By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics …….
This past week was like we took our first big breath of fresh air for 2015.
After suffering through a miserable FUN Show (oh did we choke through it), we are relieved things turned around so quickly. We’re also are just now realizing that while wholesale was minimal, retail was not as strong as we thought at FUN. Sure, we did do a few decent sales, but after chatting with many dealers all week, it now seems no one did any huge business and the majority of collectors were there to get out of the cold and just to check out the market. We are quick to forget that seeing a big crowd of serious collectors does not mean they are buying. Other dealers of our caliber agreed they were doing well with sales back home.
Our week started off like the good old days. We were posting coins and collectors were following them Saturday and Sunday. By Sunday night we had racked up very impressive sales numbers. Even more important, we got many unsolicited emails and calls asking “what do you have that’s interesting? (sold a killer 50C 1893 PCGS PR67+ DC CAC that way)”. We made several sales (including several five figure coin sales) that way too. Our biggest sale was a six figure early Seated Proof Dollar that a collector saw at FUN. He knew better then to let us try and sell the coin back home (we never had a chance to post it or even call anyone as he called quickly on it). Plus, for the record, we did sell many coins priced BELOW $2,500.00.When they get “hit”, they disappear off the web site immediately.
Summing up, we had unexpected strong sales to collectors this past week. It is critical to note, our sales are still off by 50%+ from last year (our big guys are waiting for Pogue plus we really can’t find them much right now). BUT, sales ARE clearly happening in all other areas. Collectors are like kids in a candy store during a huge sale, they can’t get enough at the lower prices. The FUN Show may very well have been a aberration to the market vs a market bellwether. The auction simply was too massive and dumped too much marginal material on the market. The dealers could not handle any more dreck or widgets so the market clearly slowed at the show. If you don’t think hearing a 1912S 5C PCGS MS66 which was selling for $30,000.00 at the beginning of the show fell to $10,500.00 in the middle due to FOUR pieces in the auction selling for that amount doesn’t have effect, then you need to pay closer attention to the market. No one, especially dealers who are market makers like hearing any numbers correcting like that. Events like that put an added weight on the show. BUT, the show and the trauma of the auction are over now. The coin biz is slowly returning to normal.
We sincerely believe the 10-15% correction that happened between ANA and the end of FUN is now at its end. Collectors are NOT dumping, they are buying. We’re told Heritage cancelled their March NYC Sale. Collectors are finally seeing what is in the Pogue Collection so they can plan. And for more positive upside, gold is climbing back up pretty fast. Our sources tell us a few of the big telemarketers who deal in better gold are selling coins again at a strong pace. Since there are so few true GEM better gold coins around, in order for dealers to buy, prices MUST rise. It will take a few months for wholesale to get healthy as the dreck that’s piled up has to go somewhere. There will still be a major auction or two where a drecky coin will bring $2,000.00 while a true GEM will bring $4,000.00 (if you can find one). At least we’re not looking at impenetrable brick wall today.
HOW TO PLAY THE MARKET
Many collectors we speak to are stumped. They want to buy coins or build collections but do not know in what areas or what can be obtained. Plus, in many areas rarity and prices make building a set impossible.
Our response has always been build a Type set or simply buy what you like. Or its ok not a to build a Liberty Seated Dollar set in GEM, a handpicked AU58-64 set is quite acceptable. What really matters is not so much having every date and grade-its the quality of each coin. You can own 5 80S $1 in MS67 (CAC). Not expensive coins, but if each is high end, has some contrast and semi-PL mirrors, then WOW-you’ll have buyers waiting for them at PQ money when you want to sell.
The FUN Show Auction created many deals. PR 67 Barber Dimes sold for $3,000.00 vs $3,300.00 – $3,700.00 six-eight months ago. MS Seated and Barber coins-they have become so cheap we shake when thinking about them. And gold-you see how much we are selling $5 Libs in MS64 or the big dipper-$10 Indians in MS64 for? Buy $5 Indians in GEM today (CAC of course). The numbers of legitimate good deals available today is staggering. We have bought and sold many single coins that for various reasons (dealers need to raise cash) were just ridiculously cheap. Prices will NOT stay this way much longer (not hyping looking at reality).
Seeing how the numismatic marketplace is currently, Legend has created a plan where collectors who want to buy coins-but do not know what can simply send us a lump sum and we will do all the work. In many cases, we’ll get them started on a Type set-unless they tell us there is a specific Type of coin they like. You can call it building a portfolio, but we do not like the term “investment”. We do not want to work with speculators. You can read more about the plan by going to: http://www.legendcoin.com/cgi-bin/inventory/special.pl on our web site. Plus, Legend Rare Coin Auctions guarantees to place any coin from these lots in any sale for a small %.
In closing, do NOT be afraid to buy now. Many of the coins you see today-once they are sold-good luck finding another, especially at that price. DO NOT be afraid to pay a premium for any top notch good looking fresh coin. Paying 10-25% more is nothing when your looking at a long term objective probably of 100%+ in a few years. Its about securing the “right” coins at the very right time. The % of dreck to the “right” coins available today is huge, we’re still dealing with gradeflation. So naturally ANY really nice and fresh coin-is going to command a strong price. The one thing we certainly did not see much at FUN-really NICE coins!
NOTE: Just saw the “Futurliner Bus” that was specially made by GM for show in 1953 just sold for $4,000,000.00. The car auctions being held right now are off to strong starts. Big money is still out there looking for places to go!