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Legend Numismatics Hot Topics & Market Report – Coin Values & Great Coins Bring Great Prices

By Laura SperberLegend Numismatics …….

Great Coins Bring Great Prices


Last week was a highly unexpected STRONG week. We had decent sales off our web site, really strong sales off our Want Lists, and a few big “lucky” sales.

The “switch” as we like to call it has been on for a few months for buying. Clearly collectors (at least the ones we deal with) still have HUGE appetites for better coins in great conditions. Of course those coins generally are the hardest to find. But when the coins do finally show up-they sell immediately at asking prices. Everyone knows just how limited the true supply of great coins are.

Our two biggest sales involved three coins that were for the most part “stalked”. One coin–a mind-boggling 25C 1904-O PCGS MS67+ CAC (this coin deserves to be in the Northern Light Collection, it’s that crazy wild toned). The collector who bought it missed an opportunity to buy it a year or two ago. It had severely haunted him. In the meantime the coin’s new owner (who has an incredible collection) became so smitten by it that the piece became his favorite. Needless to say, it cost the new owner a significant premium over what he originally could have bought it for.

We see a lot of activity like this happening today. Moral of the story? DO NOT PASS UP A GREAT AND WILD COIN! Pay the price – it WILL yield you significant profit as time goes on (the immediate big profit on the ’04-O was an aberration in our opinion). The ’04-O is now in a set we are helping exclusively build. It resides with the famous Gene Gardner 1901-S 25C PCGS MS67+ CAC and the MONSTER out of this world 25C 1898-O PCGS MS68 CAC!


We’re not saying that in a negative way. Bruce Morelan finally bought the two coins he has lusted after for many years: the $1 1851 PCGS MS65 CAC and the $1 1852 PCGS MS65 CAC. Both of these coins are best of the best and really have “no right to exist” (a dealer saying).

For nearly a decade Bruce spent almost every day thinking about those two coins. Don’t think him building the all-time FINEST Bust Dollar set was a distraction from these two coins. He had us chasing them hard, forever. They were with a well-heeled collector who loved them as much as Bruce does. After seeing Bruce’s incredible Bust Dollar Collection at FUN, the collector felt out of respect (plus it was probably time to move on) that he would sell the two coins to Bruce. So now, the Legend MS Seated Dollar set is even better as the FINEST EVER! Hard to believe that could actually happen.

In this case too, Bruce paid the owner a significant profit. You better believe, these two coins add value to an already extremely valuable collection. We immediately placed the two high-end MS64 duplicate coins with an up-and-coming collector, who will enjoy the same satisfaction of ownership as Bruce and down the road he will make good money on the two coins.

Congratulations Bruce!

Here, too, as with the 04O, a significant profit on the 1851+1852 was paid by Bruce. Neither collector is crazy. This is the secret sauce as to how you build a world-class collection. BOTH Bruce and the 1904-O collector have no intentions of selling their collections. They both have coins with no peers. As time goes–as PROVEN by the greatest collections ever (Norweb, Garrett, Eliasberg, etc.)–the values of these coins WILL only rise.


Ugh oh, here we go again. Great coins are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find again. We were hoping to buy gold at the PCGS invitational–and we bought TWO smaller coins. Yikes! Right now supply vs demand-demand wins by a wide margin!

Still, we work really hard to buy. And our offering this week has some really special pieces.

Highlights include:

  • 5c 1913 TYI PDS MS67+-68 CAC CAC bean Angel Dees coins.
    • We have NEVER seen such a remarkable group. yes, we bought it from our own auction. We were not just smitten, we were obsessed with these coins.
  • $2.5 1914D PCGS MS65 CAC CAC bean OGH.
    • Try finding another. This was the last coin we need to complete the major set we built recently-took us TWO years of waiting.
  • $5 1853C PCGS MS64 CAC CAC bean Ex Bareford.
    • Possibly the FINEST KNOWN. What an amazing coin!

As always we do our best to offer a well-rounded selection. For us, only the very best coins will do. So you can order with confidence!

Don’t forget to checkout our regular inventory too!


We were just hoping for a good sale. For whatever reason January is a tough time to hold an auction. We never expected the Simpson Patterns to be so strong and attract so many bidders–especially NEW bidders. Prices realized on many coins were very strong and in some cases record breaking.

The stars of the sale-actually the SUPER STARS of the year so far, clearly were the Northern Lights Collection pieces. The majority of coins sold for insane “beyond moon money” prices. There were significant MULTIPLE bidders on EVERY lot. Two of the record prices:

  • $1 1881S PCGS MS66PL CAC CAC bean “freckles” $23,500.00
  • $1 1885O PCGS MS66+ CAC CAC bean “screaming WOW” $19,387.50

Do not heckle the buyers. There were numerous bidders (freckles had six bidders over 10G). REAL burlap bag toners like these are natures ultimate works of art for coins. For the quality and outrageous beauty of these coins, the prices actually are not crazy, they are fully appropriate. Coins like these do NOT trade cheap. Never have, never will!

Type actually did well too:

  • 1C 1857 FE PCGS PR65 CAC CAC bean $37,600.00
  • 3cs 1859 PCGS MS67 CAC CAC bean $11,750.000
  • 20C 1875 PCGS MS65 $7,343.00
  • $1 1864 PCGS PR66 CAMEO $47,000.00
  • $50 HUMBERT PCGS AU55 $61,687.50

Remember, this was a smaller sale then normal. Overall, the majority of coins did sell strong. most important to us: over 90% of all coins sold to collectors. Of those collectors we noticed a substantial amount of first time Legend Auction buyers. We may not have the biggest number of followers, but we clearly have the “right” buyers that yield results equal or stronger than ANY other auction company!

Our nest sale is our new Premier Sessions Internet Only Sale in early February. We will have a list up shortly. We will have the coins available for viewing at Long Beach. EVERY coin in this sale was vetted by TWO world class numismatists. You can bid with confidence!

We are always seeking quality consignments. contact Greg Cohen at greg@legendauctions or Julie Abrams at julie@legendauctions to discuss.


Coin Valuations – A Tricky Subject

Valuing coins has become ever so difficult. Today, I cringe every time I see Collectors Universe values (which are supposed to be full retail), the Gray Sheet (which thinks its retail but is pure wholesale), and auction prices (in my opinion, they are one of the few accurate sources for information–IF you understand them). So what the collecting public has to go by is a cluttered mess of pretty much inaccuracies.

I have yet to see any one entity that reports prices that are fully up-to-date… at least for the kinds of coins I deal in. Usually I see a coin that sold in 2009 that was dreck recorded as the value. A collector does not know that. A collector also does not know why something sells way too high or too low in auction. It is very bothersome to me that publications that sell valuations want us to supply them with the information. It’s not like I can sit around after doing millions of dollars worth of biz at a show like FUN and just report the prices of what I bought.

One collector just debated with me about the premiums he was paying to us because in auction and on Collectors Universe they were cheaper. What he did was solely mathematical (which he is NOT to be faulted on). The pricing of the auctions coins were NOT of equal quality–but he does not know that. Fortunately he listened to reason and bought a “pop 2” coin that probably ranks as the BEST for its grade of a date that appears maybe once every decade. For coins like this, you have to have the mindset and pay premiums; that is how the greatest–ALL the greatest–collections are formed.

And that really is the only way you will own them even if you aren’t building the biggest collection. If you try to be a cheaper buyer or a total “bottom feeder”, you could easily run into big trouble not knowing where the market really is on coins YOU think are quality (but really aren’t).

So what do all the numbers really mean? Work with a dealer to interpret them. The 5% you spend for auction representation is more than worth it. If you’re too independent for that, use the numbers–all the numbers you can find–as a guide only. Study the auction history and most critically, How nice is the coin you are buying or selling? “Stuff” coins-ones that are 85% all there–do NOT command anywhere near PQ prices unless uninformed buyers bid them up.


We are now finally bottomed out from the 2010-mid 2015 spiral down. Unfortunately, you might have a price reported from that time that we all know is ridiculously cheap.

A great example: many of the coins in the SECOND Gardner sale cratered. So those are the only prices you see posted for VERY low pop gorgeous rarities. Sadly we have seen many collectors not “get it” and pass on those coins, which are slightly more today. They did not realize how low those prices were. Plus, something the legendary collector Bob Simpson does, he always buys for tomorrow. In fact, every major successful collector, from Norweb, Gardner (even with a market downturn), Pittman and Pogue, they ALL earned HUGE rewards for paying top dollar and holding.

One other thing that lights me up. When someone says the last coin traded in 2011 and acts like that was yesterday… Hello! That was SIX YEARS AGO now!!!! People need to take better stock in what has happened in-between then and now. How many new coins were made (if any?), and how many have traded, etc. If you don’t have the tools to track all this, then work with a dealer! To me, if nothing has appeared in two or more years, that is friggin’ rare!

The basic premise of this article is current coin pricing on BETTER coins is off, WAY off. I admit I do use Collectors Universe Values and auction prices realized. BUT (a big BUT) I know how to read and interpret them. Do NOT pass up any high-quality LOW POP GEM coins because they are 10-25% over the printer numbers. There is a VERY high probability that the printed numbers could be wrong for many reasons. Collectors Universe pricing ground to a halt last year when David Hall took ill. He still has not updated a lot of things (there are thousands of prices to update).

A TALE OF TWO 1933 $10’s IN GEM

Look at the 1933 $10 in MS65+66. The Collectors Universe Value is $750G for the 65 and $1,000,000.00 for the 66. We’ve passed on an offer of $1.2 million for the 1933 $10 PCGS MS66 CAC that we STOLE in a 2016 auction for $881,250.00. We got lucky and caught a dip of big money panic in the market (one month later a mega-whale came in and spent at least $40 MILLION buying up better gold July-Dec). NO expert in the series expected that coin to sell below $1-$1.5 million (really)! Now the printed auction number sort off holds the 66 back.

As the market moves forward this coin WILL be back to a $1.5 million value easily (the coin 100% is NOT for sale). Now, that coin DID do damage to the VERY high-end PCGS MS65 CAC we paid $822,500.00 for in 2015. That coin should be a “no brainer” worth what we paid. On the surface, the printed numbers damage it as does the price realized for the MS66. The coin is super high-end and is the ONLY PCGS CAC piece to ever sell. So it is trapped in numbers hell for now.

The collector who offered us $1.2 million is a long-time buyer of the series and knew that with 30+ years passing the MS66 has stood alone. He got scared off during the auction of it. His next shot may be $2 million plus if it ever comes to market. A HUGE opportunity misjudged.


On coins not as rare, like MS+PR Barbers, prices seem to bee moving ahead of the published numbers today. Look at the coin and pay close attention to CURRENT auction prices realized (these are more common coins).

Generic gold is pretty easy as publications like Coin Dealer Newsletter (which, again, really IS WHOLESALE) picks up the BID/ASKS from the biggest players and dealer-only web sites. But there, too, if you have a stunning $20 PCGS MS66 CAC Saint with glorious colors and the seller wants $5G, then they are probably not taking a shot at you.


The value of ANY coin is determined (in my opinion) by SUPPLY, DEMAND, QUALITY and EYE APPEAL. EVERY one of those factors plays into a coins value. Only use pricing web sites or published letters as guides. Auction prices realized do work very well, but get a tutor or work with a dealer to fully understand them.

A great example: I just bought an 1851O NGC MS65+ CAC G $1. There is NO auction price for an NGC coin. A PCGS one sold for $8,225.00 2016. BUT, the last PCGS and NGC regular MS65’s sold for $12,925.00 in 2015. The current CU value is $9,500.00 for the 65 and $11,500.00 for the 65+. I paid just UNDER $10G because the coin has glorious colors and I am confident it will cross. I’ll retail it for 10% over my cost and cost of submission. That $8,225.00 number was simply a fluke.

Hope I wasn’t too confusing. I do not see this pricing situation improving any time soon. The coin market is at a bottom today. Don’t be afraid to buy for tomorrow and pay a premium!

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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