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The 2018 Baltimore Show
By Warren Mills
Welcome to the April issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast. I recently attended the Whitman Coin Show in Baltimore. Many flights were cancelled due to inclement weather, but I was lucky enough to make it to the show. About 15% of the dealers weren’t able to fly in, so the tables weren’t full. I’m not sure why, but it worked as a plus it seems, because we were able to pick up a fair amount of coins. Activity was brisk with many aggressive buyers. If sellers were realistic with their prices, coins sold. We filled many want lists and anything really expensive sold immediately.
I had about twenty-five auction lots to check for customers, to see if the coins were worthy of placing bids on. About half of the coins were fine, with a couple of very P.Q. examples. The coins we labeled as the choicest pieces brought incredibly strong prices. One example that comes to mind was a very fresh, lustrous and original 1925-D Saint Gaudens in MS-64 PCGS CAC. My bid was $23,000 plus the 20% buyer’s fee which would mean that the price to me would be $27,600. I did not label the coin as an upgrade, but it was a very fresh and lustrous example. Could it 64+ on its attributes? I guess so, but it really was just a very nice 64. I felt it was worthy of a premium bid due to the fact that a knowledgeable buyer would recognize the true value of the coin. The Greysheet bid is $13,500, CCE high bid is $11,500, the high CAC bid is $18,000 and the PCGS Retail Price Guide is $17,000. When you look at the numbers, it seems that $27,600 is absurd. Then look at the CAC wholesale bid and compare it to the PCGS Retail Price Guide! Why the discrepancy? For the most part, the price guide reflects a coin that may be low end to average for the grade at best! Also, certain denominations may have price guide numbers that are way too low, way too high or close to accurate numbers. At best, you have a rough retail price for a low end coin to mid range coin. On rarer issues, which seldom come onto the market, you have to go by your gut. This coin was so fresh and original, but not an upgrade in my opinion, that I felt was worthy of a premium bid. It finally sold, including the buyer’s premium, for over $32,000. The CCE bid in MS-65 is $50,000 and the CAC bid in MS-65 is $100,000. In this business, the most knowledgeable buyers are setting the prices. Also, look at the differences between CAC and non-CAC issues for the same coin in the same grade! It really is astonishing.