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Laura Sperber’s Hot Topics: Fools Gold – The JFK Coin



There is free enterpirse then there is the garbage that went on with the people and dealers who just had to get a piece of the Kennedy gold coin mania.

On the news you saw and heard about the long lines and near riots at the Mints. At the ANA show there were people sleeping on the side walk 12 hours before the doors opened. While the Mint could have done a slightly better job on the release, it really was not all their fault. The fault lies in the 3-5 dealers who went out and had people bused in to buy the coins. While that may not sound bad in theory, here is what happened: the people they bused in were HOMLELESS, many did not even speak english, and the majority we saw look like they crawled out from under rocks. Some were paid well and most were paid a few hundred dollars. These “enterprising” dealers set up shop right by the Mint with big signs offer huge profits-to those they did not hire. It was pure crazy in that area of the bourse. We’re pretty sure it was an area where the regular dealers had few sales. While there were no crimes at the ANA Show from these walk in people, the ANA was aware that KNOWN GANGS were on the bourse floor (I dunno, I was terrified when I was told that) . The security concerns were off the chart for the show. I can’t speak for the fights I was told happened at the Mints-I was too invloved with what was happening at the ANA Show.

hot_topics_lauraKudos to the ANA and Kim Kiick for shutting down the sales. The ANA actually got caught off guard. What she and her staff endured the first two days was horrific-but they managed to make sure there were NO problems inside the coin show. I can promise you this entire issue is being completely revied by BOTH the ANA and the US Mint. I suggest since we do know the dealers who started the mess, we penalize them. I do believe the ANA is also billing the Mint for the extra security they brought in. In the end, these dealers made millions while we all picked up the tab and had to cower and wonder who was looking at us and our coins. To quote our long time insurance provider: “It was the first time ever I felt unsecure on a bourse floor”.


Is this what long time dealers have come down doing because they can’t buy and sell like the old days? They have exploited not only the coin market by creating FAKE value on these Modern coins, but they stooped as low as low can be by bussing a clearly unworthy crowd into the ANA Show.

What really gets me going besides this garbage about buying the coins from the Mint-is that someone paid a reported $100,000.00 for the very first coin graded. Maybe they were dislexic? You buy the coin, NOT the holder! Clearly, they bought the holder not the coin! I can’t see this coin being worth anymore then melt in six months to a year. I’m not jealous, I am thinking reality. Crack the coin out, what do you have? Nothing special-just a gold Kennedy! Sorry, but give me EVERY PROOF GOLD LIBERTY coin (any denomintation) I can get that has a legit selling value today of a $100,000.00. Even the commonest PR Gold Liberty piece will always have true RARITY (maybe what 200 minted) vs thousands of Moderns that will survive in the pie in the sky grade of PR69 or 70.

This fiasco does NOT help our hobby in any way. I will debate this with anyone. How many people will be burnt buy buying these coins? We will LOSE more future collectors then what we could have gained. Your not a genuis to buy an overhyped coin thats brand new and the value is soley based upon the holder!

I really believe this FINALLY will be the beginning of the end for the over hyped Modern Market. The publicity will NOT be good about the Kennedy pieces anywhere you look. As more people realize whats really going on overall, they will move away from these issues. If all you Modern buyers think your so smart, wake up to the fact there is NO secondary real WHOLESALE buy/sell markets on your coins. A cheesy internet auction is NOT a buy/sell spread. Moderns are a one way street! I can’t imagine any current buyer of a graded Kennedy gold piece not being burnt. How does a coin go from $1,200.00 (I do not know how much the Kennedy coins sold for) to $100,000.00 in a few hours? I sure would like to know what legitamate dealer would make a BID anywhere near $100,000.00. I doubt in 6 months you will find even one dealer who would step out and offer to buy one for $10,000.00. Sounds like the greater fool theory to me.

In all my years of attending shows-especially ANA shows, this stunt was the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen. I can only hope the overall damage done is minimal. If I had my way, I ban the dealers for life (who upset the ANA Show). I’d reprimand the Mint and make them pay damages. I’m not so sure I’d want them to come back for a while. But, I do support free enterprise and I am sure a zillion people would probably tell me I am wrong for thinking what the dealers did was anything more then that. I know fingers will be pointed in many directions (which is probably right)-mine is pointed at the greedy dealers. They did not have to do this. And yes, 3 that I know of-are PNG members! Wonder what by-law they can hide behind.

P.S. I saw a really stupid statement already on a chatroom. Yes, Kennedy coin fisaco very much DOES affect me. It effects EVERYONE. I can’t see much good coming out of all this-especially for the collectors who go and buy these coins off the TV guys for super inflated prices. Right now to the out side world this hobby looks like a greed pit. Events like this do NOT bode well for the future of coin collecting. Plus, many of you can’t read-I am NOT critical of the ANA here-at all. I am furious at those dealers who abused the system.

[email protected]

Laura Sperber
Laura Sperberhttps://www.legendnumismatics.com/
Laura Sperber is one of the owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987, Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top-quality rare coins.

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  1. Pretty elitist of her to denigrate Modern coins. Just because she doesn’t play in that space means she should belittle those that do?

    As an ANA Board of Governors Member, why didn’t she know what was going on ahead of time? Was she not briefed weeks or months in advance? If not, why not?

    Gangs? Show me a picture of one known gang member on the bourse and a picture of their mug shot. A kid in a hoodie does not mean gang member.

    Was she not involved with the $10M coin sale? Did she not jump the bid from $5M to $8M+ to just get over the $10M mark with the juice? Why is that OK?

    Sounds like a lot of elitist spin to me.

    • dbtuner,

      I have it on good authority that known gang members were roaming the area. This comes from two separate law enforcement agencies. I do not have a mug shot to provide you, but I must accept what I was told by those in charge of site security.

      Having said that, a majority of those in line behaved in an orderly and courteous manner.

      • then they were the worlds lamest gangs. According to public records there were ZERO robberies at the event, inside and out. There were 3 thefts (snatch and grab or pickpocket, etc). Not sure how many of these happen at other shows but you always seem to hear of dealers getting followed him and coins stolen at an eatery while dealer is inside.

        • Your obviously not any type of board member. Why reply to an article and lie about who you are. Everything in this article is the authors opinion, and what she believes to be fact. I agree with every word in this article. I hate how the mint has set up selling these new modern coins. I would love to buy more and get involved, but I will not pay 3x or more the original value just because I could not be there in line to fight my way in.

  2. How could she be briefed about something that had not happened yet? I agree the views about the modern market are too harsh, but instead of assigning blame, let’s see if she has some positive impact on how the ANA handles future show releases.

  3. Laura Sperber is a dealer calling out other dealers! Big surprise there. She’s probably mad she didn’t think of snatching up the coins and is trashing them so people buy her “vintage” pieces instead. The Mint was a vendor like everyone else. Why should they get punished? Because they had an in-demand product? I didn’t see ANA whining about the probably 1000-1500 new ANA memberships that were brought in because of this coin, which probably made them $25,000 or more. This show proved ANA is a dying organization with bad leadership, starting with Kim Kiick. Had the Mint not showed up, the bourse would have been half empty.

  4. The real problem is missed. Why is the Mint selling coins to people who go to coin shows first and maing their loyal regular customers wait sometimes months.

    • Exactly, and what purpose does that serve especially when the average buyer is at serious disadvantage when it comes to buying in person? The only fair move would be either end show sales or make a serious effort to make the process more equitable.

      • I posted on a forum the best I could think of would be for the mint to either let people order these online and pick them up at the show, or bring a laptop and make everyone in line to buy one of these prove with photo id they are on the mint’s mailing list.

        I agree heartily with Ms. Sperber it was an utter disgrace and those dealers who brought in all of these standins should be stripped of ANA and PNG credentials and banned from all further ANA shows. After this dangerous, despicable stunt I really am doubting if I wish to spend my money to go to ANA shows or even to continue to be an ANA member. I will wait to see what the ANA does in response to this fiasco before sending in any membershop renewal payments.

        Another aspect to the story is the TPG’s grading on site with a special label. Without this there would not neaarly have been this fiasco. I hope the ANA also looks at the grading companies and how they are also partially to blame.

  5. Can anyone provide the names of the dealers involved with making a market in these “Modern Rarities”?
    Then everyone can choose for themselves how to not do business with them.

  6. The author makes no sense. “I am furious at those dealers who abused the system.” and “The fault lies in the 3-5 dealers who went out and had people bused in to buy the coins” How about ” I know fingers will be pointed in many directions (which is probably right)-mine is pointed at the greedy dealers. They did not have to do this. And yes, 3 that I know of-are PNG members! Wonder what by-law they can hide behind.”

    But they do not NEED to hide behind ANYTHING. Because as mad as you are, you do not NAME THEM. If you really think they did wrong, and really are mad at them, and really say “If I had my way, I ban the dealers for life ” then why not NAME THEM?

    You talk tough. But refuse to name them. Makes your entire article sound impotent, and the remarks of someone who shouldn’t write reviews of others. A waste of time to read. Just a tirade, with the anonymous “them” that are to blame, without allowing any REAL justice by stating who even WAS to blame. terrible!

  7. Boo-hoo & sad story, however you’re barking up the wrong tree. Your concern should be aimed at the TPGs. From the macro view, isn’t it the TPGs who do the “first mintage” and all the other bologna hype labels. You have correctly noted that once cracked out of the holder, the prestige disappears like a leprechaun fart. If the TPGs didn’t create this false market, there wouldn’t be folks taking advantage of “free enterprise” – which you falsely say you support. Please, take a moment from going DEFCON 1 on ANA gangstas and look at the roots of the issue.

  8. What do you mean by “unworthy crowd?”

    “They have exploited not only the coin market by creating FAKE value on these Modern coins, but they stooped as low as low can be by bussing a clearly unworthy crowd into the ANA Show.”

  9. Laura needs to spell check and grammar check her postings. Too many of them in this piece to count. If you’re going to write, at least write up to a higher standard. As a teacher, I’d give her a “D” grade. Poor spelling, poor grammar and weak analysis, with a lot of anecdotal material and few facts.

  10. Honestly, it is hard to take this article seriously when the grammar is nearing the middle school level.

    I can almost let the really terrible slang and hyperbole slide (“dunno”, all caps used to emphasize certain words, “a zillion people”, etc), but alas, it is the blatant grammatical errors that have me thinking that CoinWeek is doomed. It seems like the author is high on pixie sticks.

    • Rottenclam:

      Thanks for your comments, but you may want to reevaluate your opinion that CoinWeek is doomed. I can assure you that we are not and in fact are thriving.

      The point I think you missed is that CoinWeek DOES NOT edit, commentary pieces for content, grammar, spelling or slang. This is content that the submitting author is 100% responsible for, and we do not “slice and dice” it to meet our writing standards, or for that matter yours. This type of content stands on its own, good or bad.

      On the other hand, non opinion or commentary articles submitted to CoinWeek are subject to editorial changes and a quite different standard is applied, as would be expected.

      I hope this sheds a bit more light on the subject which may temper your predictions of the inevitable demise of our site.

  11. I don’t know, I’m going to have to agree with the article. Sounds like the US Mint knows what’s going on, and they have pretty much no interest in stopping it. Every article I read is mostly critical of the Mint in the way they go about the Modern Coin market. Yet they continue to do basically the same thing every time. And they by default, allow their customers to mis-behave in the buying process. Seems like listening to the people in the coin business and and putting a few simple controls in place would go a long way to correcting this.

  12. I have been told Silvertowne was the company that brought in most of the mules.
    It was a disgusting sight seeing “shorty and his muscle” at the mint register taking every single bag when the “customers” were done at the register. Then he walked away with more than a hundred coin bags. I spent 3k in lost wages and travel expenses just to procure one of these for my collection and didn’t get one because of these greedy idiots.
    I will never be going to another ANA show nor dealing with Silvertowne again. That was a disgusting spectacle and I was very disappointed at the tainting of this event.
    BTW, dbtuner has been arguing all over the chatrooms about how this was a-ok so I know he is not impartial, probably with one of these dealers.

  13. Of course she wont place any blame on the ANA. Not surprising. However, the ANA was either disorganized or chose not to manage this whole thing preshow and during it. John F said it perfectly. And I agree that the “unworthy” crowd statement was distasteful. Sorry author, not everyone can afford a 10 million dollar coin. People like her in the ANA make me not want to join it.

  14. I can forgive the ranting and raging, but the “unworthy crowd” goes too far. Nobody had any more right to be there than anyone else.

  15. Hello, first time reader here. Is it just me or is this article written horribly? Punctuation errors, grammatical errors, slang usage, etc. It’s hard to take a professional article seriously when it hasn’t been written professionally. Seems to speak to some larger truth, more important than silly “gangs” buying coins. Miss Laura, please take a little more time and consideration when piecing stories together, and I may be tempted to pay attention

  16. My money is on Mike Mezack as the guy behind it. He will stoop to any level to get coins to be able to sell for five times the money on HSN

  17. I agree with boocat, I stopped reading half way through (or should I say thru).
    Had to take such a poorly written article seriously.


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