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Legend Numismatics Hot Topics – A Bad Culture


By Laura SperberLegend Numismatics …….



For years now coin doctoring and gradeflation have been two of if not the biggest problems with the hobby. Coin doctoring actually has lessened to a small degree, while gradeflation has not. It’s one thing that standards have changed, but it’s another when EVERYONE keeps pushing the standards.

I have seen a very upsetting trend of late. I work very hard to help collectors build their dream sets. I buy them ONLY PCGS CAC coins that are all there and then some. In many cases, that is what the customers demand anyway. The disturbing thing I am experiencing has to do with the day they finish their sets. Now I am getting calls “hey when are we going to resubmit everything?”. I am perplexed. These are the same people who would never even consider a NON-CAC coin for their set. Collectors are not stupid, they know if a coin gets upgraded they will lose the CAC bean among other issues. Yet, that’s what they all of the sudden want.

Upgrading a set just for the thrill or maxing out the coins is NOT as smart as you think.

Buyers want fresh and NOT over-graded coins. You don’t always get more money. We all know when a good set gets regraded, the services try hard to grade the sets higher. THIS DOES NOT HELP THE HOBBY. If you were to leave your set as-is and seek maybe a + and a pedigree, I think you’re in much better shape. If there really are upgrades-real upgrades, when it comes time to sell, the market WILL notice.

I’m sure the boo birds will disagree, but having a PCGS CAC piece in MS65 is BETTER then having a NON-CAC coin in MS66.

How much maxing out do we really need? The standards have already been pushed 2x since third-party grading began. Unless you have a coin that is grossly UNDER-graded, appreciate the coin, NOT the grading game. Last week I got an email from someone desperate to upgrade their set. They saw a single coin owned by someone somewhere get a + and they are asking me to redo a whole set and most likely loose CAC beans. This stuff boggles my mind.

What I am saying here is for collectors to think before they act. While the grading services seduce you for fees, look at what your really doing. Is it really worth it to you and your set you worked so hard to build to be totally maxed out to a point that it’s over-graded? I’ll be the one to say it, the Pogue Collection cost itself MILLIONS because as many of us in the know knew, not all that much stickered. While there were some amazing coins in the collection, they failed to get strong money on the OVER-GRADED coins. Had they left them in the original grades and had the CAC bean, I do believe the coins would have sold for a touch more as these coins were nice and had no problems. The results PROVED no one got excited about the over-graded coins–no matter how rare they were.

gr_hottopicsThis Hot Topics is NOT a pro-CAC rant. It’s about common sense and not falling into a trap. The crack-out game really has changed. Every day now we see the real pros crack coins out of habit, get the upgrade and then NOT be able to resell the coins for a profit. I have witnessed this happen to the best dealers/crackers. It’s hard to accept we are in a different market then even two years ago.

My suggestion is to look over your set and definitely resubmit the UNDER-graded coins ONLY… if there are any. Then you can play the game on the entire set and seek a +, pedigree, images, etc (CAC will regrade 95% of +). It’s a turn-off for me and I assume any buyer who sees a top or special set ready for sale and it’s drecky due to being over-graded. You are really hurting yourself maxing out your coins.

I used to blame the grading services for everything. Now, I see a clear pattern of collectors who insist on pushing the line even further. We have a really BAD culture. You don’t have to regrade if you have really nice, high-end eye-appealing coins. In today’s market, many coins are so hard to find they WILL bring huge money as-is in a PCGS CAC holder. Mess with the grades and lose the bean–sorry, you’re not getting that big pay day.

Do not think for a minute I am not for making sure a collector gets the most money for their collections. Just all of the sudden in the past year I have experienced this bad trend. Quality is and always will be a critical factor in the value of ANY coin.

What is written here is my personal opinion. I may be reached at: lspeber1[ at ]hotmail[ dot ]com.

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. This gradeflation is one reason I give coins in newer holders additional scrutiny. I am especially leery of dealers who play this game, because almost every coin in their inventory is in a new holder.


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