by Warren Mills
I really enjoy going to the Baltimore Show. This spring event is normally later in March, so it was a surprise to walk to the convention center on Friday in about 2 to 3 inches of snow. The climate was cold and so was the retail traffic! Thursday retail was quiet and so was Friday. However, the dealer to dealer business was good. Flight schedules changed coming out of Manchester, so I arrived on Wednesday, later than normal. I went to the hotel to see where everyone was set up and found out that rooms were reserved for dealers at the convention center.
When I arrived at the convention center, activity was brisk. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to, but the pre-show buying was good. Most of the dealers I spoke with are starting the year on a good note, with a lot of client interest. I was hoping that the prior day was going to be a harbinger for the show itself, but I was wrong! I was able to acquire about half of what I was hoping to spend. What a disappointment! There just wasn’t enough nice material to consider for acquisition. Low-end to marginal graded coins are everywhere. I feel this will only get worse. If you are hoping to acquire nice coins in the future, get on your horse now and start working. I’m still seeing people getting sucked in to paying gigantic premiums for auction coins, that in many instances the same quality could be purchased on the bourse floor for half the price. However, there are truly exceptional coins that come up in auctions that you may never see again. To those that know what they want and have the money to spend, I salute you!
My overall assessment of Baltimore is that it was a true wake-up call for me. I feel that nice quality is going to get even tougher to find in the future. I hope I never have to compete with the ultimate end users in auction who are willing to spend any amount to acquire great quality. At some point we must consider value! I’m thankful that over the last 40 years in the business I have placed so many outstanding coins that some come back my way! If that weren’t the case, I don’t know what I would do.
I have many friends in the business that like and respect me because my word is my bond. At this show, I was called over and spoke to the owner of the finest known Liberty nickel set, which he sold intact! None of the coins were CAC, but my feeling is that most would garner a sticker. It’s a pleasure to see a specialist reap the rewards of his labor to acquire the best. I also wish the new owner great success. For anyone acquiring top quality coins that aren’t CAC, they should always consider sending those pieces to CAC. A CAC coin can offer more demand, liquidity and a higher price, what’s to lose?!
It was disappointing that the show was in a more obscure hall and hard to find. The escalator at the show open got jammed and it looked like keystone cops tumbling, thankfully no one was hurt. Please change that location!
Bottom line, dealers are doing more business and are happy. This could be a good year!
by Warren Mills
Dave and I flew out to Orlando on Tuesday, January 8th for the sunny climes of Florida. Although our winter has been mild, 70 degree temperatures are a nice change. We started out on Tuesday morning looking for show rooms where dealers were offering their wares. The show didn’t start until 2:00 Wednesday, so it gave me plenty of time to look at dealer stock and check out auction lots for customers. The pickings were slim for true premium quality coins, but we managed to turn over enough rocks to find a handful of nice pieces. We have about 60 new purchases for your perusal. They are typical soup to nuts offers. The one consistent is that they truly are premium examples for the grade.
We like to offer free services to our customers as a thank you. So I spent a few hours viewing auction lots and giving my opinion. Unfortunately, this is the first time that I viewed lots and could not recommend one single piece that I was asked to view for our clients to bid on. This also included CAC coins! Don’t get me wrong, this auction had great coins in it and many fetched record prices, however, none of the lots I reviewed were close to being worthy of my stamp of approval. I always try to employ technical strictness for grade and eye-appeal for any coins I recommend. I’ve been at this game now for over 40 years, so I’m not about to change.
The set up for the show was strong and there were many dealers looking for new inventory. However, the real proof in the pudding is the first day the public can come in, which is Thursday. I always used the first public day as a bellwether to gauge the market interest. If people are willing to take a day off and know enough to come to a show early to try and have access to material before it gets picked over, they are truly the most knowledgeable buyers.
Thursday was fantastic, there was a nice hum throughout the day and people were there to buy! It was a refreshing scene. I also noticed that the attitude of many dealers has changed dramatically. Dealers were spending more time trying to educate kids and their parents. They were also going the extra mile to be friendly to everyone that came up to tables and were all around inviting to all. It made me feel good and I would advise anyone that is interested in coins to attend a major show and go onto the bourse floor. I think you’ll be glad you did. I had one couple come up to our table that was intimidated by the size of the show and didn’t know what to do. Our table was the first they stopped at and I eased their fears by appraising their entire collection and gave them not just a value, but an explanation of each item. I told them to keep the collection because it should appreciate in value. They were so relieved and happy when they left, that I felt comfortable to tell them to feel free to see other dealers, they will be helpful and caring.
Many people believe that by bidding in auction, they cut out the middle man, by avoiding a dealer and have a truer sense of value. This is not true in most instances. Many collectors have no idea about protective or shill bidding and there is a tendency to get caught up in auction fever. I will reference to the Gene Gardner sale. Many items that were purchased by dealers and did not work for regrading were reauctioned in 6 months to a year and brought a fraction of the original purchase price. Many collectors feel that since there was an under-bidder they are value safe. This is wrong, there are many tricks and you do not know the objective of an under-bidder. Are they protecting a coin, running it up out of spite or hoping it may upgrade? These and other factors can contribute to auction prices not being a safe barometer. My suggestion is to develop a relationship with a couple of trusted dealers. They can go a long way to helping you avoid pitfalls and learning how to determine the true value of what you are acquiring.
I had many dealers and collectors asking for my opinion on coins at the show. Many more than ever before, but one example surprised me. A dealer came to our table and said that he needed me to look at 2 coins for a customer. The dealer said the customer would not buy a coin unless I approved it. The weird part was that I didn’t even know who the customer was! There were two 1889-CC Morgan Dollars both certified as AU-58 and MS-61 respectively. I told the dealer to tell the customer that I thought the AU-58 was cleaned and the MS-61 was an AU-58! If there were any questions, the customer could come to my table. He never did!
PCGS had an invitational luncheon at the show. Right now there are questions and uncertainty about the future of PCGS due to the transitions that are taking place. Greg Rohan spoke about his journey in coins and the new PCGS president told everyone about his trip to California. There was no question and answer session at all. There are many registry buyers that have millions of dollars invested in PCGS coins. At some point, a plan needs to be laid out and questions need to be answered! The new president made a statement about counterfeiting not really being that much of a problem. Tell that to the grading service and customers that were fooled by the fake Brasher counterstamped coins recently.
My final take away from FUN was that we could be in for a nice active market this year, if the economy and the world hold together. Unfortunately, I feel that tough times are destined to manifest themselves. Diversify into hard assets while you still can.
by Warren Mills
The Baltimore Show was a little early this year, hosted in October instead of November. The spring and fall shows usually attract more dealers to the convention than the summer. So I was hoping for an influx of many fresh coins than the June show due to the larger bourse. The amount of coins was not the problem; it was the lack of high-end, nice pieces for the grade that gets tiring to see. It’s never easy to find great material unless a collection drops into your lap. So you put your head down and go on the hunt.
I was able to fill coins for some of our trusting want list friends. As for finding regular inventory coins, I came home with a yawning total of 20 pieces. I hope I never get to the point where I compromise my standards just to sell something. There were the scattered offerings of CAC pieces here and there, but they were few and far between. Unfortunately many of the larger collectors are holding CAC coins for themselves and not offering them for sale at the shows. I feel that if you are acquiring coins worth $1,000 on up, it makes no sense to settle for a marginal piece when a CAC sticker will afford you more liquidity and desirability. I know human nature dictates to find the bargain basement deal, but the compromise may cost a lot more in the long run. However, choose all of your coins wisely. I’ve seen many CAC coins that are undeserving of the sticker.
Prior to the show a dealer ordered 3 coins from our inventory to hopefully sell in Baltimore. I asked him how our coins did for him and he said on the first day that dealers came around to the tables, they sold first thing. Keep in mind, these knowledgeable dealers were willing to pay more than our retail price to acquire these coins for their customers! That right there is a statement about RCNH.
A few dealers came up to me at the show and asked for my opinion on coins they either bought or were considering. I am always happy to help dealers or collectors in any way I can. So if you see me at a show or would like to bring in or send something to our office, please always feel free to.
A very knowledgeable and longtime dealer approached me at the show with an interesting concept. He said that he thought that PCGS and NGC should do away with the Pop reports! The average buyer does not realize that resubmissions could throw off the ability to determine true value. One coin he mentioned to me was a piece with a PCGS Pop of 8. A scarce coin, but he knows that that coin was resubmitted at least 6 times, so it is rarer than people really know. His feeling was that why should information be disclosed that a novice could use when it’s taken him 40 years to learn what he knows now. I understand his thoughts, but a truly knowledgeable buyer is always the best buyer in my book. It is great if they pursue the hobby and learn that high-end coins command nice premiums, and that strike, toning, luster and minimal abrasion along with eye-appeal can greatly influence pricing. Seeing numbers in print is helpful, but having a truly superb coin in hand can have a large influence on the price.
Attendance was marginal with no real buzz to the floor but, I left on Friday. Others told me that the public made a good showing on Saturday and some excellent coins found new homes. This is a period of getting while the getting is good. If this market can get off the mat and move up, prices could escalate in a hurry.
Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
|January 2019 Issue|
Let’s Keep the Success Rolling for 2019!
by Warren Mills
Welcome to the first Rare Coin Enthusiast of 2019. I want to thank all of our friends that have trusted us over the years. We’ve always done our best to earn that trust by supplying the best quality coins for the grade that we could find, our CAC results for our customers certainly proves that. It also shows how many pretenders are out there reading labels and selling average to below average coins for the grade to their customers. We are recommending that all of our customers send any coins that they’ve acquired from us for a few hundred bucks or more into CAC, while other dealers are falling all over themselves to discourage clients from sending past purchases into CAC. The 20-40% success rate they have for their clients shows what pretenders they are. Though we can say that we only average 80+% for our customers, that’s still a huge percentage more than the average. That means that four out of five pieces we’ve sold over the years garner a CAC sticker! Not bad, considering the average dealer’s percentage is 40%.
Over 200 Years Of Combined Numismatic Experience At Your Disposal.
|October 2018 Issue|
93% and I’m Still Disappointed
by Warren Mills
Welcome to the fall issue of The Rare Coin Enthusiast. It was a very busy summer for us. We were fortunate to buy a few really nice collections and collector coins. Many were very wholesome and submissions have been filtering in all summer and will continue into the fall. Be aware that I recently acquired a very nice Bust half collection in circulated grades, no high-grade examples, but perfect coins for specialized collectors. They went in for submission and will be filtering back this month and next. Keep an eye open if you are a Bust half nut!
Every now and then one of our older longtime buyers will contact us about selling their collection. The first step is to send the coins to CAC for maximum value and liquidity. This particular customer acquired his coins between 1990 and 2005. Long before CAC was in business. Yes, I know most dealers don’t even want to think about informing clients about sending coins to CAC. Two reasons come to mind. First, most dealers are not very discriminating about what coins they sell. If it’s slabbed, it’s good to sell and many just can’t tell the difference! Secondly, they can buy non-CAC coins and send them to CAC to get all or any juice for themselves. Well that’s not the RCNH way. We always look out for our client’s well-being, period.