Why price guides are not worth much 7/16/2013

on 16 July 2013. Posted in News

At Rare Coins of New Hampshire (RCNH) we have always preached to buy the coin not the holder but I am going to present a new twist given a recent event that occurred with a customer.

We had a beautiful high-end Very Fine CAC Continental Dollar that we priced about 20% over PCGS price guide levels.  We offered the coin to a customer who had it on his want list and it fit every criteria that he was looking for, exact grade, eye appeal, CAC sticker, PCGS graded, etc.  He “did his research” and without even seeing the coin made a counter offer which was fair but we felt the coin was worth more.  Soon after a dealer who is very knowledgeable about colonial issues called and wanted to see the coin so we sent it out to him.  Once he saw the coin he bought it for a couple of hundred dollars under our retail price and more than the counter offer we received from our client.

With all of the research that our client had done he had relied most on the PCGS price guide since there were no recent auction records to rely upon.  Both the PCGS and NGC pricing guides are inconsistent in their pricing formulas.  The first thing to consider is that their guides are an opinion of what the RETAIL price should be.  Even with that there are many circumstances in which their prices are way too high especially on modern issues and too low on other issues but many times if you try and explain this to a client especially a new client it just sounds like a sales pitch.  If you want to confirm what I am telling you look through the results of a Heritage auction and look at what the really choice and rare coins bring compared to the PCGS and NGC guides and the Grey and Blue sheets.

What collectors and investors have to realize is that there is soooo much more that goes into pricing a coin other than a price guide.  You have to consider eye appeal, market conditions, availability of the issue, auction records and whether the coin is high end or not for the grade and issue among other things.  If a coin is offered to you and you consider it overpriced it very well could be but it also could be a really high end coin for the issue with monster eye appeal, lesson learned don’t buy the label, look at the coin!  Remember, price guides are just that guides.  If you do what we have said for years and find one or two dealers that are willing to spend time and educate you on what you need to know and look for in a coin, don’t worry about paying what seems like a little too much for a coin because over time that added premium could translate to many times more in return.

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