By David Schwager for CoinWeek …..
 

Let’s start with questions and answers about VaultBox coin blind boxes, then go through the quantitative research.

Questions and Answers

Q: Briefly, what is the concept?

A: Each VaultBox is a sealed container holding three NGC-certified American Eagle bullion coins. A collector buys the box for $595 USD and may receive coins worth more or less than that amount. This is based on the trading card concept of “box breaks” in which collectors go through sealed boxes of sports cards or game cards looking for valuable or scarce cards.

Box Breaks for Coins: Questions, Answers, and Numbers on VaultBox Series 1

Q: Who is selling these? Is it NGC?

A: At first, I and other collectors mistakenly believed that NGC or its parent company Certified Collectibles Group was marketing and selling VaultBoxes. A company known as VaultBox, however, created and sells this product. VaultBox is part of the well-known coin dealer Minshull Trading.

Q: So how is NGC involved?

A: VaultBox buys coins and sends them to NGC. NGC grades and slabs the coins. NGC then puts three coins in each box, seals the boxes, and sends the boxes to VaultBox.

Q: What’s in the boxes?

A: VaultBox published the list of 2,400 coins in Series 1. All are American Eagle bullion coins graded NGCX 9.9 or 10. The list has 800 coins in each of three groups: common, uncommon, and rare. Each box holds one randomly selected common coin, one uncommon coin, and one rare coin. The boxes have no serial numbers and nothing on the outside of the box indicates the contents.

Q: What’s in each group?

A: With equal numbers in each tier, the groups are based on value more than rarity. Common coins are all Mint State Silver Eagles, with NGC price guide values averaging about $65. Uncommon coins are all Silver Eagles, some Mint State and some Proof, with NGC price guide values averaging about $125. Rare coins are a mix of Silver Eagles, Gold Eagles, Platinum Eagles, and Palladium Eagles, in both Mint State and Proof, with NGC price guide values averaging about $530.

Put another way, the buyer will get two certified Silver Eagles and one more certified Eagle bullion coin.

Q: What is NGCX?

A: For a few large customers, NGC offers the option of grading 1982 to present coins on a 1 to 10 scale instead of a 1 to 70 scale. This program is known as NGCX after the Roman numeral X for 10. NGC announced this program in December 2022 and VaultBox is one of the first dealers to use NGCX.

The program was designed to appeal to collectors already familiar with 10-point scales in other collectible fields and to be easier to explain to new collectors. NGCX 9.9 is equivalent to Mint State 69 or Proof 69. NGCX 10 is equivalent to Mint State 70 or Proof 70.

Q: So what happens after I open the box?

A: Keep the coins or sell them to VaultBox. Their website allows you to enter the certification number to receive an offer to buy the coin.

The Numbers

VaultBox helpfully published the full list of coins in series 1. I copied the list into a spreadsheet, then spent a few hours looking up every coin’s value in the NGC price guide. I also added information about precious metal content.

See the full spreadsheet here.

  • Number of coins: 2,400
  • Number of boxes: 800
  • Total price guide value: $578,675
  • Mean coin value: $241
  • Price per box: $595
  • Total price for 800 boxes: $476,000

Each box contains one common, one uncommon, and one rare coin.

  • Mean common value: $65
  • Mean uncommon value: $126
  • Mean rare value: $532
  • Mean value of three-coin box: $723
  • Value as percent of price: 122%

Assume street value is 80% of price guide.

  • Mean common value: $52
  • Mean uncommon value: $101
  • Mean rare value: $425
  • Mean value of three-coin box: $579
  • Value as percent of price: 97%
  • Least valuable coin: $45 (2013 Silver Eagle Mint State 9.9 and several similar Silver Eagles)
  • Most valuable coin: $23,500 (2020-W Gold Eagle with V75 privy Proof 10 Ultra Cameo)

Least valuable possible box (NGC price guide values):

  • Common: $45 for 2013 Silver Eagle Mint State 9.9
  • Uncommon: $80 for 2011-W Burnished Silver Eagle Mint State 10
  • Rare: $130 for 2013-W American Eagle Reverse Proof 9.9
  • Total: $255

Most valuable possible box (NGC price guide values):

  • Common: $125 for 1995 Silver Eagle Mint State 9.9
  • Uncommon: $220 for 2021-W Silver Eagle Proof 9.9 Ultra Cameo
  • Rare: $23,500 for 2020-W Gold Eagle with V75 privy Proof 10 Ultra Cameo
  • Total: $23,835

Metals:

  • Silver: 1,967 coins / 1,967 oz
  • Gold: 325 coins / 66.2 oz
  • Platinum: 106 coins / 27.5 oz
  • Palladium: 2 coins / 2 oz

Melt values are rounded to give a general idea of value, even with price fluctuations.

  • Mean melt value – common: $25
  • Mean melt value – uncommon: $25
  • Mean melt value – rare: $210
  • Mean melt value of 3-coin box: $260

 

1 COMMENT

  1. How is this not an illegal lottery? I’m not a lawyer, but I did take a law class in business school where the Professor’s two stated goals were to keep us out of jail and scare us into hiring a lawyer if we needed one. Lotteries were one of the topics we covered.

    There are three requirements to create a lottery: Consideration, a Prize, and Random Chance.

    Here, you must purchase a VaultBox (consideration), there are boxes with vastly different values, from $255 to $23,835. An almost 100x spread certainly makes one box a prize. And the terms and conditions make it clear that nobody at NGC nor the sponsor knows who gets what (random chance).

    Typically in sweepstakes (vs. a lottery), there is a way – onerous as it may be – to obtain a free entry, thus the famous line, “No purchase necessary to win”. You must send a white, unlined, 3×5 card with “FREE ENTRY” hand-printed on it in block capital letters plus a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope to a post office box in Western Oshkosh by next Tuesday at 11:59 am. The first fifty received will be sent a free sports card or whatever.

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