Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
The 2017 Baltimore Show
By Warren Mills
Welcome to the December issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast. November was a whirlwind of activity for us. We are seeing a huge amount of people coming in with coins to sell! It got to the point that we were overwhelmed. Alas, most are the usual instances of boxes of proof & mint sets, along with quantities of junk silver. Very few people are coming in with any scarcer coins and when they do, we recommend that they consider certifying, CACing or holding on to them if they can. We put a price on everything, but at some point, we feel that really choice material will enter a favorable up cycle again and that now is not the time to sell. It is true that the base of clients for top quality coins is shrinking due to the aging demographics. However, there are a handful of new serious buyers coming in with a more educated approach and striving for quality. One affluent collector has spent over $100 million in a quest to assemble an Eliasberg Collection of top quality US coins in a very short time! The future for top quality coins may finally be bright again.
The recently concluded Baltimore Coin Show was very good. I was surprised that I saw a better selection of material than I had seen in the last few years. It is very strange to be in a market where a wonderful 6-figure coin is actually more easily traded than a nice 4-figure or low 5-figure coin. This really brought home the point that new buyers are not only interested in top quality, but are learning about high-end coins for the grade. They are getting their education and entering the market with more discretionary income than most buyers have had to allocate in the past.
While I was attending the show, I had scheduled time to review clients’ coin collections and critique what they have been buying. It’s a pleasure to see when the grading lessons are really sinking in. One of our long standing clients came to me with a box of interesting key and semi-key dates of varied series of US coins. I went through them all and gave an analysis of each coin. His grading skills and market feel are now on par with many dealers in the industry. He wanted to CAC some of his more expensive pieces, so I selected 10 coins and sent them to CAC for him. I am happy to report that 9 out of 10 stickered! The best part of it is that he is so appreciative. We spend hours of time trying to help people with not so much as a thank you, sometimes going over their items for years and years with them. Either way, it is rewarding for everyone to see when lessons are being learned.
I know that I’ve touched on this before, but a glaring example recently raised its ugly head. We need to be diligent to help others and not fall into coin traps. Many friends or relatives may not be collectors, but may actually be funding Golden IRAs and not even telling you about it.
One last note, once again we’ve been asked to participate in the Rosen Numismatic Advisory, Crystal Ball Survey. Maurice selects a panel of knowledgeable numismatists and asks for their opinion on a bunch of pertinent questions. As one of the 6 participants, I am honored to have the opportunity. With his permission, I will ask if he minds that we include the survey questions and responses in our next issue. I hope you find the survey interesting and informative.
Modern Proof Gold Rip-Off
By Warren Mills
The following is a case that we were alerted to. Some of you may not know that there is a consumer organization that is lead by John Albanese, called The Numismatic Consumer Alliance. Its sole purpose is to help people that may have been caught up in a coin scam. We at RCNH dedicate our time when alerted to these situations to try and help people get some of their money back. There is no compensation for it, but it is the right thing to do.
As you all may know, the coin and bullion markets haven’t been good for almost 10 years now. Coming into the end of the 2008, the market was strong with anticipation of continued activity and then came the financial correction. The rare coin market stopped dead and the mind set for many people was motivated by fear to buy bullion for protection. Bullion became harder to find and even with higher premiums, did well until 2011 and then began to fall. We’ve been waiting for a recovery ever since. Some people became interested in tangibles with no inclination for collecting, but thought for diversity that it made sense. We are finding that many elderly people have been approached with starting Golden IRAs and to put Modern Proof American Gold Eagle Coins into it. The problem is that these Proof Gold Eagles are being promoted as numismatic coins and in this instance, a client paid almost double the going rate that they should have paid. Right now, the premium for Proof Gold Eagles has dropped so much that they are about on par with uncirculated ones. They may actually be a good buy now, but only at the true current market levels.
If you or anyone you know has funded a Golden IRA in the last few years, you may want to take a look at it. I hope that we can help this person, but it will be a long row to hoe. In any case, we only recommend funding these IRAs with coins that are priced according to their bullion content.
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.
Taking The Red Eye
By Dave Carleton
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have an interest in coins. My grandfather collected them, my dad collected them, and then I collected them with a little help from my dad. The first coin my dad and I found that really set a fire underneath me was in 1959 and it was a 1955 doubled die Lincoln cent.
That first big find was the beginning of my weekly visits to the Souhegan Bank here in Milford, to gather cents to review and to return the rolls I had checked out. I did this for several years with the constant hope to find that elusive 1909-S VDB or the 1914-D or another 1955 doubled die. The coin I hoped to find the most was a 1943 copper cent. I never found any of those dates and I was too broke or cheap to purchase them because I actually thought that I would find them sooner or later. I used to look at pennies until my eyes were bloodshot.
I haven’t sat down to look at thousands or even hundreds of pennies in years, but I’ve observed Warren doing it almost daily for the last thirty years. He doesn’t just look at Lincoln cents; he looks at everything with a passion. It’s amazing what he has found, especially in the variety category.
My appreciation for what Warren does was reignited last week when a gentleman came in with a collection he had inherited from his father. Warren did the evaluation and I believe he paid 2 ½ cents for the Wheat Cents and, as usual, he told the gentleman that when we have time to go through the cents, if we find a better date, we would set it aside and pay a fair price for it. We wrote him a check and he was on his way.
Later on that afternoon, the man came back to our office and asked to speak to me as I was the one who scheduled his first appointment. When I went out to meet him, it was apparent that he was a bit stressed out. He told me that he had gone home after coming here and he went on his computer to review Lincoln cent prices because he thought that they would have been worth more than 2 ½ cents. He said that while he was researching the subject, he found that a 1943-D Lincoln cent was worth a ton of money and that there was one in the bag of pennies he brought in. Then he pulled out a sheet of paper with all the dates and quantities of each date and, sure enough, there was a 1943-D listed.
I was immediately excited and told him that if in fact it was in the bag, we would have brought it to his attention when we went through it. Seeing how he was here and the bag of coins was right where it was left when he walked out, we looked though it. While we were looking, I took the opportunity to tell him of the many ways Lincoln cents have been altered to look like 1943 coppers. Aside from copper plating a steel cent, I believe the next most common practice of producing a 1943 copper is to alter the 1948 by retooling the 8 into a 3. This is what I suspect we’ll find, but we’ll soon find out. Wouldn’t you know it; we were down to the last handful of coins when I found a 1948-D with a scratch right through the 8 and it was very easy to see how this man had mistaken the coin for a ’43-D. He had no idea at the time about such a rarity.
I tried not to be a pessimist, but I did mention several times while we were searching that the coin was probably an error as there are only two known as far as I knew, so when it turned out to be a ’48, he was more prepared for the letdown. After he left, I had to take an aspirin for the massive headache I had behind my eyes. I couldn’t stop thinking about how many thousands of pennies I looked at years ago and now how only six- or seven-hundred would just about kill me.
This rare situation of me going through hundreds of coins made me appreciate what Warren does almost every day. I still love coins, but I’m finding out that some aspects of the hobby aren’t as easy as they used to be!
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.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
Dear Mr. Mills,
I have acquired coins from many different sources over the years. Now is my time to cash out. However, I don’t want to sell for a wholesale price, I want to get a retail price. Will I get a retail price by consigning my coins to an auction? - G.F.
Wow G.F., this is a great question! The short answer is no. That is a big misconception about auctions. Even the largest auction houses have commissions of 20% and the smaller ones can be up to 30%. If you deliver a quality consignment and know how to negotiate with a good auction house, you can reduce that commission substantially. However, if your consignment is of marginal quality, you will get less than what a reputable dealer may pay you.
Also, never ever consign bullion coins to an auction. I’ve seen this happen with certified bullion coins that could be sold to a dealer for around $1,300 per ounce, but the consignor only gets $1,000 to $1,100 per ounce at auction settlement, ouch! Your best course of action is to consult with a reputable dealer. They will let you know what to consign and assist you with auction placement and descriptions. This knowledge is very valuable. You don’t want nice coins lost in a bulk lot or poorly placed in an internet sale with less exposure. Then you can find out which coins should be sold outright and which coins should be consigned to get you retail or better prices.
Merry Christmas and God’s Blessings,