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October, 2012

Eye Appeal is Everything (well almost)

 Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, Last week we visited Missouri for the Silver Dollar Show in St. Charles.  We took advantage of the proximity of the show to visit my hometown of Warrensburg, MO about an hour out of K.C.  My Mom and Stepdad Don live on their farm near Knob Noster, MO the home of Whiteman Air Force Base.  Knob Noster is a small farm community with an air force base next door.  Whiteman Air Force base is near Knob Noster because it is a small farm community-out in the middle of nowhere.  I am pretty sure the reason the B-2 Stealth Bomber calls Whiteman Air Force base home is because it is next to Knob Noster, MO.   

During the drive back and forth across Missouri this week we have seen the early stages of a very pretty Autumn season.  Instead of taking the Interstate for the majority of the trip we decided to take state highways and spent a few hours driving West through the Missouri River Valley and Jefferson City, Missouri the state’s capital.  The Fall leaves are just starting to turn and every time I experience the ‘Fall’ color I can’t help but make the comparison to the eye appeal and therefore greater desirability of coins with pretty toned original surfaces.   

Recently we have had the good fortune in buying some pretty coins.  Nice coins are always of interest, but coins with eye appeal either from outstanding luster or colorful toning are always in demand.  What we are finding is that we are able to buy some pretty coins, but as usual the selection is limited and the prices are higher than perceived wholesale levels.  For example while many pretty lustrous mostly brilliant coins are available at greysheet bid/ask levels, coins with pretty toning can range in price from these price levels at a minimum to double or even triple these prices.  Crazy? 

When you have seen thousands of average coins sit in dealer’s showcases show after show, you might grasp the sale ability issue.  Average, albeit properly graded, coins carry average demand.  Recently I purchased a pretty toned early type coin for three times bid.  I have been offered small profits from four different dealers.  Yes, the coin is outrageously priced.  Yes, the bids prices don’t support the prices of this coin and although I didn’t want to pay three times bid, why would four dealers have already offered me a profit?  Because….THE COIN IS OUTRAGEOUS.  Time after time I have seen a fabulous coin bring too much money and immediately sell AGAIN. 

Last month I talked about areas of the market that deserve more attention.  Frankly, there are very few areas of the rare coin market that aren’t a good deal at current market levels.  I mentioned three of the most popularly collected coin series (Walker, Morgan, and Commemorative Halves) last month.  This month I want to encourage you to buy individual rarities whether they are high-end better date coins where you don’t have to pay a big date premium or super eye appeal toned coins in ALL categories.  While I would certainly buy nice Walkers, Morgans, and Commemoratives especially now in the current market, I WILL ALWAYS buy high end better date and super eye appeal toned coins.    

While we see stronger demand for pretty much any brilliant or white original rare coin, pretty toned and higher end coins are disappearing within the first few hours of show dealer set-up.  Generally the nicest coins we see are during dealer to dealer transactions in the hotel rooms(s) prior to the show.  Many dealers transact a large percentage of their total show business prior to show dealer set-up.  Most dealers have a handful of close associates that bring them coins on a consistent basis.  These ‘fresh to the market’ coins hardly ever see the showcase at the show.  They are going home. 

Next week in Dallas we expect brisk dealer to dealer business.  Dealers are coming in earlier because nice coins are becoming more difficult to find.  Although we are optimistic about business at the Dallas Fall ANA Show, we believe it will be mostly wholesale oriented.  Personally we are seeing more buyer traffic at shows with a consistent location.  While moving the ANA Spring and Fall Shows allows more people to possibly attend a show, we find our most consistent buyers visit us at shows that don’t change locations.

Other shows of note scheduled for October, November,  and December include the Denver Show, Indiana State Show, The Bay State Show, the Baltimore Show, the Michigan State Show, the Houston Money Show, the Ontario, CA Show, and the PCGS Invitational .  Our show schedule for the remainder of 2012 includes the following Shows:

 ANA Fall Show/Dallas, TX

Denver, CO

Whitman Coin Expo./Baltimore, MD

Houston Money Show

PCGS Invitational/Las Vegas, NV

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.

July, 2012

Rare Coin Market Report-Summer Edition-CAC is the REAL deal!

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, The Fourth of July has come and gone and we are left with the HEAT and several weeks before the exciting annual American Numismatic Association Show in Philadelphia next month.  The Numismatic calendar for the Summer is busy, but not all the players are ‘on the field’.  Much like the holiday month of December, we generally see a downturn in both numismatic activity and current price levels during the Summer months.  Dealers too like their time with family and friends and often take some time off in June, July, and August.  We too spent several days last week at the Lake of the Ozarks at my brother’s cabin. 

Fortunately, we had air conditioning and the lake because the temperatures were nearly unbearable and we actually cut our stay short a day because of the weather.  Fortunately we had a back-up plan and spent a couple of nights seeing my Mom and Stepdad in MO also.  Often times I take my work with me, but Summer time and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the exceptions to the rule.  I didn’t look at a coin for nearly a week!

For a numismatist, coins are a staple.  No, you can’t eat them, but for those of us who are ‘diehards’, coins are like the ‘air we breathe’.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the time off and needed the break, but the first thing I did once I was back in my office was to see what we had received since leaving for our trip.  Like many coin companies, we always have coins ‘in the system’.  For dealers who deal in more expensive certified coins, the coins in ‘the system’ are those out for grading or certification.  We almost always have coins out to PCGS, NGC, ANACS, and more often now than ever CAC.

Several years ago when CAC first came into being, I had my doubts.  Frankly, I am a little cynical.  Is this just another ‘mousetrap’?  Are we reinventing the wheel?  After nearly 30 years of third party grading from both PCGS and NGC, CAC was both revolutionary and controversial.  After all, I heard many say, ‘we already have independent grading’.  Looking back nearly five years, I must admit, my first reaction wasn’t totally positive. 

In 1986 when PCGS was originally founded, the concept was sound and the company grew, but….there were differences of opinion and those differences of opinion were important.  In fact, some of the differences of opinion led to the founding of NGC-Numismatic Guarantee Corporation by John Albanese shortly after PCGS began doing business.  As an outsider looking in, many people believe we (coin dealers) ALL know each other.  Many of us do.  In fact, some of my closest friends are coin dealers, but……we ARE NOT all friends.  Professional relationships aside, there are some VERY powerful rivalries in the coin business. 

One of the most powerful and divisive rivalries in the coin business over the last three decades has been between PCGS and NGC.  Although everyone ‘plays nice for the cameras’, there is no love lost between the two BIG grading services.  There was always a basic disagreement between grading philosophies.  While PCGS on the West Coast generally wants ‘bright white or brilliant’ coins, NGC, on the East Coast was more likely to appreciate originally toned rare coins.  Although PCGS and NGC will both tout their grading consistency, the truth is third party grading has evolved. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make more enemies-HA.  The grading services have had to evolve because the business is evolving.  Just like in the computer business, newer computer security has developed because the criminals are smarter.  In coins, the grading services have evolved because the ‘coin doctors’ have gotten better.  In addition, the grading services have also made some startling discoveries during the last thirty years. 

One of the most startling discoveries is that some coins are just NOT rare.  No one (at either grading service) would have guessed how relatively common some supposedly scarce items have proven to be.  In addition, the sheer volume of coins that the grading services have seen has also illustrated how dangerous certain surface substances on ‘original’ coins can be to the long term quality of a coin.  Not only PVC, but carbon, dirt, oil, and an almost unlimited amount of substances can exist on the surface of a coin.  Frankly, one of the worst culprits is ‘dip’ residue which is left over after a coin has been dipped and NOT rinsed properly.   

The grading services have had to address these problems in the real world and have not had the luxury of ‘going back in time’.  Overall, the reason both PCGS and NGC coins trade for more than coins graded by other grading services is because they are BETTER.  That PCGS and NGC are better has a lot to do with confidence.  Because both PCGS and NGC have been willing to spend millions of dollars ‘buying back’ problem coins they both enjoy great confidence.  BUT why do we need CAC?

The answer my friend is EYE APPEAL and ORIGINALITY!

During the early nineties a company called ‘Compugrade’ was trying to get established.  They spent millions of dollars and their concept was pretty sound, but NO ONE could quantify eye appeal in terms that a computer could use.  Arguably, even with ‘pluses’ and ‘stars’ PCGS and NGC have had a rough time quantifying eye appeal also.  There is a HUGE difference between technical grade and eye appeal and ALTHOUGH eye appeal has a lot to do with the grade of a coin, a correct technical grade doesn’t always mean a coin will have eye appeal. 

John Albanese has always been a visionary.  When he left PCGS to start NGC, he had an idea.  Not only was NGC a smart and viable alternative to PCGS, but NGC thrived because they didn’t just try and copy PCGS, but provided a high quality alternative to PCGS.  When John sold NGC he was ready to try something new.  After all, John is a highly motivated and smart guy and NGC was established and profitable.  I can just imagine the thought of ‘What’s next?’ going through John’s mind. 

CAC approves coins that are both ORIGINAL and nice for their grade with EYE APPEAL.  Yes, it is subjective.  And yes, there are lots of nice coins out there without CAC stickers, but…..when you buy a coin with a CAC sticker you are not only getting a guaranteed grade by the grading service, but you are also getting a QUALITY screened high EYE APPEAL coin that is ORIGINAL and doesn’t have any problems.  Like the saying I have shared before, do you want your oats before they go through the horse or AFTER? 

CAC has come of age too.  Not only are CAC stickered coins consistently trading for more money, but they sell more quickly.  CAC not only approves coins with great eye appeal, but they market many CAC coins and ‘put their money where their mouth is’.  In other words, they buy their CAC approved coins at SIGHT UNSEEN numbers which are often much higher than the SIGHT SEEN PCGS or NGC bids. 

The truth of the matter is that CAC approved coins trade for more, sell more quickly, and are in higher demand than non-CAC coins.  Remember “Dragnet”, the old TV show?  What was the detective’s name that always said ‘just the FACTS mam’?  The FACT is that CAC is the real deal. 

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy, sell, and trade high grade predominantly high grade PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified rare coins.  We offer coins for sale on our website Bozarthcoins.com, in our Ebay Store Bozarthnumismaticsinc, and at nearly 40 shows that we attend all over the U.S. each and every year.  We also offer free and confidential want list services and can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items because we are constantly ‘beating the bushes’ buying rare coins during our 200 plus days each year on the road.  We also write this RC Market Report and the ‘Rare Coin Road Warrior’ each month which discusses coin shows from a dealer’s perspective.            

June 2012

Rare Coin Market Report-The Thrill of the Hunt & Market News

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, What most NON Collectors don’t realize is how big a ‘thrill’ we Numismatists and collectors (in general) get out of the hunt or quest for that hard to find item.  Whatever you want to call ‘it’, the ‘thrill of the hunt’ is a very big part of what make Numismatics FUN!  Recently, I was able to purchase a significant Seated Liberty Dollar Collection.  While the majority of these coins aren’t in the ‘glory’ grades of MS64 and better, the set is nearly complete and the average grade is AU or better.  Only three coins (the 1851, 1852, and 1870-S) were missing from this very scarce and desirable set.  The set when it came to me was housed in original Wayte Raymond coin boards.  Experienced numismatists will especially appreciate how scarce this ‘Old Time Collection’ is in terms of both supply and originality.     

The Mint State (business strike) Seated Liberty Dollar set is comprised of 44 coins.  Included in the ‘Old Time Collection’ are eight coins in MS60 or better plus three MS60 detail ‘net grade’ coins.  This Seated Liberty Dollar Set was put together back in the fifties by a numismatist with an ‘eye’ for both detail and originality.  Although there are some ‘net grade’ coins, the detail and overall originality is QUITE high end.  Not only does the set contain ALL the Carson City issues, but the early issues are especially nice with many high end coins which overall AVERAGE AU plus.    

This ‘Old Time Collection’ came to Bozarth Numismatics through a private individual who appreciates his anonymity.  Although well known in the numismatic community and a consummate numismatist, he chose to have our firm handle this transaction.  Not only are we thrilled to be able to handle this ‘Old Time Collection’, but the transaction was a lot of fun.  Not often do we get to see an original Seated Dollar collection in Wayte Raymond boards, but a ‘fresh to the market’ set which hasn’t seen the ‘light of day’ in over five decades is a real THRILL.

I first viewed this ‘Old Time Collection’ at the Denver ANA Spring Show last month.  I was enthralled with the first eight coins (1840-46-O) Wayte Raymond ‘board’.  Not only were the coins nearly fully detailed, but virtually all of the coins have lovely original ‘crust’ and patina that only comes from decades in original coin boards.  For the most part the coins in the set have that light to medium old gold and deep blue green album toning one would expect, but the underlying luster really makes this set something special.  The gentleman who built this set took his time and bought highly detailed and very well matched original pieces. 

After some negotiation we came to an agreement to purchase the set.  The owner specified we try and keep the collection intact as a set after grading.  The original set will be offered at the Baltimore Coin Show later this month for the first 24 hours after the show opens.  IF the set hasn’t sold as a Complete set by the end of business Thursday evening, we will offer the coins in the set individually Friday June 29th.  For a preview of what is in the set, please visit our website Bozarthcoins.com prior to the Baltimore Show.  The coins will be available on our website Friday June 29th also.  There will be no pre-sale individually prior to the morning of June 29th.

The market has really been slow lately.  Dealers I spoke to after the Long Beach Show were concerned both with the market and the continuing slide of that ‘great’ show.  Yes, the Long Beach Show is suffering, mostly from the economy, but also from a lack of interest.  Collectors and dealers alike have a limited amount of money to spend regardless of how good ‘the deal’ may be.  When you compare the total number of shows and auctions against the dollars available to be spent on numismatic items, you can begin to comprehend the problem.  Too much product, too little capital! 

Take for example the great selection of coins in the Heritage Auction at Long Beach.  Yes, some coins brought great numbers, but the vast majority of auction lots fell into the ho-hum category.  Like the auction, the action on the bourse floor was FLAT at best and a couple of dealers I spoke to had virtually NO sales to the public.  The ‘powers that be’ running the Long Beach Show have made some nice  improvements, but….were the improvements worthy of table price increases to dealers in the back of the bourse floor who just recently returned to the show? 

Great coins are still bringing great money, but a lot of very nice coins are not selling.  Fortunately there are only a few major auctions and shows between now and the Philadelphia ANA Show in August.  From this side of the bourse table, it appears to me that both dealers and collectors need some time to regroup.  We are buying and selling coins at a pretty brisk clip, but we are being more cautious with our spending especially going into the Summer months.     

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.      

May 2012

Rare Coin Market Report-May 2012-PICKY is Good

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

The U.S. Rare Coin Market is vibrant and active.  Collectors, dealers, and investors continue to buy rare coins, bullion, and numismatic collectibles with enthusiasm.  We are constantly amazed at how actively our customers are searching for coins!  Yet, while we are experiencing strong demand on both our website and in our Ebay store the word ‘picky’ is often used when a customer or dealer describes his purchasing desires. 

PICKY is good.  Being ‘choosey’ and particular when spending your hard earned dollars is right and proper.  You need to both ‘get what you pay for’ and be ‘happy with your purchase’.  While both Sherri and I would love to see you spend your money with Bozarth Numismatics, we won’t always have the coins you are looking for.  This month I am going to break down what you as a coin customer will have to ‘REALISTICALLY’ pay for a nice coin whether that purchase is through a known dealer or through auction.

Because of a large quantity of poor quality merchandise on the market we have recently seen some lower prices reported in several of the market’s pricing guides.  Nevertheless, the ‘picky’ customer knows when to pick his battles and ‘step up’ with that premium for really Choice numismatic material.  Unfortunately the vast majority of coins on the market are just average.  When you see record prices reported for certain coins you will almost always find that these coins were either potential upgrade coins or very scarce items that do not appear on the market often. 

The foremost pricing authority in the rare coin market today is the Coin Dealer Newsletter.  The Coin Dealer Newsletter, who I admittedly have been a little hard on lately, has added some very neat and informative features to their publications recently.  With the addition of Mark Ferguson to their staff, I believe they are making great strides in the right direction.  Mark is not only a sharp guy, but he is an experienced numismatist and did a marvelous job of coordinating and reporting ever changing price levels while he was with Coin World.  Coin World’s loss is Coin Dealer Newsletter’s gain.  When it comes right down to value, almost ALL U.S. rare coin transactions start with the ‘Greysheet’ bid. 

But what should I pay for this coin?  Most coin dealers have a little gambler in them.  Truth be told, even dealers don’t know what to pay for a lot of coins at any given time.  When you add in the fluctuations of the market, the fact that a dealer just can’t stock everything (although a lot of us would love to have the unlimited budget to do so), and the quality and liquidity factors you really have a problem determining what to pay.  Dealers weigh several factors when making an offer on a coin.

First, you check the price guides.  Second, you see what other similar items have sold for recently.  Third, you contemplate whether or not you will have a customer for the item or have to stock it for a period of time, and lastly you pull a ‘rabbit out of your hat’!  Seriously, you weigh all the information you have and make any offer.  Because of experience, most dealers do this very quickly.  A nice scarce coin that is priced ‘right’ will not be available for long.  Dealers KNOW they won’t make money on everything they buy.  Yet, they ante up and play the hand. 

You, as a collector, have disadvantages and, believe it or not, advantages.  A collector has the luxury of buying what THEY personally want to collect.  The collector also has the luxury of time.  Buying nice rare coins and holding them for the long term will almost always be rewarding.  The two big disadvantages of being the collector are their budget and the lack of NICE material.  The rare coin market goes up and down.  The astute collector is always buying nice coins for their collection. 

Taking advantage of timing can pay huge dividends in the future.  RIGHT now, for example, is a great time to buy rare coins.  Price levels for a lot of great rare coins are lower right now than they have been for over a decade.  When you find the ‘right’ coin don’t hesitate.  Odds are you will have to pay more in the future IF that particular coin is even available.  The big question is what to pay?

The vast majority of collectors don’t have the luxury of a good coin show in their area.  Because of the internet, you can shop for coins from the comfort and security of your home or office.  The collector can buy coins from dealer websites or price lists, coin publications, TV shows, and through a great number of online auctions without leaving their ‘seat’.   The premiums you will have to pay are actually pretty close among competitive and reputable dealers or auction houses. 

In my opinion, you should NEVER buy coins from TV.  Frankly the ‘cost’ of offering items on TV makes buying from TV shows a horrible play.  In addition the sheer volume a TV promotion must sell makes the items they are selling ‘average’.  One of the first lessons I ever learned in the rare coin business goes something like this:  If you can buy a bucket full of them regardless of the price, they are not scarce let alone rare.  Remember the secret to a good promotion is a ready supply!

Let me breakdown how most dealers and auction houses make their money. 

Dealers with websites or price lists mark up their coins depending on the market at that time, their cost, and how much overhead they have to ‘cover’ before their profit margin.  Depending on the price level for a particular item the mark up can range from as little as 5% to 50% in most cases.  A dealer selling items priced at under a $100 each will generally have to mark up their items AT LEAST 25% to 50% to cover their overhead and make a profit.   On more expensive item dealers are able to work ‘closer’.  On items over four figures a dealer will often work on 10% AFTER credit card charges and shipping and insurance costs.  On bullion items this mark up can run as low as 3%, but you often have to pay ‘UP FRONT’ because of the volatility of the market.  

 Most auction houses charge a ‘buyers’ premium.  This buyer’s premium varies but most often the bigger U.S. auction houses charge a 15% buyer’s fee.  Recently Stacks/Bowers raised their buyer’s fee to 17.5%.  In the last couple of years, I have encountered several auction houses that charge as much as a 20% buyers fee.  The buyer’s fee covers the cost of selling the item and a profit margin for the auction house.  There is NOTHING wrong with a buyer’s fee but….as little as fifteen years ago a 10% buyers fee was normal and going back two decades auction houses actually charged a commission to the seller. 

The biggest problem with auctions for example lies in the way they work.  First you view the auction lots and determine what you want to bid.  Second you bid against an unknown number of other bidders.  What is the problem?  In my experience, if I pick out ten coins I really want and bid on them, I end up with the two or three (out of the ten) I least wanted.  If I ‘stretch’ to buy a great item the quality has to ‘be there’ or I have buried myself price wise.     

Ebay operates differently and represents an incredibly huge global market.  Ebay charges the seller (just like coin auctions in the old days).  When you bid on an item you are bidding what you are paying.  In fact, not only are you getting what you bid on for the amount you bid, but most often there are NO shipping and insurance charges.  The seller pays the freight.  Yes, the fees the seller pays are still part of the cost, but….you know where you stand at ALL times. 

The larger coin auction houses have changed their fee structures over the last couple of decades to hide the numbers so to speak.  For example, when you pay a 15% buyers fee often times the seller gets part of that 15%.  The hammer price (what you bid before the 15%) in addition to a portion of the 15% buyer’s fee go to the seller.  Why is that? 

The auction houses are competing against one another for the ‘juiciest’ and ‘freshest’ consignments.  Depending on the consignment quality they might offer 7% of the 15% buyer’s fee to the consignor.  Recently Stacks/Bowers raised their buyer’s fees to 17.5%.  Once again, they are playing with the numbers.  Now because they are charging a 17.5% buyer’s fee they can offer up to 110% of the ‘hammer price’ to the best consignors.  What is the difference?  The difference is that they believe they will get more consignments and bidders will not notice they are paying more?  In addition, if you are a big buyer who spends more than 50K in their auction you only have to pay a 15% buyer’s fee.  What a great deal-except for the collector.

In my opinion, you can buy great coins at a reasonable price from ALL of these venues (except TV).  BUT….and here is the rub…make sure you know how the system works.  Frankly, knowing what your ‘bottom line’ is going to be ahead of time can make ALL the difference.  Remember ‘PICKY’ is good. 

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.      

Our Show Schedule for May and June include the following shows:

ANA Spring Show                     Denver, CO                   May 9-12                        TABLE

Texas Numismatic Assoc.       Ft. Worth, TX                May 17-19                     TABLE

Long Beach Coin Show           Long Beach, CA             May30-June 1               Attending

NGC Trade & Grade                Las Vegas, NV                June 12-14                     TABLE

Greater Chicago Show            Tinley Park, IL                June 20-22                     TABLE

Whitman Coin Expo                Baltimore, MD               June 28-30                     TABLE                     

April 2012

GIGO-Garbage IN/Garbage OUT

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

With the great Baltimore Coin Spring Show just a couple of weeks behind us, I am curious as to what direction the U.S. Rare Coin market will go in April.  Tax season is not kind to the coin business.  Taxes have to be paid and that desirable coin might have to wait until next month if it is still available.  With the gold and silver market down, activity at Baltimore was surprisingly good.  This show venue is just fabulous.  Folks love coming to Baltimore and the great people at Whitman, especially David Crenshaw and Lori Hamrick, really go out of their way to make this show work.  Attendance was really good and business was brisk. 

I have written extensively about my belief in a coin market that ‘will explode’ eventually.  I believe this to be the case for several reasons.  First, there are lots of really great coins that are trading at or near all time low price levels in the last fifteen to twenty years.  Second, few truly nice coins are available at current levels.  Wait a second Vic, what about all the coins in the Stacks/Bowers auction?  Yes, there were some great coins in the Stacks/Bowers auction, but how many didn’t sell, were bought back, or brought WAY less than current Coin Dealer Newsletter bid prices.  Oh, and NOW you have to pay a 17.5% buyers fee! 

Have you ever heard the saying about ‘manure running downhill’?  Crappy coins bring crappy prices.  Especially when they are crammed into a phone book sized auction catalog and sold at no reserve.  Nicer, one of a kind coins bring great prices, but ‘run of the mill’ stuff, partly because dealers are consigning coins in large numbers at no reserve, is bringing nothing or not selling at all.  This causes a whirlpool effect almost like a toilet flushing.  Because so much ‘stuff’ is being consigned to auction and so little of it actually sells at reasonable levels (like Coin Dealer Newsletter bid), bids drop.    

The double whammy is that Coin Dealer Newsletter where 75% of the coin pricing information ‘comes from’ doesn’t have a qualified numismatist on staff and hasn’t had one in their employee for years.  When crappy coins bring crappy prices at auction, these prices are monitored by CDN-Coin Dealer Newsletter and reported as lower levels.  YET, the record prices for a small handful of rarities are reported on the front page of the CDN Greysheet.  The problem with this system is the totally baseless quantification of quality.  Greysheet is reading prices realized from auction, accumulating the data, and selling it to dealers and anyone else who will subscribe. 

The quality of the data itself is the problem.  In computer programming the term they use is GIGO-Garbage In/Garbage Out.  If you get bad or flawed data, accumulate it and then report it, what are you going to publish-GARBAGE.  Without a competent numismatist on staff, Coin Dealer Newsletter is publishing GARBAGE.  Yes, they have added some new features listing CAC price levels and trades.  Yes, Bluesheet was created years ago to list the ‘sight unseen’ bid levels for slabbed, mostly PCGS and NGC, coins.  BUT, and here is the rub, how is it interpreted? 

Let me give you an example.  Morgan Dollars are by far the most popularly collected U.S. coin.  Morgans graded by PCGS bring nice prices, but would you believe that the same Morgan Dollar date in the same grade can have a price disparity of over 50%.  It really isn’t that unusual.  In the past, the Greysheet was for ‘sight seen’ coins.  For YEARS, this meant nice coins for the grade, usually untoned/white or brilliant coins or nicely toned coins with attractive color.  For the last couple of years the Greysheet bid for many Morgan Dollars is completely meaningless.  Once CAC coins started hitting the market, the Greysheet picked up bids for CAC coins and published those as the NEW ‘sight seen’ levels. 

CAC has done nothing wrong.  In fact, CAC has put a magnifying glass on the disparity in price between crappy coins and nice coins.  BUT, Greysheet didn’t distinguish that their Greysheet sight seen bids were for CAC coins and many dealers have taken advantage of this.  Does that mean that just because a coin does NOT have a CAC sticker that it CANNOT be worth at least Greysheet bid.  Frankly, for many dollars this has become the case.  The fault is not with CAC.  The fault is in the GARBAGE being reported. 

Sherri and I travel extensively to buy really nice coins sight seen.  We usually have to pay ‘greysheet’ levels for NICE coins.  Because I am buying coins on a daily basis as a dealer, I usually know when the greysheet bids are BASELESS, but do you know?  Over the last several years dealers have started using Auction Prices realized information, in addition to the Coin Dealer Newsletter information, to determine the price levels for coins.  So does this information ‘better’ represent what a coin is worth?  NOT!  In a significant amount of cases it is more GIGO-garbage in/garbage out. 

If coins bring nothing at auction does that mean the prices are crashing?  Yes, sometimes it does, but…often the lower prices at auction are purely the result of way to much ‘crap’ and even nice coins are being offered in a venue where no real buyers have the wherewithal to participate.  Frankly, dealers especially have so little time at major shows that participating in an auction that runs until one a.m. isn’t a great option after working for ten hours on the bourse floor.  Let’s be realistic here. 

The Russians used propaganda to great effect.  For example if the Russians and the U.S. were competing in a big dual (two participant) event and the Russians lost, their media would report the next day that the ‘Heroic  Russian Athletes took Second’ in a great International sporting event.  Actually, didn’t they finish LAST-more GIGO-Garbage In/Garbage Out. 

Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin dealer.  We offer PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved rare coins on our website Bozarthcoins.com, in our Ebay Store Bozarthnumismaticsinc and also at all the rare coin shows we attend.  We buy, sell, and trade high grade U.S. coins and would love to deal with you.  We also offer free want list services with absolute confidentiality.  Because we travel over 200 days a year buying rare coins, we can often find those ‘hard to locate’ items other can’t.  We also write this monthly Rare Coin Market Report and our very popular Rare Coin Road Warrior column each month. 

March 2012

Rare Coin Market Report/The More Things Change-The More They Remain The Same.

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, This morning Sherri and I are in Las Vegas for the PCGS Trade and Grade Invitational.  Yes, Vegas is cool, but for us it is mostly about the great little show that PCGS hosts here four or five times a year.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a ‘stick in the mud’ when it comes to enjoying some time at the ‘tables’ myself.  But, I prefer taking a more ‘educated’ risk on Rare Coins versus laying my money down in a casino where the odds are definitely ‘stacked towards the house’.  Frankly, I like the ‘gamble’ that rare coins represent.  Coins will not remain at these ‘low’ price levels forever.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘what goes around, comes around’ or the other saying ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.  The world and our lives revolve mostly around the same values.  Sometimes the ‘values’ are more liberal.  Sometimes they are more conservative.  As a middle aged guy-I’m 51-I have seen a couple of these ‘cycles’.  I was a child of the sixties-a late baby-boomer.  My folks were World War II babies-my dad was born in 1940 and my mom will celebrate her 70th birthday next month and was born in 1942.  They grew up in the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower presidencies.  The country was recovering from the devastation of the war and most wanted to focus on OUR country and their families.

During the sixties these values were questioned.  John F. Kennedy was a visionary and helped bring many changes to our supposed standards.  Racial segregation was questioned and many measures and laws were changed.  Lyndon Johnson continued many of these long overdue societal changes.  However, the younger generation wasn’t buying ALL of the message and the Vietnam ‘conflict’ (how can a war that cost our country over 65,000 in dead soldiers be called a conflict?) blew up in both Johnson’s and later Richard Nixon’s faces.  The Johnson backlash was Nixon.  The Nixon/Gerald Ford backlash was Jimmy Carter, who although a brilliant man was mostly very inept politically.  Whatever your political leanings, you don’t get elected President of the United States without having some intellect.

The Carter backlash was Ronald Reagan and the country once again experienced 12 years of conservative leadership.  The Reagan/George Bush Sr. backlash was Bill Clinton.  And so it goes…….

On the popular front, changes swing back and forth also.  Accomplishments from the past are forgotten, because new and now are what matters, right?  Currently one of the ‘new’ things in Vegas is the huge ‘viewing platform’ I think they are calling it.  Whatever they want to label this New Vegas attraction it is simply a Ferris Wheel.  Yes, a Ferris Wheel.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it fits Vegas pretty well-you know kind of ‘carnival midway’ cool.  In fact, if you are a student of history you might know that the FIRST Ferris Wheel was the ‘main attraction’ at the 1892 and 1893 Columbian Exposition. 

The Organizers of the Columbian Exposition NEEDED a big attraction.  During the Winter of 1891 and Spring of 1892 they were dumbfounded as to what kind of attraction could rival, yet outshine, the fabulous Eiffel Tower built as the ‘center piece’ attraction at the Paris World’s Exposition held in 1876?  When George Ferris, an engineer from PA approached the organizers of the Columbian Exposition with his idea, he was at first refused.  Ferris persevered with an idea that was so audacious the fair organizers had trouble visualizing the impact it would have on the FAIR.  You see, the citizens of Chicago had to prove that they were a ‘world class’ city like New York.  In fact, the term ‘windy city’ is not about wind.  The term ‘windy city’ refers to the sometimes outlandish self promotion that journalists, politicians, and Chicago promoters became famous for.

Fast forward 120 years.  Las Vegas is building another Ferris Wheel.  This Ferris Wheel will be 500 feet tall.  The ‘original’ Ferris Wheel stood nearly 400 feet tall.  The Vegas Wheel will hold roughly 36 cars with a capacity of 35 or 36 passengers.  The ‘first’ Ferris Wheel, built in 1892, had 36 gondola cars with a capacity of 50 and individual ‘luncheonettes’ in each car!  George Ferris’s Wheel spawned the most popular and visible attraction on carnival midways and state fairs for the past twelve decades.  Isn’t it interesting that they want to call this NEW Ferris Wheel a ‘viewing platform’? 

The more things change, the more they remain the same….

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year buying ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins.  We list our extensive inventory on our website Bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay Store under Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. Coin.  We offer free and confidential want list services.  Because of our extensive show and buying trip schedule we can often locate ‘coins’ other dealers just can’t find.  We also write both this ‘market’ report and The Rare Coin Road Warrior each month.  Check us out online or at a major coin show in your area.  

January 2012

Happy New Year Coin Enthusiasts!

2011 is behind us and the FUN Show was held this last week in Orlando.  For dealers, like us, the year actually revolves around our show travel schedule.  The first week after the New Year Holiday is the Florida United Numismatists Show.  This year we flew to Orlando on the second.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about going to Florida in January.  Thankfully, because of the calendar itself and New Year’s Day on a Sunday no one tried to put together a ‘PRE’ FUN Show this year.

What were the big news flashes from the show?  The grading controversy is still causing discord and angst within the PNG.  In addition, the completely confusing and arbitrary measures to try and regulate something the commercial grading companies are already charging a fee for is, in my opinion, whipping a DEAD horse.  On a brighter note a new initiative between both the Professional Numismatists guild and the mega marketplace EBAY was very positive.  I will discuss both, but first let me tell you about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the FUN Show itself. 

The FUN Show is huge.  In fact, although I stated in a Rare Coin Road Warrior article earlier this year that the FUN Show was the biggest single show of the year, I was informed that the Summer ANA World’s Fair of Money is larger.  Some say potato, some say potato-you know what I mean.  The FUN Show is HUGE! 

The FUN Show is held most years in the Orange County Convention Center.  Dealers from all over the U.S. come to Florida the first week after the New Year’s holiday for the annual Florida United Numismatists Winter Show.  I attended my first FUN Show in the eighties when it was still being held at the Buena Vista Palace near Disneyland.  FUN is cool.  Lots of dealers that don’t attend any other shows come to FUN and ‘set-up’ on the bourse floor.  FUN is exciting for us because we get to see dealers, collectors, and friends we have known for decades but see only once or twice a year.  

This year’s show was active and very well attended.  Dealer set-up was relatively quiet Wednesday afternoon, but both Thursday and Fridays’ business was brisk.  Although the ‘bourse’ was well attended Saturday, the show was over for the most part.  Folks who are serious about buying rare coins know that the best coins are not going to be available on Saturday or Sunday.  The best coins rarely survive the first couple of days of a big show. 

One of the most interesting developments of the show was the attendance of several representatives of EBAY.  Introduced at the Professional Numismatists Guild luncheon and meeting prior to dealer set-up Wednesday, five representatives of both EBAY and Paypal attended the PNG meeting and four attended the show itself.  EBAY and PNG are discussing some great new developments in rare coins sales that will benefit both buyers and sellers.  The first big announcement from EBAY is that “REPLICA” and “COPY” coins CANNOT be sold on EBAY in the future.  The PNG has long sought a removal of these FAKES, albeit labeled replica or copy, from the EBAY market place.  Selling ‘replica’ or ‘copy’ items is little different from selling ‘knock-off’ designer items.  The problem is the confusion and downright fraud that can result from the marketing of these items. 

In addition, EBAY plans to take much greater action towards preventing the proliferation of counterfeits quite often originating in China that sometimes get listed for sale on EBAY.  Counterfeits, copies, and replicas are nothing but ‘pie in the sky’.  Unfortunately much of the rare coin market is driven by greed and all rare coin buyers would like to buy their coins for less.  One of the first things I like to remember is that there is ‘no free lunch’.  Nice AUTHENTIC coins are not cheap and most often cheap coins are not nice.      

Both Sherri Bozarth and I, along with another major dealer and his head buyer had a very rewarding and straightforward dinner meeting one evening during the FUN Show with the four EBAY and Paypal representatives.  We were pleased that EBAY was quite interested in our experience with listing coins for sale on EBAY.  Both Sherri and I and the other dealers were quite interested in voicing our concerns as dealers about some issues we have had with listing coins on EBAY’s incredible marketplace.  This ‘one on one’ attention we received was very refreshing.  Our hope is that some of our concerns will be examined and addressed by EBAY.       

The Grading/Coin Doctoring controversy was also addressed at the PNG meeting.  The TOTAL lack of any cohesive and positive light on this subject is embarrassing.  Frankly, I am appalled at the time and effort being spent on this controversy.  THERE WILL ALWAYS BE CONTROVERSY IN REGARD TO GRADING.   Although most can agree on a nice coin, there is also value for a lower quality and even ‘doctored’ coin.  In the current U.S. rare coin market virtually ALL more expensive coins are graded by PCGS and NGC.  We are paying these grading services for an opinion on grade and both PCGS and NGC have guarantees in place to ‘buyback’ coins that have been doctored. 

What I find most interesting is those who are attempting to quantify and enforce what an individual can or cannot do with his own property.  If an individual want to RUIN a coin by cleaning it, let him.    Interestingly enough, the parties who have ‘stirred’ this controversial pot of noxious brew were not present at the PNG meeting.  In fact, the special committee that was put together to address this controversy seems less likely than ever to come up with a ‘plan’ that we can all agree on.  As I stated last year in my initial article about this ‘coin doctoring’ controversy, the ‘TAIL is still wagging the dog’.  Send a coin for grading and let the grading services determine the grade. 

Buy coins you find attractive in PCGS, NGC, or CAC approved holders for your collection or portfolio.  If you want to try the grading game yourself as an individual be prepared to make some mistakes.  After 25 plus full time years in the coin business I still make mistakes buying raw and ungraded coins.  Don’t expect to buy a raw coin for a small percentage of the expected graded price and get it in a holder.  You will most often be disappointed.  Please remember nice coins are not cheap and MOST OFTEN cheap coins are NOT NICE. 

Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell coins on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our EBAY store under Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because we travel over 200 days a year buying U.S. coins, we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items.  We offer free want list services and will call or email you if we get a coin you are looking for.

December 2011-Houston Money Show Report

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

December has always been somewhat of a ‘dud’ in the coin business.  Don’t get me wrong, folks are looking for coins in December, but the majority of the action in the coin business in December centers around less expensive ‘gift’ items like silver rounds for stocking stuffers.  In years past we have seen quite a few really lackluster months of December.  Bolstered by the rebounding metals market in the last couple of weeks, even larger rare coin dealers are busy selling high end PCGS and NGC coins this December.  Nowhere was that more evident than at last week’s Houston Money Show.

NASA’s days in Houston may be numbered, but the Houston Money Show is here to stay.  This last week’s Houston Money Show was very well attended by both dealers and the public.  PCGS graded on site.  There were well attended seminars and the young numismatists in attendance were ‘everywhere’.  What really impressed me the most were the number of dealers still in attendance on late Saturday.  If there are buyers at a show on Saturday or Sunday dealers will stay! 

I will be the first to admit my bias toward the Houston Money Show.  Sherri, my wife and the ‘brains’ behind Bozarth Numismatics, is a Houston native and we moved to the Houston area over five years ago.  In the last ten years, this show has gone from a relatively small regional show to a near major show.  Ten years ago the Houston Money Show was held in an empty department store in a mall on the North side of Houston with questionable security issues.  The Greenspoint Mall where the show was held is often referred to by locals as ‘Gunpoint’ Mall. 

Fast forward ten years and this growing, well established, and remarkably well sponsored show is now held at the huge George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.  The GRB Convention Center is adjacent to both Minute Maid Ballpark where the Houston Astros play as well as the Toyota Center where the Houston Rockets play.  Nice restaurants and great entertainment are available on a nightly basis and the show hotels are great.  With thanks and a sincere ‘job well done’ greeting to the Houston Coin Club whose volunteers make this show work, we were thrilled with the business from Thursday through the end of the show Saturday evening. 

The coin market in 2011 has really had some highlights.  Both the Central States Show in Chicago in April and the American Numismatic World’s Fair of Money Annual Show in Chicago were stupendous.  The rare coin market is building again.  Yes, we have seen some weakness in several areas of numismatics, but the overwhelming demand for the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagles released recently was ‘off the charts’ and bodes well for more generic items as well as rare coins.   

This year we have seen Morgan Dollars, one of the ‘generic standards’ of the rare coin business jump from $115 to $215 in MS65 before settling back to a more realistic $145 price level currently.  Hey, $145 from $115 isn’t bad either considering that silver is two thirds the price now as when dollars peaked at $215 when silver was $48 per ounce.  Coins are excellent value at current levels and astute buyers are reaping the rewards. 

Recently we bought a really incredible hoard of collector date coins including ten 1893-S Morgans, six 1911-D $2.5 Indians, four 1889-CC Morgans, six 1908-S Indian Cents in high grade BU, and lots of other single or two coin groups of other key dates.  All of these coins were PCGS or NGC graded and the overall quality was very high end with nearly 75% of the coins represented having CAC stickers.  In 25 plus years as a full time coin dealer, I have never purchased ten nice 1893-S Morgans in one group.  At both the Baltimore and Houston Shows, we reaped the rewards because THESE ARE COINS BUYERS WANT. 

High end coins just aren’t available in quantity and the reasonable price levels won’t last.  Yes, I have been repeating this ‘buy now before levels rise’ mantra quite frequently for the last year.  Let me tell you what I see on the rare coin bourse floor.  Over half of our sales are to other dealers who can’t locate these high end collector coins-they just aren’t ‘out there’ in any quantity at current levels.  If dealers are buying coins like this, shouldn’t you?  I’m just saying…..

Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin dealer.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved coins on both our website bozarthcoins.com and via our eBay Store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We also attend ALL major coin shows and most large regional coin shows.  Our 200 plus day a year travel schedule allows us to buy more nice coins than most other dealers.  We offer free confidential want list services for those ‘hard to find’ items.  We currently have roughly 1000 PCGS and NGC slab coins in our eBay Store and our ‘best’ material is added to our website listings at least twice monthly.  Check us out!

November 2011

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

The rare coin market is constantly changing.  Both the Bullion markets and traditional financial markets push and pull the rare coin market.  With the downward trend in bullion markets since August and the European financial crisis, we have seen strengthening of the ‘dollar’ itself.  The generic markets have been pulled down because of the soft bullion markets.  $20 gold coins and generic Morgan and Peace Dollars are flat, although we have seen a little more interest in the generic $20 gold market since gold has bounced back up into the mid $1700’s. 

Dealers are trying to hold as much good numismatic related material as they can while maintaining their cash flow.  Let me give you an example to illustrate what is happening in the rare coin market.  Hypothetically speaking, two deals ‘walk’ into a coin show.  Both of these deals have a market value of $100,000 each. 

Deal ‘A’ is high grade, albeit bullion related, generic $20 gold coins in PCGS or NGC graded mint state 63 and 64 holders.  There are roughly 50 coins in the deal and individually they are worth $1900 to $2000 per coin.  Deal ‘B’ is a handpicked group of high grade PCGS or NGC graded numismatic related items.  Deal ‘B’ has 50 items most of which are collector coins. 

Deal ‘A’ is very saleable, but there are only two or three dealers at the show who really STOCK this type of generic $20 gold coins.  Although most of the dealers in the room will put a ‘number’ on deal ‘A’, what they will pay is directly related to what they can get from the two or three dealers at the show who really STOCK these coins.  In other words, most dealers will quote you a price, but that price is based on what they can ‘layoff’ the 50 pieces of $20 gold coins at that point in time.  Most of the dealers at the show don’t want to tie up $100K on generic $20 gold coins which could be worth 10% less in the morning if bullion prices fall over night.  They will buy the deal, if and only if, they can sell it immediately and protect their cash position.

Deal ‘B’ is a completely different story.  Although deal ‘B’ contains 50 items that are numismatic related with an average value of $2000 per item, Deal ‘B’ isn’t as easy to figure.  Deal ‘B’ isn’t as saleable on an immediate basis.  Deal ‘B’ will tie up $100K for at least a couple of months.  Yet, there are several dozen dealers at the coin show that will stock Deal ‘B’ even if they have to borrow the money to buy it. 

Deal ‘A’ is comprised of ‘stuff’ while deal ‘B’ is comprised of rare coins that have some potential and dealers will STOCK Deal ‘B’ but dealers will immediately ‘lay off’ Deal ‘A’.

There is nothing wrong with the generic high grade $20 gold coins in Deal ‘A’, but…..dealers know they can go out and buy that type of material ANYTIME they want.  Deal ‘B’ is very much in demand because this type of numismatic related rare coin IS NOT available anytime those same dealers want to buy them.  Although there is strong demand for the $20 gold coins in Deal ‘A’, dealers are afraid they will get ‘stuck’ and have to take a loss on the generic $20’s if the bullion market falls over night.  Deal ‘B’ is an entirely different ‘animal’.  Dealers will find a way to buy Deal ‘B’ even if they have to STOCK it.

Deal ‘B’ won’t make it past the first two or three dealers in the room that have an opportunity to buy it.  Even if Deal ‘B’ is a little too much price wise in relation to ‘market’, dealers will ‘stretch’ to buy it.  Dealers will not stretch for Deal ‘A’.  Dealers might buy Deal ‘A’, but they are going to sell it immediately and work on as little as 1 to 2 percent. 

Rare coins are selling.  Because rare coins are selling, dealers will ‘stretch’ to buy them.  Recently I was offered a Deal ‘B’ like group of coins at a show.  One of the coins was bid at $7500 on Greysheet.  I figured that coin in the deal at $16,900.  I got to see it first.  I can virtually guarantee that any other dealer with some numismatic expertise would not have passed at the higher number.  There were coins in this Deal ‘B’ that had not appeared in auction for 10 to 15 years. 

As an individual buying rare coins do you want Deal ‘A’ or Deal ‘B’.  If you are looking for a bullion play, then Deal ‘A’ could very well be for you.  Select rare coins are selling quickly when they are available.  In last month’s Rare Coin Market Report, I called them ‘already sold’ coins.  A lot of the coins in Deal ‘B’ would fall into that ‘already sold’ category.  The difference between the two deals is that everyone wants Deal ‘B’.  What deal do you want?

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin company.  We offer new ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins on our website, www.bozarthcoins.com at least two to three times per month and we constantly add new coins to our eBay Store, bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We are PCGS, NGC, and CAC authorized dealers and offer both free want list services and portfolio/collection consultations.  Because we travel over 200 days a year buying coins, we can consistently offer more NEAT rare coins than most other dealers.  Check us out. 

October 2011

Rare Coin Market Report-Penny Therapy-A Coin Story?

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

In this month’s Rare Coin Market Report, I would first like to tell a coin story.  The rare coin market is very healthy and robust currently despite the recent ‘corrections’ in the bullion market.  We just returned from the PCGS Las Vegas Trade and Grade Show where the dealers in attendance were  buying high grade coins quite aggressively.  I will get to the market news shortly.  If you aren’t interested in a ‘coin story’ from my childhood skip ahead for market news.  

In the early seventies my parents moved our family to their home town of Warrensburg, MO from Kansas City.  My dad had a new job in the finance business, after teaching special education for a couple of years in the K.C. school district.  My dad loved teaching.  He was working on his master’s degree and substitute teaching as well as driving a taxi at nights and on weekends to ‘make ends meet’.  On one of my dad’s substitute teaching jobs, he was given a class of seven junior high aged young men who had literally run eight different teachers out of their classroom.  ‘His boys’, as my dad referred to them, were all classified as ‘special education’ students at that time.

My dad was a ‘BIG’ guy.  He was a four year college letterman in football and played defensive ‘nose guard’ and tackle.  On one of his substitute teaching jobs in a ‘bad area’ of K.C. the high school principal at that school recommended my father to a colleague at the junior high in the same neighborhood.  The next week my father was ‘substitute’ teacher for a class of seven junior high boys.  Truthfully only one or two of the seven boys were ‘special needs’ students’.  Virtually all of them had discipline problems that had resulted in their regular classroom teachers ‘pigeon holing’ them into ‘special ed’ classrooms to ‘get rid’ of them.    

Let me explain some of the back story.  The substitute teacher the ‘boys’ had prior to my father had locked an eighth student, a young lady with lots of emotional issues including claustrophobia, in a closet for misbehaving in class.  When she had a ‘breakdown’ in the closet and the teacher refused to remove her, several of the boys stabbed the teacher with a pair of scissors and removed the girl from the closet.  The girl was put in a mental hospital over the incident.    

Incidentally the ‘boys’ refused to single out who stabbed the teacher and ALL took responsibility for the ‘stabbing’.  The teacher wasn’t seriously hurt, but couldn’t identify the individual because the ‘boys’ had put a jacket over his head when they stabbed him.  Because the teacher had really ‘over stepped’ and harmed the young lady and the ‘boys’ had stuck together, the incident was never reported to police.  The Principal didn’t know what to do and the ‘boys’ had been without a teacher for nearly a month at this point.    

The first thing my father did when he walked into the classroom was explain to the young men the ‘consequences’ of their actions.  On the chalk board, he put all of their names at the top of an individual column.  My father explained to the young men that each infraction that they committed would result in one ‘swat’ with the paddle-the ‘Consequences’.  Needless to say, the ‘boys’ were not happy and being ornery adolescents they attempted to ‘test’ my father.  Their tests failed. 

In addition, within a week, my father had either met with or talked with the parent of six of the individuals and the parents of the seventh.  Six of the seven were children in a single parent household.  He explained what he was doing and why and welcomed them to call him or come meet him at the school at any time.  The principal of the Junior High was concerned, but supported my father because of the desperate situation.  The other component to the ‘Consequences’ was the reward.  For each success the ‘boys’ were rewarded with extra recess time, ‘field trips’-mostly to the local park, or pennies.

One of the most popular rewards for the ‘boys’ were pennies for the Lincoln Penny sets my dad started for each young man.  Each Friday, my dad would bring three rolls (150 coins) of Lincoln cents to class.  He would randomly give each boy twenty pennies to sort through.  Each boy was encouraged to sort through the twenty pennies and pick out five for his set.  Each week it cost my dad thirty five cents.  My dad would take the extra pennies back to the bank and get three new rolls each week. 

Each boy learned about the dates and mintmarks of the coins themselves.  My dad used the coins to illustrate math problems.  He would also use the extra ten pennies from the three rolls as prizes for ciphering contests.  The boys absolutely loved it.  Although we were several years younger, my brother and I started collecting coins also.  We loved it too-who doesn’t like money, right?    

Within a couple of weeks after arriving at the Junior High School the situation really improved.  Yes, my father paddled every one of the ‘boys’ that first week-some quite a bit.  Yes, he still paddled some of them for weeks and even months later.  BUT, the discipline worked.  Tough love, whatever you want to call it-WORKED.  The discipline and consistency worked.  The ‘boys’ started responding.  Their behavior changed, their test scores improved, and at the end of the second month my father was offered a contract for the remainder of the school year.  Interestingly enough, five of the seven young men returned to normal classrooms before moving on to high school.     

My brother and I also had a small chalkboard in the kitchen of our house.  One column was for Vic and one column was for Jeff.  We ‘collected’ our swats, the consequences of our actions, on Friday evenings before we went out together as a family to do something fun.  Like my dad’s students, we were ornery also, but we realized the consequences of our actions pretty quickly.  We also recognized that we might not get a ‘reward’ for good actions, but we certainly wouldn’t get rewarded for ‘bad’ actions.    

My father was offered a contract to stay in the K.C. School district, but my parents quickly realized that they couldn’t afford to buy a home or send us to college on a teacher’s salary.  At the end of the second year of teaching my dad went back to work in the financial sector and took a job in finance and auditing.  Incidentally, I am not a parent.  Unfortunately, although I would have liked to have had children it just didn’t work out that way.  I do believe WE ALL need discipline.  As a boy, I NEEDED to be paddled.  I am not speaking for anyone else, but I know my father did not enjoy paddling his ‘boys’. 

Someone needed to step up and take responsibility.  Although I haven’t kept in touch with any of my dad’s ‘boys’, I have always been curious about whether any of the seven ‘young men’ continued to collect coins in their adult years.  I know I did!         

MARKET NEWS   

Recently the rare coin market has experienced a huge drop in both silver and gold bullion prices.  Silver has dropped from the low forties per ounce to just over $30 per ounce at this time.  Gold bullion prices have dropped from the mid $1800 per ounce range to just over $1600 at this time.  What’s going on? 

There are lots of ‘stories’ out there including manipulation of the commodities markets, strengthening of the U.S. dollar in comparison to other currencies, and very questionable trading practices by some of the world’s largest banks.  Although we do acquire some bullion for customers, rare coins are our business.  Rare coins, although significantly affected by bullion prices, are rare coins and generally ‘hold’ their value ‘better’ in volatile markets than strictly bullion related coins.  In the last couple of weeks rare coins have indeed held their value ‘better’ vs. bullion related items in the face of falling bullion prices.

As way of explanation let me give you a couple of examples of the changes in wholesale bid levels for Saint Gaudens $20 gold pieces.  At the ANA in Chicago in August the ‘spot’ gold price was roughly $1875 per ounce.  Currently the spot gold price is roughly $1625.  At the ANA in August Saints in MS65 were trading sight unseen in the $2350 to $2400 range.  Currently Saints in MS65 are trading for roughly $2225.  The ‘spot’ price of gold has dropped 13%.  Saints in MS65 have dropped a little over 9%. 

In last month’s RCMR I ‘went out on a limb’ and predicted the rare coin market would ‘explode’ sometime in the near future.  Economic factors, including significant jumps in the rate of inflation, are going to push bullion levels to new all time highs.  In the ‘grand scheme of things’ rare coins are relative bargains as compared to historical price levels.  Most rare coin prices have remained relatively ‘flat’ unless bullion related.  Indeed, better date gold coins and rare coins are still trading at/or near the same price levels they were trading at before the climb in bullion prices we have experienced in the last several years. 

I am seeing demand for rare coins climb exponentially against supply.  Although we have had the recent drop in bullion price levels, we are selling rare coins VERY quickly.  In my Rare Coin Road Warrior column last month, I talked about coins I refer to ‘already sold’ coins.  Not only are we getting more orders for these types of high demand rare coins, but more common generic items are also selling almost immediately upon listing them on our website.          

The ‘Trade and Grade’ show held by PCGS in Las Vegas last week was a good example of the increasing demand for high grade U.S. coins.  Our wholesale inventory is currently a little ‘picked over’.  I had six double row boxes of high grade PCGS and NGC slabs that I had pulled from my regular inventory to wholesale at the show.  Despite my lack of confidence in activity at the show we were very pleased with our dealer to dealer sales.  The strength of the wholesale activity in Las Vegas was another very positive indicator of the overall demand for high grade U.S. coins. 

Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin company specializing in high grade PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. coins.  We list coins for sale on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our eBay store bozarthnumismaticsinc.  Because of our extensive coin show and buying trip schedule we are able to list NEWPS-new purchases at least twice a month on our website.  We also add new listings to our eBay store on a weekly basis.  We offer free confidential want list services for those hard to find ‘already sold’ coins.  We also offer collection, portfolio, and grading evaluations.  Do you have coins you would like to sell or send for grading?  Please let us help you.  Thank you and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth.

September 2011

Rare Coin Market Report-The Market Now and Then

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

The Labor Day holiday weekend has passed, most young people are back to school, football season has started, and I feel the need to get back to work.  I love my work, but once the calendar rolls around to September, I get the feeling that I’ve been slacking?  Maybe it is the ‘summer is over’ feeling.  Maybe it is the ‘conditioning’ of years in school.  In any case, I really feel the need to bump up my already busy work schedule.  Of course, my wife Sherri thinks I’m nuts because we are always busy.

The coin business almost always follows the calendar.  Summer is for vacations, family, and fun.  Fall is about getting serious about your ‘work’ whether that work is school or your profession.  The coin business isn’t nearly as calendar driven as it once was.  Because of the internet and instant access to coin and bullion prices and the increased coin show schedule, the summer months are much busier for the coin business than in past years.  In fact, this summer will be remembered as one of the busiest we have encountered in the last thirty years. 

Normally summer months in the coin business are slower-not this year.  Today I’m writing about what I expect to happen this fall and winter.  The similarities I see between the coin market and overall economy today and the coin market and economy of the late seventies are quite interesting. 

The coin business is going to go crazy.  First I am going to lay the foundation for why business is going to go crazy.  Second, I am going to sight some interesting similarities to the ‘white hot’ coin market of the late seventies.

The bullion markets are the biggest factor driving the rare coin business today.  Gold topped $1900 an ounce again Sunday night of Labor Day weekend.  Silver has been holding very strongly in the low forties.  Many of my bullion dealer contacts have told me that buyers outnumber sellers at least 3 to 2.  The bullion market has ‘legs’! 

The Chicago ANA Show in August was a blockbuster.  As I wrote in my Rare Coin Road Warrior column late last month, this year’s ANA was the best ANA we have attended for quite a few years.  Attendance was excellent, the venue was more than acceptable, and the ANA itself did an exceptional job coordinating and balancing both the ‘wants’ of the collectors with the ‘needs’ of the dealers. 

The blockbuster ANA gives the coin business a ‘jump’ for the fall and winter season.  Indeed, the fall coin show schedule is ‘chock’ full of great shows from coast to coast.  There are more major shows this fall than we have ever had scheduled.  When you add the great fall coin show schedule to the strong bullion market you have a recipe for coin market frenzy.  In addition to the great Long Beach Show, Silver Dollar Show, and Whitman Baltimore Show this fall you now have the Whitman Philadelphia Coin Show and the new ANA Fall Show in Pittsburgh.   Don’t forget the Houston Money Show in December either.  Many consider the Houston Money Show in December to be a major show now and no doubt it is the biggest show during the month of December.

Why is the market going to go crazy’? 

Look at the history of the coin business and how the economic climate of past markets affected the business.  Bullion has driven the coin market before.  Look at the late seventies for example.  Jimmy Carter was our president.  The economy was in a shambles.  Inflation was running rampant.  Coincidentally, we currently have inflation also, but they call it something else today.  The bullion markets were heating up.  The Hunt brothers thought they could ‘corner’ the silver market.  The general public did not trust their government or their economic policies.  An election year was approaching.   Sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do ‘politics’ other than how it will affect the coin business itself, but currently both the president and congress have the lowest approval ratings on record.  Confidence in our economic future is at an all time low.  The bullion markets are at an all time high already and buyers still outnumber sellers.  An election year is approaching.  Nostradamus would love these similarities. 

What is going to push coin prices higher?  Bullion prices are the biggest factor.  In addition, supply and demand are completely out of balance.  Ask any rare coin dealer what his biggest concern is right now and he will answer ‘finding fresh material’.  Nice coins are in very short supply.  Dealers are trying to stock nice coins, but are finding it more difficult with each passing month.  Like the coin market of the late seventies, prices must rise. 

Granted, following the coin market frenzy of the late seventies we had one of the largest market corrections the coin business has ever experienced.  But this is where the similarities between now and the late seventies end.  Professionally graded rare coins from PCGS and NGC did not exist in 1979.  The amount of capital chasing the bullion and rare coin market in 1979 was great, but nothing in comparison to the amount of money coming into our market today.  In other words, the downside or risk isn’t nearly as significant when comparing 1979 to 2011.

Currently prices for rare coins HAVE NOT jumped considerably YET.  Yes, we have had some price increase in bullion related items, but rare coin prices have not followed suit.  Dealers who have been primarily focusing on the bullion trade for the last several years are quietly buying rare coins again.  On a personal note, we sold coins to dealers at the ANA who haven’t purchased rare coins from us in quite a few years.  When asked why they were buying rare coins again, the answer was basically the same-rare coin prices are too cheap.  Bullion has moved up in price, but I don’t know a better place to put my money. 

You should follow the ‘smart money’ also.  Buy rare high grade PCGS or NGC certified coins now before the price levels catch up with the market itself. 

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer specializing in high grade PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. rare coins.  We travel over 200 days a year buying rare coins for our customers.  We sell coins on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay store, bozarthnumismaticsinc.  If you are looking for a particular item please contact us by phone or email.  We offer free confidential want list services and more often than not can find what you are looking for.  We also write the monthly Rare Coin Road Warrior column about rare coins shows across the United States.  Check us out.

August 2011

The ANA-You Gotta Go!

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, I am excited about the upcoming American Numismatic Association Show in Chicago.  Although the January Florida United Numismatists Show is larger, the ANA World’s Fair of Money is ‘THE SHOW’ of the year.  I attended my first ANA Show in St. Louis in 1979.  One of my closest friends Bill Shamhart, who was a high school classmate and is now a highly respected numismatist and fellow dealer also attended with me.  The trip to the St. Louis ANA was a high school graduation present from our respective parents. 

I can still remember the awe I felt when I walked into the St. Louis Cervantes Convention Center bourse floor.  The show was impossibly huge.  As an 18 year old kid I had attended only one Central States Numismatic Society Show that was anywhere near the size of the ANA.  Wow!  Both Bill and I had been buying and selling coins through Junior and Senior High School.  We were already hooked on numismatics.  I had been carrying a small ‘coin wallet’ around with me since the age of 13 and had attended dozens of smaller shows, but I had never seen anything like this! 

As 18 year old red blooded young men we were especially impressed with the lovely young ladies hired from a local modeling agency to show auction lots for Steve Ivy’s ANA Rare Coin Auction.  Bill and I viewed every single lot in the auction at least once and tried to meet every one of the young ladies employed to show the lots.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I had hair back then.  At eighteen years of age, the ‘sky was the limit’ and I was at the show early every morning and left late every night.

The coin market was HOT in the late seventies.  PCGS did not exist.  The numerical grading scale wasn’t widely accepted yet.  Most coins with ‘nearly’ full detail were called Choice BU or Gem BU.  Unfortunately most of these Choice and Gem BU coins were not Choice or Gem BU coins.  There was a ‘free for all’ frenzied atmosphere to the bourse floor.  The bourse floor was mobbed and a slider BU coin with pretty toning was GEM BU.  Fortunately we have seen some major changes in the coin market since 1979. 

At the 1979 ANA I ‘walked’ boxes for another dealer for the first time.  Joe Flynn from Kansas City gave me a large box of BU Morgans to sell.  Although I didn’t sell a lot of coins for Joe, I did sell a few and was able to buy and sell a lot of coins of my own.  Some of my greatest memories are of the dealers I met there.  I saw Kevin Lipton ‘flip’ a coin to Jay Miller of New England Rare Coin Galleries and make a $1000 in just a couple of minutes.  I met David Bowers and Virg Marshall-the Penny Merchant.  I bought a couple of gorgeous commemorative halves in original boxes from John Pasciutti with RLH (Bobby Hughes) Enterprises.  These were guys I had been reading about in Coin World for years. 

A lot of years have passed since my first ANA Show.  I already knew I wanted to be a coin dealer in 1979.  I had a ‘greysheet’ and said I was a dealer, but truthfully I had NO IDEA how to support myself on a full time basis as a coin dealer.  Fortunately, the rare coin business is blessed with dozens of gentlemen and ladies who will gladly share their expertise with those who GENUINELY want to learn.  Many of these ‘mentors’ have freely shared their expertise with me over the last several decades.  The key to gaining that knowledge from these experts is to put the love of numismatics FIRST and the pursuit of profit SECOND.        

The American Numismatic Association Summer Extravaganza begins late this week in Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center.  This year’s ANA is really two shows.  The Professional Numismatists Guild and the ANA are sponsoring the PNG/ANA Pre-Show with dealer set-up Friday August 12th.  The PNG/ANA Pre-Show will be open to the public Saturday the 13th through Monday the 15th.  The ANA Show itself will have dealer set-up Tuesday the 16th and the public are admitted Wednesday the 17th through Saturday the 20th.  Although I encourage any and all to attend, you should be aware that the PNG/ANA pre-show will not have the various Mint, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and collector displays on exhibit.  The PNG Pre-Show is smaller and more dealer oriented. 

Sherri Bozarth, my wife and ‘the boss’ here at Bozarth Numismatics, and we will be attending both ‘shows’ for the duration.  Please come by our table #1155 and introduce yourself.  Let me know what you collect or have for sale or trade.  We will offer you a ‘cupcake’ and try to help you with your numismatic needs.  At Bozarth Numismatics we strive to be the dealer that lets you ‘Have your cake and eat it too’!  Best Regards, Vic Bozarth 

June 2011

Where have all the good coins gone?

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, I am writing this morning from the Long Beach Coin Show.  It is June 2nd and dealer set-up was yesterday afternoon and evening.  Where have all the good coins gone?  I’m not trying to be melodramatic.  The fact of the matter is that dealers are running around like ‘dogs chasing their tails’ looking for nice ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins. 

The June Long Beach Show starts slowly.  Those few dealers who are known to have ‘fresh material’ all had several dealers waiting at their tables for ‘FIRST SHOT’ when the show opened Wednesday afternoon.

Dealers have money to buy nice coins and can’t spend their money.  The bottom line is this:  Rare and ‘fresh to the market’ coins ARE NOT coming onto the market because prices are too low.  Dealers are paying over bid for nice coins IF THEY CAN FIND THEM.  Values must rise before more coins come onto the market.  A large number of dealers are taking ‘positions’ in selected coins.  Pretty coins are not available in any quantity.  IF you ‘beat the bushes’ you can find coins.  BUT… and this is a big BUT, there are a lot more ‘hunters’ out there and the ‘game’ are scarce. 

I have talked about the strong demand for Morgan and Peace Dollars.   Although generic common date prices levels have backed off nearly 20% since the end of April, better date dollars are rising in price.  Indeed there are some very large orders for ‘dated’ dollars out there.  Guess what?  There just aren’t that many available (at these price levels).  We too are feeling the pinch.  Rare date coins, if you can find them, are not available at ‘bid’ levels.  Where are we going from here? 

 The answer is UP!  Price levels have nowhere to go but up.  Over the last three years coin prices have been on a downward slide.  Yes, really nice fresh coins have sold for great money, but good solid coins that are never available in large quantities have been FLAT.  Bids for CAC coins especially are quite generous.  In fact, we can’t keep CAC coins in stock. 

Enough of the hype!  You get the picture.  The smart money in the rare coin market is buying aggressively.  A good customer asked me recently what he should buy?  My answer was to buy the nice coins that were available now.  Waiting for a particular coin may have been sound strategy over the last few years, but those days are gone.  Let me give you a couple of examples.  Don’t limit your buying to just the few coins (if you can find them) for your set.  Now is the time to branch out.  Have you been considering the addition of some rare singles to your collection?  Have you been considering starting another set of U.S. coins?  Now is the time. 

Generally speaking, the Summer months are somewhat tentative for the rare coin market.  We will not see tentative this Summer.  I fully expect demand and therefore price levels to rise through the Summer and indeed through the remainder of the year.  This week after the Long Beach Show we travel to the Sharonville, OH Show in a suburb of Cincinnati, OH.  Week after next is the Whitman Baltimore Coin Show.  We expect both shows to be very active.  Baltimore is always an excellent show, but the East Coast hasn’t seen a major show for three months (since the last Baltimore) and not only will there be ‘fresh’ coins at this show, there will be dealers and collectors actively pursuing them. 

My name is Vic Bozarth and I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior.  My wife Sherri and I attend nearly 40 coin shows each year.  We travel extensively to buy ‘fresh’ to the market rare coins for our customers.  We are always excited about meeting new people during our travels.  Come see us at a show in your area.  Our travels during the Summer Show season are as follows:

 Sharonville, OH

Baltimore, MD

Colorado Springs, CO

Summer FUN, Orlando, FL

Ontario, CA (buying only)

St. Louis, MO

PNG/ANA-pre-ANA Show, Chicago, IL

ANA Show, Chicago, IL

May 2011

Rare Coin Auctions, EBay, and the Games People Play, Part Two

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

Rare Coin Auctions allow millions of individuals the ability to buy quality coins from the comfort and anonymity of their homes. There are literally millions of coins auctioned each year. While the coins being auctioned are numerous the ‘bargains’ are few and far between. Good value exists in abundance, but bargains are few and far between. The free market forces for auctions mean that you as a buyer are competing against a possibly huge, albeit unknown, number of competitors. In other words, there are lots of people willing to pay just as much or more than you. Remember, there are no BARGAINS.

Auction prices realized are often reported in price guides and rare coin market analysis as evidence of how strong the current rare coin market is at that point in time. I have always found it interesting that the total number of coins sold in any given auction is NEVER reported. In other words, have you ever seen an article or news about a specific auction that reported how many of the total coins auctioned actually sold at or above their reserve bids? Auction houses might report ‘sell through’ percentages, but these numbers don’t take into account coins sold ‘back of bid’ because the consignor was convinced to not ‘reserve’ a coin. Coin auction houses don’t publish these numbers for good reason.

Great coins bring big money, but AVERAGE and LOW END coins DO NOT. In fact, the auction prices realized have created a two tier market. CAC coins and potential upgrade coins sell for over bid, but average or low end coins bring less than bid-IF THEY SELL AT ALL. The Coin Dealer Newsletter ‘Greysheet’ reports bids for sight-seen coin bids and transactions. Unfortunately the average and low end coins continue to drag the market down because they don’t even bring wholesale bid. Thousands of coins are sold each month at less than the perceived market because they aren’t SPECIAL. Thousands of coins don’t sell at all because the price bidders are willing to pay don’t meet the reserve bids at auction.

Auction houses often encourage consignors to put their coins up for auction at ‘no reserve’. Indeed, this is good for the auction house because all the lots will sell-FOR SOMETHING-if not market. In other words, they still get their percentage. The dirty little secret is the BUYBACK fee most major auction houses charge if a coin does not sell at or above the reserve bid. Buyback fees, which are most often 2% or more, are negotiated when a coin or collection is consigned. Average or low end coins are often reserved at 60 to 75% of their Greysheet bids because the consignor doesn’t want to give their coins away and they don’t want to pay the buyback fee. In addition, many auction houses penalize or reward a consignor depending on what total percentage of consigned coins actually sell. For example, if you sell 100% of your coins, you get more. If you sell 50% of your coins, you get less.

The argument the auction houses use when negotiating with a consignor is that ON AVERAGE the coins consigned will bring over GREYSHEET prices. Well gee, that is great except for the fact that the average coins have brought well back of the perceived wholesale price levels. Once again, these average coins are the majority of coins that are auctioned. If the majority of coins that are auctioned bring less than wholesale levels, why would anyone consign coins for auction? Why indeed?

Buying nice coins involves lots of work in terms of time, advertising, and/or travel expense. Because most people don’t have the time to search for coins, auctions are very successful. An individual can sit in front of their computer and look at thousands of coins being auctioned each and every week. The large auction houses sell thousands of coins every month. Yes, that is great in terms of selection and convenience. BUT, because it is convenient everybody can bid on what YOU are looking for. What a deal! Remember, there are no bargains.

Because PCGS and NGC coins have specific unique serial numbers for each coin, a coin that has sold at auction can easily be tracked. The fact that coins can be tracked by ‘unique’ number means you can research online whether a coin has appeared at auction in roughly the last fifteen years. The ability to track coins in this way, has become a great tool for determining current value of a coin you are trying to either buy or sell. Yes, you can also see what other coins of that date and grade have sold for. Frankly, a coin that has appeared at auction in the last several years is of little or no interest to me as a dealer. Why, you might ask? Frankly the coin is ‘queered’ to the market. A coin that has already been exposed, viewed by thousands of potential buyers, and sold on the open market IS NOT FRESH.

There are lots of problems with using auction prices realized to determine the value of a coin. For example, if a particular coin has been in an auction in the last ten years, why would you pay more for it than what it brought at auction, UNLESS….either market has changed or the coin just didn’t get the exposure it deserved? The overall quality of the coin is still the biggest factor in what the coin will bring at auction, but with the internet thousands of coins are sold from ‘photos or images’ which just can’t duplicate the actual physical viewing and grading of a coin.

Am I suggesting that you as a coin enthusiast not buy coins from auctions? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What I am suggesting is that the numbers only tell part of the story. Buying coins from auctions is not only very convenient, but the selection is huge. Sometimes a particular coin is only available via auction. What I am suggesting is that THERE ARE NO BARGAINS. You as a coin buyer must determine whether or not auctions work for you. What many coin buyers don’t realize is what it costs in terms of time and expense to buy a nice coin. What is your time worth? What does it cost you to attend a show in terms of time and travel expense? And, lastly will the quality of the coin you bid on match the photo you based your bid on?

April 2011

Auctions, eBay and the games people play, Part One.

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

In this month’s RCMR I am going to talk about rare coin auctions and the ‘games’ some individuals play to manipulate the system. This is a two part series in which I will discuss auction venues where rare coins can be purchased. In next month’s Rare Coin Market Report I will discuss some of the less obvious and insidious aspects of the coin auction game. This month I also want to discuss critical issues facing the rare coin business including counterfeits and taxation issues.

EBay has been a tremendous marketing success for thousands of products. EBay has also evolved into one of the largest market places for individuals to sell items to other individuals without physical stores. Virtual stores like eBay stores and websites have largely replaced the traditional hardcopy pricelists and coin listings in publications like Coin World and Numismatic News. The traditional coin auction houses, like Heritage, Stacks/Bowers, Goldberg, David Lawrence, and Teletrade still have the majority of the rare ‘power’ coins, but the volume of coins sold on eBay is absolutely incredible. Overall coin auctions allow many coin enthusiasts to purchase great coins at competitive prices from the comfort of their own homes or offices.

The coin business, like all businesses, is always evolving. Some of the most successful coin companies in the U.S. recognized the potential of the internet back in the nineties and have profited from it handsomely. EBay has also allowed many smaller (and larger) coin businesses to flourish because of the incredible amount of customers this huge market represents. As a coin dealer, I will admit, I dragged my feet before deciding to take the leap and try both eBay and a website. Frankly, I like the personal interaction between real people at coin shows. After all, that is why I write the Rare Coin Road Warrior and attend 40 coin shows a year.

The major coin auction houses run very ‘clean’ ships and in my opinion are above reproach, but….EBay isn’t a traditional auction house and answers to NO ONE. In fact, counterfeit and over graded and misrepresented coins are constantly being listed and sold on EBay. Let me give you an illustrative example. Company X lists hundreds of uncertified and ungraded items on EBay. Why do they list uncertified and non-professionally graded items? The answer is GREED, pure and simple. Greed on the part of the potential customer is most often the major factor that makes this fraud work. Greed on the part of the listing dealer, like dealer X, perpetrates the fraud. The customer believes they are getting a coin at a bargain price because the price for the grade the coin is advertised at is substantially below wholesale levels. THERE ARE NO BARGAINS.

I have always been amazed at the ability of people to con themselves. What is the old saying, ‘you can’t cheat an honest man’? The individual buying these raw coins at an advertised grade REALLY believes they are getting a bargain until…..you guessed it, they get a couple of other opinions. Most often they take their BARGAIN and try to sell it. You know what happens? They are told the coin doesn’t grade as ‘high’ as what they purchased it at, or worse, the coin is counterfeit or doctored. The return privilege that EBay offers and PayPal guarantees has lapsed. Dealer X feigns innocence. Another potential numismatist and coin buyer is soured to coins. Sound familiar?

In the last year, I have personally seen examples of this fraud on numerous occasions. Dealer X is running around coin shows buying coins like a madman, buying both slabs and raw coins. He is breaking the slab coins out of holders and listing them at a higher grade than what they had graded in the PCGS or NGC slab. He is also buying raw coins that are often cleaned or otherwise not eligible for a legitimate grade at PCGS or NGC. Although I have not personally witnessed counterfeit coins being purchased on EBay, I have heard that the Chinese counterfeits being listed on EBay are numerous and some are quite good for the counterfeit/reproductions they are. Counterfeit slabs are also being reported.

The laws are on the books to prosecute the perpetrators of fraud like I have mentioned. Counterfeits especially are the responsibility of the U.S. Secret Service, BUT and this is a huge BUT, they won’t even BOTHER to deal with coins because of the low face value that these coins represent. If you have a counterfeit $100 bill they might take your call. Call about a coin and you won’t get any attention whatsoever. They DO NOT CARE.

The FACT of this lack of concern brings me to my next subject in this month’s RCMR. The PNG and many of the major forces in the rare coin business are attempting to join forces to combat both fraud and unnecessary and possibly crippling taxation for our business. Just this week we heard that recent additional taxation efforts in Maryland have been tabled because of the lobbying efforts of Whitman publishing and others in our industry. Indeed, not only did we write letters ourselves, but we requested you join us in attempting to block this legislation. The threat of moving the Whitman Baltimore Coin Expo out of Maryland may have forced the Maryland legislature to REEVALUATE their position on the taxation issues proposed for their state. I believe they saw the writing on the wall. The obstacle for the coin industry is getting this ‘Writing on the Wall’ in the first place.

Industry Council for Tangible Assets, PNG, ANA, and many other numismatically concerned groups have long fought to head off additional taxation and legislation detrimental to the coin industry. Not only are we members of most of these major professional organizations, but we support wholeheartedly their efforts both on the financial and fraud concerns to our business. This week in Baltimore U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is attending a reception being held by the Gold and Silver Political Action Committee at the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday night March 31st. Lamar Smith is a U.S. Congressman from District 21 in Texas. Congressman Smith is a potentially powerful advocate for our business. Not only will we be attending the reception, but we will be contributing to the efforts of the group.

March 2011

The Cream ALWAYS Rises to the TOP!

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, We are already well into our third month of the year and the rare coin market is really cooking. Bullion prices are up, demand is up, bid levels are up, and sales are really climbing. Sounds good, right? Yes, I am pleased that prices are FINALLY starting to rise again, but ‘Where’s the BEEF’.

In the last several months the most common thought shared among dealers is ‘how much harder it is to buy nice coins THAN EVER BEFORE’. Let me ask again, where’s the BEEF?

As many of you know, we travel 200 days a year buying ‘fresh’ and interesting coins to fill our customer’s needs. We buy a lot of nice coins because we ‘beat the bushes’. I buy my coins the old fashioned way. I attend 35 shows a year, visit other dealers, as well as dozens of shops each month buying coins SIGHT SEEN. I don’t buy them on Certified Coin Exchange sight-unseen. I don’t buy them from photos on Ebay or the Internet. I buy them with my ‘glass’ in hand one coin at a time.

Yes, you can buy nice coins over the internet, BUT finding nice coins to buy for customers on a consistent basis means you have to put in the time looking for them. Realistically speaking, you as an individual don’t have the luxury of either the time or the connections I have cultivated as a dealer for decades. Buying nice coins is expensive too. I don’t mean expensive in regard to what the coin might cost. I am referring to the ‘cost’ of locating and buying the best coins.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I know what discerning collectors and other dealers are looking for. On virtually all my purchases, I have to pay ‘bid’ plus a percentage over to buy NICE coins. I am more than willing to pay bid plus for nice coins. In fact, I often pay multiples of bid for incredible eye appeal or especially scarce or rare items. On a recent buying trip I spent roughly $80,000 on approximately 100 coins. I paid over bid on 75% of these coins and I was happy to be able to HANDPICK these NICE coins. REMEMBER the cream always rises to the top.

Many individuals see bids in the Greysheet (Coin Dealer Newsletter) or the prices auction lots have realized in a recent auction and think they can buy NICE coins at these levels. For example, they see an example of a date they are looking for that sold at a major auction company for 80% of the Greysheet/Coin Dealer Newsletter bid. What a bargain! Maybe the coin was a bargain, but most often the coin was a low end example. If you are looking for bargains go for it, but remember you get what you pay for.

At the end of the day, you may have purchased a couple of nice coins, but on average you are going to get AVERAGE or even low end coins. Do average or low end coins bring premiums when they sell? NO, they will bring bargain prices when they are sold by you in the future. REMEMBER the cream always rises to the top!

If you are buying generic or bullion items, you SHOULD price shop. They are common and the margins should be smaller. After all many of the bullion items are still being made! Generic coins exist in such large quantities, they are, by their very nature easy to find. Generic coins should trade at a small premium.

High end scarce and rare date or grade rarity coins DO NOT trade at small premiums. Yes, you can sneak up on a good deal once in awhile. I am always hunting for treasures. What most people overlook is the treasure itself. They are so focused on the PRICE they cannot get past the ‘bargain hunter’ phase of numismatics. Coin dealers often refer to the great coins they buy as RIPS!

Don’t miss the focus of my report. RIPS are rare coins that are great values because of scarcity and great eye appeal FIRST and then cost as compared to bid levels SECOND. Don’t miss the ‘forest for the trees’. Let me give you an example. When I set up as a dealer at my first show with another high school classmate in 1976 at the age of fifteen, I was SO focused on bid. I had a Greysheet and now I was a dealer. I bought a few RIPS, but I also bought a lot of bargains. You know the ‘funny’ part about this story is that this classmate (who is one of my best friends) realized first that QUALITY always sells while PRICE may or may not sell. What was that I said about the cream always rising to the top?

At that age I had an epiphany. IF, and this is a big IF, I REALLY liked a coin, because of unusual scarcity or eye appeal and I had to pay too much as compared to ‘bid’ the coin still sold. Go figure? The coins I paid too much for because they were REALLY nice were always the coins other dealers wanted to look at first. Guess what? They sold first also and I almost always made money. Guess what happened with the bargains? I think you get my point. A RIP is a RIP, if and only if others agree that it is a RIP.

What I am trying to tell you as a numismatist is that finding nice coins is not easy. The lesson I have learned is somewhat counter intuitive. DON’T be afraid to pay a premium, within reason, for a REALLY nice or scarce coin. In the long run you will reap rewards, because THAT coin is the one everyone will want to buy. I have learned to politely tell individuals wanting to pay ‘back of bid’ or ‘bid’ for nice coins that I probably can’t help them. ‘Good Luck’, I tell them.

Am I running business away? Yes, in a sense, I am. I have learned that buying really nice coins is too hard to sell them too cheap. After all, I can’t replace them and most often I have paid more myself than they are willing to pay. REMEMBER THE CREAM ALWAYS RISES TO THE TOP!

February 2011

Greetings Rare Coin Enthusiast!

The Winter Long Beach Show has come and gone. We were really pleased with the overall attendance and the number of new dealers taking tables at this year’s February Long Beach. In fact, more dealers took tables at the show than we have seen in several years. In addition, dealers were actively trying to buy coins for inventory. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. We are well into 2011 and the rare coin market is starting to heat up in several areas. Although many type gold issues continue to trade at the smallest premiums over their ‘melt’ value we have witnessed in the last several decades, quite a few coins (that have been relatively flat for a couple of years) are quite active and highly sought after. Although many dealers commented on the lack of ‘fresh’ material we were able to buy a lot of nice coins. Many of these new purchases are listed on our website, bozarthcoins.com.

What is new in the rare coin business? There is a new rare coin trading network called Coinplex to compete with Collector’s Universe Certified Coin Exchange. The new America the Beautiful coins are starting to appear with more frequency. PCGS celebrated their 25th anniversary. Two of the oldest names in the rare coins business have merged. The new Stacks/Bowers Auction Company is gearing up for their first sale at the Whitman Baltimore Coin Show in late March. I also want to correct a mistake I made in my last Rare Coin Road Warrior. Lastly, I will list a couple of areas of the rare coin market that are ‘heating’ up.

There is a new trading market on the scene. Coinplex has 135 members already and continues to grow. Although there are hundreds of coins without bids, Collector’s Universe Certified Coin Exchange has never had ‘reasonable’ bids on ALL U.S. coins. In fact, two of the big reasons behind the new trading network are the proliferation of ‘lowball’ bids and higher sight-seen ‘fishing’ bids. Dealers are either placing ‘lowball’ bids trying to ‘rip’ product for too little or higher sight-seen bids hoping to ‘cherry pick’ the occasional breakout/upgrade while rejecting 90% of the graded coins sent at their bids. Both of these services have great features. As with the valuation guides for all coins, you have to be able to read between the lines.

PCGS was founded in 1986. Because of disagreements in ‘philosophy’ NGC sprouted up not long afterwards. To a certain extent there has been an East Coast/West Coast rivalry going on between the two for years. PCGS, located in Newport Beach, CA is obviously the choice of many in the West while NGC, whose headquarters was originally in NJ and has since moved to Florida, is the East Coast service. PCGS was first and has set some of the standards for the industry, but NGC has thrived because of some PCGS mistakes and a little arrogance with PCGS itself. Frankly, there were some pretty big egos and personalities involved also.

Grading is NOT an exact science. Grading is very subjective. A pretty coin with no ‘technical’ problems will usually grade at both services, but recently both PCGS and NGC have been grading more conservatively to bolster their overall product confidence. What we all need to remember is that both PCGS and NGC are BUSINESSES created to make money. The fundamental reasoning for creating PCGS and NGC was and is solid. The coin industry needed stricter standards. Over the last three decades I have seen numerous collections and portfolios of raw/ungraded supposed ‘investment’ grade coins that have technical problems (i.e. cleaning, wiping, artificial toning, putty, repairs, etc.) that remove them from the ‘gradeable’ category at either PCGS or NGC. In addition to the technical problems, many of these supposed investment grade coins were just OVERGRADED.

For the most part both PCGS and NGC have done an amazing job of standardizing grading. Because grading is not an exact science the ‘concensus’ grading method has ‘worked’ more often than not. Technical problems resulted in ‘no grades’ at both services. THERE IS NO QUESTION that the coin business has benefited from both PCGS and NGC because of stricter standards and improved marketability of both PCGS and NGC graded coins themselves.

The new America the Beautiful coins are being seen more frequently. Personally we ordered two sets and have been quite impressed. They are big and beautiful. I don’t recommend modern coinage for rare coin investment. UNLESS you are buying modern U.S. mint products for a small premium over MELT for bullion investment purposes, I believe they are nothing more than CREATED rarities. The U.S. mint will produce what it can sell and changes their ordering and production rules so frequently many dealers refuse to deal with them. The U.S. mint is, after all, a bureaucratic entity and follows no rules other than those they change often. The America the Beautiful five ounce coins are neat, but the Chinese have been producing products like this for years.

Two of the oldest and most respectable names in the rare coin auction business have merged recently. Both Stack’s and Bowers and Merena rare coin auction houses have been around for decades. They have handled virtually all U.S. rare coins and I have followed their auctions since the mid-seventies as a teenager. The auction business is very competitive. Personally, I think this is a smart move for both firms. I have long been an avid admirer of Q. David Bowers. He is the most prolific and knowledgeable rare coin author in the business. I am looking forward to attending their first auction in Baltimore in late March. The new president of the combined company is Chris Napolitano. Chris is not only a consummate numismatist, but also a smart business man with many years of experience in the coin business.

As many of you know, I also write a monthly column called ‘Rare Coin Road Warrior’. In last month’s article, I mistakenly wrote about the Monroeville Coin Show which is in a suburb of Pittsburgh. I mistakenly listed the show as being held in a suburb of Philadelphia. MY BAD. For several years I attended a Sunday Show in Montgomeryville, PA (Monroeville vs. Montgomeryville) which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Both shows are great, but I have been told that the Montgomeryville Show moved to Ft. Washington. In any case, I want to apologize for the error. Both shows are great.

What’s ‘HOT’ in rare coins right now. Morgan and Peace Dollars are moving. Common date (generic) coins have jumped over 20% in the last six months, but better dates haven’t really moved YET. If you can ‘read’ between the lines, better dates are a good deal right now and will more than likely follow the generics. Selected high quality classic Commemorative half dollars are starting to heat up. Commemoratives have been in the ‘crapper’ for several years and many dealers and collectors have taken notice by quietly buying high grade, MS64 and better, issues. CAC coins are selling very well, but darkly toned ugly coins ARE NOT. Indian Gold coins are hot also. With the publication of the new Mike Fuljenz book there has been increased interest in all of the three Indian Gold issues. Considering the bullion price of gold, there are still a lot of good buys in all three of these series. In previous RCMR on ‘Building Meaningful Sets of U.S. Coins’ I recommended Peace Dollars, Commemorative Halves, and $2.5 Indian Gold Coins. They are moving, but it isn’t too late!

Bozarth Numismatics Inc. is a full service rare coin company. We are SHOW dealers and do not have a ‘shop’ because of our extensive show travel. We travel over 200 days a year because it allows us to buy ‘fresh’, rare, and meaningful new coins virtually every week.

 

January 2011

 Happy New Year!

Coin Doctoring/PNG decision

The ‘COIN DOCTORING’ controversy is indeed the HOT topic currently. My name is Vic Bozarth and I am proud to be a PNG-Professional Numismatist Guild member. My wife Sherri and I both attended the PNG meeting prior to the opening of the Florida United Numismatists Show. Talking about grading is like talking about politics. Everyone has an opinion especially when ‘COIN DOCTORING’ is mentioned.

First, I will give you my opinion about ‘working’ on coins. Second, I will explain my opinion.

Original surfaces are KING! No questions asked! Indeed CAC should be applauded for their focus on originality. If at all possible a coin should be left in the original condition as it was found. That being said SOME coins NEED to have ‘work’ done on them. Some coins were worked on prior to your ownership. Some coins were stored improperly. No better example can be given than the damage that PVC can do to a coin. I regularly remove PVC from coins that have come to me in flips-raw and ungraded. I have dipped coins using jewel luster and I have used diluted household ammonia to remove dirt from the surface of a coin.

If a coin has something on the surface of the metal that could possibly damage the coin in the future, I will try to remove it. BUT, and here is the RUB, I have never moved, removed, or added metal, nor have I knowingly abrased or added any substance to the surface of a coin. Am I a coin doctor? Unfortunately, to some ANY ‘work’ on a coin is doctoring. The RUB so to speak, is the DEFINITION!

So what is ‘Coin Doctoring’? The problem is in the definition. Grading and the detection of coin doctoring are always evolving. Grading standards have changed and coins that the grading services would once ‘slab’ are now sent back ‘no grade’. Overall, tight grading standards are good for everyone. The product integrity is everything. Both PCGS and NGC have spent a lot of money both promoting their ‘product’ and being vigilant in trying to prevent ‘coin doctoring’. Overall, I think they have done a good job of confronting the issue, but ….what is the definition of ‘Coin Doctoring’?

The DEFINITION of the problem is the PROBLEM. After countless hours of trying to come up with a definition that the PNG board could take to the membership for approval, all that was concluded was that PNG cannot define ‘Coin Doctoring’ for the grading services. Indeed, aren’t the grading services responsible for setting the standards that coins in their holders are supposed to meet?

There are many reasons for this controversy, but the primary issue is the DEFINITION of coin doctoring. The PNG Code of Ethics addresses the ‘Doctoring’ issue in point seven of their seventeen membership standards. I have reprinted the pertinent point below:

PNG Code of Ethics, Number Seven: To refrain from knowingly dealing in counterfeit, altered, repaired or “doctored” numismatic items without fully disclosing their status to my customers. Coin doctoring is the action of a person, or the enabling of another, to alter a coin’s surface or appearance, usually to diminish or conceal defects, and thereby represent the condition or value of a coin as being superior to its actual condition or value. Among the practices defined as doctoring are effacing hairlines by polishing or manipulating the surfaces of proof coins, appleing substances to the surface of coins to hide marks and defects, hiding marks or otherwise changing the appearance of a coin by adding toning, adding chemicals or otherwise manipulating the surfaces to create “cameo” frost on the devices of proof coins, and making a coin appear more fully struck by re-engraving portions of the devices, such as re-engraving bands on the reverse of a Mercury Dime or adding head of other struck portions of a coin to make it appear to be from a mint date or type other than that of origin, and altering business strike coins to make them resemble proof issues are also examples of coin doctoring. This definition is not intended to be all-inclusive, but only illustrative of forms of coin doctoring.

The majority of PNG members understand the problem. Having the PNG define ‘Coin Doctoring’ for the hobby is like the ‘tail wagging the dog’. The PNG already has addressed the ‘coin doctoring’ issue in their Code of Ethics and I would suggest that the majority understood that voting for a CHANGE that was NOT PROPERLY DEFINED wasn’t making progress. In fact, a proposed change in bylaws would put PNG in a position of having to enforce a policy it can neither agree to a definition on, not ultimately enforce. Recently at the PNG meeting in Tampa before the Florida United Numismatists Show, the PNG approved by a resounding majority the KEEP their original Code of Ethics in regard to ‘Coin Doctoring’.

WHY? In some recent online comments I have seen PNG vilified for their decision. How could they have voted otherwise? The proposal of changes in our Code of Ethics was FLAWED from the beginning. How can you enforce a policy you cannot define nor ultimately enforce?

What do you as a coin enthusiast do about coin doctoring? The only answer is continuous education. Personally I buy thousands of coins each year. I have a ‘body bag’ box in my safe. That box is for coins that I could not get back into holders with PCGS or NGC. Guess what? I missed something on virtually every one of these coins. I missed a ‘wipe’ from a jeweler’s cloth decades before. I missed a filed rim on a gold coin. As I stated earlier, the grading services are getting better at detecting ‘doctored’ coins. The most important grading lessons I have learned have been through coins I lost money on-HA!

If you buy lots of coins you are probably going to buy a DOG. I buy a lot of coins so I get some DOGS. My recommendation is to buy only PCGS and NGC coins with eye appeal. CAC approved coins are highly desirable and most often exhibit both a high eye appeal and originality. Watch out for ‘bargains’. A raw coin that ‘should’ grade is not graded yet. Darkly toned coins just don’t sell well. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more for a real ‘Cherry’! Generally speaking, coins at the dealer ‘bid’ levels probably aren’t going to be PQ-premium quality for the grade.

What else is going on in the U.S. rare coin market? The Florida United Numismatists Show was as big as ever. The F.U.N. Show started slowly. Many dealers believed the three percent gold bullion price drop on Tuesday before the show put the ‘damper’ on dealer’s expectations. Because of the holiday many F.U.N. Shows start slowly, but this year’s show stayed FLAT. Attendance was good and the facility was adequate, but the public are still being very tentative with their purchases. Dealer business was off too. Many dealers commented that the show was mediocre or poor, although I heard several good reports also. In most cases, the difference between having a ‘good’ show and ‘poor’ show comes down to having the nice coins. We were able to both buy and sell a lot of nice coins and brought home 3 boxes of new purchases.

December 2010

What should I collect? Tips for building a meaningful set of U.S. Coins. Part Two.

During the holiday season I often reflect on the many blessings I have in my life. One of those blessings is the joy I receive from handling and looking at rare coins. In fact, I love my job. I get to look at coins virtually every day as a coin dealer. I enjoy looking at most coins, but some coins are better than others. The coins I really get a ‘charge’ out of handling usually have a couple of factors that make them ‘special’.

What makes a coin ‘special’? Scarcity or outright rarity can make a coin special because you don’t often see them. Incredible eye appeal is always a big factor in making a coin special. Indeed, eye appeal can make a relatively common coin ‘special’. A strong or full strike, glowing luster, originality, and especially a high state of preservation (grade) are all factors that can make a coin ‘special’. When buying coins, I am always looking at the grade, but these other factors (strike, eye appeal, luster, and originality) all contribute to whether or not I find the coin ‘speciaI’ and write the check.

In last month’s RCMR-Rare Coin Market Report I discussed three sets of U.S. Coins that are always in demand. This month I am going to discuss three additional sets that are loved by collectors. First let me explain the difference between collecting a set of coins by DATE versus collecting a set of coins by TYPE.

In most cases, a date set of coins is every date and mint of a particular denomination and design of U.S. coin. For example, last month I explained DATE collections of a short set of Walking Liberty Half Dollars (from 1941 to 1947), Peace Dollars (from 1921 to 1935), and $2.5 Indian Gold coins (from 1908 to 1929). All three of these sets contain all the dates and mints of their particulate design type of that denomination.

There are a few variations with some DATE sets. Often times a collector will collect a single coin of each year of coins for a particular design type of coins. Budget and availability often contribute to a collector starting with a single coin of each year versus all the different mint examples of each date. I have often seen a Year DATE set of Morgan Dollars assembled. In other words, the collector collects one coin from each year that Morgan Dollars were made, which would include one coin from 1878, 1879, 1880 etcetera through 1904 and including a coin from the last year of issue in 1921.

A TYPE coin collection is different from a DATE coin collection, because the collector is trying to collect ONE coin of each design type for a particular area of U.S. Coins. For example, the classic U.S. Commemorative Coins were produced from 1892 through 1954. There are 144 different issues in the complete DATE set. This includes ALL the different mint issues from the multiple mint issues like Arkansas, Boone, Columbia, SC, and Oregon Halves among others. Most often classic U.S. Commemoratives are collected by design TYPE. This collection contains 50 different design types so a collector has one example of the Arkansas, Boone, and Oregon halves. Not only is this easier to complete, but collecting by type is more affordable.

One of the neat things about collecting coins by ‘type’ is that the collection can always be expanded to include more or all the dates within the set depending on your preference or budget. For example, I am currently expanding an eleven piece type gold set for a customer to include some of the No Motto issues as well as some of the earlier issues. This particular customer liked these coins so much he decided to keep going!

This month I am going to discuss the following desirable sets of U.S. Coins:

Two Cent pieces in Mintstate: 1864 through 1872, 10 coins total

All years plus the 1864 Small Motto variety.

Classic Commemorative type set: 1892 through 1954, 50 coins total

One of each of the 50 different design types, Including 48 different Commemorative 50C designs and the 1893 Isabella 25C and the 1900 Lafayette Dollar.

Gold Type Set-11 piece design type set:

One of each of the three different $1 Gold design types: Type One 1849 to 1854, Type Two 1854 to 1856, Type Three 1856 to 1889.

One of each $2.5 Liberty Head and $2.5 Indian designs.

One of each $5 Liberty Head and $5 Indian designs.

One of each $10 Liberty Head and $10 Indian designs.

One of each $20 Liberty Head and $20 Saint Gaudens designs.

The Two Cent piece was produced between 1864 and 1872 for circulation strikes. You can complete this set in most grades up to MS65RD although the Red specimens can become quite a challenge. Depending on your budget, this is a desirable set in even circulated grades, although a Uncirculated mint state set should be your goal. Look for spot free coins with good luster. Nice full Red specimens are difficult to find and the pricing guides are often inaccurate on higher grade examples in both Red/Brown and full Red. Both the 1864 Small Motto and the 1872 are considered keys to the set, but virtually all the dates are scarce, except for the more common 1864 Large Motto and 1865 issues. On a personal basis I have put together two sets of these over the years and did very well on both sets when I sold them.

Classis Commemoratives are incredibly cool. Each design tells a different story. Classic Commemoratives should be assembled in uncirculated Mint State condition. These were not meant to be circulated, although many were. Your goal for each coin should be a grade of MS64 or better. Look for coins with eye appeal. Whether your personal preference is blazing luster or lovely toning, there are coins out there in virtually all the different designs that will fit handsomely in your set. If you are contemplating a pretty toned set be prepared to pay a premium for pretty coins because they are very highly sought after.

Especially with rising gold prices, the eleven piece Type Gold Set is a great collector/investor play. Buying rare gold coins allows you to participate in both the bullion market and the rare coin market at the same time. Although all the coins in this set are desirable in all grades (for their bullion value in lower grades), I would recommend you concentrate on the highest grade you can find within your budget. I am currently assembling several sets of Type Gold coins for customers. These are always highly desirable. Many coins in this set are trading at a smaller premium over their bullion ‘melt’ value than we have seen since the early seventies.

Bozarth Numismatics would love to help you build a meaningful set of U.S. Coins. Not only will we actively look for the particular coins you need for your set, but we will call or email you first when an item becomes available. This ‘want list’ service carries no obligation and you always have a full return privilege with any item you order with BNI.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc and our website bozarthcoins.com stock and list hundreds of PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. Coins. We are constantly traveling to buy ‘fresh’ coins for our customers. Whether you are looking for one particular issue or need guidance in putting together a ‘meaningful set of U.S. Coins’ we can help you.

November 2010

What Should I Collect? Tips for Building a Meaningful Set of U.S. Coins. Part One.

I am often asked what I collect. I have collected things since my earliest days. I often tell people that ‘you either have the collecting bug-or you don’t’. I certainly have the bug. As a child I collected baseball cards, stamps, comic books, rocks and Indian artifacts. I still have quite a few of these items I just mentioned, but none of these items give me the pleasure I get looking at a beautiful coin. You know what I am talking about!

When I was seven or eight a neighbor moved and left a garage full of racing magazines at the curb. The magazines were musty and mildewed, but I filled my wagon with several loads. At that age, how could a boy resist free hot rod magazines? Wow, I was even able to ‘cherry pick’ the best magazines out of the boxes set out for the trash man.

Fortunately, we had a small shed in our backyard. This was the time of the ‘Snake’ and ‘Mongoose’ drag racing rivalry. I had dozens of magazines! My mom wasn’t thrilled that her garden shed was overflowing with boxes of mildewed magazines. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before my mom demanded that these ‘really cool’ magazines be put back out for the trash man in front of our house.

My father collected coins. Although he isn’t with us anymore, I still have his Lincoln Cent and Mercury Dime collections. He had some really cool stuff. My dad’s sets aren’t anything really special, but they are priceless to me. My father gave me a gift. He inspired a love and fascination for coins that still burns within me today.

I wanted some coins of my own. When I was eight I started accumulating coins. I didn’t have any Whitman coin folders let alone any direction, but I loved looking at them, handling them, and researching them. Within a couple of months I had a pretty good sized cigar box full of ‘stuff’. There wasn’t anything special about my ‘stuff’, but I was learning. I was learning what I liked and what I wanted to collect. I was learning what coins were meaningful and what coins fell into the ‘stuff’ category.

Fast forward forty plus years and I am still collecting. I have some nice slabbed U.S. coins as well as a raw Buffalo Nickel set I started in junior high school. On a professional basis I have handled or seen most of the coins listed in The Guidebook of U.S. Coins which most of us commonly refer to as the Redbook. Bozarth Numismatics carries an extensive inventory of PCGS and NGC graded U.S. coins and we list quite a few of them on our website, bozarthcoins.com. I am a member of Professional Numismatists Guild as well as most major numismatic organizations. I also write a column each month titled Rare Coin Road Warrior. I am the Rare Coin Road Warrior. We travel over 200 days a year to buy nice coins. We buy and sell thousands of U.S. coins every year.

Our tastes are always evolving, but many people like me still get a charge out of a low end circulated coin that sparked that collecting desire during childhood. For me it was Indian Cents and Buffalo Nickels. Although I specialize in high grade U.S. coins, a bag full of circulated Indians or Buffalos can still catch my eye. The difference between then and now is that not only do I have the choice about what I want to collect, but also I can afford to collect nicer coins. Desirability is in the eye of the beholder, but nice coins are naturally more desirable. A full Red Indian Cent is breathtaking. A lustrous and fully struck BU Buffalo Nickel is truly a piece of art. Ultimately it all comes down to what floats your boat, but if you want something meaningful you have to be discerning about what you buy and decide to collect.

Putting together a meaningful set of U.S. coins should be fun and rewarding. The amount you spend on a set certainly has a tremendous impact on what you can collect, although I have seen some really cool sets put together over the years without breaking the bank. In this month’s RCMR, I am going to list several sets than can be put together for a reasonable amount of money depending on the grade. Part one of my series on ‘desirable sets’ will focus on three sets with a modest number of coins. These sets are perfect for those collectors that don’t yet have the patience for a bigger project. The three sets I want to recommend to you today include:

Walking Liberty Half Short Set 1941-47

Peace Dollars 1921-35

$2.50 Indian Gold 1908-1929

I have started with these three sets because they have several factors in common. This first is that all three sets can be completed. All three sets have between 15 and 24 total coins. The second factor is affordability. Depending on the grade you can put together all three sets on a modest budget over time. The third factor is desirability. People love Walkers because they are one of the most gorgeous U.S coins ever produced. People love Peace Dollars because they are cartwheels (dollars) and display an art deco design that is so unusual today. People love $2.50 Indians because they are gold and they are one of only two series produced with the encused design. The coins in these three sets are always in demand because people love them.

The Walking Liberty Half Dollar Short set comprises coins from 1941 through 1947 with a total of 20 coins. There are Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mint issues for all years except 1947 when halves were not produced at San Francisco. The set is very affordable in MS64, affordable in MS65, but becomes more difficult in MS66. MS67 sets are very expensive with a couple of coins that bring over five figures. I recommend the set in MS64 through MS66 depending on your budget.

Peace Dollars were made from 1921 through 1935 sporadically at all three mints. The total number of coins in the set is 24. Peace Dollars are affordable in MS63 and MS64, but are very expensive in MS65 and MS66. Putting together a well struck and brilliant set of Peace Dollars in any grade is a challenge, but they are available if you are willing to put in the time looking for them. I recommend the set in MS64 and MS65 depending on your budget although I have seen some really nice MS63 sets.

The $2.50 Indian Quarter Eagle Gold set is one of my personal favorites. Not only are these coins 90% gold, but the total set comprises only 15 pieces. You can complete the set for a modest amount of money in MS62 and under, but the 1911-D issue is several thousand dollars in even circulated condition. MS63, MS64, and MS65 sets are significantly more expensive and challenging, but you can always upgrade later.

If you are interested in putting together a meaningful set of U.S. coins please contact me through our contact page on our website or email me at [email protected].

October 2010

What’s It Worth? How dealers determine the value of a Rare Coin.

How are rare coin prices determined? Often the question dealers will ask is: “I know what Greysheet (Coin Dealer Newsletter bid) is, ut what can I ‘really’ get for it?” In this month’s Rare Coin Market Report, I will explain how I determine the value of an individual coin. Most often I will use a variety of different pricing sources to determine the value of a coin. The most utilized source of rare coin pricing information among dealers are the variety of Coin Dealer Newsletter publications including Greysheet, Bluesheet, Monthly Summary, and the Quarterly Supplements. Dealers also use CCE, which is the Certified Coin Exchange. Coin World Trends, Collectors Universe prices, Redbook, and Coin Prices are also utilized. In the last several years auction prices realized have become one of the most useful and often misunderstood sources of pricing information. Let me explain a little bit about all of these different sources before I explain how I use them.

CDN’s multiple publications include the Greysheet, Bluesheet, Monthly Summary, and Quarterly price sheets. The Greysheet and Bluesheet are weekly publications and list many of the most frequently traded U.S. rare coins, BUT the values they list vary significantly. Basically Greysheet lists sight seen bids for attractive coins. Bluesheet lists sight unseen bids for coins that might not be that attractive although they are graded correctly. Because I am looking for attractive coins, I often have to pay Greysheet bid or more for an attractive coin. If someone offers me a coin I don’t particularly like I am going to check the ‘bid’ on Bluesheet to see what the ‘basal’ value really is. Depending on the particular coin the difference between the Greysheet and Bluesheet can vary as much as 70%. Yes, 70%!

CDN Monthly Summary is published each month and includes more of the frequently traded U.S. rare coins by date and grade including the early twentieth century gold series and most of the classic twentieth century collector series. One of the three different CDN Quarterly issues come out every month and the three include all the other U.S. rare coin series by date. The Quarterly One issue contains half cents through quarters. The Quarterly Two contains halves through $3 gold coins. The Quarterly Three contains prices for $5 Liberty through $20 Liberty Gold Coins. All prices for the Monthly Summary and Quarterly price sheets are for sight seen coins. There is also a supplement included with each month’s Quarterly Supplement that has prices for Proof coins not listed in the Quarterly Supplements.

Certified Coin Exchange is a dealer to dealer network owned by Collectors Universe/PCGS. Dealers pay a monthly service charge to actively bid or access the bidding information on this system. The bids are ‘live’ during the main business hours, roughly 11 to 4, Monday through Friday depending on what time zone you are in. These live bids are either S, sight seen or U, sight unseen. CCE also includes a couple of other marketing areas as well as the newer variation of the old dealer ‘teletype’ network. Much of the information for CDN/Coin Dealer Newsletter bids comes directly from CCE. S-Sight seen bids are for coins that can be returned if the buying dealer feels they aren’t nice for the grade. U-Sight-unseen bids are for anything in the proper grade in the designated holders with no return privilege. Bids for PCGS and NGC coins are predominate although there are bids for ICG and ANACS coins.

Coin World Trends, Coin Universe prices, and Coin Values are all ‘retail’ pricing guides. Although the prices listed are GENERALLY what one would expect to pay for a NICE collector coin, I as a dealer often pay more than these supposed ‘retail’ prices for especially scarce or elusive coins. Many of the more modern items are listed, but the values are quite subjective. Information updates are often neglected in these price sources. Many times, especially in rising or falling markets, the prices are just wrong. The Redbook or Guide to United States Coins is a fantastic source of information, BUT it is published ONCE a year and the values are geared towards the casual collector.

The last and most misunderstood source of pricing information are the ‘Auction Prices Realized’. The biggest U.S. rare coin auction houses sell thousands of coins each year at public auction. These prices most often include a 15% buyer’s fee. The information is incredibly valuable, but misinterpretation is really a problem. For a fee, you can access APR information on the PCGS website. PCGS compiles and lists coins by date and grade and has APR numbers for coins going back roughly fifteen years. Heritage Auctions have sold the most certified coins at auction and therefore their database is the largest individual auction company source. I use both the PCGS APR listings and the Heritage APR listings especially when determining an infrequently traded coin’s value.

Are you confused yet? You should be-HA! Many full time dealers don’t really understand the nuances that come with determining a coin value. If they can buy it at Bluesheet-sight unseen bid-they feel ‘safe’ because they haven’t paid any premium over the basal value. If they are only willing to pay Bluesheet numbers they are invariably going to get a high percentage of ‘ugly’ sight unseen coins. The problem with buying bargain basement material always comes down to this: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

To illustrate how I determine the value of a coin I am going to give you two examples. The first is for a frequently traded coin that exists in relatively large quantities, but has a huge demand. The second coin I am going to use as an example is a rare coin that might only come on the market once or twice every couple of years. Determining the value of the first coin is easy. On the second coin I will utilize virtually all the pricing sources I have mentioned previously. From that data, I will then determine both a price that I am willing to pay for that coin as well as a price I feel is fair to my customer.

Coin Number One: 1885CC Morgan Dollar MS65 PCGS. Although the 1885CC Morgan Dollar in MS65 is roughly a $1000 coin in MS65, it isn’t particularly rare but it is scarce and it has a huge demand. Not only do people love Morgans, but Carson City Morgans sell like ‘hotcakes’. Nice CC Morgans are out there, but the difference between an average coin and sight unseen coin is easily 20%. Let’s look at the bids and then I will make some observations.

Coin One:

1885CC Morgan Dollar MS65 PCGS. Mintage: 228,000. PCGS/NGC total population MS65: 5366

G/S $900

B/S $830

CCE Sight $890

CCE Sight-unseen $830

C/W Trends $1250

Coin Universe $1200

The prices vary as much as 33%. A pretty sight seen coin will cost me between $875 and a $950 to purchase in the wholesale market. To make a profit, I will charge between $1025 and $1100 for a NICE coin. If you want a sight unseen coin, I can probably sell you one for about $925 or less.

Don’t make the bargain hunter mistake. Yes, you can save $100 to $175 buying a sight unseen coin, but someday you are going to want to SELL that sight unseen coin. Sight unseen coins don’t magically become nicer sight seen coins. Both dealers and collectors are looking for NICE coins with eye appeal. Don’t settle for average. You will PAY for it in the long run.

Coin Two

1866 $3 Gold AU58 PCGS. Mintage: 4000. PCGS/NGC total population for AU58: 77.

Greysheet Bid (for a common $3 Gold type coin): $1475

Greysheet Quarterly Bid (for the date): $2575

Bluesheet Bid: N/A

Coin World Trends: AU55: $2500 MS60: 4000

Coin Universe price: $3700

Auction Prices Realized (last two years): $2875, 3450, 3450-N, 3910-N, 3565, 3450.

The prices listed vary significantly especially between the Greysheet ‘date’ bid and the Greysheet ‘type’ bid. The ‘type’ or common bid price is for the most common date in the series while the ‘dated’ CDN Quarterly bid reflects the price for a coin with a tiny original mintage with true scarcity. The ‘type’ bid does provide a basal value, but for this illustration is not pertinent. Both Coin World Trends and Coin Universe prices are supposed ‘retail’ prices for the date, but for a low population coin with a mintage of only 4000 they are actually a little low. The Auction Prices Realized are all over the place. How do I determine the value?

After looking at the ‘bids’ for the date I refer to the APR-Auction Prices Realized. First I see how many have sold at auction in the last several years. If the prices realized fall into a tight range, my job is easier. If several have sold for roughly the same price and this price range fall between the ‘dated CDN Quarterly bid and the Coin World Trends or Coin Universe prices, then there is a good chance that the coin is worth roughly what they have sold for at auction. Basically an ugly coin will be worth less and a pretty coin will be worth more.

If the prices realized have both a wide range and don’t fall between the CDN Quarterly bid price and Trends Coin Universe prices, then the price determination becomes more difficult. Several questions should be asked that may or may not be answerable. First, did one or two examples fall significantly out of the price range? Second, did several sell during the same time period or in the same auction? Lots of factors drive the bids in an auction, but the biggest factor is whether the buyer paid a premium because they thought the coin would grade higher. Second, if several coins are sold in the same auction that possibly came out of a little hoard or collection, an ugly coin could bring significantly less. In addition, several examples of the same scarce coin coming on the market at the same time can depress the price realized.

Here is what I see when I examine the Auction Prices Realized. The $3910 was an exceptionally nice coin or a potential breakout. The $2875 coin was an ‘ugly’ example. The other four prices all fall within a tight range. CDN Quarterly bid is $2575. Collectors Universe price is $3700. Coin World Trends is somewhere between $2500 and $4000. The four coins in the mid price range are probably attractive coins for the grade. An attractive example is worth somewhere between $2700 and $3100 wholesale and, if priced fairly should bring $3400 to $3800 for an attractive coin.

Remember ‘bids’ are just numbers on paper or a computer screen. This is a coin I just purchased recently. I paid $2800 and ‘flipped’ it to another dealer for $3000. Both myself and another dealer were willing to pay more than CDN Quarterly bid ($2575) for this coin.

For this example the 15% buyer’s premium has to be taken into consideration also. Many folks don’t understand how this 15% or ‘juice’ affects the value of a coin. Often times this 15% is split between the auction house and the consignor. Often times a dealer consigning a coin to auction will actually get between 1.05 to 1.08 of the 1.15 that includes the hammer price and the 15% buyers fee. In other words, the consignor is actually getting a little more than the ‘hammer’ price. The auction house is willing to give up part of their 15% to secure nicer consignments.

Where does CAC fall into the mix? CAC was founded in 2007 to ‘sticker’ coins that met their requirements for both nice eye appeal and correct technical grade. Basically, they are grading the graders. CAC coins bring more money. Frankly, I feel they should. CAC has done an excellent job of ‘stickering’ coins that are not only nice for the grade, but totally original. CAC coins often bring between 5% and 50% more than current bid levels on a wholesale basis depending on the particular issue.

The information I have provided today is very subjective. A nice coin will generally bring more whereas an ugly or darkly toned coin will bring less. There are dozens of additional considerations to determining the value of a coin. My goal with this article has been to provide you the consumer with an insider look at how a dealer values a coin.

Comments and questions are always appreciated. My methodology isn’t ‘rocket’ science, but these procedures have served me well over the last couple of decades. When pricing a coin, the quality of the coin itself should be paramount. I often pay ‘WAY OVER’ bid levels for an exceptional coin. Don’t be afraid to pay extra for an exceptional coin. Most often those are the coins I sell first!

September 2010

As I write this on Labor Day 2010, I can’t help but reflect on the trends I have seen in the coin business over the last 25 years. Generally speaking the coin business during the Summer months, June through August, is flat. Of course, the ANA Show highlights the Summer show schedule, but other than the marathon it has become, the other shows are somewhat sparsely attended and well ‘flat’. With only a couple of exceptions, the Summer doldrums have lived up to their name. People are on vacation, taking time off, and hopefully spending some time with family and friends. Thank goodness Summer is over. Let’s do some business.

Business picks up during the Fall and early Winter months. Folks are done with their vacations, the weather is forcing them inside, and the coin market recognizes this most years and gets more active. We are already starting to see this trend in the bullion markets.

The two big questions you should focus on are: Where is the business going this Fall? How can you best take advantage of the market as it stands right now?

Gold and Silver bullion prices are moving up. While we specialize in rare high grade U.S. coins, we recognize and believe that bullion prices will continue to rise. How can you take advantage of this trend. U.S. gold coins are a great way to both hold and invest in bullion and take advantage of the low premiums that they currently carry in relation to their historic price levels. Let me illustrate this with an example.

During the last couple of months of 2009, gold bullion price levels bounced around $1200 per ounce. The ‘blue’ chip U.S. gold type coins that are most bullion sensitive, $10 and $20 gold coins, were extremely active. The market peaked in late 2009 and to illustrate this I have listed wholesale price levels for actively traded gold coins then vs. now. Note the difference in the price of gold itself.

2009 $1195/ounce 2010 $1250/ounce

$10 Liberty Gold MS63: $1500 $1000

MS64: $2400 $1600

$10 Indian Gold MS63: $1600 $1040

MS64: $2400 $1650

$20 Liberty Gold MS63: $2600 $1800

MS64: $3300 $2250

$20 Saint Gold MS64: $1900 $1650

MS65: $2600 $2010

What I am trying to illustrate is how ‘demand’ can really affect the wholesale price levels of coins, especially gold. During late 2009 there were some major institutional orders for these type of coins. This pushed demand/prices up and we sold into this peak of the market. Currently U.S. type gold coins are trading for significantly less yet the price for gold bullion is nearly $1250 per ounce. Do you see the disparity?

How do you take advantage of this disparity? What do I recommend?

I recommend you buy high grade U.S. gold coins, because U.S. Gold coins are a great way to both invest in gold bullion and rare coins. How can you take advantage of this great double play?

Not only have the ‘blue’ chip U.S. type gold coins come down in price, but many better date gold coins have also dropped in price. Prices for all denominations of U.S. gold coins have dropped in relation to their late 2009 price levels.

You can take advantage of this drop in price. Dealers have seen this price disparity many times. What do dealers do? They buy SELECTED high quality common date U.S. type gold coins and ESPECIALLY better date U.S. gold coins that don’t carry a HUGE premium over the more common date type gold coins. Personally I put back quite a few better date $20 Liberty and Saint Gaudens Gold coins because they were TOO CHEAP in relation to the bullion levels. I also ‘put back’ both $10 Liberty and Indian gold coins in MS63 because the premiums over their melt price (the value of just the gold metal they contain) fell to one of the smallest percentages I have ever seen in the coin business. You can take advantage of this trend also.

This trend won’t last. In just the last three weeks, since the ANA, wholesale price levels as listed in the Coin Dealer Newsletter, have risen, but many better date coins have not moved at all. I have a couple of customers that have quietly been buying selected better date $10 Liberty and $20 Liberty gold coins. They see what is happening and over the years they have profited handsomely. Please check out our website or contact us for more information.

What else is going on in the U.S. coin market? Dated collector coins from the 19th century are extremely active. Coin Dealer Newsletter prices are not accurate. I often pay well over ‘CDN’ bid for Bust, Seated, and Barber coinage in especially higher circulated grades (VF-AU). Although the Uncirculated ‘bid’ price levels are more accurate, many scarce items trade ‘way over’ bid levels among dealers. PCGS graded coins are extremely active, but don’t’ discriminate against NGC coins. CAC coins sell for a premium as they should. Eye appeal is everything when determining price. The price ‘sheets’ don’t accurately assess how NICE (or ugly) a coin in a graded holder may be. AS ALWAYS-BUY THE COIN NOT THE HOLDER!

Last but not least, consider putting together a meaningful set of U.S. coins. Building a set of U.S. coins is both rewarding and fun. Often times a collector of a particular type of U.S. coin will ‘teach me something’ about that series or type of coin. Specializing allows them to focus on that series and develop the expertise that a dealer may not have in that series or type of coin. I would also suggest building a second set of coins. Often times when a collector has gotten pretty far along on a set, they will lose interest because the last few coins in a set can be extremely difficult to locate. If you can’t find anything for your first ‘set’ you might get lucky with something for your second set. Most of the fun is in the ‘hunt’. After all, collecting coins is about having fun and potentially making some money too.

August 2010

The 2010 American Numismatic Association Show in Boston was an active and interesting show. Boston is an incredible city with so much history and beautiful sights. The only downside to the show was the facility itself. Many dealers, such as Bozarth Numismatics, were STUCK in a back room and a huge percentage of the attendees had no idea the room existed. The ANA is attempting to make some improvements to their show venues, but this convention center was a DUMP. As late as Wednesday afternoon, after the show had opened to the public, the facility ‘mismanagement’ was still trying to get done with set-up. PNG Day was Monday and two days later there were pallets and trash still remaining in the aisles. The one big PLUS to the facility was free internet access.

As usual, collector coins were extremely active while the investor and bullion driven type gold coins were relatively flat. Both Dollars and Walkers continued to be available at reasonable prices in relation to current Coin Dealer Newsletter bids. Higher grade type coins, MS65 and PR65 and better, are still trading at a discount to their respective CDN bids unless they have exceptional eye appeal while the type coins in the lower grades were very active. Several bidders are actively trying to buy type coins in the VF to MS64/PR64 grade ranges and bids have improved on many of those issues.

The A.N.A. Show itself is a marathon. We attended and had tables at both ‘pre-shows’, the PNG day, and the A.N.A. itself. We flew in Wednesday the fourth and stayed for twelve days. The ‘Pre-Shows’ were tentative and wholesale driven. Although the public were welcome to attend, sales were extremely flat on a retail basis, while the wholesale sales were just marginal. Customers were ‘keeping their powder dry’ so to speak in terms of their buying dollars. This has been the trend for the last couple of years in the rare coin market as the overall economy continues to sag. Coins are selling, but customers are looking for one or two items in particular.

Action picked up at the PNG Day on Monday the ninth. Bozarth Numismatics is a PNG dealer and we were quite busy at our table. The business was virtually all wholesale, but we were able to move some old inventory and buy some good coins. PCGS and NGC grading was mixed with a trend toward the conservative. PCGS finally came to their senses in regard to their ‘PLUS’ service and more PCGS ‘PLUS’ coins were available for sale. As was to be expected, CAC coins as well as ‘PLUS’ coins from both PCGS and NGC were in demand at a premium.

Boston and the Northeast have so many coins that ‘come out of the woodwork’ from time to time. The collector base in the Northeast are very well educated and often focus on more advanced and hard to find coins. Early type coins, early copper and colonials, and Bust halves are all in demand. Morgan dollars, Walking Liberty Halves, and Twentieth Century coins collected by date just don’t seem to be of much interest in comparison. Our Fall schedule will include three big shows in the Northeast: Whitman Coin Expo in Philadelphia, the Coinfest in Stamford, CT, and the Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore. We will also be attending the Illinois State Show and Long Beach, CA Shows in September.

We believe prices for most rare coins are relative bargains in comparison to historic price levels. Gold coins especially are trading for smaller premiums over their ‘melt’ value than at any time in recent history. Commemorative Half Dollars are cheap. Both Morgan Dollars and Walking Liberty Halves are trading at depressed levels also. A discerning collector/investor would be wise to buy selected ‘choice’ pieces while they are available at these levels. Consider putting together a meaningful set of coins. As always, quality is KING. Buy ‘nice’ coins and they will perform admirably in the long term. Always remember that dark/ugly coins are never a bargain.

Bozarth Numismatics was pleased with the overall business at the shows and indeed had more individual sales than normal, but the total sales for us and many others were somewhat average for an A.N.A. We were able to buy a lot of great coins. We also met some great people and were able to reacquaint ourselves with some old friends. We hope to meet you at one of our upcoming shows. If you can’t make it to a show in your area, please call or email us.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rare Coin Market Report/The More Things Change-The More They Remain The Same.

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, This morning Sherri and I are in Las Vegas for the PCGS Trade and Grade Invitational.  Yes, Vegas is cool, but for us it is mostly about the great little show that PCGS hosts here four or five times a year.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a ‘stick in the mud’ when it comes to enjoying some time at the ‘tables’ myself.  But, I prefer taking a more ‘educated’ risk on Rare Coins versus laying my money down in a casino where the odds are definitely ‘stacked towards the house’.  Frankly, I like the ‘gamble’ that rare coins represent.  Coins will not remain at these ‘low’ price levels forever.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘what goes around, comes around’ or the other saying ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.  The world and our lives revolve mostly around the same values.  Sometimes the ‘values’ are more liberal.  Sometimes they are more conservative.  As a middle aged guy-I’m 51-I have seen a couple of these ‘cycles’.  I was a child of the sixties-a late baby-boomer.  My folks were World War II babies-my dad was born in 1940 and my mom will celebrate her 70th birthday next month and was born in 1942.  They grew up in the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower presidencies.  The country was recovering from the devastation of the war and most wanted to focus on OUR country and their families.

During the sixties these values were questioned.  John F. Kennedy was a visionary and helped bring many changes to our supposed standards.  Racial segregation was questioned and many measures and laws were changed.  Lyndon Johnson continued many of these long overdue societal changes.  However, the younger generation wasn’t buying ALL of the message and the Vietnam ‘conflict’ (how can a war that cost our country over 65,000 in dead soldiers be called a conflict?) blew up in both Johnson’s and later Richard Nixon’s faces.  The Johnson backlash was Nixon.  The Nixon/Gerald Ford backlash was Jimmy Carter, who although a brilliant man was mostly very inept politically.  Whatever your political leanings, you don’t get elected President of the United States without having some intellect.

The Carter backlash was Ronald Reagan and the country once again experienced 12 years of conservative leadership.  The Reagan/George Bush Sr. backlash was Bill Clinton.  And so it goes…….

On the popular front, changes swing back and forth also.  Accomplishments from the past are forgotten, because new and now are what matters, right?  Currently one of the ‘new’ things in Vegas is the huge ‘viewing platform’ I think they are calling it.  Whatever they want to label this New Vegas attraction it is simply a Ferris Wheel.  Yes, a Ferris Wheel.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it fits Vegas pretty well-you know kind of ‘carnival midway’ cool.  In fact, if you are a student of history you might know that the FIRST Ferris Wheel was the ‘main attraction’ at the 1892 and 1893 Columbian Exposition. 

The Organizers of the Columbian Exposition NEEDED a big attraction.  During the Winter of 1891 and Spring of 1892 they were dumbfounded as to what kind of attraction could rival, yet outshine, the fabulous Eiffel Tower built as the ‘center piece’ attraction at the Paris World’s Exposition held in 1876?  When George Ferris, an engineer from PA approached the organizers of the Columbian Exposition with his idea, he was at first refused.  Ferris persevered with an idea that was so audacious the fair organizers had trouble visualizing the impact it would have on the FAIR.  You see, the citizens of Chicago had to prove that they were a ‘world class’ city like New York.  In fact, the term ‘windy city’ is not about wind.  The term ‘windy city’ refers to the sometimes outlandish self promotion that journalists, politicians, and Chicago promoters became famous for.

Fast forward 120 years.  Las Vegas is building another Ferris Wheel.  This Ferris Wheel will be 500 feet tall.  The ‘original’ Ferris Wheel stood nearly 400 feet tall.  The Vegas Wheel will hold roughly 36 cars with a capacity of 35 or 36 passengers.  The ‘first’ Ferris Wheel, built in 1892, had 36 gondola cars with a capacity of 50 and individual ‘luncheonettes’ in each car!  George Ferris’s Wheel spawned the most popular and visible attraction on carnival midways and state fairs for the past twelve decades.  Isn’t it interesting that they want to call this NEW Ferris Wheel a ‘viewing platform’? 

The more things change, the more they remain the same….

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year buying ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins.  We list our extensive inventory on our website Bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay Store under Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. Coin.  We offer free and confidential want list services.  Because of our extensive show and buying trip schedule we can often locate ‘coins’ other dealers just can’t find.  We also write both this ‘market’ report and The Rare Coin Road Warrior each month.  Check us out online or at a major coin show in your area.  

 

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast, This morning Sherri and I are in Las Vegas for the PCGS Trade and Grade Invitational.  Yes, Vegas is cool, but for us it is mostly about the great little show that PCGS hosts here four or five times a year.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a ‘stick in the mud’ when it comes to enjoying some time at the ‘tables’ myself.  But, I prefer taking a more ‘educated’ risk on Rare Coins versus laying my money down in a casino where the odds are definitely ‘stacked towards the house’.  Frankly, I like the ‘gamble’ that rare coins represent.  Coins will not remain at these ‘low’ price levels forever.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘what goes around, comes around’ or the other saying ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.  The world and our lives revolve mostly around the same values.  Sometimes the ‘values’ are more liberal.  Sometimes they are more conservative.  As a middle aged guy-I’m 51-I have seen a couple of these ‘cycles’.  I was a child of the sixties-a late baby-boomer.  My folks were World War II babies-my dad was born in 1940 and my mom will celebrate her 70th birthday next month and was born in 1942.  They grew up in the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower presidencies.  The country was recovering from the devastation of the war and most wanted to focus on OUR country and their families.

During the sixties these values were questioned.  John F. Kennedy was a visionary and helped bring many changes to our supposed standards.  Racial segregation was questioned and many measures and laws were changed.  Lyndon Johnson continued many of these long overdue societal changes.  However, the younger generation wasn’t buying ALL of the message and the Vietnam ‘conflict’ (how can a war that cost our country over 65,000 in dead soldiers be called a conflict?) blew up in both Johnson’s and later Richard Nixon’s faces.  The Johnson backlash was Nixon.  The Nixon/Gerald Ford backlash was Jimmy Carter, who although a brilliant man was mostly very inept politically.  Whatever your political leanings, you don’t get elected President of the United States without having some intellect.

The Carter backlash was Ronald Reagan and the country once again experienced 12 years of conservative leadership.  The Reagan/George Bush Sr. backlash was Bill Clinton.  And so it goes…….

On the popular front, changes swing back and forth also.  Accomplishments from the past are forgotten, because new and now are what matters, right?  Currently one of the ‘new’ things in Vegas is the huge ‘viewing platform’ I think they are calling it.  Whatever they want to label this New Vegas attraction it is simply a Ferris Wheel.  Yes, a Ferris Wheel.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it fits Vegas pretty well-you know kind of ‘carnival midway’ cool.  In fact, if you are a student of history you might know that the FIRST Ferris Wheel was the ‘main attraction’ at the 1892 and 1893 Columbian Exposition. 

The Organizers of the Columbian Exposition NEEDED a big attraction.  During the Winter of 1891 and Spring of 1892 they were dumbfounded as to what kind of attraction could rival, yet outshine, the fabulous Eiffel Tower built as the ‘center piece’ attraction at the Paris World’s Exposition held in 1876?  When George Ferris, an engineer from PA approached the organizers of the Columbian Exposition with his idea, he was at first refused.  Ferris persevered with an idea that was so audacious the fair organizers had trouble visualizing the impact it would have on the FAIR.  You see, the citizens of Chicago had to prove that they were a ‘world class’ city like New York.  In fact, the term ‘windy city’ is not about wind.  The term ‘windy city’ refers to the sometimes outlandish self promotion that journalists, politicians, and Chicago promoters became famous for.

Fast forward 120 years.  Las Vegas is building another Ferris Wheel.  This Ferris Wheel will be 500 feet tall.  The ‘original’ Ferris Wheel stood nearly 400 feet tall.  The Vegas Wheel will hold roughly 36 cars with a capacity of 35 or 36 passengers.  The ‘first’ Ferris Wheel, built in 1892, had 36 gondola cars with a capacity of 50 and individual ‘luncheonettes’ in each car!  George Ferris’s Wheel spawned the most popular and visible attraction on carnival midways and state fairs for the past twelve decades.  Isn’t it interesting that they want to call this NEW Ferris Wheel a ‘viewing platform’? 

The more things change, the more they remain the same….

Bozarth Numismatics is a full service rare coin dealer.  My wife Sherri and I travel over 200 days a year buying ‘fresh to the market’ rare coins.  We list our extensive inventory on our website Bozarthcoins.com and in our Ebay Store under Bozarthnumismaticsinc.  We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC certified U.S. Coin.  We offer free and confidential want list services.  Because of our extensive show and buying trip schedule we can often locate ‘coins’ other dealers just can’t find.  We also write both this ‘market’ report and The Rare Coin Road Warrior each month.  Check us out online or at a major coin show in your area.  

"When it comes to buying or selling collectible coins, I can think of no individual or company that rivals Bozarth Numismatics in professionalism, integrity, and in-depth knowledge into the hobby and business. Vic Bozarth is my greatest resource in making solid decisions in quality coin acquisition. Vic's advise has always been insightful and never self-serving, which gives me confidence in growing my collection. When coins are to be sold it is Bozarth Numismatics that has earned my trust to handle the sale"

J. B. - AZ

"Great eye for really nice coins!"

T. B. - TX

"Beautiful coin, well packed, shipped fast. Would buy here again!"

J.W. - MD

"Great looking Morgan ! Excellent Seller to Buy High Quality Coins From. Thanks !"

H.S. - FL

★"˜¨¯¯¨˜"ª¤(¯`*•.¸(¯`*•..•PERFECT • 5 • ★★★★★ •SELLER•..•*´¯)¸.•*´¯)¤ª"˜¨¯¯¨˜"★

G.J.D. - SC

Super Service & Super Coin! Lightening Fast Shipping With Great Protection! A+

T.W. - AR

Your coin sure looks great in my folder, thank you very much, you done welllA++

C.S. - CA