By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics …….
Came home to frigid temps and snow on the ground. YUCK! It was even more frigid at the show.
We’re going to be brutally honest in this report (please read carefully and think about what we are saying).
This was Legends WORST FUN Show EVER. Sure the table location helped guarantee that happened, but the market is in a tizzy.
It is clearly a two tier-maybe even 3 tier market. We can honestly say our retail had been very strong at the end of December.
Legend is seriously stalled out again for a LACK of any quantity of quality material. However, the market is flooded with dreck (DRECK is low end, fugly, overgraded coins-not determined by any value). Dealers still have horrible cash flows-which just got worse because they either suffered HUGE losses selling or they could not sell. Wholesale at the show was pretty much frozen unless you had really nice and fresh coins.
Add a phone book size auction to the mix and it spelled disaster for the show and the market. Prior to the show a 5C 1912S was selling for CLOSE TO $25,000.00. There were FOUR (yes 4) back to back in the auction-each sold for $10,575.00. OUCH! We watched in horror as semi-dreck coins (the coin was dark) like a 25C 1906 PCGS PR66 sold for an inexplicable $1,586.00. Don’t think the sky is totally falling, we were the underbidders on the 1793 Chain Cent that sold for $2,350,000.00. And we lost out on the 50C 1806 PCGS CAC MS65 to $117,500.00. We really wanted the 50C Grant PCGS MS66 CAC with killer colors-we were the underbidders as it sold for a whopping $12,337.50.
2013/2014 really the years of dreck hitting the market. 2015 will be the fall out and beginning of the clean up from all that. Its not like anyone did not see it coming. We were all in denial that the day actually would come. Its been two years of phone book size auctions one after another in 30 days coupled with a few huge great collections coming out. We came home to find yet another catalog waiting. No question the market immediately absorbed all the great coins at top dollar, it could not absorb the marginal or dreck coins that fast. Even the big “name” sales had portion of coins that were not quite amazing. The pile of stuff grew too big too fast. Dealers really started their serious cash flow problems after last years ANA. This FUN Auction clearly was the final tipping point. The market simply could NOT absorb anymore more marginal coins at certain levels. Welcome to the new values! Plus, gold tanking did not help that part of the market much either. Of course the market may have over corrected (as most markets do), but we’re not so sure the flow of dreck is over.
We guesstimate that the entire coin market was off by 10% at the show alone. Even the very best material was off because dreck was everywhere and dealers were broke. it was hard to watch dreck sell for less then cents on the dollar while being forced to pay a premium that seemed like a multiple for the best coins. Of course generic and semi generic gold have taken some of the hardest beatings. Things like MS62 $20 Libs are practically selling for melt. MS 65 $5 Indian Gold (Common dates) have fallen to around $8,000.00 (CAC’s are much more). Barber coins must now be all there and then some to get premiums. There was a decent (NO CAC) 25C 1915 NGC PR67 piece in the auction. It sold for $3,055.00 OUCHIE!
There are a few bright spots in the market. PR Indian Cents-are enjoying demand. Morgan and Peace Dollars-strong. ALL bust coinage except Bust Dollars-strong. Patterns -actually are gaining strength for a change (we were surprised). Collector type coins-strong. Do note, those markets are strong for only NICE coins. Pretty much ANY really nice and fresh coin still sells fast and for a premium-but those coins are down to trickle unless they are in a major collections.
Beware of anyone telling you we are in a strong or even an “up”market.
If you have any questions about the market, please call or email us. We want you to be fully aware of what the market is doing. Its not anything to panic about especially if you own really nice rarities. In fact, this is a market where you can make some good money-lots of great value around now (we almost like dreck PR66 Barber Quarters at $1,500.00.00)!
Collectors are enjoying one of the best EVER buyers markets. Maybe only 5-10% of all the coins out there are selling for serious premiums.
We do NOT advise anyone to buy dreck. We do not know where the huge pile of it will go or how long it will take to move it out. However, we HIGHLY recommend you team up with a competent dealer who can pick through the junk and buy as much as you can. A PR 66 Barber 25C for only $1,586.00-how much downside can you really if the coin is actually decent or close to decent (the problem is, most are not)?
Our type of customers have it the best. They can now buy the ultimate coins for LESS right now. The amazing 25C 1792 Quarter J-12 sold for only $2,232,500.00. That was below the universal consensous of the $3,000,000.00 it was expected to bring (and all us genuises felt two years ago it was a $4-$5 million dollar coin). Being the huge fans of PR Barber coins, we were stunned at how cheaply certain things were selling. You can now buy gorgeous 10C PCGS CAC PR67 for UNDER $3,500.00 or a 25C PCGS PR66 for UNDER $3,000.00. Couldn’t do that a year ago. Do note-really nice coins WILL be trading for much more-in a few cases we have seen prices spreads as much as $1,000.00 on a $3,000.00 coin!
Lets make this clear-the market is NOT dead or crashing. It is CORRECTING. The term we like to use: its “stuck in mud”. Buyers still do out number sellers. There is NO mass dumping or big sell off happening. Collectors absolutely are alive and are buying. We’re just stuck with too much deck in the market and it finally choked cash flows and prices.
Clearly now is a time of huge opportunity (if you know what you are doing). We do believe that for the types of coins we deal in, the market will be off another 5% between now and the middle of feb as everyone digests their FUN purchases. However we cannot say enough that if really rare coins do pop up-d NOT pass them up. You are buying them at a discount. It will take a few months for any portion of the dreck thats stuck out there to leave the market. Do like us, be selective and stick with QUALITY. Also, don’t be afraid to make offers (especially on coisn that have been sitting in dealers inventories for awhile) ridiculous offers will easily be rejected, but most dealers will want to move coins.
We do NOT advise anyone to sell now unless you really need cash. You did miss the top of the market by a year.
Well written and accurate, my only question is:
You mention that MS65 $5 Indians are cheap at $8k, but should they really even be trading for $32,000 per-Oz?
They still have a long way to fall before they become unprofitable to slab.