Late October 2012
Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,
Grading is everything in rare coins. One of the old sayings in our business is that a coin’s grade goes up a ‘point’ once YOU buy a coin or own it. Prior to third party grading services, this was the norm vs. the exception. In fact, unscrupulous dealers would sell a coin at an XF grade and when the coin came back over their counter from the customer (trying to sell the coin) it was only VF?
Although this remains a problem today ESPECIALLY with raw coins, the problem has largely been addressed with the professionalism and independence of the most reliable grading services. GENERALLY, PCGS coins bring more than NGC coins, NGC coins bring more than ANACS coins and ICG coins. There are, of course, many exceptions, but…..if you did a statistical analysis, you will find this to be true. The ‘wildcard’ so to speak is CAC. Although CAC does not sticker ANACS or ICG coins, it has leveled the playing field somewhat for NGC coins vs. PCGS coins. CAC approved coins bring more.
There are lots of factors that contribute to marketability, but grading is BY FAR the biggest consideration. Both PCGS and NGC enjoy tremendous market acceptability because of their professionalism and consistency. ANACS and ICG have less market acceptability, but they are both very reputable and professional services in their own right. In addition, with the very strong demand for CAC ‘stickered’ coins, customers have even more positive reinforcement that they ‘are getting what they have paid for’.
Recently, I was lambasted by an Ebay customer for describing an item in our Ebay store as having ‘XF detail’ when the particular coin was graded VF35. That this customer exaggerated my supposed ‘dishonesty’ by saying I was describing a FINE coin as EXTREMELY FINE only magnifies the misunderstanding of many in our hobby/industry. I would argue, that not only are there coins that look nicer than their PCGS or NGC grade, but AREN’T these coins more desirable than say a VF35 coin with a VF35 look? But, when dealers only sell third party graded coins to their customers are we being unscrupulous when the third party grading service GRADE is clearly stated on the holder?
In a related article Steve Roach from Coin World, wrote an excellent article about the disparities in the prices realized of AU58 graded merchandise. In the old days, prior to third party grading services, the AU-Almost Uncirculated grade was abused extensively by unscrupulous dealers who would buy a coin for AU ‘money’ and then advertise and sell the coin as BU-Brilliant Uncirculated. This ‘larceny’ is still being perpetrated today by companies offering ‘raw’ ungraded coins which they ALMOST ALWAYS know WILL NOT grade at the advertised grade level with PCGS or NGC.
Recently we had a customer send us a partial set of Indian Cents that had been advertised as Choice BU. This customer had purchased these ‘raw’ coins from a dealer off Ebay. Out of roughly 30 coins in the partial set, I was able to identify only ten coins that MIGHT grade at PCGS or NGC. The other coins were AU, recolored, cleaned, or otherwise doctored. Of course, the customer is upset and rightly so. But, and here is the ‘HOOK’ so to speak: The customer THOUGHT they were getting a bargain, but the dealer KNEW they weren’t.
Bargains are great, but when you find a properly graded coin it is most often in a PCGS or NGC holder and….YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR IT. Contrary to what many believe, dealers don’t have a coin tree in their backyard that they can pick coins from. Finding a professionally graded coin with great eye appeal and above average quality (we call it PQ-Premium Quality) is the goal. Aren’t we all looking for PQ coins?
When you find a Good 6, VG10, Fine15, VF30 or 35, XF45, or AU55 or 58 coin you MIGHT be able to buy it for Good 4, VG8, F12, VF20 or 25, XF40, or AU50 or 53 money, but the odds are slim. The grading scale takes into account the disparity between ‘nice’ Goods, Very Goods, Fines, Very Fines, Extremely Fines, and Almost Uncirculated coins. The market has adapted and those nicer, albeit sometimes only slightly nicer coins, bring more.
As Steve Roach pointed out in his recent article in Coin World often times a really nice AU58 coin will bring more in an AU58 holder than other professionally graded MS60, 61, and even 62 coins! This disparity is ALSO true for many F15, VF30 and 35, and XF45 coins as well as others. Truly nice coins almost always bring more.
News from the ANA in Dallas
The American Numismatic Association National Money Show opened to dealers late yesterday at the Dallas Convention Center. Although the show facility, the ANA’s efforts, and the attached Omni Hotel are great, the overall mood was a little flat. The ‘buzz’ in the room wasn’t there, and dealer to dealer activity was marginal. We hope the activity picks up at the show during public hours Thursday through Saturday, the 18th to the 20th.
One of the most important aspects of holding a show is that you can only prepare for a good show and HOPE people will come. Dealers will almost ALWAYS be there. We are hopeful the attendance is good. Dallas is a great city to visit, especially in the autumn months. The location is convenient and I feel the ANA did a good job in picking this locale for the Fall Show.
Last night local Dallas dealer Jim Halperin, one of the principals with Heritage Auctions, held an absolutely lovely reception and dinner at his home here in Dallas. I had the pleasure of first meeting Jim nearly 30 years ago and he is truly one of the legends in our business. Last night’s affair was something SPECIAL. Not only was the guest list a startling variety of the ‘who’s who’ in the business, but the atmosphere and overall warmth and gorgeous home we guests were treated to was quite memorable. You see, Jim is a collector too. His interests are wide and varied, but the overall theme is all about quality and rarity. Visiting Jim’s home was a real treat. Both Sherri and I had a lovely time. Thanks Jim!
Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer. We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins. We sell coins at shows and on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay store bozarthnumismaticsinc. Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items. We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you.
Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.
I have a question about details-graded coins that have nice eye appeal. I recently decided to acquire a very attractive coin for my type set that was graded AU details by PCGS. It had AU-55 details and no harsh hairlines or anything like that. It probably just had a light cleaning at some point, as so many older coins have. It fit in well in appearance terms with my set and would have cost twice as much without the details designation. It was also a lower mintage coin
for the particular series.
Vic, what do you think of coins like this? I would normally shy away from details coins, but in some cases they can represent excellent value. It was sold by one of the top dealers in the country who prices very competitively. It was priced as an XF-45, and I am sure most dealers would price it much higher. Given the excellent eye appeal, I don’t think it would be a problem to sell it when the time comes. Any thoughts about such a coin?