Order of Magnitude Higher Price for Top Grade?
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Hi,

I had reason recently to look fairly closely at the NGC values for lots and lots of American coins.  And I found something that I found interesting.

For virtually every coin, whether rare or completely common, the value given for the top graded grade was much higher than for the next lower grade (often ten times--or more--greater.

I can only conclude that there are a significant number of exceedingly wealthy people who don't much care what they pay for "the best," as long as they get "the best."

Is this a correct conclusion?

Thanks.

Mark

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On 8/25/2021 at 12:06 PM, gmarguli said:

I'm not sure about it being limited to those  "exceedingly wealthy", but there are a lot of people who are willing to pay for the best. This is true at all levels. A coin that is scarce in MS67 and sells for $100 may bring $1000 in MS68. No need to be exceedingly wealthy for that. 

For big money coins, there are several known billionaires out there competing for the best coins. I suspect it is a large part ego and a smaller part that the price difference is meaningless to them. 

Certainly, many people can pay $1000 for a coin, and one does not have to be "exceedingly wealthy" to do that.  But one must be quite wealthy to do that for every coin in a set (e.g., buying the top coin of every Lincoln cent would be very, very expensive in aggregate), and I don't understand the logic behind doing it just for one or two coins in a set.

Yeah, for billionaires, it must be a bit of a challenge to figure out how to feel like you've accomplished anything (beyond having the money), when you can buy any little thing you want without concern for its price.  A "first world problem," to be sure, but it does, I suspect, lead to an acquisitive streak of "mine's bigger than yours" to grab all the best of the best.  But I'm not sure it leads to the same kind of pleasure that I feel when I spring for an expensive (to me) coin that I've wanted for a while.

Mark

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On 8/25/2021 at 12:10 PM, zadok said:

prices n grades often correlate exponentially not incrementally...

Yeah, I have long understood that for non-common coins.  But it surprised me to see that happening even for quite plebeian coins at the top of the grading scale. 

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:16 PM, 124Spider said:

Certainly, many people can pay $1000 for a coin, and one does not have to be "exceedingly wealthy" to do that.  But one must be quite wealthy to do that for every coin in a set (e.g., buying the top coin of every Lincoln cent would be very, very expensive in aggregate), and I don't understand the logic behind doing it just for one or two coins in a set.

Yeah, for billionaires, it must be a bit of a challenge to figure out how to feel like you've accomplished anything (beyond having the money), when you can buy any little thing you want without concern for its price.  A "first world problem," to be sure, but it does, I suspect, lead to an acquisitive streak of "mine's bigger than yours" to grab all the best of the best.  But I'm not sure it leads to the same kind of pleasure that I feel when I spring for an expensive (to me) coin that I've wanted for a while.

Mark

different strokes for different folks, sometimes its more of a matter how big of a pond ur swimming in....in some cases its the journey rather than the conclusion that's the driving motivation...for example, in some of my collections i strive for every coin to be top pop if its at all obtainable n in others the goal is to acquire the highest graded coin i can find and/or afford....in some instances this has taken 40 plus years....

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:20 PM, 124Spider said:

Yeah, I have long understood that for non-common coins.  But it surprised me to see that happening even for quite plebeian coins at the top of the grading scale. 

astute observation...some of the plebes as u call them just dont warrant the prices...also in some cases u need to factor in "conditional rarity"...it often plays a huge influence on prices paid.....

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On 8/25/2021 at 12:23 PM, zadok said:

different strokes for different folks, sometimes its more of a matter how big of a pong ur swimming in....in some cases its the journey rather than the conclusion thats the driving motivation...for example, in some of my collections i strive for every coin to be top pop if its at all obtainable n in others the goal is to acquire the highest graded coin i can find and/or afford....in some instances this has taken 40 plus years....

I do the "best I can afford" route, and I manage (if I'm patient and spread the purchases out) to "afford" non-ugly coins.  So, for instance, acknowledging that there are no "rare" Jefferson nickels (at least not talking of varieties), I decided some time ago that merely having every slot in my Dansco albums filled wasn't satisfying (ugly coins don't do much for me, emotionally), so I slowly upgraded all the old, ugly nickels, at least to AU58.  Now it gives me pleasure to look at the album and see all the coins are appealing, and it didn't cost a lot of money.  But if I had gone after every one in the top grade (80+ years of that!), it would have cost a great deal of money, and not have given any greater emotional pleasure (and possibly less, since I like looking at albums more than looking at slabs).

Mark

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:32 PM, 124Spider said:

I do the "best I can afford" route, and I manage (if I'm patient and spread the purchases out) to "afford" non-ugly coins.  So, for instance, acknowledging that there are no "rare" Jefferson nickels (at least not talking of varieties), I decided some time ago that merely having every slot in my Dansco albums filled wasn't satisfying (ugly coins don't do much for me, emotionally), so I slowly upgraded all the old, ugly nickels, at least to AU58.  Now it gives me pleasure to look at the album and see all the coins are appealing, and it didn't cost a lot of money.  But if I had gone after every one in the top grade (80+ years of that!), it would have cost a great deal of money, and not have given any greater emotional pleasure (and possibly less, since I like looking at albums more than looking at slabs).

Mark

i can identify with all of that...i have one album of circulated barber coins started by my grandfather from his pocket change that i inherited, i attempted to complete in in as much as possible coins that matched his in grade n toning, my son finally finished it this past year...emotionally n sentimentally much more meaningful than our other slab orientated high grade series of coins....

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On 8/25/2021 at 11:43 AM, 124Spider said:

Hi,

I had reason recently to look fairly closely at the NGC values for lots and lots of American coins.  And I found something that I found interesting.

For virtually every coin, whether rare or completely common, the value given for the top graded grade was much higher than for the next lower grade (often ten times--or more--greater.

I can only conclude that there are a significant number of exceedingly wealthy people who don't much care what they pay for "the best," as long as they get "the best."

Is this a correct conclusion?

Thanks.

Mark

In all honesty this post; as well as some of your other posts in this thread; smack of jealousy and envy.   Very few collectors; be they wealth or poor; strive for the worst coins they can find.  I say very few because those that collect low ball coins buck the trend and do just that.   I can remember a time when I thought as you are suggesting in this thread, that there is no joy in attaining a top pop coin just because you can afford it.   I was wrong and you are wrong, sure for an investor who is just buying a balance sheet item there may indeed be very little joy associated in a high level high dollar coin purchase.   And yes there is some chest thumping mine is bigger/better than yours that goes on between the whales.   But it is wrong to paint everyone that buys a top pop coin with the same brush, I was wrong when I did so and you are wrong now.   I have many top pop coins, for example I own a 1916-S Lincoln cent in MS66BN.   This is the highest graded coin in any color designation for that date/mm, was a one of one now one of two, and in addition mine is the only CAC approved coin.   I am not wealthy but I receive great enjoyment every time I view that coin, in fact the same level of enjoyment that I get when I view my circulated coins.  Not because I can flaunt it in front of anyone and flex my lower appendage; but because I find it and most of my coins to be very beautiful.

I think if you got to know some wealthy collectors, or even modest collectors that enjoy collecting high grade coins you might be very surprised to find that they are more like yourself than they are different.   Yes the money allows them to buy those high priced high grade coins, but to assume that they receive no joy from those purchases and the ownership of those coins is just flat wrong. 

Edited by Coinbuf
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On 8/25/2021 at 4:30 PM, Coinbuf said:

In all honesty this post; as well as some of your other posts in this thread; smack of jealousy and envy.   Very few collectors; be they wealth or poor; strive for the worst coins they can find.  I say very few because those that collect low ball coins buck the trend and do just that.   I can remember a time when I thought as you are suggesting in this thread, that there is no joy in attaining a top pop coin just because you can afford it.   I was wrong and you are wrong, sure for an investor who is just buying a balance sheet item they may indeed be very little joy associated in a high level  high dollar coin purchase.   And yes there is some chest thumping mine is bigger/better than yours that goes on between the whales.   But it is wrong to paint everyone that buys a top pop coin with the same brush, I was wrong when I did so and you are wrong now.   I have many top pop coins, for example I own a 1916-S Lincoln cent in MS66BN.   This is the highest graded coin in any color designation for that date/mm, was a one of one now one of two, and in addition mine is the only CAC approved coin.   I am not wealthy but I receive great enjoyment every time I view that coin, in fact the same level of enjoyment that I get when I view my circulated coins.  Not because I can flaunt it in front of anyone and flex my lower appendage; but because I find it and most of my coins to be very beautiful.

I think if you got to know some wealthy collectors, or even modest collectors that enjoy collecting high grade coins you might be very surprised to find that they are more like yourself than they are different.   Yes the money allows them to buy those high priced high grade coins, but to assume that they receive no joy from those purchases and the ownership of those coins is just flat wrong. 

Without responding to your gratuitous personal attack, I will point out (i) you then went on to validate much of what I said, and (ii) if it is your intention to help/educate the less fortunate, being demeaning and nasty is not an effective way to do that.

Good day, sir.

Mark

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On 8/25/2021 at 5:04 PM, 124Spider said:

Without responding to your gratuitous personal attack, I will point out (i) you then went on to validate much of what I said, and (ii) if it is your intention to help/educate the less fortunate, being demeaning and nasty is not an effective way to do that.

Good day, sir.

Mark

Your posts were nothing but thinly veiled hate and bash posts against those who do not collect the way you do.

Edited by Coinbuf
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On 8/25/2021 at 3:20 PM, 124Spider said:

Yeah, I have long understood that for non-common coins.  But it surprised me to see that happening even for quite plebeian coins at the top of the grading scale. 

The price variances are actually much bigger for common coins.

Look at the coins with the highest collector preference.  You'll see that the price spreads are much lower or the lowest.

Examples of really common coins with inflated prices are recent sales of "top pop" Mercury dimes and that Franklin half.  I can't remember the dates but someone else here might.

Conversely, coins like the 1796 quarter have narrow spreads because it's in high demand even in the lowest grades or a "details" holder.  It's a coin that's always had strong demand.  It didn't require marketing to get there.

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On 8/25/2021 at 7:48 PM, Woods020 said:

I am of the same school of thought as @Coinbuf  I am fortunate to have some nicer coins, and some top pops, but I assure you the joy is real. Each and every one I have poured over hundreds of similar coins waiting for the right one. I have agonized over minuscule details to try and find the one that I felt was the nicest I could find or afford. I have bugged several members here asking for second or third opinions on coins before I bought them. That’s the whole joy of collecting to me is the hunt. Not because it costs a lot of money, albeit often times it does. It’s about learning a coin series, reading all you can on them, understanding where strike weakness is common or where design elements aren’t full, and then apply that learning and skill to hunt down the nicest you can find/afford. If the learning and the hunt brought me no joy I’d put that money in the stock market and enjoy a much quicker growth (atleast for now). Sometimes skilled collectors can amass very impressive collections without breaking the bank by having knowledge and a good eye. 

I appreciate the adult way in which you educated me into what I was missing.  Thank you.

Mark

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On 8/25/2021 at 2:43 PM, 124Spider said:

Hi, I had reason recently to look fairly closely at the NGC values for lots and lots of American coins.  And I found something that I found interesting. For virtually every coin, whether rare or completely common, the value given for the top graded grade was much higher than for the next lower grade (often ten times--or more--greater.  can only conclude that there are a significant number of exceedingly wealthy people who don't much care what they pay for "the best," as long as they get "the best." s this a correct conclusion? hanks.Mark

Condition rarity it is called.  

Forget rare coins, even moderns -- look at the price for an MS or PF70 vs. a 69.  That's with tons of each available and yet the 70's will often sell for 50-100% or more.

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Sounds like the ol' laws of supply and demand, with more people starting to collect and invest, there will become coins that are more difficult to locate in great condition, so expect to see prices rise, and just buy within your limits.(PS.. Coin prices aren't bad compared to real estate and new cars) :)

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On 8/25/2021 at 10:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Condition rarity it is called.  

Forget rare coins, even moderns -- look at the price for an MS or PF70 vs. a 69.  That's with tons of each available and yet the 70's will often sell for 50-100% or more.

The 70’s frequently sell for far greater premiums than that.

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On 8/25/2021 at 11:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Condition rarity it is called.  

Forget rare coins, even moderns -- look at the price for an MS or PF70 vs. a 69.  That's with tons of each available and yet the 70's will often sell for 50-100% or more.

accurate observation....but its a bit diff to compare the MS/PF 70s, 69s to actually collecting coins...they fall more into acquiring, hoarding, investing than collecting...personally if i want to acquire more silver i just buy 100 oz ingots, the price differential on 70s certainly not warranted, i own none...even the modern series, 20th century coins, for the most part r no where near rare n seldom justify the high end price differentials being paid....18th n 19th century coins a diff story....

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On 8/25/2021 at 11:41 PM, Mohawk said:

Interesting discussion.  Though this kind of thing isn't the numismatic world I live in any longer, there are always going to be people in any area of life that want the best and who are willing to pay for it.  That's the reality of life.  I think that there are many varied reasons that people will pay a premium for the highest quality examples of any collectible, not just coins.  For people who are simply of an investment mindset, you're probably correct.  There isn't really a joy in owning the best...they're just worried about the potential return on investment.  But for the collector who actively seeks the highest grades?  There probably is a lot of joy to owning a top pop piece.  Like I said, this isn't the numismatic world I live in......I'm more seeking completion with what I do rather than top grades, and it's more of a scholarly/academic thing at this point. But, I think I'm kind of an odd duck, actually.  That said though, I'll definitely admit that I certainly prefer pretty coins over ugly coins, without really caring about the actual grade.  So, even as a guy who couldn't care less about the actual grade of the coins I buy, I still care about quality and beauty.  And I'd imagine this kind of mindset is present in many collectors who care about owning top pop coins.  I further think that the success of the Registries here and at PCGS definitely shows that there are a lot of passionate people seeking the top pops and some of those sets really convey a sense of joy by the owner when the coins are accompanied by great pics and interesting comments and stories.  And they add a competitive aspect to collecting and seeking top pops that many people clearly enjoy.  There are a lot of ways to enjoy this hobby. 

coin collecting is a mixed bag n diff to put a one size fits all persona on it, just too many reasons to do it at all levels...just try to compare it to stamp collecting, u dont see philatelists comparing perfs with each other or 90% original glue or never hinged (although some of them n some of us could be categorized as unhinged)...im not aware they have registry sets either...their hobby is mostly self satisfaction with ones collection n completing the same...coin registry sets r a double edged sword, they have brought along both good things for the hobby n bad...i personally like them for some of my collections but not all...do i really get satisfaction of obtaining a number 1 set? not really (for 2020 i received 28 #1 certificates from NGC) , but i realized more satisfaction from my non-competitive sets...obtaining/owning top pop coins becomes more of a completion thing than an achievement thing, i have a few sets that my "now" goal is to finis the sets with all top pop coins but its mostly just a personal thing to see if it can be done...other sets top pop coins r just a part of trying to buy the best i can afford n maybe upgrade later n maybe not...only a couple of my sets r what i would consider as competition sets, sets i identify as being in competition with other collectors trying to win...win what? a pc of paper?...makes little sense, but is what it is...just one of the various reasons n motivations of collecting coins...the one thing i can state though is i have not nor do not buy a coin for any of my collections based on its investment potential, either i can afford to buy it or i cant....

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