By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics ……
No Sugar Coating Today’s Coin Market
Anyone who tells you the coin market is on fire is either lying or wears rose-colored glasses. There is clearly a two-tier market right now. We see it on the bourse floor and we see it in every auction (not just ours). People who own “stuff” and “dreck” are finding out their coins are now worth cents on the dollar. This drop is very troubling to us as there is a still a bunch of money out here in the world. Yet again look at the results of a major recent art sale. Are coins really that different? You just can’t hang a coin on the wall.
We do NOT see any immediate recovery. We figured yeah, in October there would be a rebound, but this year it kept sinking, no rebound. It is our opinion that it could take as long as six months to bounce back. Again, this is for the majority of the market, NOT the top 1-5%.
Once the turmoil stops outside coins and things like oil, stocks, and real estate rebound, collectors will feel good again and come back to coins. The glut of dreck and junk that lingers is only driving prices down. The inaccuracy and lack of understanding values hurt badly too. However, find a GEM Early Gold piece and put it in an auction (like the 1795 $5 PCGS MA62 CAC we just sold for a record $176,250) and there will be a hard-fought battle to buy it. We can tell you this without exaggerating: our biggest customers thrive in markets like this. They are even stronger buyers. Even if they pay what seems like crazy money today, they know it is not. Bob Simpson did that back in 2006-2016 buying some of the greatest rare and GEM gold ever at super strong prices. Now he is sitting back and saying no to us with every offer we bring him. In markets like this (as Mr. Simpson taught us), you do not buy for today, you buy for tomorrow.
Legend Numismatics LOVES Proof Barbers and has always suggested them to our customers. We are sitting here so angry the prices have dropped to UNREALISTIC levels and not that many people seem to care. Do you know you can build a complete PR 66 10C set for LESS than $40,000, even adding some crazy color or a few cameos? You have finite mintages mostly UNDER 1,000. The average coin would be priced around an affordable $1,500-$1,600. We LOVED them when they were $2,000 each. Today, these coins just sit and drift lower. All we can do is scratch our heads and wonder (we are very proud to say this week we placed a monster 10C 1897 PCGS PR68 DC CAC).
There are so many other series too. Last week we bought a PCGS PR67 CAC Liberty Nickel for $900. We lost sleep over the fact way back in 1978 we bought a raw PR 65 (probably a 66 or 67 today) for $450! We’re going to buy up every PR67 CAC we can at these levels. Better gold is something you should fully load up on. The herd mentality never stops amazing us. They only want the bulls to run to feel safe. NOW is for sure when you jump in.
We fully proclaim this a world-class BUYERS market. The only problem: supply. There is so little true quality and rare coins to buy today. It annoys us to no end that some people make a down cycle seem so evil when it comes to their coins. But if their General Electric stock drops 35% and is in a nose dive, that is okay. Many people will buy more as others sit and cry. It really does NOT take much for the coin market to even up then thrive again.
Last, we spoke to one of our best customers just to see his level of comfort knowing this crazy up and down coin market. This collector tries to buy only the very best and will really pay to do so. He pointed to a coin in front of him and touched the CAC bean. He said, “As long as I have this, I am comfortable”. Powerful statement. We ask you to really think about the meaning of what he said. Bigger money is not stupid money (usually).
Time for Change at PCGS
Things are now changing. The problems that got the market tied up are partially from the outside world: the stock market, oil, etc. The real “dirty” secret: gradeflation finally took its toll. For years Legend has been trying to do something about it. No would listen because everyone wanted a quick buck. We know just how toxic the culture has become, even with collectors who to get all their coins regraded when they are done. Now with the resignation of our friend Don Willis, that rubber band has finally broken at PCGS. For the last few years, we screamed change was needed in their model. Now change IS coming (not the way we had hoped). Everyone everywhere is talking about gradeflation and the effects it has had on the market recently (gradeflation has kind of been like an overnight happening that took 20+ years). It’s no secret that PCGS needs submissions to stay in business. They need someone who can now tame them.
If PCGS picks the right person to be the next PCGS president, then maybe they will finally be on the collector’s side and tackle these issues. The CEO of PCGS, Joe Orlando (whom we have had many chats with), wants nothing less. But we are NOT happy about some of the rumors we are hearing. However, until the time comes, we support PCGS and want them to succeed. It’s no surprise that a new CEO wants his own people to staff and run PCGS. It’s that way in ANY business.
We all knew there would come a time when David Hall and Don Willis would retire. No one expected it this way. Legend Numismatics wishes both of them an enjoyable retirement. We have spoken to Don, he’s just chillin’. He told us he has not had a real vacation in years. Few people know that Don’s biggest contribution to PCGS was creating its IT platforms; IT was his background. Legend Numismatics can never pay him back enough for all he has done for us–including listening and allowing us to do our silly idea of holding an auction at PCGS’s shows! Don has supported us since day one of the auction company being in business. We have known Don for well over 20 years back when he was a collector.
So far, we all are dreaming the new team will tackle gradeflation and will be more consumer oriented. YES, this project CAN be done successfully. It will take a few years and a lot of hard work and support. Hopefully, in five years when coins have risen dramatically, everyone will breathe a huge sigh of relief.
We never let our customers down with our NEWPS. This week is pretty much gold-oriented, but we have some great silver coins as well.
The highlight of our offerings is the extremely rare $20 1854 LG DT PCGS MS64 CAC, tied for FINEST KNOWN. PCGS showed this coin no mercy. It will be posted next offering. Other highlights include:
- $1 1897 PCGS PR66 CAMEO CAC
- $5 1802/1 PCGS MS64 CAC
- $10 1797 LE PCGS AU58+ CAC
- $10 1799 SM ST PCGS MS61 CAC
Neat stuff huh? Be sure to check out our regular inventory as we have many coins that deserve great homes like yours! We will always do our best to help buy the coin of your dreams. Contact George Huang at [email protected].
We will be adding many more Grayson coins soon. Stay tuned.
Our Regency Auction #29 is now closed. Considering the very choppy waters we were facing, the sale did extremely well. LRCA sincerely wishes to thank every one who participated in this sale.
There is no question the market is two-tier. The great coins did really well, while the “stuff” did marginally to weak. Even as good as we are, we can only wave a magic wand and obtain crazy prices when the product is all there. Face reality, NON-CAC coins that are just okay, no matter how rare, are not going to sell strongly anymore. It’s not even market timing. It’s a shift in buyers’ knowledge and tastes.
Look at how several of the great coins in our sale did:
- H.01 1793 PCGS AU53 CAC $41,125.00
- 1C 1814 PCGS MS 66 RB $88,125.00
- 5C 1912D PCGS MS67 $41,125.00
- 5C 1900 PCGS PR68 CAC $21,150.00
- 10C 1959D PCGS MS68 FT $5,288.00
- $1 1889CC PCGS MS63 DMPL CAC $73,438.00
- $1 1924S PCGS MS65 CAC $17,038.00
- $10 1857S PCGS MS64 CAC CENTRAL AMERICA $76,375.00
- $2.5 1909 PCGS PR65 CAC $88,125.00
- $3 1888 PCGS PR66+ CAC $67,563.00
- $5 1795 PCGS MS62 CAC $176,250.00
- $5 1811 PCGS MS64 CAC $52,875.00
- $20 1906 PCGS MS66 $64,625.00
We are also proud to say of all the coins listed above, only ONE was bought by a dealer. In fact, in this sale 92% was purchased by collectors. We want nothing more then to have coins go to great homes and not the crackout or coin docs.
LRCA is always out to improve. We do apologize to our customer base we made a few boo-boos in this past sale. We do strive NEVER to have duplicate coins (unless it is from a single major collection). We screwed up by taking too many Columbian Halves. We also kinda messed up having a CAC coin and a non-CAC coin of a date (same grade). Yes, the CAC coins sold; the other did not. Those mistakes will NOT happen again. Further, we are tightening up on our quality. Somehow this past sale we had a few too many marginal coins from dealers. We are saying NO to many consignments right now for January. We can and WILL improve!
Legend Fall December Sessions Sale
This will not be just any ordinary monthly sale. We will have coins that range in value from $1,500 all the way up to $50,000. We have some extremely impressive consignments in already. There is one really fresh six-figure deal that includes some cheaper gold–all off the market for many years and should be carefully looked at as they might + or better (NO promises)! We will make full announcements shortly about this sale, which will close December 16 starting at 9 PM Eastern. We WILL have all lots for viewing in our offices and at the Las Vegas PCGS Invitational Show.
This is the final call for consignments to our first ever standalone sale in Beverly Hills, California – PRE-Long Beach at the end of January. We already have three anchor collections! Everyone will pay attention to this sale. ALL coins MUST be in our offices by November 30–NO exceptions. It is not BS to tell you space is extremely limited.
If you have coins you wish to consign, please contact Julie Abrams at [email protected], or Jessica Berkman at [email protected]. They will pay careful attention to your exact needs and craft selling options best fit for you and your coins. We assure you, we are NOT like any other auction house.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR WISH TO ORDER, YOU MAY ALSO EMAIL US AT [email protected]. 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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