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Grey sheets dumb question

14 posts in this topic

OK, I found a few coins I am looking at buying at a dealer and was wondering from some of you dealers what is considered reasonable offers based on grey sheets. I don't want to insult the guy as he is the only coin dealer I have found in about 50 miles but at the same time I don't want to overpay. I am looking at early silver commemoratives in about the 50-100 range and looking at 4 or 5 of them.


Any advice?

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Some coins aren't worth graysheet bid, while others are worth considerably more. I will say, that for ordinary looking classic sliver commemoratives, currently, many dealers would be happy to get graysheet bid for them.

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I agree, and not a dumb question at all.

That 50 to 100 dollar circ stuff does not fly off the shelf at all for me......

They should be happy to entertain your offers.



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From my education in the school of hard knocks, greysheet is full retail for practically all silver commems, and the "real" wholesale is about 20% less than that. Don't put any stock at all in "Trends", "Coin Values", or PCGS or NGC online price guides when it comes to commems, or you will get burned.


As always, other experiences may differ.


Best of luck!

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im with james. dont go by the sheets made by anyone. if they were reliable they would all match in info. use those things to only get an idea. pay what you yourself would pay and no more than that. i am a fan of checking the closed and sold auctions to get "today" value.


also if you want to split hairs most coin shops are more like a pawn shop or used goods store "second hand". this makes them a second hand dealer and not a "retailer".


i dont like shops that save a huge pile of grey sheet either. i dont mind if they take home with them, but the shop here has a pile dating back about a year and they always pick and choose in front of people looking for best prices it seems.


i always go prepared with at least 3 different price "guides". this alows me to see what each is listed at. then i can haggle according to price i feel I would pay.

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Are these coins in PCGS or NGC holders?


If they are, and you like them Gray Sheet "bid" is a fair price. If they are raw, you should get them for a little under "bid." Beware of "sliders" (Choice AUs) offered as "BU" when you are buying raw coins in this area.

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They are not in holders they are raw, it is taking me forever and a day to determine grades on these things. I was going to make a group offer on a few and go below bid. None of these are BU, most are XF to AU so it isn't a lot of money but would still be a couple hundred.


If I decide to buy any in BU I will buy slabbed ones because I am not confident about grading commemoratives.


Thinking about offering a couple items as trade with some cash but still working on what I am willing to offer.

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In buying "classic" commemoratives, I would expect that you will have a much easier time buying them than when you go to sell them, especially in the grades you mention. I understand that there are some collectors of circulated commemoratives but given that a substantial minority or maybe even a majority in some instances are mint state, I doubt it is many.

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Virtually all of the commemorative half dollars from the 1930s are quite often seen in Mint State. If fact some issues from the mid to late 1930s are far more common in Choice to Gem Mint State (MS-63 to MS-65-66) than the circulated grades. The reason was that these coins were sold to collectors who knew how to preserve them.


Only selected pieces from 1900 to the 1920s have any real value in the circulated grades. These include the Lafayette Dollar, the Panama – Pacific half dollar, the Missouri half dollars, the Grant with Star and the Alabama half dollars. Other pieces like Grant No Star and the Lincoln-Illinois are cheap enough in Mint State to make the purchase of a circulated piece less than a great move. The gold commemorative dollars and $2.50 coins are scarce in all grades, but mostly collected in Mint State.


Generally the “old” commemorative coins are collected in NGC or PCGS holders in Mint State condition.


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I have thought about this collection quite a bit and unfortunately my desire is more tenacious than my wallet can afford. Knowing that going in I am only buying raw coins for this collection and will try to fill a type book rather than competing for registry points. I plan on buying a coin here and there and then showing them to my kids and learning a little about both the coins and the individuals featured on the coins.


I am choosing toned XF or AU coins over MS BU coins for a couple reasons:


1) I think they just look better with some age on them

2) They are certainly more in my price range


I am aware that some of the more collected coins like most of the state comms are easier to find in mint over AU or XF, but then those will probably be the last ones I pick up. After all I am still slowly working on a Morgan set that will never get finished (although I picked up possibly the worst 1890 CC for melt)...not for the collection but couldn't pass it for melt price.

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If you check out the prices for some commemorative coins in the 1930s you will note that there is very little price break between MS-63 and 64 and the circulated grades. The reason for this is that very few circulated coins exist. Here's a couple of examples using Gray Sheet prices:



EF $480

AU $560

MS-60 $600

MS-63 $610

MS-64 $615


York (Maine)

EF $158

AU $165

MS-60 $170

MS-63 $175

MS-64 $180



EF $182

AU $195

MS-60 $215

MS-63 $220

MS-64 $260




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True, but to do the whole collection (50 coin type set) looks like this:


XF - $9,586

AU - $10,792

MS60 - $12,808

MS-63 - $15,698

MS-64 - $20,054


I may get some better quality coins in the mix, but the baseline is going to be AU. I am happy with that and will pick up quality coins where they are affordable, but I can't shell out $2,750 for the MS64 Lafayette in MS64 when I can get the AU for $450, about 16% the cost of the MS64.


Look at the 65...WOW, cost of an entire XF set.

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My advice is don't worry about putting together a matched grade set; buy the best coins you can afford. I always look for “threshold price” coins. By that I mean I look for the highest price before the price takes off into the stratosphere.


My resources are a bit larger than yours, and I was a dealer which gave me a bit of an “in” at some of the shows. For that reason I put together the “old” commemorative set in Mint State, but my coins were far from the best. I’ve got a complete set, but I’m like #40 on the NGC registry. My set ranges in grade from MS-63 to MS-66.


One of my MS-63 coins is the Lafayette Dollar which is very scarce in attractive Mint State condition and almost a rarity in MS-65 or better. I found an MS-63 that was bright and lustrous and probably would have graded MS-64 had it not been for a minor scratch below the horse.


Check out the price structure before you shop. It makes sense to buy some coins like the York and Norfolk in MS-66 because there is no price break if you go lower. And when the time comes to sell, it’s usually easier to sell high grade coins if there the premium you have had to pay for them does not amount to much.


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