By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics ……
Legend Coin Market Report – AN UNEXPECTED GREAT SHOW – ALMOST LIKE OLD TIMES
We can not believe how intense this show was. For us, we had a really strong show. In fact, it was our BEST show in two to three years (but nowhere near any record levels)!
It was like a projectile hit from outer space. While overall attendance was good, there was actually some retail to be done. In fact, early Wednesday, we sold a $20,000 coin to a collector! What a way to start a show. Keep in mind, this show had some serious attractions–the Ship of Gold, the Tyrant Collection, and the Super Collection of PL Morgans. It was a refreshing sight to see and deal with collectors again. After all was said and done, we even sold TWO six-figure coins to collectors.
It felt like the Long Beach Shows we used to enjoy 20 years ago!
Wholesale was off the charts. Prior to the show, hotel-room selling was red hot. We made many “old friends” go away at strong prices. Most amazing was the fact that our “super secret stealth seller” leaned over to us Wednesday morning and said “I’ve sold at total of $800,000 so far”. He ended up selling just about $1,000,000–which by far was his best ever anywhere. For a single guy who does not carry expensive coins and goes table to table, that is amazing. It more than proves demand from rank-and-file dealers is huge. While it was perplexing to us how he did it–we had second shot with his coins and could only buy $20,000–we were not surprised. He sold well over six figures for us (great job, old man)!
The floor was as dry of coins as dry could be. PCGS did their special to cross things at a small fee… and then slammed the door shut on everyone (although word has it towards the end of the show they were crossing things again, probably because of so many complaints). Plus, they were extremely tight all around. Virtually no one made any coins. In a shocking move, the largest wholesaler in the biz did NOT bring any coins to sell (we suspect they were that low). Coin dealers need to make a living, so they bought whatever was offered regardless of price in many cases.
We unhesitatingly proclaim the market at the Long Beach Show was 10-20% better than FUN – which was a very good show.
Still, buying was the worst disaster ever. Here we go again, with no real new wicked cool coins going into March. We had well over one million in bids in the Long Beach Auction and spent only $400,000. Of that number, two coins we went back and purchased after the sale for strong profits. The only big cool gold coin we bought at the show–a $20 1857S PCGS MS67 CAC shipwreck piece–was sold to a Want List customer. We posted a $2.5 1914 PCGS MS64 CAC as part of our NEWPS (wish we had three more; ditto on the $20 1876S PCGS MS63+ CAC!). In fact, we’ve already sold several NEWPS and at the time of writing it is only Saturday afternoon. The market’s pent-up demand is now being felt across the board.
An interesting phenomenon is happening. We’ve seen this in our own auctions and now we’ve seen it big time in the Long Beach Sale. More and more collectors of the better coins are now playing to win. That is something we have always done when we’re out to build great sets. The $10 Libs in the sale were proof. The 1842-O PCGS MS63 CAC brought a staggering $288,000. The 1897-O PCGS MS67 CAC brought a bewildering $264,000 (and we thought our measly $175,000 hammer bid would buy it). The 1886 PCGS MS64 CAC brought an unimaginable $31,200 (which makes the 1874 $10 PCGS MS64 we bought for $28,800 look like a steal).
This kind of strength was not just limited to gold. We had to pay $10,801 for the wildly colored 1871 50C PCGS PR65+ Cameo CAC. Yet we lost out on the killer 50C 1909 PCGS PR65 Cameo that brought $4,320. We even got clocked on a 1C 1907 PCGS PR66 RB CAC that brought $4,320. The competition is now fierce. Before, we would say these coins all brought “beyond moon money”. Today, we are firm in our opinion these are simply “market” prices. Again, this applies only to the high-end, higher quality coins.
One coin of particular interest in the sale was a $10 1840 PCGS AU55 CAC. There was NO question it was grossly UNDER-graded. It happens. The intensity of the sale and the attraction of the $10 Lib was so strong the coin realized $33,600 all in (a regular AU55 is worth around $5,000). The price realized is now current market for a 61/62 coin. Plus add in the fact that ALL early $10s in UNC in the 40s are grossly UNDER-valued to begin with. The final price is no surprise to many of us. Yes, there are a few very rare coins out there like this that are that UNDER graded. The buyer got one heck of a coin!
If the price guides weren’t so pathetic, we would be at the start of a very big bull market. When coins haven’t sold since 2012-2014 or so and there is no up-to-date pricing, many collectors simply can’t figure what to pay and they don’t bid because the prices started off higher than they understood. We think so many people have become fed up with not buying coins that they are breaking out and just buying the coin. Each day more and more people are coming to realize they have one shot and one shot only to snag their prizes. The market is nowhere near any euphoric state, but it is VERY strong for good coins.
QUALITY IS EVERYTHING
We still shake our heads at what we see happening so we feel compelled to repeat this critical message.
With millions of coins graded, you’re going to have as much as five percent that are bad. That is an awful lot of coins. When the market is this strong and no coins are around, all that is left is the dreck to really mess things up (pulling prices down). Collectors need to know that while they may be buying a coin cheap, sometimes cheap is not cheap enough. There is a reason as to why CAC coins can sell for DOUBLE.
We cannot stress enough: even if you are desperate for a fix, do NOT buy an inferior coin just to fill a hole. You will end up losing money. Only buy the final coin you need. And if a coin isn’t CAC, ask why. The best line we ever heard was when a dealer said he “does not believe in it”. WOW, you’d think that would be a red flag. ANY dealer worth their salt today will have sent a coin in, as clearly they bring the most money. You can always ask a sale to be dependent on a coin stickering. If the dealer’s answer is no – walk away!
Lastly, CAC will guarantee that you won’t get a doctored coin. That alone, to us, is huge; you have no clue what we see for sale out there.
Our mottos has been “Buy the Best You Can Afford” and “There is no Substitute for Quality”. They has held true since we were baby dealers over 40+ years ago (ouch)!
To us, quality is not just buying an MS or PR 68 coin. It’s about buying even a GEM AU piece. EYE APPEAL is a critical component of quality.
When buying a Proof coin, the clarity of the mirrors is the real key (so many people do NOT look for this). We have always bought the very best for the grade – and we have always paid more to get it. In the end, over the LONG TERM, this formula makes you money. Understand, of course, that the long term is not two to three years, it is MUCH longer. Beware of lesser coins, even if they have a sexy pedigree. You are NOT getting any bargains!
NOTE: Dreck, to us, has nothing to do with the value or the grade of a coin. It’s about the QUALITY and EYE APPEAL. We’ve seen High Reliefs in MS64 that were pure dreck and stuff like a PR65 Barber Dime that was worse (puke!). You can’t have retoned Morgans or Indian Cents no matter what the grade. All those are dreck to be avoided. We use the term because it grabs attention and makes people stop and think.
Well, we couldn’t find many coins at all that met our standards. Price was not an issue, but it sort of ended up that way. We got seriously skunked in the auction. But then, we were buying to resell and can’t play to win to stock a coin. We did manage to come up with a few cool coins, however:
- 25C 1895 PCGS PR67+ DCAM
- $1 1900 O/CC PCGS MS66+
- $20 1876S PCGS MS63+
We tried our hardest to buy coins for all tastes and budgets. We were so frustrated by what we could not find.
Do not forget to check out our regular inventory, we do have some great coins that need great homes!
Legend is BUYING! What do you have–especially in PCGS/NGC CAC gold (sorry, we do not need commoner coins)?
ALL NEWPS ARE NOW POSTED. ENJOY!
We are in the final stages of accepting consignments for our March Premier Sessions Internet Only sale. We have some really great stuff already consigned. And when we say great, we mean interesting coins of REAL quality.
Don’t forget our May Regency Sale. Space is filling up fast. This will be our biggest sale ever (possibly 750 lots). We will have the first session Wednesday, May 16, consisting of nothing but Dollars 1795-1935. We have the PFM Morgan Set (a complete PCGS Registry set of white Morgans) and the Crow River Set of GEM PCGS Peace Dollars as anchors. Of course we’ll have a monster toner or two and some other really cool dollars. We assure you, EVERY coin in this sale is hand picked!
We have already received some monster single coins in consignment: a killer 25C 1916 PCGS MS67 FH (no CAC)! A monster 50C Rhode Island 1936S PCGS MS68 CAC. We’ll be discussing what is in this sale starting next week – we’ve been a bit swamped.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR WISH TO ORDER, EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org. WE DO NOT CHECK OUR MESSAGES UNTIL MONDAY 9 AM.
For more information, please visit www.legendauctions.com.
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Legend Rare Coin Auctions (LRCA), based in Lincroft, NJ, is a boutique-style rare coin auction firm.
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