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Legend Numismatics Hot Topics & Market Report – Making Real Money in Coins & Mid-July Report

Legend Numismatics Hot Topics & Market Report

By Laura SperberLegend Numismatics …….

Mid-July Report


The summer doldrums are alive and well. Something we did not think about: our customer base apparently was watching our auction last week and held off buying from our web site. So web sales to our non-core group had been very slow… until last Friday. As we started posting coins we got action. Several of our NEWPS were sold seconds after putting them online! In fact, writing this report was delayed due to the action. We do realize that it’s just a blip and nothing over $10,000 sold so far (although this past week we were discussing several bigger coins). We are not hearing much good from anyone right now.

While we are keeping our fingers crossed that the ANA will be a good show, deep down we can’t get there. It is a fact there is a severe lack of coins. Seeing retreads or dreck in many cases does not stimulate activity. We even reached out to CAC to ask what they see coming in; it’s mostly over-graded ugly generics. Even the auctions look a bit boorish (although fair warning we are playing hard on the few better coins we see). We are wondering what the attendance will be. More and more it seems like the Internet is the way to buy and trade coins. We have been screaming for years the ANA needs to wake up this sleepy show.

At least we do know (as proven by our latest Regency Auction) that the market for TRUE GEM coins is still there. We can NOT stress enough being 90% all there on a coin is no where near the same as 100%. You should NOT expect the returns the top coins bring. Plus, to buy a top “wow” coin today it is almost certain you have to overpay to own it. As we’ve been saying endlessly, great coins are in really strong hands these days with the number of select top-end buyers only growing!

The market will improve when coins start appearing in some quantity. Typically this happens towards the end of September on. Until then, you can get some great deals!


Thanks to our good friend and customer “The Bank Teller”, we will be displaying (THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE) the two most valuable toned Morgans: the $1 1904O PCGS MS67 CAC, which sold for Pluto money ($39,950), and the forever winner of the title of most valuable toned Morgan on earth, the $1 1880S PCGS MS68+ CAC Ex Sunnywood/Simpson piece (we named it the “Grand Dame”). That coin brought an unheard-of record price of $61,687.50.

A quick note since we get asked frequently about our customer base – here is a quick profile:

“The Bank Teller” is new to coins. He started buying ONLY in December. Already he has amassed two mind-boggling, beyond-registry-quality collections – all exclusively through us! He has been nothing but a delight to work with as he educated himself well. His day job is as a top executive at a Fortune 100 financial firm. At night (and we know sometimes during the day), coins have become his passion. He loves to read about them and any history. Thanks to him we just got a complete historical education on the Mint in 1792.

In his main collection, the coins he adores most are the ones with the greatest pedigrees and histories (oh yeah, eye appeal counts too). When we delivered the toners he had bought to him it was like seeing a wide-eyed child getting a new toy. He bought the toners as a side collection because he sees them as incredible works of art. Hard to believe but he is putting them aside for his 11-year-old daughter, hoping one day she might develop an interest (hey a Chinese guy bought a $60 million diamond for his daughter last year, so why not?).

We can tell you, “The Bank Teller” is thrilled he can look at his toners every day (he now has about 18 WILD world-class toners)! He is not done acquiring toners, either, and is still working on his other world-class collection.

Come by our tables 704+706 and see these two wonder GEM toners. We promise, they are a visual treat!

In addition, we will have the VERY BEST and neatest coins for sale and on display. You’ve got to come by and see us!


We are back in business! Yet again coins valued between $1,000-$7,000 just flew off the web site on Friday as we posted them. It was not easy finding coins within those value ranges. We do have posted a fabulous group of coins for your consideration. Highlights include:

  • H01 1848 PCGS PR65RB CAC bean ex Missouri Cabinet
  • H01 1849 PCGS PR65BN CAC bean ex Missouri Cabinet
  • 5C 1867 NR PCGS PR66 DCAM CAC bean
  • 5C 1937D 3 LEG PCGS MS66 CAC bean – These are one of Legends’ all-time favorite coins.

Of course we did our best to offer something for everyone. Besides these great coins, check out our regular all-PCGS, all-CAC inventory (something no else has). We’ll work hard to get you into the coin of your desires!



Legend Rare Coin Auctions will be selling the world’s most valuable Morgan

$1 1893S PCGS MS67 CAC EX VERMULLE: Est $1,250,000.00-$1,500,000.00 This coin is the finest graded!


$10 1907-1932 The Crow River Collection. ALL coins PCGS with the majority approved by CAC. Grades range from MS64 to MS67.

These coins will ALL be on display at the ANA Show at tables 704-706. These are in our Regency XXIII Sale in October in conjunction with the PCGS Invitational to take place in Philadelphia.

What a sale this will be. If you have special coins you want to sell along side these great pieces, contact Julie Abrams at [email protected], or Greg Cohen at [email protected] now. Time and space is running out.

Remember, we keep our auctions to around 500 lots. Minimum total consignment value is $10,000, $2,500.00 per lot.

Our last Regency Sale (July) was a runaway success!

We will be posting our August Sessions sale shortly, and we’ll be bringing highlights to the ANA Show. We strive to make these mini-Regency Sales so you can bid with full confidence.


How to Make Real Money in Coins

As many of you now know, Legend Rare Coin Auctions just completed a blockbuster auction. In it were many coins that were handpicked for collectors by myself and George Huang, the principals of Legend Numismatics.


The 1994 Collection really was an early box of 20 type deal. The collector who was seeking a good long-term investment directed us to buy him great coins of our choosing, and that’s exactly what we did. To us, it was like being an artist and starting with a blank pallet in a sea of gorgeous paints. I remember rejecting many coins. But I was having a great time being able to pick what I wanted. At the time I had a thing for Matte Proof Lincolns and 20C Proofs. We were one coin shy of completing that set. Stupid me, I remember passing on a great 1875 because the guy wanted $1,000 too much (at the time they were $5,000 coins)!

Regardless, look how the deal ended up:

First it should be noted there actually was another group of 1994 coins that were NOT sold via auction. Those coins did every bit as well as the auctioned coins (all were sold to Want List customers). One coin we can mention was a $3 1864 PCGS PR65 Cameo. Cost: $36,500. Sold for $65,000.

The auction coins HAMMERED at $461,300 ($542,028 w/the vig)! The total cost of those coins: $134,500. Not too shabby! The coins were off the market for 23 years. Unless the math is wrong, that is about 12% per year.

Of course some coins did way better than others.

The biggest percent and price increase had to be the 1C 1909 VDB PCGS PR65RB. Original cost: $2,400! It was sold as part of the set. However we can tell you there was a $26,000 book bid left by a major dealer. In fact, the entire set of Matte Proof Lincolns that sold cost $7,000.00. Hammer in the sale for the set was $50,000! Again, EVERY single coin in the set was beyond incredible in both quality AND eye appeal–and several even received gold beans from CAC.

We knew the 1909 $20 PCGS PR66 CAC would have fierce bidding and would sell strong. It brought $165,000 HAMMER ($193,875 all in). The original cost? $32,510.00. Next in line is the 1877 20C PCGS PR66 CAC. Cost: $6,500. Sold: $34,000 HAMMER!

What I am going to discuss now is EXTREMELY critical for people to understand. There were a few laggards in the sale. The biggest dud was a 1C 1911 PR65BN. We could not get it to cross or sticker. It sold for $700 HAMMER. Cost: $375.00.

The 20C 1878 PCGS PR65+ CAC. Cost: $5,950; hammer price: $7,500. The reasons why these coins fared so poorly were QUALITY AND EYE APPEAL. I worked hard to pick the very best. I can not explain why the 1C made the 1994 Collection. Had this coin been up to snuff, it probably would have brought $2,000 like the others did.

The 20C I bought because at the time the toning did not seem as dark – and 20C pieces were hard to come by. It was an okay coin. If this coin were super, it would have brought probably $15-$20,000 or more! I can NOT stress enough, a coin that is okay is not ever going to give you the returns a killer coin will. I will stand by the fact that I am one of the few (and I mean few) dealers capable of sifting through all the dreck out there today and build a collection that WILL yield the kind of result that 1994 did. Most dealers today never really learned how to grade. To make real money in coins, it’s not about the plastic or even the price. Its about the QUALITY and the EYE APPEAL. Even if you think you are buying right out of auctions on your own, chances are you are NOT. If you want to build a world class group of coins like 1994, then I am here to help. You have to know when to overpay and when NOT to buy.

Even though I built the monster Bob Simpson Collection, I am by far most proud of the 1994 Collection. Its was everything a top group of coins was supposed to be. I am saddened that the owner passed away and it had to be sold. At least collectors can now enjoy all the work that went into finding these gems!


OMG! This final session went beyond nutso. We saw real Pluto prices realized. As we said before, on the Grand Dame (the famous $1 1880S PCGS MS68+ CAC) it had 24 bidders leaving 35 bids which lead to a $52,500 HAMMER sale price ($61,688 total). Considering the Northern Lights collector bought the coin 2.5 years ago from our Sunnywood Simpson Sale for $35,250.00 (which many people thought was nuts), the price realized is amazing.

The reason this coin brought so much more is the unlike the other series out there suffering, toned Morgans are different. Toners are viewed as a true work of art. What is even more amazing to us, there is a big following that does seem to know the difference between a coin that is 95% all there and one that is 100%. While we believe as many as 1,000 wild toners exist, others who have been collecting longer feel there are just a few hundred pieces. And yes, the services do snag most of the fake toners and not grade them.

This 1880-S was a famous toner dating back to 1983. It has a price history of setting records each time it is sold. Any time we displayed it, people would stop in their tracks to look at it. Without a doubt it is a coin far beyond anything else that exists. Hence the record price and all the bidding. It’s easy to get there when, out of 100 million Morgans minted, this coin is widely considered the BEST toner that exists. We really do believe the next time this coin sells, it will bring $100,000 or more!

This is a coin that more than proves that ultimate quality and eye appeal costs “moon money” to acquire, and DOES yield the same “moon money” results when sold (like the famous $10 1920 S PCGS MS67+ CAC Ex Duckor that he paid a ridiculous $77,000 for in the late 70s and we paid a beyond crazy $1,500,000 HAMMER for it in 2007). We do consider it an aberration the 1880-S sold for so much so quickly. We had expected a $35-$40,000 hammer, tops. Typically your hold on a great coin should be five to 10 years. Please note: down cycles do occur but usually are short term.

Without the retreads, this session of Northern Lights realized $224,600.00. Cost: $124,000.00.

The market for the FINEST clearly has survived the summer doldrums in a big way. Clearly our boutique style of 500 or so great coins works. If 1994 and Northern Lights had been broken up in a phonebook-sized sale, we‘d say take 10% right off the top–no matter how big or great a company claims their customer base is. The presentation and reach (no one’s customer base beats Legend Numismatics) of our sale had a BIG reason why these coins did so well when the rest of the market is choppy at best.

My final comments are what I have always said: “buy the BEST quality you can afford’. That does not mean buy PR68s. Always buy the very-top-of-the-grade coins. Never ever skimp on cost if the coin has killer eye appeal or if you never ever see any examples.

And lastly, if you noticed, 1994 and Northern Lights were both collections. If we had to deal with an individual coin today–no matter how wild–we do NOT think we would have had the same results. Building a stunning collection did matter in both cases. It even spilled over the super $1 1892-S PCGS MS64 CAC which brought a world-record price of $250,000 HAMMER ($293,750 all in). It helped that we don’t put dreck (a bad coin) in our sales!

Yes, you clearly CAN make money in coins! Buying today for tomorrow works. Buying today and reselling today is real crap shoot that rarely works. Buying marginal coins cheap? Good luck with that.. And NEVER EVER buy horrible dreck to fill a hole – no matter how rare or cheap (although I have been proven wrong on one coin).

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at: lspeber1[ at ]hotmail[ dot ]com. Or please visit

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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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Legend Numismatics
Legend Numismatics
Since 1987, Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among collectors and investors alike by locating and procuring top-quality rare coins. Exceptional coins are always in demand - and we believe you should never settle for anything less than the highest quality coin at the best possible value.

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