Musing from the Baltimore Coin Show 04/06/2011

on 06 April 2011. Posted in News

In my opinion, Baltimore Spring & Fall are must attends for active dealers and experienced coin enthusiasts.  Everyone that has a decent to great coin inventory usually attends.  The show was very well attended by the public:  a lot of activity in silver and gold eagles but a more broad based activity in many series.   With the overwhelming interest in bullion, many dealers are now switching over and grading bullion coins and selling them for huge premiums.  Beware of graded bullion; buy them raw and certify them yourself!  The word is that dealers are making so much money selling people graded bullion that they aren’t dealing in rare coins anymore.  I’ve heard this said:  “I’ve never made so much money in my life,”  “Why try to sell real coins to knowledgeable buyers when you can fleece newbies with no effort.”    Sad…isn’t it.  No interest for the client’s well being or stewardship for the industry.

My favorite area is 19thCentury type coins.  I specifically like Seated Halves and Quarters in grades from Fine to MS-67.  Stick with only original coins.  At some point, if the world holds together, they could be great.  They are always few and far between.

Seated coins can be difficult to price.  Many dealers collude to keep dated Seated coins low on the Coin Dealer Newsletter.  They want to buy them from the public cheap and sell them to make hundreds of percent.  The Coin Dealer Newsletter drops the ball totally and by accident contributes to the rise.  Please, look at auction results guys and raise those bids so collectors get a fair shake and dealers stop taking advantage of them.

Common date Morgan Dollars are being promoted.  Stick with super nice pieces here.  Slightly better dates are a great long term play if nice.  I like nice Walkers… MS-66’s more than 65’s.  Most are dipped white, especially CAC ones.  If you are an original nut, stick with original mint frost or nice toned examples.  I saw a lot of CAC 65’s & 66’s with dip residue.  This can compromise coins in the future.  I believe CAC is straining to keep up with submissions and this pressure may cause a wider divergence in their standards.    Under pressure, one day can be stricter or looser than the next.  I can no longer give as strong an opinion on what should CAC or what shouldn’t.  It makes me worry when I see great coins that won’t CAC or commercial coins CACing that shouldn’t.   For now, let CAC get over their growing pains.  Many things just don’t make sense on what gets stickered and what doesn’t.  However, the CAC concept is solid.

Commems are dead….a good buy only when in original condition.  Most of the raw coins I saw at the show that the public was buying were horribly cleaned.  Remember; ask for the guarantee that it will grade at PCGS the same grade.

I went to the back corner of the show where there were about 100 tables.  One of the dealers yelled out my name and said “There is Warren Mills…the guy that sold the nicest 20 Cent Piece I have ever seen and a jewel in my collection.”  One guy started clapping.  I thanked him and said “I wish the public knew more about us.”  Another dealer said “Then we wouldn’t get a shot at truly nice coins for ourselves.”  I said “Thanks for the compliment.”   Here we are, unfortunately one of the best kept secrets in the industry.

Whitman publishing has a new business offering called “Whitman Compass.”  They show great coins on a computer screen with the dealer and table they are at.  This sent many people over to view our coins and I want to thank them.  It’s a great idea!

Our table was moved a bit closer to the front.  We appreciated the extra collector traffic.  A parent with 3 boys came over to our table and asked to see an 1857 Seated Quarter in VG condition.  I said “Wow, it’s unusual for a young collector to look at earlier coins now.  I’m happy to see your interest in these early issues.  They are vastly under-rated.  The secret is to buy coins” he then interrupted me and said “they have never been dipped.”  I was dumb struck and he said “I read your ads.”  I thanked him, gave him my card and said to call me anytime.  It made my show.  I’m so happy to get someone off on the right foot.

 I still like nicer gold, MS-64 to MS-67 that has all the freshness.  No need to be a slave to the CAC sticker but if you’re not sure, it helps.  MS-64 Saints were avidly sought by everyone.

Overall, I’d label the show as strong or good.  Our clients know I tell it like it is.  Many dealers say every show is great and they sold a billion dollars worth of coins!  We try to never embellish the truth.  Nice Type from Half Dimes to Seated Dollars are good buys in most grades.  Barber coins are so so on the demand scale but a nice fresh coin should always be considered.

If the world economics hold together, this should be a very good year.  If not, have some bullion for diversity.


Thank you.


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