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By Laura Sperber Legend Numismatics….
 

THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER!

Finally, the sale that is so huge and dynamic that it actually stopped the upper end of the market in its tracks way back in October is now going happen on Tuesday. You can be positive every major player in classical numismatics will watching the sale. For the upper end of the market–save for rare 20th-century gold–this sale will be the true tell all of the scope of its strength.

The interesting thing is that this particular sale is probably going to be weakest of all the Pogue sales. We know from our discussions with collectors not many we know are active because similar coins were just in Newman and the offering is limited. That’s just the people we know, that does not account for the broad market. However, ALL did say they’d be watching the auction carefully. We’re still predicting a packed auction with strong bidding. This sale has been marketed heavily to a world wide audience by Sotheby’s. As of this writing, coins like the Capped Bust Half Dimes in MS67 are already at premium numbers.

This sale is also historic in the sense the quality is unprecedented. We can not remember any sale in recent history–maybe ever–that we liked all but one or two coins. No question this sale is critical as to where the coin market is at. Last week a Picasso hit $179 million, A Lucian Freud painting brought $56 million, and a blood ruby sold for $30 million. Sure, the coin market had the Gardner sale last week–a paltry $13.5 million in comparison. Rare coins are still so far under what the other fields do. The Pogue sale very much does have the potential to raise the entire coin markets world wide stature even more!

GARDNER

This sale was much stronger then we expected. The last Gardner in October was very weak. That weakness was clearly due to the announcement of the Pogue sale. Now that collectors know what is in the Pogue sale and when it would be sold, business has returned to a more normal state.

The current sale: We witnessed three major collectors sitting in the Gardner Sale spending $500-$1,000,000.00 EACH. And we know they will ALL be at Pogue ready to buy more! It was clear the internet bidding was strong as well. We represented several people including two who spent in excess of $200,000.00 and one who bought the fabulous 25C 1870CC PCGS AU55 CAC for $188,000.00! A shout out to our friend who with his purchases of a few of the Gardner MS Seated Dollars completed his set! We spent nearly $400,000.00 for Legend only (no reps) – a paltry sum for us.

The quality was uneven in Gardner. Gene was not a holder buyer as it is well known he just loved coins. He was a buyer based upon the look of a coin, not the holder it was in. It was clear to us the crack-out geniuses were back with a vengeance. Walkers seemed to be the bulls-eye of their feeding frenzy. They were highly aggressive on Proof coins as well-with one buying the 1897 50C Childs PCGS PR68 CA seeking a PR69! All that craziness added a layer to a definitely strong collector driven sale results.

Legend wishes to congratulate Gene Gardner on the successful sale of his collection. We wish him well in the future and hope his health continues to improve. There is still a little more to come, the balance is very small. His prices realized (total for all the sales) are in the range of $48,000,000.00! We understand he was quite happy. He is even more proof that when you buy the right coins and HOLD them for the long term, you WILL have terrific results like he did!

SALE HIGHLIGHTS

H.01 1800 PCGS MS63RB $22,325.00M

5C 1915 PCGS PR67 CAC $11,750.00

H.10 1863S NGC MS67 $18,800.00

10C 1822 PCGS MS63 CAC $35,250.00

10C 1841 NGC PR67+ CAC $205,625.00

10C 1912D PCGS MS66 CAC $6,168.00

25C 1805 PCGS MS64 CAC $70,500.00

25C 1861 NGC PR68 CAMEO $129,250.00

50C 1809 III PCGS MS64 CAC $32,900.00

50C 1838O PCGS PR64 CAC $646,000.00

50C 1862S PCGS MS66 CAC $42,300.00

50C 1866 PCGS PR67 DCAMEO $56,400.00

$1 1870S PCGS XF40 $505,250.00

$1 1875 TYI PCGS PR66 CAC $28,200.00

The prices listed above are random samples from this past weeks auction. They are extremely impressive for sure!

Also, we’d like to tell clarify how the market is very healthy for the two of the bigger coins that Gene lost money on: the 25C 1828 25/50 PR67 and the 25C 1861 NGC PR68 *Cameo. They were both pretty recent purchases. On the 1828 25C, it sold for $282,000.00 in last weeks sale vs $352,000.00 in Newman. The 25C 1861 sold for $129,250.00 this time and $161,000.00 in Newman. Legend was the under bidder on BOTH coins in the Newman Sales. At the time we were red hot and just blown away by those coins. We had to have them for the customer we were representing and Gene had to have them as he knew he was nearing the end of his collecting days. It was every auction consignors dream–two whales running each other up to see who blinked first. We moved on to other coins after losing each. Only the 1861 still meant something to us when it came back up for sale–and this time we were not denied. During the Newman sale we think the 1861 might have actually gone for a tad LESS then what we just paid had we not been in a bidding war on it. The 25C 1828 we lost interest in (we bought something else just as cool) and did not bid. That coin actually held up far better then we thought it would. We think both coins’ performances at Gardner were impressive and healthy.

OUR CURRENT MARKET

Legend has done multiple millions (well in excess of $15 million) in business since March. We struggled though November-February. The FUN Show and auction was an unprecedented total bust for us as were sales in January (something we never expected). Typically, April + May should be dead times for us and this year they are anything bust slow. As the new norm, our activity was a little slow due to the Gardner Sale this past week. We did manage to sell several five-figure coins to collectors and did more then we used for this time of year.

We do see the huge shift due the fact auctions now rule the numismatic retail world (especially for better coins). When Pogue was announced it immediately shut down the upper end of he market. Some big collectors had fear, others who wanted to play had no clue what was in the sale, and others needed to adjust their holdings. The pain of all that is now over. Selling rare coins has returned to normal for us. The market does seem healthy overall.

It is our strong belief that rare coins in general are cheap. Compare then to many other areas of collectables. We still have many coins that are pop 1-2 incredible states of preservation you can buy for LESS then $50,000.00. In the outside world, $1,000,000.00 is the new $100,000.00 for sure. The total value of the Gardner Sale wasn’t even HALF of what a single painting and a single ruby brought last week. You can’t even argue rare coins are not a world wide market–they are now. Legend has TWO international customers who each have purchased coins they paid over $1,000,000.00 for. We have many others who buy lesser amounts as well. We’ve always known the biggest buyers of RARE PR Gold and CC DMPL’s have been the Japanese. Practically none of what they have taken abroad has come back. In our opinion, the rare coin market still has HUGE untapped potential.

It seems most better coins now go to auction, are bought, and are gone into a mysterious black hole. Better coins do not circulate much on the bourse floor anymore. More collectors are wising up to stretching to buy the bigger, better coins. If they don’t, then they blow possibly their only chance for a very long time. That’s why the majority of coins in this weeks Pogue sale WILL sell for “beyond moon” money.

Our biggest problem today isn’t selling, it’s buying. We still have a $20,000,000.00 Want List. If we didn’t have a network of collectors from our nearly 40 years in the coin business, we’d never be able to buy most of the coins we do today. BUT, the number of coins we can buy is shrinking dramatically. Then for us to come out of a Gardner sale so thin is tragic. The big shows now offer few coins as the dealers have realized going direct to auction yields them better results (which is one reason collectors aren’t going to many shows anymore).

Between the end of June (after our Regency Sale) and ANA it will be an interesting time. We figure the lack of coins, many collectors need to digest the all the recent sales, and no major shows will make for quiet time. That does not mean the market is dead or is hurting. Watch next October when ROUND II of our Coronet Collection comes out and Pogue II happens. You’ll see life!

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