By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics
Recently the dealer community lost two world class dealers-David Akers and Chuck Walanka.
David Akers was our hero and idol. He was always willing to take the time and educate us. He just loved coins. Over the years he had built many of the finest collections-including the all time finest ever coin collection that exists (the other Texas Collection). He’d also has written extensive books on rare gold. We’d see him at a show and he pull some kind of classic rarity out of his shirt pocket that we’d just be in awe of. Our partner Bruce is forever thankful that he contributed the $1 1848 PCGS MS66 to his MS Seated Collection. There will never be another dealer like him.
Chuck Walanka is probably an unknown to many. His passing sadly was sudden. He was very low key. To the dealers who did rare Morgans, years ago (long before Jack Lee) Chuck became famous for stepping up and paying $100,000.00 for 2 spectacular raw MS Morgans. The sum was unheard of at the time. Those two coins today are the 1884S PCGS MS68 and the 1896S PCGS MS69 Morgans. His style was low key and he was straight shooter. We enjoying doing business with him.
Legend Numismatics is honored to have known both these fine dealers. We are saddened by their loss and extend our sincere condolences to their families. .
THE ANA SHOW
Whew, 8 crazy days of little sleep, good food (a rarity-if you attended the convention you had to go across the street to the Reading Market), walking on hard/cold cement floors, and doing the auctions until late are finally over-sort of!
Eight days of a show from our point of view is too long and just does not work. We strongly believe attendance was much lighter this year than last because it was too long and the location (Philadelphia) was not a great selection. As much as we love the place (we were able to commute), in the end was NOT easily accessible if you had to fly (or drive from any point West). The public seemed very confused about what day to show up due to the PRE ANA show that ran Saturday thru part of Monday. So attendance was totally scattered and there never was a great rush when the show opened Tuesday. The buzz factor was moderate all through out the show. On Thursday at 3 PM we were discussing (with another dealer) how empty the show was and how looking around many tables had no one at them doing business. The length of the shows is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed. We think being back in Chicago next year will help bring in more people.
As we write this Market Report we do not know the final tally of how we did at the show. Our gut feel is we did VERY well. In fact our team still at show the has reported two five figure sales to collectors this AM and a few mid priced gold coins were sold as well! No million dollar coins were bought or sold by us, so this probably was not a record ANA. That’s OK because for us, buying AND selling happened easily overall in quantity.
From day 1, we sold, sold, sold! Everything from soup to nuts was saleable for us. Old friends found great new homes immediately. But then we were one of the few dealers that had something other than bland widgets or dreck. In fact it was VERY discouraging going around the room and seeing tons of stale so/so coins. From our point of view, this show was a boring and really had NOTHING special too offer us, all the bigger better coins came from the auction (although we were able to buy TWO cool deals from customers). As the bigger collectors arrived they were complaining that there was nothing cool around for them. Its not like the “old days” when the old Stacks would have a GEM Stella set for sale, or Akers would have GEM $5 1829 on display, or you could buy an Ultra High Relief on the floor from a major gold dealer (what got us ticking was at the 1976 NYC ANA holding a 1913 Liberty Nickel at Superiors table). Today, you see sloppy over-graded Commems, cheap CC dollars that are ugly, or yucky copper. We can not stress enough how much of the really good coins are locked up in collections and are not coming out anytime soon. Take our word on it, the really NICE coins did NOT last long in dealers cases at the ANA Show.
Every day we started with a significant five figure sale. In fact on Thursday, we hit six figures of sales in the first 15 minutes of the show being open. That was very pleasing. Our sales at the table were a consistant even pace. At the table we sold mostly to collectors. When our team was out on the floor at the PRE ANA and set up, they sold a ton! Dealers are more willing now to step up with what they pay. Overall, we think the dealer attitudes about wanting to do business were pretty good. Of course collectors were starved for nice coins. Every dealer we spoke to had said they had good shows. We cannot remember a seriously bad for business ANA Show.
What was even more surprising to us-we probably spent OVER $1,000,000.00 at the show alone! We again thank our customers who stopped by and sold us some very nice coins (we did two deals). We spent $2,000,000.00 in the combined auctions. It certainly relieved a lot of stress that we were able to buy some really nice and fresh coins in the beginning of the show and at the massive auctions. However, by Thursday, there was ZERO left to buy.
A COLLECTORS REQUEST
There are certain things we take for granted in this drought of material at shows. This is a coin we never gave much thought to as being hard to find. A longtime collector came up and asked if we had a nice PCGS MS66 DMPL. This is a coin that used to be considered common. Here, at the biggest show of the year, there were none to see. We even knocked our heads as to when we last saw a flashy true 66DMPL, and it was maybe a year ago. That’s pretty scary that a simple widget like an MS66 DMPL just does not appear anymore. Prices MUST go up! We know we’d pay VERY strong to get a SUPERB GEM $1 PCGS MS66 DMPL CAC (no exceptions). Sadly there in the case of DMPL Morgans there is still too much dreck on the floor, in time, the dreck will go away and MS66 DMPL’s prices will rise and be an overnight sensation!
Many “commoner” coins have become far less “common” due to demand over the pass several years. The internet really put thousands (maybe even millions) of coins into collectors hands. So what you have to deal with are the many “leftovers”. Always remember (espcially now) REAL COINS BRING REAL MONEY!
THE ANA AUCTION
Obviously this was the highlight of the show. It is our opinion that the prices were mixed. We also felt the quality was mixed of what was offered in the sale and that’s what determined prices.
The grand highlight of the sale was the Battle Born CC Collection and the 1873CC NO ARR PCGS PR65 10C. It was the last coin Louis Eliasberg needed for his collection and the coin is UNIQUE. It sold for a remarkable $1,840,000.00 to a phone bidder. Legend never had any desire to own the coin or bid on it. We just did not like how the coin looked. And when your asking someone to pay nearly $2 million for something, unique or not, it better look damn good.
We spent a lot of money in the sale. Of course we were super aggressive for what we wanted. However, even bidding a world record $172,500.00 for the 25C 1870CC PCGS AU55 CAC did NOT enable us to buy it. WOW!
Prices for the Battle Born coins did exactly what we expected-sold for “moon money” to a standing room only audience.
Other coins we did buy for our customers include:
- $10 1871 PCGS MS62+ $126,500.00
- $10 1874CC PCGS MS63 $207,000.00
- $1 1883CC PCGS MS68 $80,500.00
- $1 1873CC STD PCGS AU58 $63,250.00-this was the unquestionable “rip” of the auction!!! We were prepared to go to $150,000.00!
The NON Battle Born coins were very impressive too:
- 25C 1920D PCGS MS68+FH CAC $207,000.000-this coin is believed to be the FINEST MS Standing 25C!
- $50 1851 HUMBERT PCGS AU55+ $230,000.00
- 50C ALABAMA NGC MS66 $17,250.00
As you can see, we spent a lot of money in the sale. What is listed above are a few of the coins we specifically bought for customers. We bought many coins for Legend’s inventory! Except for the 73CC $1 (which is sort engulfed in a perfect storm) NOTHING quality oriented came cheap.
In summation, the 2012 ANA Show was very good for us, it had a few small faults, but overall met our expectations without knowing exactly how we did. There is no greater show than the summer ANA Show!
NOTE: THIS REPORT IS BASED ON LEGEND NUMISMATICS MARKET. WE DEAL IN THE VERY BEST QUALITY COINS. OTHERS WILL HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES FROM THE SHOW.
To read the full Market Report, Please visit Legend Numismatics
From my perspective, the selection of coins available at this ANA was among the worst I’ve seen in 30+ years.