Wow, I am so far out of touch with coins…a field I love and yet I have no clue! I am sad to finally come to this realization. Here’s how things have unfolded in the last couple of weeks. Dave in our office has a client that purchased a raw 1899 Morgan Dollar in V.G. We offered him an MS-64 PCGS for $100 more than he paid for the V.G. (a fair price at the time) I said, “Return the V.G. and get a much nicer coin for $100 more.” He kept the V.G. instead. Now, will it ever be a better value than an MS-64 PCGS for $100 more? This is the type of buyer that is frustrating to me.
First off, our last major show was Baltimore. Prior to that was F.U.N. Total sales for both show combined was about $350,000. We’re not in the Laura Sperber category. Wholesale sales were over $340,000 and we had hardly any retail traffic. I find it hard to believe but I am resigned to it now. I’m just glad there are a handful of retail clients that know coins still and come to see us. We are the only dealer in the country that guarantees in writing that any raw coins we sell will certify to the same grade or better by PCGS or NGC or your money back. But we see the masses buying the cleaned , scrubbed, redone raw coins instead…coins that will never, ever, ever, ever grade. Yes, they pay 5% to 10% less, so I guess the cleaning and chemical residues they get on their coins are just extra bonuses in their minds.
And our certified coins, but first a question to ponder, “How do you go 16 for 15 at CAC? Fifteen for 15 is great. We went 16 for 15 because of a gold sticker. In general we only average a bit over 80%. This week we had an 11 of 12 and a 9 for 9. I pick coins out of inventory and CAC them when our inventory is moving slowly. For $12.50, it’s a good value and I can check our inventory against what other numismatists think. If it’s in our inventory then I love it, but the sticker doesn’t hurt. I only do 10 to 20 at a time in case a collector wants to order solid, original coins for the grade. It would look bad if a ton of our coins were out of inventory and we had multiple calls. Joe from our office was relaying a story to me about a recent CAC submission where a dealer spent a lot of time and effort picking out 80 coins and went 2 for 80. Probably a high percentage for him! I just randomly grab a few and send them in. I’ve seen nice CAC coins and coins I thought were big mistakes with CAC stickers but like I said, at $12.50 it doesn’t hurt. The 2 for 80 dealer will do a lot more business than us.
I recently spoke with a collector that we helped to assemble the finest Liberty Nickel Registry Set by PCGS. It’s in the Stack’s Bowers Baltimore sale in June. The collector thanked me for our ultra strict grading and said that almost 2/3rds of them were upgraded by PCGS. That’s how we roll! Real coin people trying to place the best coins for the grade we can find. The set is listed as “The Land of Smiles Set,”…check it out! He said I was slipping because he expected ¾’s of them to upgrade and we had a nice laugh. Also, check out the “Just For Fun” Standing Liberty Quarter Registry Set in the ANA sale in August…many finest know pieces that we also helped to assemble, with additional upgrades.
And lastly, “Why are submissions taking so long?” Walk the halls of the grading services and you will see pallets of modern coins by the tens of thousands for grading. I guess MS and Proof 69’s and 70’s at mammoth premiums that lose value are better buys than the classics. I just wish I had a clue.