Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
A Newsletter By:
The Rosen Numismatic Advisory:
The 2017/2018 Crystal Ball Survey, Part-2
Answers By Warren Mills
Please find in this month’s issue, my responses to the questions from Part-2 of the 2017/2018 Rosen Numismatic Advisory’s Crystal Ball Survey. The 2nd part of the survey gets a bit more in-depth about specific areas of interest that the panel feels are good buys in different series.
As I did last month, I will include the specific questions I was asked and my responses. The other panel members included John Albanese, Don Ketterling, Rick Snow, John Feigenbaum and Scott Travers. If you would like to see their responses, feel free to contact Maurice Rosen at the phone or address provided.
I want to thank Maurice for asking me to participate in the survey and also for giving me permission to print my responses for our clients and friends to see.
At the very end of the survey, Maurice asks us to ad lib on any subject that we feel is important in the numismatic field. I noticed that this year, Maurice did not print anyone’s ad lib responses. Well, I did respond and it may be very controversial. I am weighing whether I should run my ad lib in our March Issue. I will mull it over in February. I think you will find it most interesting.
The year started off with a bang at the F.U.N. Convention. Please see our latest show report for the details. Our warning about the future of counterfeits in our field appears to be clairvoyant.
7) What are your Best Buys in the area of U.S. Type Coins, copper, nickel and silver, Mint State and Proof?
I love Indian Cents, circulated to uncirculated. Original untampered with, not camel hair brushed, thumbed, nose greased, chemically treated, falsely darkened or lightened, etc.…..pieces. You get the drift. Try to make sure Fines and Very Fines actually have a “Liberty” visible!!! For uncirculated, light brown, more red than brown R&B coins and reds that really are red with original color on all of them. Reject CAC coins with a lot of carbon flecks.
Three Cent Nickel, Shield and Liberty Nickels in MS-66, if any have attractive color…all the better. It is imperative they be original fresh pieces. Beware and avoid heavily carbon flecked CAC pieces.
I’ve always had a personal affection for “No Motto” Seated quarters and halves, circulated to superb uncirculated, original only please. Watch out for CAC circulated examples that aren’t original. I’d also avoid CAC dipped white coins. They could change color in the holder.
I also like slightly scarcer and rare date Morgans in MS-63 to MS-65 condition. Here, CAC is very important. Commercialized grading that’s off by a half to a full point is holding the prices down on these coins.
8) What are your Best Buys among U.S. Gold?
I like them all….almost. Pre-1838 original circs are hard to find. Start looking for fun and you’ll see most are altered and cleaned. You could start a hobby shop from the model putty you could scrape off of a lot of these certified pieces. I like C, D & O mint gold the same; great coins and hard to find original. Buy gold in MS-62 and MS-63 that is strictly graded and CAC’d, preferably for capital preservationists. I’m also a fan of MS-64 to MS-67 gold and these areas must be CAC’d. These coins have come down dramatically and in the right circumstances, could do well.
9) What are our Best Buys in Morgan & Peace Dollars?
Morgans: Stick with tougher dates or at least scarcer ones. CAC approval here is important. Dates like the 79-O in 63 to 65, 80-O in 63 & 64, 82-O/S in 64, 87-S in 63 and 64, 85-S in 64 & 65, 86-O in 63 & 64, 87-S in 64, 88-S in 64, 89-S in 64, 92-P in 64, 93 in 65, 94 in 64, 94-O in well struck 64, 95-S in 65, 97 in 66, 98 in 66…these are a few examples.
Peace Dollars: 1921 in 65, 1922-S in 65, 1924-S in 64, 1925-S in 64, 1927 in 65, 1934 in 65, 1934-S in 65, 1935-S in 64, 65 & 66. These coins have decent spreads between grades and are fairly tough to find nice. On all recommendations, keep in mind that “plus” graded coins must truly be better than the solid point grade coin. Watch out for exorbitant premiums being charged for “plus” coins that have a big spread between grades. Remember, CAC only recognizes the full point grade for a sticker, not the “plus.” Registry point seekers distort the pricing for these pieces. This can be said for the Morgans and many other series of coins.
10) What are your Best Buys in the U.S. Commemorative series, silver and gold?
Alabama 2X2 in 66, Grant Star in 66, Hawaiian in 66, Hudson in 66, not porous and nice luster. Lexington-Concord in 66, Missouri 2X4 in 65, Pan-Pac in 67, nice color, 21 Pilgrim in 65 or 66, Sesqui in 65 with nice luster and minimal porosity. All are tough issues with nice luster, color and strictly graded are great coins.
I like MS-67 coins that don’t have a huge premium over MS-66. The Pan-Pac $2.50, the 1917 McKinley, the two Grants and Sesqui $2.50 in solid MS-66 could do well. They seem ripe for a promotion.
11) What are your Best Buys among 20th Century series?
I like early Walkers from 1917 to 1933-S. Go to a show and examine these issues in MS-62 and MS-63. Then tell me how many you see that are really AU in these holders! They are under-rated in most grades from XF to MS-64. They must be strictly graded, original and attractive. Make sure XF’s have full breast plates and AU’s haven’t been cleaned or re-dipped. Original MS-62 to MS-64 pieces that are attractive are a challenge in this date range.
12) What are your Best Buys in any other area of your choice?
Attractive Barber coins in uncirculated and proof are undervalued coins. Not many collectors focus in acquiring sets, so they really suffer. Astute acquisitions of nice original pieces from circulated to uncirculated and proof could be a smart purchase in the future. It sickens me to see Registry buyers putting together dipped out proof sets of dimes, quarters and halves that are stark white!
13) What specific not-too-difficult-to-accumulate coin or coins would you tag as great 5 to 10 year put-away holdings? Please explain your choices and their potential.
I’ve always like circulated Indian Cent sets and Morgan Dollar circulated sets, less the 1895 proof. They are fun to acquire and hard to find if you focus on original strictly graded coins. Here, CAC is not necessary either, but can’t hurt. However, I find CAC not as knowledgeable on circulated issues as they are on uncirculated and proofs. Key date coins should be CAC’d. If you buy a CAC coin it will assure you of better demand and liquidity if you sell a set intact. Do all you can to work with a knowledgeable few dealers to assemble these sets.
I helped a collector assemble a raw set of Indian cents a few years ago. He worked with me and a so-called expert in the series. He then decided to have his set certified by PCGS and asked us to send them in. He sent the set to me for my review and I said that many of the coins he acquired from the other dealer were cleaned and would not grade. There was no sense to incur grading fees for cleaned coins. I told him to contact the other dealer and tell him I examined the coins and said they were cleaned.
He called the other dealer and said, “Warren Mills said that all of the coins were cleaned.”
The dealer said, “You should have told me you didn’t want any cleaned coins!!”
What a business!
14a) Premiums on generic U.S. Gold coins have fallen greatly. Is this an opportunity for investors bullish on gold or are premiums staying low for a long time?
I like these coins. The wildcard is in the future effect on world currencies, banks, world economics and government manipulations. I believe the U.S. Dollar will lose its reserve currency status. That’s one of the reasons why I really think these coins will be important in the future and will have applications for appreciation, preservation, insurance, etc.
14b) What specific issues are your favorites and why?
Stick to the larger size pieces: in gold, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s primarily in MS-62 and MS-63; in silver, common date Walkers MS-64 to MS-66 and Dollars in MS-63 to MS-66 could be heavily promoted.
15) What needs to be done to increase the public’s interest in coin collecting?
We have to start attracting young collectors. The ANA may need to develop an app to attract younger generations that can’t get their heads out of their iPhones. The coin shows are doing more & more to attract younger potential collectors and all coin organizations need to do something. At RCNH, we give away coins and albums to youngsters, just to try to keep them engaged.
16) What is the long term future for interest in Vintage coins versus Modern coins?
I’d like to think that people will recognize Vintage coins as being under-valued and jump in. However, it appears that the U.S. market is going the same way as the Canadian market. The overwhelming supply of new issues is taking away from the educational aspect about the historical significance and appreciation of older coins. You will always have the affluent collections of great coin cabinets being put together by the very wealthy. But the market doesn’t hear about these collections until they are consigned to auction. There is less and less marketing being done about older coins.
There will continue to be speculation on modern coins. Modern coins will continue to be speculated on. As more and more people lose money and populations of these coins increase, the profit opportunity will evaporate. However, the beauty of the designs and high grade will ensure interest in the future. A lot of money could be lost in Moderns and a lot of money could be made in Vintage.
17) What area or areas of the market are overvalued or too dangerous for investors to pursue?
Modern coins for the reasons mentioned above. The earliest to get to the party and buy first will always have the most chance to make money. Even the U.S. Mint is trying to stem this tide of speculation by promoters, by limiting the amount a household or individual can purchase at one time. Also, as populations increase on Mint State and Proof 70 coins, prices will drop.
*The Rosen Numismatic Advisory, The 2017/2018 Crystal Ball Survey, Part-2.
Vol. 42 No. 1, January 2017.
Numismatic Counseling, Inc.
P.O. Box 38
Plainview, NY 11803
1120 Old Country Road, Suite 306
Plainview, New York 11803
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.
He Gets It
By Dave Carleton
I just got off the phone with one of my favorite customers and he echoed a similar call that I received yesterday.
The call I received yesterday was regarding an article Warren posted earlier this week called the “2017 FUN Show Report.” In his article, he referenced that he had been asked by one of my customers to review several 1892-O Morgan Dollars, all certified and graded MS-65. He got back with me and said that there was only one coin worth bidding on and I shared that with my customer, who then proceeded to place what appeared to be a very strong bid. It seemed that his bid of $6,000+ would easily lock up the coin. It wasn’t even close. The coin traded for almost three times what the others went for and more than 50% more than his bid.
My client had us do this for him on several occasions and he wanted to tell me that the same thing had happened to him on about 90% of the coins that we recommended he bid on. He kind of blew it when he said that Warren seemed to be a lucky guy when it came to reviewing auction lots. I’m sorry but luck has nothing to do with it unless you don’t know what you’re doing. Warren has been totally involved in coins for over 40 years, and the only time he gets lucky is when he finds a coin that’s original, not messed with and for sale.
I got off on this tangent because I just spoke with one of my favorite customers who told me that he was going to a local coin club auction down in Florida this weekend. He was going to take a bunch of Peace Dollars with him, but not any RCNH coins or CAC stickered examples because they were the only coins that “talked” to him. He told me that after reading Warren’s bit about the 1892-O’s, he went to the PCGS Pop report and pulled up the images of the coins that went up for auction at the FUN show. He was able to pick out the nice one, but the differences were quite subtle. That’s when I told him how important it is to put real eyes on a coin in hand.
He also shared with me something that I thought was quite flattering. He said, or should I say admitted, that for quite some time he used to remove the RCNH stickers we’ve applied to the reverse of all the certified coins we’ve sold. Now, he looks at the RCNH sticker in the same light as a CAC sticker, and to have both on a coin is a real win, win. I know this sounds self-serving, but it sure is nice to get this type of positive feedback from someone that gets what we’re trying to do.
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.
Read Between The Lines
By Joseph Presti
Over the weekend I was looking over NGC’s website as I often do because they routinely publish informative articles in their news section. However, I was surprised by a letter published by the Chairman of NGC, Mark Salzberg. Before you read this article further, you should read Mark’s letter, a link is provided here, www.ngccoin.com/news/letter/5740/. I cannot speculate as to the purpose of Mark’s letter, but as an attorney and someone who has been dealing in coins since 1980, I like to get to the truth and I like to think I can hold my own when talking about rare coins.
If Mark wants to ban PCGS coins in the NGC registry sets, that is his right and I think PCGS does the same. But to throw rocks at PCGS for their inconsistency of grading and decrease in values because of increased populations, while on the surface may appear to be true, is wholly inaccurate. To be clear, both PCGS and NGC, I feel have their own issues when it comes to grading coins. I have seen obviously cleaned coins in both holders and coins with designations that were not as described. Inconsistencies will happen when you grade as many coins as each company does and the goal is to keep them to a minimum.
Let’s focus on the main points of Mark’s letter, the increase in PCGS populations and decrease in values. The increase in populations may partially be due to gradeflation, it is a real thing and unfortunate for those dealers who attempt to maintain grading standards as they were 30 years ago when the services started. Gradeflation just makes it harder for those of us trying to sell accurately graded coins for a fair price. But another very real factor that could partially explain the increase in populations is the fact that prices for classic, not modern NGC coins that sell in auctions or on a wholesale level are not as high as PCGS graded coins. The result is that most dealers we know either crack NGC coins or submit them to PCGS for crossover grading. Those coins that do cross show up on the population report. The greater the difference in value between PCGS and NGC for the same coin in the same grade, the more there is a chance another coin of that date will be sent to PCGS for grading, thus increasing the PCGS population and lowering the NGC population.
As for values, the several examples given in Mark’s letter can be broken down into multiple sections. First, we should compare classic coins. Take the 1912-S Liberty nickel in MS-66 cited in the letter. Did a PCGS MS-66 sell in January, 2012 for $33,000+? Yes, and another sold in August, 2013 for $28,000+. But, Mark failed to point out that an NGC example in the same grade failed to sell against a reserve of $9700 in February, 2013! One other fact that Mark forgot to include in his letter was that two rolls of gem 1912-S Liberty nickels have been graded in the last year or two by PCGS. Another example Mark gave is the 1918 Lincoln cent. True, a PCGS MS-67 Red coin sold in April, 2012 for $12,000. It wasn’t until June, 2015 that a similarly graded NGC coin sold, for $2350. To be fair, the price of this coin had been falling and a PCGS graded coin sold one month later for $3055. How does one explain this?
The other type of coin in which prices were compared were modern coins. If you have been a customer of RCNH or read our newsletter over time you know our feeling about modern coins. Treat them like the plague, stay away from them and do not buy them. It is only a matter of time before more are graded and the prices collapse. This is true for both services.
The reason in my opinion that prices have gone down over the time period cited in Mark’s letter are many. The market has not cooperated and demand has been weak. There have been several large, high profile collections to enter the market especially over the last few years and this has taken tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars out of the market and led to a glut of certain types of coins. There is also the US Mint, the largest coin dealer in the world retailing as many different products as they can imagine, with the result being that many people are now focused on modern issues instead of classic coins.
Finally, you have the registry buyers. People putting together registry sets have a habit of paying too high a price for a coin just because it has a certain grade on the holder, not necessarily because it is accurately graded. Once their hole is filled, then that buyer or market has dried up and the price will fall. Dealers are not stupid, if they see that a particularly graded coin brought stupid money at auction you can bet that they will now be searching for an example of that coin to cross over or upgrade and sell for a big profit. Whether Mark wants to admit it or not, PCGS has eaten NGC’s lunch when it comes to marketing registry sets. PCGS’s set registry is simply more recognized and competitive that NGC’s and this results in those registry buyers paying more money for PCGS graded coins than for NGC graded coins.
How Does Our Garden Grow?
By Paul V. Battaglia
I do mean the growth in and of numismatics, of course.
My recent trip to the F.U.N. 2017 Convention with Warren was cause for both celebration and observance. The former had to do with more agreeable Fahrenheit levels and the latter with attendees’ personal behaviour toward coins. Setting aside the disastrous shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, my concern with those who visited our table had me on edge. Those who know me realize I am not a man who is easily rattled.
Over many years’ time, I have been witnessing a growing number of collectors who carry the weekly, monthly, quarterly and currency sheets. I was always in favour of this as its birth came as a result of the desperately needed two-tier market commencing in 1994….but, especially, the January 31, 1997 CDN entitled “ALL COINS ARE NOT ALIKE!” Collectors and investors were finally heeding the call for more EDUCATION based on a dealer’s willingness to be as enthusiastic when buying back their coins as they were when selling them, and at fair prices. I am now witnessing more price shoppers, yet these price shoppers are known to me and own SIGHT-SEEN material. This makes little to no sense as ORIGINALITY speaks volumes. No self-respecting educated coin collector, who settles for nothing less than the Real McCoy, suddenly changes horses in mid-stream. OK, what am I missing? Or does my generation have something to do with it?
New blood is necessary to carry on traditions. If not new blood, then something of instant value-use or promise of same must be forthcoming. Outside of being Homo sapiens, my generation (Baby Boomer), has less and less in common with all generations born thereafter. Our digital age will soon become one that embraces and utilizes actual light and yet unknown dimensions, together. SPEED is overhanging and overwhelming the psyches of those committed to progress. I see an additional need to implement an initiative to keep and attract what we have in our ranks. Yes, we do have many steadfast, hale and hearty organizations who work tirelessly on this challenge. I salute them endlessly for they, one being the American Numismatic Association in 1959 for me, captivated this man child’s heart in those halcyon days when “neato cool” and “wicked” dominated our youthful parlance.
What I have in mind I shall not yet divulge fully in this newslettre. I have just begun to formulate it in my mind’s eye, hence; it is just an embryo, but I do see it succeeding. The plan I will propose to assist my superiors in our field is one I have mulled over for a solid year. As always, I invite our readers to call me/us and speak your mind. Often, the more salient and seemingly ordinary plans, comments and refinements are the simplest….like the straight line being the shortest distance between two points.
I will reveal more in the upcoming year. Please….CALL ME for without you, the everyday man, woman, young adult and child, RCNH would not exist. I am beholden to you for all I have.
My sincerest wishes to ALL. Paul
Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA. He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country. Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990. He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
What is Commercial Grading?
This question has been posed many times over the years to me. When we were at the F.U.N. Show a few weeks ago, we met with two of our most friendly and knowledgeable clients who have met us at the show for the last 15 years. These guys are not slouches in the rare coin field. Every year, their assessment of the show gets bleaker and bleaker. They like to scout around to see if they can find something they may add to their own collections, but also bird-dog out anything that I should look at to acquire for RCNH’s inventory. Their assessments go as follows: everything is stripped and dipped and if you find an original nice coin or two, they are usually 2 to 3 times the market price. Welcome to my world. It’s hard to find accurate technically graded appealing coins while trying to deliver a good value.
Back to our Mailbag question: What is commercial grading?
Commercial grading is a term that is used to mean market acceptable. The secondary question is “market acceptable to whom?” This market acceptability appears to be geared to unknowledgeable buyers. Coins are market acceptable if they are stripped, dipped, or cleaned and bright white! Please take a look at the scans of this 1893-CC Morgan Dollar (click on them to see more detailed images). The 93-CC is a classic collector date. This coin is in a well-worn condition and should show not only wear but some natural age toning. It may be light to deeper grey, rose and gold or something that gives the coin antique character. This 1893-CC here shows wear that is acceptable for a Fine grade. Yet, it also shows multiple layers of cleaning over the years from the steely bright surfaces and metal loss; not to even mention rim ticks and many scattered surface abrasions. Yet it wasn’t enough to call this coin Fine….it graded a Fine-15 or Choice Fine! And we wonder why collectors aren’t learning a thing about grading and stewardship of protecting our well preserved historical artifacts.
I don’t want you to think it’s only a circulated coin phenomenon. These commercial white stripped coins are all over the hobby from Mint State to Proofs. A knowledgeable collector may work on his circ type set or series set of coins for decades to find the most original eye-appealing coins to pass on to future generations. Yet, commercial cleaned, stripped and cleaned coins can be put together in a matter of days.
I’m glad there is an organization out there that attempts to identify the solid to high-end coins for the grade, for collectors and dealers alike. This organization is CAC. I disagree with CAC’s stance on CACing dipped coins; please see our December interview with John Albanese. But I’m happy that it’s not just us out there alone preaching the message of high-end coins for the grade.
Please read Joe and Dave’s articles this month. I hope you will be able to understand the tie-in here.
Thanks to the dealers that commented on our newsletter to me at F.U.N. It was very much appreciated. I didn’t realize that so many knowledgeable players in the industry look forward to it every month.
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. So please keep sending in your questions to me directly or emailthank you.
February Highlighted Coin
1861 Seated Liberty Half Dollar NGC MS-65 CAC
This month’s highlighted coin is a magnificent 1861 Seated Liberty half dollar. This is also referred to as a “No Motto” half since the motto “In God We Trust” had not been added above the eagle on the reverse until 1866.
The Civil War had just begun in April, 1861, supplies of goods were becoming scarce and people were getting nervous. Since paper money had not even been issued by the Federal Government, that would not happen until 1862, all denominations of coins were being hoarded creating a shortage of all coins. This ultimately resulted in the widespread use of merchant tokens and encased postage as a form of money. The result of this hoarding, lack of paper money and overuse of coinage resulted in many denominations from the Civil War era being very scarce in high quality.
This particular coin is a fully struck gem that has deep original toning with deeper greens within the devices. The stars and shield exhibit full detail as well as all of the eagle’s feathers on the reverse. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of photographing coins, darker toned coins do not show well online and must be seen to be appreciated. It is only speculation as to how this coin survived in such a state of preservation. Who knows, it could have been hoarded at the beginning of the war and forgotten about for a hundred years until it saw the light of day again. However, it survived. Once found, someone took care not to clean it or use it and took extremely good care of it.
This lovely coin is graded an NGC MS-65, CAC and will satisfy even the most finicky among us for only $4875.
Please emailif you'd like to order this coin, or if you have any questions or comments regarding it.