RCNH Monthly Newsletter: March 2017 Issue
Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
A Newsletter By:
The Rosen Numismatic Advisory:
The Question & Answer That Was Not Published
Answers By Warren Mills
Thank you for the positive feedback from our last newsletter. Any comments are appreciated. Please find the freewheel subject from the last question that Maurice Rosen did not put in the newsletter. Again, I’m not 100% positive about this technique or what exactly is being done, but I had a number of dealers bring it up to me totally unsolicited! It’s scary if true. Since we are blessed with some clients that trust us with a lot of money to find the best and most original coins possible, I hope the grading services will scrutinize these expensive coins from past auctions to see if they match up.
It wasn’t that long ago that people thought model putty on coins was no big deal. Then it dried out and left a horrible haze on the coin. Who knows what can happen to coins in the future!
17) Please use this opportunity to freewheel on any subject of your choice.
I have heard rumblings in the market of a technique to remove and hide marks on mint state and proof gold. I don’t know the particulars but it could be a new laser technique.
It’s sad that dealers try to find ways to make money in coins by ruining the stewardship of passing untampered with coins down to future generations. If a new technique is out there, it could shake the foundation of trust in the coin industry.
This can be stopped dead in its tracks! The grading services have access to their own scans and auction records. If a coin has been altered in a spot or more, the coin should still be easy to match up from solid auction scans. In many instances, you can trace coins back ten years or more through auction appearances. Obviously, I’m not talking about inexpensive coins here. I’m talking about 5 and 6 figure pieces that are being altered! Hobbyist for fun can tell most dealers where their coins are coming from or where they’ve been by a quick auction record research. The grading services could do the same thing and nip these cheating coin dealers in the bud.
To reiterate, this is only something I heard about. I have no specific examples I have seen. It's strictly a matter of making people aware. The grading services have a tough job and they are a great service to our industry. I just want to put a word of caution out there. Coins that have been off of the market for a long time like the Pogue collection I would not worry about. However, more expensive coins that seem to come out of the woodwork should be researched. And you can always consider sending coins to CAC as another layer of protection.
*The Rosen Numismatic Advisory, The 2017/2018 Crystal Ball Survey, Part-2.
Vol. 42 No. 1, January 2017.
Numismatic Counseling, Inc.
P.O. Box 38
Plainview, NY 11803
1120 Old Country Road, Suite 306
Plainview, New York 11803
Partner and owner of Rare Coins of New Hampshire, Inc. since June, 1990 and a full time coin dealer since 1979. Warren is a full member of the Professional Numismatists Guild and a life member of the American Numismatic Association. He was selected by the Rosen Numismatic Advisory as one of the ten leading numismatists in the country for twelve consecutive years. He was selected by PCGS and written up in their newsletter as handling and submitting some of the nicest coins they have ever seen.
Could 2017 Be The Year?
By Joseph Presti
This month’s article is not filled with any profound commentary or insider information but is just my way of thinking out loud. We are coming down the homestretch of the legendary Pogue sales, arguably the most valuable and highest quality collection ever put together. What started in 2015 will culminate in May of this year and will probably end what has been an incredible couple of years of fabulous sales. Not only am I talking about the Pogue sales but the Newman sales as well. Both of these collections were not only incredible in their own right but were famous for their breadth and quality.
If you examine the fabulous collections that have come to market over the last 20 years it is even more extraordinary. Pittman, Ford, Newman and Pogue; these are collections that will never be repeated and took years to liquidate. Not only were they famous for what they contained but they are also famous for the money that they took out of the coin market. Now, we can discuss at length, whether these sales were good or bad for the market and there are a lot of other factors that have contributed to the market conditions that we have experienced over the last several years but I am focusing on the big name auctions for this article.
When Pogue is completed, these four collections will have taken hundreds of millions of dollars off the market and “flooded” the market with an incredible quantity of coins, paper money and exonumia. I feel the market has done a good job of absorbing the high quality coins that these auctions have inserted into the market but my hope is that in time, the scarcity of high quality coins will start to be recognized once again. I know that when we attend a major coin show we have a very hard time locating a double row box of gem quality coins whereas 30 years ago it was not a problem to fill many customer want lists at a show and acquire several double row boxes of gem coins. Another factor to consider of how long it may be before coin prices start to recover is to ask how many new collectors of classic coins have been created over the last 20 years. While some collectors may have started collecting by purchasing modern mint products, others could have rekindled their collecting interest by purchasing one or two lots from these name sales and become collectors with a purpose.
So many other factors can contribute to coin prices increasing or decreasing. On the political scene, what comes out of the White House in tweets, or good or bad economic news from Wall Street or other considerations around the world will affect the prices of coins but one thing all of the famous collections we addressed above have in common is that high quality coins were bought and held for a long period of time and performed fantastically well over that period of time.
Proceed with Caution
By Dave Carleton
We are constantly doing evaluations of numismatic coin collections and hard asset accumulations. Often, this occurs in my area of the office because the other options are taken. I get to interact with these folks and it’s always interesting to hear the stories of how and when the material was acquired and the cost. I usually inject a little conversation to fill in the stretch of time it takes my buyers to perform their job. One of the reasons it takes us more time to do evaluations than it used to is because we have to test silver and gold items for authenticity. This is a problem that we have addressed many times in this forum and I suspect we will continue to comment on the subject because it isn’t going away and is actually increasing daily.
We’ve gotten caught buying fake bullion and it’s not a habit we want to continue, so we’ve gone out and gotten state of the art testing equipment to protect ourselves. Warren was doing a radio interview recently and he mentioned our situation and the fact that we needed enhanced testing equipment and we’ve gotten many calls from the radio audience that are concerned that they may be holding fake bullion.
One gentleman came in after the radio show and got all the information he needed to acquire a testing unit. He received it and immediately started testing his gold bullion. Then he called us to report his findings and to thank Warren again for bringing the tester to his attention. I don’t know how many ounces of gold he tested but he did find (3) three that failed the test. There was a Maple Leaf, a Panda (I’m not surprised) and a Philharmonic. The scary thing is that when we asked him what he was going to do with them, he told us that he had already sold them back to the dealer he purchased them from. Apparently they didn’t test them because they bought them right back and I suppose they’re lying in somebody else’s safe deposit box right now.
I just went to a website that has in the past sold replica gold Eagles and Saint Gaudens, etc. to see if they were still up and running and they sure are. After claiming that the coins are the same weight and size of the REAL coins they say that these are “Folk Art“ and are used for business gifts or souvenirs, right! If a deal looks or sounds too good, it probably is. Buy only from a trusted dealer.
David Carleton, a New Hampshire native was introduced to coin collecting by his father and Grandfather in the 50’s. Gold bullion speculation dominated the 70’s culminating in 1980 when focus on Numismatics returned. He became a life member of the ANA , met Warren Mills (his coin Guru) and they cofounded RCNH in 1990.
How To Make, Create And Firmly Establish
A True Numismatist For Life
By Paul V. Battaglia
With our ranks thinning out on a seemingly daily basis, I have an idea to at least retain the new blood entering our hallowed halls. This has more than likely been proffered by other writers in our field, but I’d like to contribute just the same. I am speaking to SELLERS in my article this month.
Put yourself in their shoes. Remember when you first started? I do. We all had dreams, hopes and, often, impossible goals, but so what! We were positive and those who first oversaw us, helped stoke our youthful flames.
I have fifty years in this business or a total of fifty eight when you count my first exposure to U.S. coins….namely, a well-worn 1890 Indian Head Cent out of my father’s change in 1958. There are hundreds of other dealers and collectors out there who have more experience than I do notwithstanding the actual years of their experience. QUALITY TIME, not necessarily QUANTITY of time is key here. Speak to your people with respect and patience.
Share your time at your table or in the office teaching the basic ABC’s. Yes, I know how tough it is to find coins and make deals today, but each and every customer approaching you HAD A REASON to see YOU. Were you smiling? Did you have an air of congeniality about you? These are powerful attractants. Give yourself credit, but don’t blow it. Invite that individual to join and watch you.
Find out if the individual is technically minded or needs the basics then go from there. Speak with a natural smile, an upbeat attitude and some animation to make your points.
LISTEN to your newcomer or knowledgeable individual and urge questions from his/her end. Fact: We all love talking about ourselves and showing off our stuff. Give them the stage!
I make it a point to walk around our table and ask those who pass by how they have done so far or their thoughts. I am generally rewarded with someone willing to give me their time, show me their purchases or offer me something to purchase. Why not? I am there to work and work takes on many faces and approaches. Anyone who tells me he/she is not a big spender or suggests my time is above their time is warmly invited by me to have a seat.
*The customer IS the reason we are in business and never the excuse.*
My business is made up of people in all walks of life. Sure, I love the big sale and all it takes to achieve it. However, it is the everyday, hard-working rank and file citizen that establishes the solid underpinning upon which all businesses grow.
Security and situation permitting, I will sit on the customer side of the table with customers. This removes a huge barrier and helps a customer to open up as fully as possible. Intimidation is something I like….to destroy.
EVERY hurricane begins with the lightest of zephyrs. All numismatists started somewhere in their collections. Over the past, let’s say, twenty-five years, U.S. auctions have featured named collections that have become household acronyms. All of those mighty collections began with the humblest of coins-combination-grades. We carry our original SIGHT-SEEN/ORIGINAL raw coins with us to shows. I am never surprised to see the numbers of basic collectors, advanced numismatists and DEALERS who pore through our raw goods. (Yes, we guarantee our raw coins will also grade certify or money refunded 100% less grading/postal fees). So, I might only sell a humble XF/AU better date Morgan/Peace silver dollar or cool looking 19th Century type coin. If you have served and thanked that customer for the purchase plus encouraged a want list on the spot, you might receive their future call for an 1879-CC silver dollar or other year rarity in that series….or a call for a 1928-P in the Peace Series. I am being quite commercial in my rhetoric here, but you will have earned it!
OK, you put in lots of effort, but no sale….statistically, this happens especially with the dearth of worthwhile coins out there. What’s the alternative, you ask? Just sit at your table, remain mute and wait for the coin fairy to bestow new buyers your way? Ahhhh, not happening anymore, sir/madam. Your hubris needs to be extended outward and it must be inviting.
In the end, speaking with more people is advantageous over fewer people who “look” well-heeled to you.
Pass along your KNOWLEDGE for it should always, always, always, be shared for posterity. I have much experience in numismatics, etc. and I can generally hold my own, but am not averse or against calling upon others to assist/correct me. I have no ego to bruise. A number of my customers have gone on to greater heights in our hobby and eclipsed me many times over. WONDERFUL. I was a part of that, but only regard such as an ordinary facet of my duty.
I prefer to recommend books that leave out values, especially for the beginner. I do not want to embed or imprint this information….yet. Learn to love, cherish and respect your coins as a fanatical hobbyist first and seek out like-minded individual as well. Reference books that omit values are my favorite for the hobbyist. I could rattle off several dozen to cover all series from colonials through U.S. gold (don’t forget exonumia!), but prefer that you, my reader, visit the Whitman Publishing site https://www.whitman.com/store and review their selections. Call them and request what you want for they are quite knowledgeable and will not sell you something you don’t need. Otherwise, Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins is my first pick. The late Walter Breen was one of our most thorough numismatic researchers and a life-long student of numismatics. I clearly recall the generous time he gave me when authenticating my 1917 Matte Proof Standing Liberty Quarter and other coins over the years. His only “price” for such giving of his time was a cold/hot beverage or a dessert item. I can find no words to thank him enough several decades later….I doff my skimmer skyward, instead.
Maintaining an air of EXCITEMENT and ENTHUSIASM with your audience should be strongly nurtured. Talk, talk and talk about the possibilities with your people, Mr. Dealer. Find out if QUANTITY, QUALITY or BOTH is in the mind of the individual. A lot of “stuff” can be a waste of time and money unless funds are an issue. In that case, I should go for a modestly graded set of coins that match up well and are ORIGINAL. Above, all, QUALITY is KEY and it exists even in the most humble Poor-1! I should rather have a few original coins than one high grade coin that is a point off, once cleaned and/or problematic in a main focal area. Overall balance and harmony should be what you strive for in your passionate pursuit.
(Side note to collectors: Never apologize for your collection no matter how modest.)
By taking your time and sharing your experiences with every individual, you will have the deeply earned satisfaction in having served everyone to the utmost and, hopefully, opened new horizons within yourself.
Ultimately, you will stand out in the most positive fashion by all those you met and served with generous EQUALITY.
ALWAYS TAKE THE HIGH ROAD AND OFFER THE HIGH FIVE. (I saw this quote on a Hallmark Greeting Card plaque and subsequently purchased it.)
Paul Battaglia is the Senior Numismatist and a Life Member of the ANA. He travels with owner, Warren Mills, to the major coin shows across the country. Paul has 50+ years numismatic experience and has been with RCNH since 1990. He also cherishes reading, cooking, language, music, classic cars, lily/orchid culture, chess, economic statistics, differing viewpoints and FISHING.
Questions From Our Mail Bag
By Warren Mills
All that came in this week were questions of a personal coin nature. Here is one posed to me by a knowledgeable buyer.
I purchased a matte proof $2.50 in an NGC 66 holder that you thought was an easy cross. Unfortunately, it didn’t work! We CAC’d the coin and tried it 2 years later and it did cross to PCGS. Why didn’t it work originally?
Sometimes the grading services consider liability in the future on expensive coins. Matte Proof gold is very tricky. It’s a specialized area so buyers are really squeamish about buying non PCGS Matte gold. I don’t blame PCGS. In my opinion the more careful the better. However, I don’t think that enough dealers have enough experience with Matte gold to help PCGS or NGC in making determinations. We are lucky to have one of the foremost authorities on Matte Proof gold as a client. From looking for him, I’ve scrutinized a lot of coins. I felt positive the coin would cross. It just was frustrating to wait so long. Always remember, a good coin is always a good coin. It just may take a little while until everyone recognizes them.