and still prevalent among some of the old guard in the business.
 
So, I called CAC regarding this problem and spoke to who I believe is the go to person in the organization.  When I expressed my concerns, I was assured that as long as they can verify preferably by a color scan of the original coin, it will be removed from the Pop Report.  An insert tag from the original coin may also suffice, but keep in mind that the coin still must be reexamined.  Suppose something happened during the crack-out procedure.  Assuming that everything is verifiable, the duplicate coin will be removed from the CAC Report.  However, the CAC verification cert look up is handled in a different manner.  If you plug in the cert number, it will still come up as a CAC coin!  The only way I could see this as a negative is if a dealer or slick collector offers a coin to another person and says it originally was an NGC or PCGS CAC coin, and to check on the verification site for proof.  If this ever happens to you, tell them you’ll pay extra for the coin to be re-CACd.
 
Keep in mind that the Pop Report will never be 100% accurate!  If a verifiable hard fact source is not used that CAC will accept, like the color scan, the Pop Reports could still be slightly inflated.  Again, if dealers or collectors don’t put some onus on themselves, the reports will never be accurate, but CAC does all it can do to maintain the accuracy of their Pop Report.
 
Thank you both for this great question and please keep them coming.  I have no problem going to the source to give our clients the most accurate information possible.
 
Thanks,
Warren

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