I’ve never been to the Michigan State Show so I decided it was time to take a trip out there and see how it was. I always heard this was a strong collector show but it is held on Thanksgiving weekend, which is probably why I’ve never attended! I had a good feeling about the show and anticipated a nice mix of coins. There were about 150 dealers with tables. Driving in from the Detroit airport, I was depressed at all of the dilapidated buildings that I could see while driving to the show. Unfortunately, this was a harbinger of things to come. There was a good amount of public attendance and I liked the fact that the show organizers required a government I.D. to enter the show. Once inside, I started looking at the tables and the lack of fresh material was a huge disappointment. The dealers I knew there said that it was a well below average Michigan State Show from the standpoint of the mix of coins and that I should try it again. There was also an impressive auction catalog of ungraded “raw” coins being sold by a local numismatic auction firm. The catalog gave the impression that the coins were mostly high grade and the pictures were beautiful. Once I started looking at the lots I realized why the coins were not graded, they were horrible! As one national dealer said to me, “You can really get hurt in this auction there are a ton of trap coins here.” Other dealers I spoke to about auction lots were also disappointed. This seems like a theme lately. The lack of fresh material is making it hard to keep a nice inventory. My advice, when you find the fresh coin for your collection, buy it and don’t look back. Another nice piece may not come around for a while.
Paul and I flew into Baltimore on the morning of October 29th, the day before the show opened. I didn’t anticipate strong sales because our inventory was lower than usual. I was hoping that I could find some nice inventory coins but as usual we were not willing to compromise and buy marginal material to offer to our clients. My observations are as follows:
Large size type and high grade CAC coins were virtually non-existent. The few coins in the market were priced at very high uncomfortable levels. I had a few dealers that hold coins for me to see and thankfully they held some nice coins that I was able to acquire. Attendance was very poor and the dropping metal prices were of concern to many dealers. Dealer liquidity appears to be a problem right now and my guess is that since there is not a catalyst to buy tangibles, people are allocating funds elsewhere. This means that dealer foot traffic in their offices or stores is much lower than normal. The best thing to do in most areas for good potential is to price average. If you bought high, think of buying low to average out costs. The auction was strong for accurately graded and P.Q. coins and weak on over graded pieces. We sold about 20% of our normal volume and acquired about 50% of what we normally buy. The Gardner Sale was very strong and many of the coins we sold to Gene did very well. This confirms that the market is strong for nice quality high grade pieces.
Our next major show is F.U.N. Please get your want list to us before we leave in early January. We want to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas. And as always, feel free to call or e-mail us anytime.
P.S. The grading services were busy with decent submission results. We sent in a very expensive coin to PCGS to cross a few weeks before the show that didn’t cross. I took it to the show and walked it through and it did cross. This shows that you have to believe in nice coins.
Our own Joe Presti, resident attorney and professional numismatist has been appointed by President of the New Hampshire Senate, Charles Morse to the Commission to Study Regulatory Requirements for Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers.
Police departments across the country are attempting to pass pawnbroker and secondhand dealer laws meant to combat the trafficking of stolen merchandise but an unintended consequence in some cases is that it is making it cumbersome to do normal coin dealer business. New Hampshire has passed a state wide law that addresses these issues that towns normally deal with on an individual basis. The law has been sent to a study committee and the bill requires that an individual from the coin dealer industry be appointed to assist with the final version of this bill before being forwarded to the Governor for her signature.
Because of the commitment of consumer protection that RCNH has maintained and the experience Joe has in working on behalf of victims of fraud he was more qualified than anyone else in the state to be appointed to this committee.
We congratulate Joe and wish him well on the committee.
ANA Report – August 5-8, 2014
This year I decided to give up our corner table at the ANA. It was impossible to justify the $2,500 expense and we have more flexibility. Paul and I worked on the floor and Joe did the auctions.
We started right away with a snafu. We were held up at the airport for an hour beyond normal. We got to the show and security was closed so I had to bring our bags to the hotel and Paul went onto the ANA floor. I ended up losing another hour and when I finally got to the show I was not allowed to buy early bird badges. The early bird badges are a whopping $150 per badge. The ANA rep said they ran out of badges. I believe they gave them all to the bused in buyers a few dealers hired to stand in line for JFK mint products. So you had dealers that normally walk the floor all week and advanced collectors that stay most of the week that were denied doing hours of potential business. I know it’s hard for the ANA or the dealers that bused in people to judge the ramifications but this was poorly thought out in the pursuit of money. I will not be surprised if lawsuits arise from the auctions of a few dealers. I hope the ANA bills these dealers for any extra security costs too! The mint should use a lottery system to allocate new and popular mint issues. Doing it the way they currently are allows for too much short term price manipulation. I am also worried about future show security. Many of the people who were bused in were grouped up in clusters around the show all day, watching what was going on. I believe the potential for future security problems is great.
At the last minute, I decided to take a trip to the Baltimore Summer show. It’s about 2/3’s the size of the spring and fall show but we needed to shore up our inventory so I took a shot that I might find some nice coins. Since we handle soup to nuts in coins, from nice collector circulated pieces to high grade specialized issues, but only if they are solid exceptional coins for the grade so I jumped on a plane. I’m glad I did! Some of the dealers went with no inventory for sale but many did set up and I managed to acquire a few cream of the crop coins. The attendance was better than I expected. Most of the dealers I spoke to were disappointed with their sales. I am fortunate that some of the dealers know our demand for top quality and when I came by their table, they showed me the secret stash. In many instances the stash changed hands to RCNH. There was very little in CAC coins available, especially in gold and type coins. In the end, I was extremely happy with my purchases and I will do it again. Overall, I’d recommend the show. It was a huge surprise and very pleasant.