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Blue Book vs. Red Book vs. Greysheet... -_-

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Ever since I bought all 3 publications, I get confused about certain coins and what they are valued at. From what I have heard, the Red book and Blue book are printed a year or 2 in advance of the release date. I know the Red Book is the main price guide, and the Blue Book was what dealers used prior to the greysheet.

 

Many times before I buy or sell a coin, I check everything to see what the current value is. But all the sources I use have slightly different prices. NGC price guide could be higher than Red Book, lower than the Red Book, or lower than the CDN the CDN could be lower than the Red Book or higher than the Blue Book.

 

I have overpaid several time in the past because of the differences on all those lists.

 

My question is: what is the most accurate price guide to consult when buying coins and which is the most accurate to consult at the time of sale? I would rather use just the Blue Book and CDN, but more collectors use the Red Book instead of the CDN when they want to sell.

 

Thanks.

-Dave

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My advice to you is to use caution when using any price guide. It is impossible to provide immediate pricing data, and much of the data is often outdated. This is especially true for the Red Book and Blue Book which are published annually. The coins may be semi-accurate for low grade inexpensive coins (worth a few dollars or less). The books may be useful for reference data (outside of pricing) for other more expensive coins. The NGC Numismedia and PCGS Price Guides suffer similar flaws. The Grey Sheet and Blue Sheet are often used and are update more frequently, but they are not immune from these problems either. The Grey Sheet is hit or miss and some series are accurate and others not so much. Despite the fact that the Grey Sheet is supposedly a "wholesale" paper some of the prices are closer estimates of retail values (generic Morgan and Peace Dollars, classic commemoratives, etc.). The Blue Sheet is closer to wholesale, but alas, some of the pricing information is inflated there too. I have seen retail transactions occur for properly graded certified coins for less than or near Blue Sheet levels.

 

My advice to you is to look at recent auction records for the coin(s) of interest. Some good places to look are the auction archives of Heritage Galleries, Stacks-Bowers Galleries, Scottsman Auctions, Great Collections, Teletrade, and eBay. Also remember that no one sale is representative of the entire market and the prices may not be reproducible. Moreover, not all coins are created equal. Two coins may grade MS66 (and have certification from the same services), but sell for drastically different prices based on, among other things, eye appeal and how solid a coin is for the grade. In short, you should do a considerable amount of research before making any large numismatic purchase. The fact that you are willing to buy blindly from a price guide tells me that you probably aren't ready to make large numismatic transactions at this time.

 

P.S. I don't know of anyone who actually pays Red Book prices. If you do, chances are good that you are paying too much.

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As a dealer you should know that the CDN is more realistic. Somebody quoted me a blue book price in most cases I would laugh at them. To be honest I dont even know why they still make it. For the 20th century stuff I believe CDN is the better option. For the 19th century stuff your kind of on your own. I know a dealer that has a pretty good system. For example, he charges 1.5X what CDN say for seated dimes. CDN is almost always low on them. Kind of have to play with your prices a little I guess. Of course you could always sell at CDN prices like "my honey hole". I can almost assure you that you will sell a lot of coins that way. Sometimes I think thats why big time dealers come to the ever dying MSNS show here in Michigan. They like to surf the floor and search through all of the dealers that sell at strictly CDN prices.

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Forget about any price guide which comes out only once per year. If, by chance, a price is accurate at the time such a guide goes to print, the price can (and frequently does) become inaccurate, shortly thereafter.

 

I'd recommend consulting the Heritage auction archives, as well as the "Bluesheet" and "Greysheet" and Numismedia price guides.

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Coinman,

 

I do use Ebay and Teletrade for reference many times, but my main issue that I have been having only recently is that customers come to me to sell their coins and I have heard this 9/10 times when I say what I will pay: "but the Redbook says it is worth $X.XX" They know I have a business to run and once I explain that I don't buy by the redbook and what not, they say ok and I pay them. I think that because silver has started being more crazy in the NYSE, people want retail value from everyone even dealers.

 

I don't run into the issue of "price confusion" unless the coin is key date worth good money, owned by a collector who knows what they have. I get more stressed over buying collections than anything, especially when I make a house call and I can't bring my desktop. I purchased a collection of GSA Carson City Morgans, silver proof sets, and a dansco albums of Merc dimes that was 70% complete last week, and the owner was asking $8,000 for the 12 GSA C.C. Morgans (everything except 1879CC, 1889CC,and 1893CC), and 25 mixed silver proof sets dated 1998-2011, and the merc album. I paid him $4,000, and I think I will do fine when I sell everything.

 

But using real time references like Ebay work the best for me, but I like the CDN because it saves me the time of having to search on Ebay using the specific info, and if I cant find anything that has a bid on it, I find an area inbetween the CDN and Bluebook that works for a buy price.

 

-Dave

 

 

 

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Coinman,

 

I do use Ebay and Teletrade for reference many times, but my main issue that I have been having only recently is that customers come to me to sell their coins and I have heard this 9/10 times when I say what I will pay: "but the Redbook says it is worth $X.XX" They know I have a business to run and once I explain that I don't buy by the redbook and what not, they say ok and I pay them. I think that because silver has started being more crazy in the NYSE, people want retail value from everyone even dealers.

 

I don't run into the issue of "price confusion" unless the coin is key date worth good money, owned by a collector who knows what they have. I get more stressed over buying collections than anything, especially when I make a house call and I can't bring my desktop. I purchased a collection of GSA Carson City Morgans, silver proof sets, and a dansco albums of Merc dimes that was 70% complete last week, and the owner was asking $8,000 for the 12 GSA C.C. Morgans (everything except 1879CC, 1889CC,and 1893CC), and 25 mixed silver proof sets dated 1998-2011, and the merc album. I paid him $4,000, and I think I will do fine when I sell everything.

 

But using real time references like Ebay work the best for me, but I like the CDN because it saves me the time of having to search on Ebay using the specific info, and if I cant find anything that has a bid on it, I find an area inbetween the CDN and Bluebook that works for a buy price.

 

-Dave

 

 

 

My best advice would be to know your series very well, and to come up with rough scalar multiples to approximate the value (such as x% of CDN Bid (or Blue Sheet or other guide value) for Y coin). It's highly error prone though. Also, if you are a dealer, then you should have a general idea of what you can sell things for in your area anyway.

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Of course you could always sell at CDN prices like "my honey hole". I can almost assure you that you will sell a lot of coins that way.

 

That does make sense. My current system when I buy is to use the CDN, and sometimes Ebay to check the going price. When I sell the coins I go by the CDN, or Red Book.

I always use the 70% system that I set up when I buy. If a customer has a RAW Morgan dollar the is listed at $100.00, I offer $70.00. When I list the coin for sale, I mark it at $119.00. I don't expect to sell it at $119.00, but it is a fair starting place. If I sell it for $110.00, I am happy, or if I get beat down to $89.00, I still make a profit, and the buyer is happy as am I.

 

-Dave

 

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I'll just say that between the Blue Book, Red Book, and Greysheet, the "blue book" is completely worthless. Throw it in the trash, literally. (No, I really mean it, it's that worthless.)

 

A combination of greysheet and RedBook gives you a nice starting point at determining value, providing some wholesale vs. retail perspective, but it's ONLY a starting point.

 

From that point, real-world experience is pretty much the only way to nail down a coin's worth.

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I do not own a current price guide. They are worthless. I do have a Redbook from about 2005 that I use for its historical and technical information only. You are much better off gaging price though auction results.

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The Red Book is a good basic reference but the coin values shown are old and frequently out of date since the book is printed many months before the year shown on the cover.

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I'll just say that between the Blue Book, Red Book, and Greysheet, the "blue book" is completely worthless. Throw it in the trash, literally. (No, I really mean it, it's that worthless.)

 

 

The Blue Book has been worthless since I started collecting coins in 1960. It is a low ball piece of pricing fiction that dealers wish they could use in their dreams. The only thing that was worse was the "Green Book" which was even lower, published in the 1960s.

 

What the other others have said about the Gray Sheet is accurate. It's not perfect, but unless you are going to run around with an app on your cell phone it's the best you can use for quick price estimates. Some numbers, like those for early copper are way off. Others are not that bad. Just remember that dealers need to make a profit if they are to stay in business.

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CoinPulsive,

 

It seems to me that if you're a dealer, then the only price guide you need is to know how much you can sell a coin for.

 

For example, If you're selling to a wholesaler, you need to know what his buy price is; if you're selling on eBay, you need to know what the recent price history is, etc.

 

No other price guide will keep you in business.

 

Other than that, all you can tell potential sellers is "The best I can do on this coin is $x." (regardless of what the Red Book, Grey Sheet, etc. say).

 

I've known a lot of dealers who have turned down a potential purchase by saying "I don't know where to go to sell it."

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The Grey Sheet is pretty good but if you have a coin with real nice eye appeal the guide can really only give you a "reference" or bottom-line value. Another words it will tell you what premium you are paying for the coin.

 

I use all of the auction archives as well: Mostly Heritage since their search engine is better than most. I think I'll now look into Numismedia since Mark mentioned it. I also use Coin Facts over at PCGS since I have an account there.

 

The Red Book for prices is pretty worthless for value (which I ignore) but I LOVE the book for all the info it gives about the coin series. I even like that "dealer" version they have....nice pictures too.

 

jom

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I've known a lot of dealers who have turned down a potential purchase by saying "I don't know where to go to sell it."

 

This is a perfect legitimate thing for a dealer to say. If he does not have the contacts to sell an item, he can’t pay a good price for it. For example I used deal in Civil War tokens, so I would pay more than many people in the room at a local show. On the other had if you offered me a very high grade modern coin, I’d be out, but “I would not know where to go with it.”

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blue book and red book are inflated prices or may give low prices on coins.

 

Greysheet is fairly accurate and many on the forums, dealers, etc use it. HOWEVER it still isn't 100% accurate as some coins that greysheet has a price on is far too low as perhaps the coin has lots of interest lately and lots of people are paying much more than what greysheet says.

 

Overall use them as a reference on what you may pay but also check teletrade, ebay, numismedia, NGC guide, PCGS guide, heritage, and the forums to give yourself a idea.

 

For example redbook might say a certain coin is 1k

Greysheet might say 600

Numismedia or PCGS/NGC guide might say 850

Ebay avg is 1000

Heritage is 900

Forums is 800

 

All those things should give you a fair idea on what to offer on a coin.

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I'm a pretty big believer that the CDN is good for coins and sets listed in it exactly but it fails when you try to apply it to most early type. ANYTHINg grouped together like large cents, bust dimes etc. I refer to the blue book and then only pay higher prices when the coin is exceptional for some reason.

 

Red books are strictly for beginners. You just hope when someone's buying your coin they have one in hand.

 

Also, NGC price guide is accurate only about 1% of the time.

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Forget about any price guide which comes out only once per year. If, by chance, a price is accurate at the time such a guide goes to print, the price can (and frequently does) become inaccurate, shortly thereafter.

 

I'd recommend consulting the Heritage auction archives, as well as the "Bluesheet" and "Greysheet" and Numismedia price guides.

 

+1

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Why do so many coin dealers buy rare coins at auctions for their inventory if they aren't paying wholesale prices? In some cases they are representing a collector who wants a specific coin but in many cases they are bidding on coins that they will put in their inventory with a mark-up that's sometimes substantial.

I consider auction results to be just one more data point in determining what a coin is worth and it would be foolish to not consider as much pricing information as possible when evaluating a coin.

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Why do so many coin dealers buy rare coins at auctions for their inventory if they aren't paying wholesale prices? In some cases they are representing a collector who wants a specific coin but in many cases they are bidding on coins that they will put in their inventory with a mark-up that's sometimes substantial.

I consider auction results to be just one more data point in determining what a coin is worth and it would be foolish to not consider as much pricing information as possible when evaluating a coin.

 

An over reliance on auction results can be dangerous also.

 

Yes, some dealers do buy a lot of coins that they put into their inventory from auctions, but those dealers are looking for the coins that might slip through the cracks. They are not often the guys who bid coins up to record level bids unless they are representing someone else.

 

Some auctions yield a lot of retail prices that are beyond what you paid on the bourse floor. For example when a major collection of early copper comes to market, lot of major collectors attend the sale or have someone there to represent them. Quite often the prices they pay are full retail because they are looking to fill holes in their sets. Sometimes the prices realized represent more of a bidding frenzy than a true market.

 

You should not take a single auction result out of context. You need to look at other auction results as well as the price guides. From what I’m really here, the prices guides are not getting their proper due. You need a combination of both, because auction results can be manipulated and sometimes they are a reflection of excessive exuberance or conversely “a drop through the cracks.” They can also reflect the bidding on very conservatively graded coins or one that is over graded in holder. Without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure.

 

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Why do so many coin dealers buy rare coins at auctions for their inventory if they aren't paying wholesale prices? In some cases they are representing a collector who wants a specific coin but in many cases they are bidding on coins that they will put in their inventory with a mark-up that's sometimes substantial.

I consider auction results to be just one more data point in determining what a coin is worth and it would be foolish to not consider as much pricing information as possible when evaluating a coin.

 

An over reliance on auction results can be dangerous also.

 

Yes, some dealers do buy a lot of coins that they put into their inventory from auctions, but those dealers are looking for the coins that might slip through the cracks. They are not often the guys who bid coins up to record level bids unless they are representing someone else.

 

Some auctions yield a lot of retail prices that are beyond what you paid on the bourse floor. For example when a major collection of early copper comes to market, lot of major collectors attend the sale or have someone there to represent them. Quite often the prices they pay are full retail because they are looking to fill holes in their sets. Sometimes the prices realized represent more of a bidding frenzy than a true market.

 

You should not take a single auction result out of context. You need to look at other auction results as well as the price guides. From what I’m really here, the prices guides are not getting their proper due. You need a combination of both, because auction results can be manipulated and sometimes they are a reflection of excessive exuberance or conversely “a drop through the cracks.” They can also reflect the bidding on very conservatively graded coins or one that is over graded in holder. Without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure.

 

Auction companies that make sure all winning bids are high retail, that is why I only use Ebay or seldomly Teletrade when they have a no buyers fee auction. I understand both sides of the using recent sales at auctions to determine a coins value, but I honestly find it risky if I were to just use Ebay to figure out the going price. I mainly use Ebay to see what is popular at the time or which grades collectors are paying more for on a coin. What I do is browse Auctions only by most bids first and look at around 15 pages of listings.

 

If I bid on any coin other than a bullion value coin or low grade RAW coin, I try to get it at a steal. Take that 1861 Quarter I recently won, I paid around $17.00 for it and I believe I will get around $22.00 for it. Same thing went for that 1868 Shield nickel I won a while back. I paid less than $30.00 for it and I sold it to another dealer for $80.00. I have had bad purchases where the pictures "exaggerate" the coin and I pay too much. Sometimes the risk is worth it, sometimes I screw myself. But like Bill Jones said, "without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure." And sometimes I wish I messaged the seller and asked for an email with better pics.

 

-Dave

 

 

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Redbook and Bluebook are on the high end, so is Numismedia. IMHO. CDN seems rather low, right now, at least in my series. I would and do use auction archives, as a BASIS, but with low and high end coins the price differences and price ranges can be HUGE, sometimes several THOUSAND dollars. I use CDN and auction archive results average as a starting point. If the coin is really PQ, I may bid as much as 50% more. It all boils down to having a starting point or BASIS and then adding or subtracting what you think the coin is worth TO YOU.

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I get confused about certain coins and what they are valued at.

My question is: what is the most accurate price guide to consult when buying coins

Thanks.

-Dave

 

for me

 

my brain, memory and experiences

 

of what coins i have seen that interests me the past 40 or so years that have sold on the bourse, in shops, privately, at auctions and at what price, talking to many collectors and dealers seeling and buying as such those coins etc.etc.

 

and most importantly when i see a coin that has extraordinary eye appeal/color/surfaces/cameo/strike etc etc how much more and how fast the coin sells and for what

 

NOW

 

RED BOOK BLUE BOOK, price lists/GUIDES, the greysheet and auction records are INTERESTING in that every coin even same graded, same date, mintmark, and type variety of coins in the same third party graded holders with the same grades and/or designations SELL FOR large to really large to crazy DIFFERENT PRICE RANGES MANY TIMES MORE THAN NOT

 

 

 

 

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While Greysheet is good for commonly traded coins such as Morgans, Commems, Walker Halves etc, it is not always accurate for other series such as bust halves and large cents.

 

The most invaluable tool in my opinion is Coinfacts. For a $12.95 per month subscription, it gives you access tons of auction records. So you can look up what the type of coin in the exact grade last sold for at auction. And its pretty easy to use.

 

Ankur

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Why do so many coin dealers buy rare coins at auctions for their inventory if they aren't paying wholesale prices? In some cases they are representing a collector who wants a specific coin but in many cases they are bidding on coins that they will put in their inventory with a mark-up that's sometimes substantial.

I consider auction results to be just one more data point in determining what a coin is worth and it would be foolish to not consider as much pricing information as possible when evaluating a coin.

 

An over reliance on auction results can be dangerous also.

 

Yes, some dealers do buy a lot of coins that they put into their inventory from auctions, but those dealers are looking for the coins that might slip through the cracks. They are not often the guys who bid coins up to record level bids unless they are representing someone else.

 

Some auctions yield a lot of retail prices that are beyond what you paid on the bourse floor. For example when a major collection of early copper comes to market, lot of major collectors attend the sale or have someone there to represent them. Quite often the prices they pay are full retail because they are looking to fill holes in their sets. Sometimes the prices realized represent more of a bidding frenzy than a true market.

 

You should not take a single auction result out of context. You need to look at other auction results as well as the price guides. From what I’m really here, the prices guides are not getting their proper due. You need a combination of both, because auction results can be manipulated and sometimes they are a reflection of excessive exuberance or conversely “a drop through the cracks.” They can also reflect the bidding on very conservatively graded coins or one that is over graded in holder. Without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure.

 

Auction companies that make sure all winning bids are high retail, that is why I only use Ebay or seldomly Teletrade when they have a no buyers fee auction.......

 

 

Auction companies don't really have the ability to ensure that "all winning bids are high retail". And in fact, even if they did, they wouldn't want to. Because that would cause them to lose bidders/buyers, which, in turn, would cause them to lose consignors/sellers. And that wouldn't be too good for business. ;)

 

Also, as a bidder, it shouldn't matter to you whether there is a "buyer's premium". If there is, just adjust your hammer bid, accordingly. There is no reason that you have to pay more than you otherwise would, just because of a "buyer's premium".

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Incidentally, I WAY too frequently see advice given to "look at auction results".

 

Remember that auction companies do everything in their power to elicit MAXIMUM, top retail prices. Good luck trying to sell your coins at that same level, as you simply do not have the nationwide drawing power that a major auction does. All an auction tells you, in general, is the very very upper limit of the value of a specific coin -- and yours is very likely to be "worth" much less on the open market.

 

I consider it exceptionally poor advice to rely on auction results as a way to price coins, unless you, too, are a major presence in the marketplace.

 

Why do so many coin dealers buy rare coins at auctions for their inventory if they aren't paying wholesale prices? In some cases they are representing a collector who wants a specific coin but in many cases they are bidding on coins that they will put in their inventory with a mark-up that's sometimes substantial.

I consider auction results to be just one more data point in determining what a coin is worth and it would be foolish to not consider as much pricing information as possible when evaluating a coin.

 

An over reliance on auction results can be dangerous also.

 

Yes, some dealers do buy a lot of coins that they put into their inventory from auctions, but those dealers are looking for the coins that might slip through the cracks. They are not often the guys who bid coins up to record level bids unless they are representing someone else.

 

Some auctions yield a lot of retail prices that are beyond what you paid on the bourse floor. For example when a major collection of early copper comes to market, lot of major collectors attend the sale or have someone there to represent them. Quite often the prices they pay are full retail because they are looking to fill holes in their sets. Sometimes the prices realized represent more of a bidding frenzy than a true market.

 

You should not take a single auction result out of context. You need to look at other auction results as well as the price guides. From what I’m really here, the prices guides are not getting their proper due. You need a combination of both, because auction results can be manipulated and sometimes they are a reflection of excessive exuberance or conversely “a drop through the cracks.” They can also reflect the bidding on very conservatively graded coins or one that is over graded in holder. Without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure.

 

Auction companies that make sure all winning bids are high retail, that is why I only use Ebay or seldomly Teletrade when they have a no buyers fee auction. I understand both sides of the using recent sales at auctions to determine a coins value, but I honestly find it risky if I were to just use Ebay to figure out the going price. I mainly use Ebay to see what is popular at the time or which grades collectors are paying more for on a coin. What I do is browse Auctions only by most bids first and look at around 15 pages of listings.

 

If I bid on any coin other than a bullion value coin or low grade RAW coin, I try to get it at a steal. Take that 1861 Quarter I recently won, I paid around $17.00 for it and I believe I will get around $22.00 for it. Same thing went for that 1868 Shield nickel I won a while back. I paid less than $30.00 for it and I sold it to another dealer for $80.00. I have had bad purchases where the pictures "exaggerate" the coin and I pay too much. Sometimes the risk is worth it, sometimes I screw myself. But like Bill Jones said, "without seeing the coin in person, you never know for sure." And sometimes I wish I messaged the seller and asked for an email with better pics.

 

-Dave

 

 

I don't think anyone was suggesting that you pay the going rate on eBay, only that you use it as a rough measure of retail when there are multiple transaction to provide a somewhat more reliable pricing index. The price I would pay would factor in the retail value (i.e. what I could get), what I needed to cover my expenses, the amount of minimum return that I would accept, and the length of time that it would sit in inventory.

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