Top Collections Sold - Are they really profitable?
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85 posts in this topic

On 7/7/2022 at 4:14 PM, World Colonial said:

In the past, I have estimated that the majority of US collectors (probably a noticeable majority) have annual budgets of $500 or less.  It's not "fact" or "scientific", it's an inference based upon what I read on coin forums (mostly dealer accounts buying from walk-ins) and my assumptions of what most (US) collectors are usually actually buying: US mint and proof sets, US moderns, low priced 20th century US classics, and low priced world coinage.  I consider these collectors predominantly recreational.  

I would agree with your numbers as being very accurate or at least in the ballpark. (thumbsu

On 7/7/2022 at 4:14 PM, World Colonial said:

My guess is that many forum members dispute this characterization because of differing definitions of "collector".  Think about it though.  If someone spends up to $500 per year, depending upon how often they sell, they can still spend a low five figures over a lifetime, like $10K or $20K.  I don't believe most spend that, not even close. 

Where would you put the gold bullion buyer direct from the Mint who also may buy from an LCS, online, and maybe even attend a coin show ?

This is where I came from:  an occasional buyer of gold coins who then learned about pre-1933 gold....commemoratives.... foreign gold coins.....etc.

On 7/7/2022 at 4:14 PM, World Colonial said:

Predominantly because I don't believe they really find what they are buying that interesting as a collectible at the prices they presumably or potentially pay.  It's collector specific but this is the sentiment I overwhelmingly read from all sources; myopic loss aversion.

Yes, loss hate is greater than gain love.  But I think that it matters whether someone has a few thousand dollars a year after expenses....tens of thousands....or hundreds of thousands.

You are also now for the first time seeing the Middle Class get substantial inheritances/estates from family members.  Don't discount those windfalls being spent on investments and collectibles (at least by those who don't blow it on a new Porsche and trips to Vegas xD ).

On 7/7/2022 at 4:14 PM, World Colonial said:

The inflated price level due to financialized collecting has inflated the prices of what are mostly ordinary coins above what it represents as a collectible.  This applies far more to US coinage but also to many world and ancients too.

It's gotten to the point (years ago) where a collection won't include a high proportion of coin designs or series without a "substantial" outlay.  I'm not just referring to rare and scarce or gold either, but what are or used to be "collector" coins.

Can't speak on world/ancient coins as I'm out of my element there...but I definitely see what you are talking about with U.S. coins, especially with those I have interest...and one in particular that I (eventually) want to buy:  the 1907 MCMVII High Relief Saint. 

That is one coin I repeatedly see called "overpriced" given the population and survivor numbers....but I believe it's a unique coin with great historical value, sought after by high-end and Type collectors.  Add in "strong hands" by folks who INHERITED their coins and have no intention of selling (maybe their kids or grandkids will feel differently :))...and you have a coin with decent but not surplus availability and hence the coin's price remains elevated.  Plus, all MCMVII's see their prices get "dragged up" by the trophy prices paid for the really exceptional coins by price-insensitive collectors.

I'm not sure what regular-issued small currency U.S. coins match the MCMVII High Relief in terms of historical uniqueness; maybe the 1909 Lincoln Cent ?  First year of issue for Franklin, SLQ, or Washington coins ?  Most of the expensive small currency U.S. coins I read about seem to be super-high grade or error coins but admittedly I don't spend much time following the series aside from what I read about here and on other forums.

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On 7/7/2022 at 5:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Where would you put the gold bullion buyer direct from the Mint who also may buy from an LCS, online, and maybe even attend a coin show ?

This is where I came from:  an occasional buyer of gold coins who then learned about pre-1933 gold....commemoratives.... foreign gold coins.....etc.

I see them as mostly "investor" and not actual collectors and that's because I don't see this type of "coin" as a coin at all.  There is no actual collecting to it.  It's a substitute for other forms of gold (or silver with bullion silver NCLT).

On 7/7/2022 at 5:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Yes, loss hate is greater than gain love.  But I think that it matters whether someone has a few thousand dollars a year after expenses....tens of thousands....or hundreds of thousands.

Yes, there is a noticeable, but in my opinion, still very low percentage of the much more affluent collector base who are willing to treat what most of us would consider expensive coins as actual collectible.  It's also a lot more evident with specific coins (based upon the actual coin attributes) versus others.  Hint, it isn't because of marketing from labels, stickers, or computer code showing up as registry points.

On 7/7/2022 at 5:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

You are also now for the first time seeing the Middle Class get substantial inheritances/estates from family members.  Don't discount those windfalls being spent on investments and collectibles (at least by those who don't blow it on a new Porsche and trips to Vegas xD ).

Yes, if they are already collectors or inclined to collecting.

On 7/7/2022 at 5:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Can't speak on world/ancient coins as I'm out of my element there...but I definitely see what you are talking about with U.S. coins, especially with those I have interest...and one in particular that I (eventually) want to buy:  the 1907 MCMVII High Relief Saint. 

That is one coin I repeatedly see called "overpriced" given the population and survivor numbers....but I believe it's a unique coin with great historical value, sought after by high-end and Type collectors. 

I don't recall the price in the pre-financialization era, prior to the early 70's.  That's where I primarily draw the line though of course it's not absolute since preferences have changed somewhat though not much except generically.

If a coin was expensive prior to the early 70's, it may be a lot more expensive now, but the prior high price demonstrates strong actual hobby collector demand, as opposed to just the results of financialization and marketing.  This is my recollection of the MCMVII Saint.  Common doesn't have anything to do with it in this context.  Same principle applies to common actual US 20th century key dates (09-S VDB cent, 16-D Mercury) and many early federal coins.

OTOH, this does apply to what are actually common coins in TPG holders with a high number on the label.  These coins were mostly worth nominal amounts in the pre-financialization era.  These aren't bought as "investments" but it's the combination of marketing and several decades of high prices paid by far more affluent buyers supporting it.  An example is one of the Franklin halves with a FBL which sold for six figures.  I'd guess this coin probably sold for $10 or $20 back then.

With world coinage, it's also the internet making it available where it wasn't before, at least as much.  Some of these coins are also quite overpriced for what it actually is as a collectible, just (a lot) less versus US.

Edited by World Colonial
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Thanks for all the perspectives.  I tossed this out there to be a conversation starter - and the thread is a fun read.  My take aways:

  1. Today's top collectors don't really care if they lose money
  2. If you've been in a long time (especially before TPG), you are probably doing okay
  3. Some collectors (DLH) have deals to re-sell coins with his name on them (just marketing arrangements)
  4. Affluent buyers have created an asset bubble, making today's collecting "for profit" uncertain
    • Most collectors with an "investors" mentality do not make money, as they buy into hot/fad markets 
    • Long-term holding of assets helps to mitigate this risk.

 

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On 7/7/2022 at 8:23 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

Thanks for all the perspectives.  I tossed this out there to be a conversation starter - and the thread is a fun read.  My take aways:

  1. Today's top collectors don't really care if they lose money

It would be more accurate to say they are possibly willing to lose some money.  It's probably also more accurate to say they don't expect to lose it either, not on the most expensive coins they buy or where the amount is meaningful to them. Expensive coins (the most expensive) sometimes sell at a loss, but usually I assume the owner just waits due to the price track record.

If you post on the PCGS Forum or read it, there are a few contributors who buy the most expensive US coinage. Within the last few years, there is a thread of how, as soon as one found out a "better" example of this multi-million dollar coin became public knowledge or was going to be sold, they apparently sold theirs as soon as possible. I don't remember the specifics, but it was obvious from the tone of their posts that money was a lot more important than the coin, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone considering the price. 

DLH's collection is large and worth a lot of money.  But even as a billionaire, according to the contributor who started the PCGS mega-thread, my recollection is he doesn't buy hardly any million dollar coins.  Given his collection value, I assume he isn't cash poor, so I conclude it's financially driven.  He must not be willing to take the financial risk.

I agree with the rest of your points.

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On 7/7/2022 at 7:07 PM, World Colonial said:

I don't recall the price in the pre-financialization era, prior to the early 70's.  That's where I primarily draw the line though of course it's not absolute since preferences have changed somewhat though not much except generically.

For an MCMVII High Relief, I believe the 1970 Red Book had it listed at $900 in what would today be called low-60's MS (I think it was called BU back then).  I'm typing this away from my home so if I am wrong I'll correct it later. xD

Plenty of prices from auction sales over the decades for the 1907 Saint High Relief.  I know the price of an MCMVII HR ($20 face) spiked up to $30-$35 upon release in 1907-08.....then it fell back to like $22-$25 in the early-1920's....by 1950 the price was $100-$150 depending on the condition.  So it rose steadily up to 1970 even as the official price of gold was flat...an 8-10 fold increase in price in 20 years as coin collecting and the popularity of the Saint series in general and the High Relief in particular got lots of new fans.

BTW, I believe that the 1907 UHR was valued at about $2,500 - $3,000 in 1950.

On 7/7/2022 at 7:07 PM, World Colonial said:

OTOH, this does apply to what are actually common coins in TPG holders with a high number on the label.  These coins were mostly worth nominal amounts in the pre-financialization era.  These aren't bought as "investments" but it's the combination of marketing and several decades of high prices paid by far more affluent buyers supporting it.  An example is one of the Franklin halves with a FBL which sold for six figures.  I'd guess this coin probably sold for $10 or $20 back then.  

But couldn't you say that collectors -- especially young and novice and non-dealers -- didn't KNOW which coins were the equivalent of 68's vs. 64's back then ?  And since one dealer writing "64" on a 2x2 meant as much as another one writing "68"....it wasn't until you had neutral (?) arbiters assigning grades that you had more transparency AND folks willing to pay more $$$.

And since many of these coins had always been affordable to young/novice/non-dealer collectors....once financialization began to creep in and then the grades got assigned later....prices rose.  For many, they were STILL affordable and hence you had all that demand for formerly "cheap" U.S. coinage and the price began to rise (at a faster rate than you saw during The Baby Boom years of 1945-1980).

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On 7/7/2022 at 8:23 PM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:
  1. Today's top collectors don't really care if they lose money
  2. If you've been in a long time (especially before TPG), you are probably doing okay
  3. Some collectors (DLH) have deals to re-sell coins with his name on them (just marketing arrangements)
  4. Affluent buyers have created an asset bubble, making today's collecting "for profit" uncertain
    • Most collectors with an "investors" mentality do not make money, as they buy into hot/fad markets 
    • Long-term holding of assets helps to mitigate this risk.

(1)  Agree

(2)  Yes...otherwise you need to be very good at market-timing.  Even then, the lack of dividends/interest paid by coins makes long-run returns comparable to stocks highly unlikely.

(3)  Do they get paid for the use of their name or is it more of an honorary kind of thing ?  Payment could be considered a conflict of interest on re-graded or newly-graded coins.  And does a guy like Bob Simpson REALLY need a few bucks for lending out his name ?

(4)  I don't know about an asset bubble....coins didn't really take off like tech stocks when the Fed kept rates pegged at 0.25%.  Gold did very little....major U.S. coin types didn't see any price spikes....and final sales for trophy coins like the 1933 Saint or the 1908-S Norweb Saint generated returns of around 7% (as I have posted here before)

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On 7/7/2022 at 10:04 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

But couldn't you say that collectors -- especially young and novice and non-dealers -- didn't KNOW which coins were the equivalent of 68's vs. 64's back then ?  And since one dealer writing "64" on a 2x2 meant as much as another one writing "68"....it wasn't until you had neutral (?) arbiters assigning grades that you had more transparency AND folks willing to pay more $$$.

No, I wouldn't say that, though I'm not sure the time period to which you refer.  My first awareness of Sheldon grading was from a 1978 advertisement in Coin World which was then a newspaper.  It was for Morgan dollars (I think) offering 60, 63, and 65.  I've since read that ANACS was grading using certificates but don't remember the specifics about numerical grades or if any were even used.

What I am telling you is that, while presumably all collectors preferred better coins, it wasn't based upon what is now part of the TPG grade.  They didn't give enough of a cr*p to pay big premiums for marketing because that's what it is, as the price difference for the now highest TPG grades is totally disproportionate to any difference in the coins as a collectible.  With no market for it, no one would pay for it at the time. 

This makes total sense, since these grade numbers have little to do with actual collecting.  If this seems so hard to believe, that's how it is practically everywhere else in the world now, the only exceptions being where TPG has also financialized collecting in places like China and South Africa,

On 7/7/2022 at 10:04 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

And since many of these coins had always been affordable to young/novice/non-dealer collectors....once financialization began to creep in and then the grades got assigned later....prices rose.  For many, they were STILL affordable and hence you had all that demand for formerly "cheap" U.S. coinage and the price began to rise (at a faster rate than you saw during The Baby Boom years of 1945-1980).

Yes, something like that, but once again, not primarily because collectors experienced a collective epiphany where they miraculously discovered that the coins in the now highest TPG grades are so much better than slightly lower grades and as a collectible.  This, while all their predecessors operated in a "Dark Age" with a lack of "sophistication".

It's primarily a combination of financialization and marketing.

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On 7/7/2022 at 8:51 PM, World Colonial said:

It would be more accurate to say they are possibly willing to lose some money.  It's probably also more accurate to say they don't expect to lose it either, not on the most expensive coins they buy or where the amount is meaningful to them. Expensive coins (the most expensive) sometimes sell at a loss, but usually I assume the owner just waits due to the price track record.  If you post on the PCGS Forum or read it, there are a few contributors who buy the most expensive US coinage. Within the last few years, there is a thread of how, as soon as one found out a "better" example of this multi-million dollar coin became public knowledge or was going to be sold, they apparently sold theirs as soon as possible. I don't remember the specifics, but it was obvious from the tone of their posts that money was a lot more important than the coin, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone considering the price.  DLH's collection is large and worth a lot of money.  But even as a billionaire, according to the contributor who started the PCGS mega-thread, my recollection is he doesn't buy hardly any million dollar coins.  Given his collection value, I assume he isn't cash poor, so I conclude it's financially driven.  He must not be willing to take the financial risk.  I agree with the rest of your points.

I guess it depends on ego and willingness and ABILITY to lose $$$.  If Hetty Green were a coin collector today, she'd be a super-cautious buyer.xD  Less so than her son who was an actual coin collector.

I know nothing about "Elite Collection" or any group he may represent.  But he's made some very high-profile purchases and is still buying....maybe $30 MM spent so far (probably higher).  Now, if EC or his group have a liquid financial net worth of "only" $250 MM then they probably are paying very close attention to market prices as a drop in coin prices can occasionally cause a big drop in net worth (see:  McNall, Bruce xD).  OTOH, if that net worth figure is $5 billion....their past and future coin purchases are merely a rounding error.

For those of you who are sports/baseball fans, just look at how the New York Mets payroll has operated under the wealthy Wilpon/Katz families....vs. the wealthy Steve Cohen family.  Wilpon/Katz had most of their net worth in the Mets especially after they lost large sums with Bernie Madoff.  OTOH, Steve Cohen is a super-successful hedge fund manager whose net worth EXCLUDING the $2.6 BB he shelled out for the Mets exceeds $12 BB.

Cohen might earn 10X what the Mets might lose from his hedge fund and investments in a good year (Wilpon/Katz could not run the Mets at a large deficit -- maybe any deficit -- especially after Madoff).  However, Cohen could care less if the team loses $50 MM this year or $100 MM especially if his hedge fund earns him a few hundred million, maybe even a billion dollars.  Of course, he does care about a large sum like $50 MM or $100 MM (even to a guy with a net worth approximately $15 BB).  But he is keeping score as they say with the Mets not on the income statement and balance sheet but in the standings and playoffs and World Series totals.

Similarly....the wealthier a collector is, the more they can collect for their record in the historical annals rather than worry about if they make or even lose money.  Most of these high-end collectors are super-wealthy and super-smart businessmen who probably don't need to be told that they'll struggle to get more than a 5-7% return in the aggregate on their coin purchases.  

Buying trophy real estate...a 6th home....art.....coins....vintage cars....if you can afford them, chances are you really don't care what they are worth or re-sold for in the future.  As someone who has worked in 2 Private Banks with HNW and ultra-HNW individuals, let me say everybody is different but you would be surprised what the super-wealthy blow their $$$ on without giving it a second thought.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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FWIW... Maybe 40 or 50 years ago, I came across a book by Andrew Tobias, entitled:  The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need.  And if my recollection is correct, somewhere in that book was a piece of advice I've taken to heart, in substance:  You save money by not spending any. That thought was a Eureka! moment for me. There will be those who will demand an explanation from me about the Roosters, and rightly so. I don't have one. I was seized with an irresistible impulse and acted accordingly. In one of his books, E.A. Poe wrote:  "Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is [Law], merely because we understand it to be such?"

Yes, guilty as charged. 🐓 

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On 7/7/2022 at 10:11 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

(4)  I don't know about an asset bubble....coins didn't really take off like tech stocks when the Fed kept rates pegged at 0.25%.  Gold did very little....major U.S. coin types didn't see any price spikes....and final sales for trophy coins like the 1933 Saint or the 1908-S Norweb Saint generated returns of around 7% (as I have posted here before)

Coins aren't in a bubble now, in the aggregate.  It's not 1989 all over again.

Concurrently, the current especially US price level is only made possible by the global asset mania.  No one would be paying $18MM for the 1933 Saint without it, any more than they would be paying hundreds of millions for some artwork.

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On 7/7/2022 at 10:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

For those of you who are sports/baseball fans, just look at how the New York Mets payroll has operated under the wealthy Wilpon/Katz families....vs. the wealthy Steve Cohen family. 

Long post, so replying to this extract.

No valid analogy.  We've discussed this before.  Sports teams are in a huge bubble but first, it's an actual business.  A real one.

Second, owners are willing to make less operating profit because of increasing franchise values.

Third, while they presumably don't expect it, they might be willing to lose some money and maybe a lot because of the status value ownership confers.  The same applies to any number of other "hobbies", such as race horses, race car teams, a T-Rex skeleton, multiple artworks..you get the idea.

No one outside of a coin collector gets any utility from coin ownership and non-collectors are virtually never impressed by the attributes which make most coins expensive.  They don't care about date rarity, the "history", the TPG label, "finest" known or registry points, CAC stickers, or whatever.  It's irrelevant to them.

To them, a 1933 Saint isn't really different than any other date, other than the price.  It looks identical to them and while they may be aware coin collectors care about dates and TPG (if they collect another field like sports cards), they aren't coin collectors so still do not care.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/7/2022 at 10:28 PM, World Colonial said:

Coins aren't in a bubble now, in the aggregate.  It's not 1989 all over again.  Concurrently, the current especially US price level is only made possible by the global asset mania.  No one would be paying $18MM for the 1933 Saint without it, any more than they would be paying hundreds of millions for some artwork.

Only one 1933 Saint, as our fellow poster and colleague has told us. xD 

There are lots of Picasso's or Monet's or whatever.  That $18 MM for the 1933 is still only a 7% annual return for the previous owner.  Nothing like the 1970's, 1980's commemoratives, the 1989-90 price spike, etc.  So I'm not sure how dependent coin prices and/or trophy coin prices are influenced by the Fed. 

Don't get me wrong....higher asset prices in general and super-low rates HELP other assets including coins, directly or indirectly.  But I don't see a price boost akin to what we saw in TSLA stock....or Covid-19 stock plays that are now down 75-90% in 6 months....or 80th floor Manhattan apartments....or sports teams (Rob Walton & the Broncos).

But I do see your point in general, WC. (thumbsu

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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The 7% Rule:  The MCMVII 1907 UHR that was sold last year went for a great price...but once again, the return maxxed out at about 7% even though Bob Simpson wanted a top price and the buyer clearly had the $$$ having bought the 1933 Saint a few months earlier.

But again....does Simpson really care ?  He owned the coin for 15 years...got to enjoy it...then sold it for almost $3 MM more than he paid.

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On 7/7/2022 at 10:43 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Only one 1933 Saint, as our fellow poster and colleague has told us. xD 

There are lots of Picasso's or Monet's or whatever. 

I presume this comment isn't serious.

On 7/8/2022 at 10:19 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

The 7% Rule:  The MCMVII 1907 UHR that was sold last year went for a great price...but once again, the return maxxed out at about 7% even though Bob Simpson wanted a top price and the buyer clearly had the $$$ having bought the 1933 Saint a few months earlier.

But again....does Simpson really care ?  He owned the coin for 15 years...got to enjoy it...then sold it for almost $3 MM more than he paid.

Another point on these two coins.

On one occasion, I did a search on prices realized for St. Gauden's artworks.  I found about a dozen (mostly sold by Sotheby's or Christies) but none were even close to the price of these two coins.

The majority in the mid-five figures, a few in the lower to high six figures, and one for I believe $1.5MM.  The last one was a small lifesize statuette of Abraham Lincoln, something like three feet high in a sitting posture..

That's all anyone needs to know about what any non-collector thinks about these coins (or any others), relative to what they can buy with the same money.

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On 7/7/2022 at 10:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Buying trophy real estate...a 6th home....art.....coins....vintage cars....if you can afford them, chances are you really don't care what they are worth or re-sold for in the future.  As someone who has worked in 2 Private Banks with HNW and ultra-HNW individuals, let me say everybody is different but you would be surprised what the super-wealthy blow their $$$ on without giving it a second thought.

One other comment on this extract.

I agree, except that by some amazing coincidence (no, it really isn't a coincidence), this doesn't translate to coins, except by coin collectors.

You're familiar with the Ultra-Wealth Report, right?

The 2020 or even 2021 is probably out now but the last one I read was 2019.  57,000+ estimated with a net worth of $100MM+ and 17,000+ at $250MM plus.  It also includes a breakdown by geography for the total but not by wealth bucket.  (I believe it estimates the number over $30MM which I recall is the general minimum for a "family office".)

Either of the two groups can afford practically any coin "comfortably".  (Obviously noticeably fewer for the 1933 Saint or 1794 SP dollar.)  Yet by an amazing "coincidence" (supposedly), they don't.  The number of "very wealthy" have increased over time (probably somewhat closely correlated to the increased coin price level too) but if you calculate the probability as a function of pure random chance, any of us here would be more likely to be struck by lightning on a clear day, in multiple. 

Over five decades - since the 1970's when coins were first widely bought as "investment" - hundreds of sales (at least) where thousands or tens of thousands could have bought each and yet literally almost none ever did.

I presume it's happened a few times, but the only one I specifically know is with the Brasher Doubloon profiled in a prior Robb Report article.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/8/2022 at 12:08 PM, World Colonial said:

I presume this comment isn't serious.

Aren't there lots of those artists work?  I realize no two are alike and there are different prices/quality assigned to them....but if you want a Picasso and have the $$$ you can probably get it.  No 2 collectors can have a 1933 Saint (as of today) since there's only one.

On 7/8/2022 at 12:08 PM, World Colonial said:

On one occasion, I did a search on prices realized for St. Gauden's artworks.  I found about a dozen (mostly sold by Sotheby's or Christies) but none were even close to the price of these two coins.  The majority in the mid-five figures, a few in the lower to high six figures, and one for I believe $1.5MM.  The last one was a small lifesize statuette of Abraham Lincoln, something like three feet high in a sitting posture.. That's all anyone needs to know about what any non-collector thinks about these coins (or any others), relative to what they can buy with the same money.

Interesting....yes, alot of people don't know Saint-Gaudens was an artist/sculptor.  But because he is most famous for designing the coin -- even thought he was very famous BEFORE doing that (hence why TR knew of him) -- that's what folks want to pay up for.  The prices for his patterns and experimental models also command a nice price.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 7/8/2022 at 12:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Aren't there lots of those artists work?  I realize no two are alike and there are different prices/quality assigned to them....but if you want a Picasso and have the $$$ you can probably get it.  No 2 collectors can have a 1933 Saint (as of today) since there's only one.

Seriously?  Not trying to be difficult but that's a completely ridiculous comparison.

Why would anyone other than a coin collector want the 1933 Saint or any expensive coin like it, other than to make money off of it?

That's why I commented on all the coin attributes that especially US coin collectors think are so important.  In this case, it's primarily the date on the coin.

Non-collectors don't care about date rarity, except as it impacts the price.  It's irrelevant to them because they aren't coin collectors.  To the non-collector, the 1933 Saint is essentially identical to all the common widget Saints, other than financially.

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On 7/8/2022 at 12:29 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Is the Robb Report still around ?  I remember during the 1990's and with Robin Leach it was pretty popular.

I found this article on the internet.  I was dated either within the last 10 or 15 years.

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On 7/8/2022 at 12:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Interesting....yes, alot of people don't know Saint-Gaudens was an artist/sculptor.  But because he is most famous for designing the coin -- even thought he was very famous BEFORE doing that (hence why TR knew of him) -- that's what folks want to pay up for.  The prices for his patterns and experimental models also command a nice price.

Yes, but he isn't actually famous now or recently, except by the very low modern standards of today.   That's part of my point.

He was obviously a prominent artist in his day or else TR would not have selected him but other than coin collectors and art lovers of this particular period of American art, who else has any clue about him?  I'd guess even most US coin collectors know nothing about him, certainly not those from elsewhere.

The point I was trying to make is that his artworks (certainly his "major" ones whatever those are) are a lot more significant and culturally important than any Saint.  That's not even up for debate.

The only reason these two coins sell for so much more than any of his artworks is first, because there are far more affluent coin collectors who want it and second, because of the financialization of "collecting". 

I'm going to guess that these two coins have been more expensive for a long time or practically since the US went off the gold standard, but the variance has probably increased noticeably due to what I am telling you in this thread.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/8/2022 at 12:33 PM, World Colonial said:

Seriously?  Not trying to be difficult but that's a completely ridiculous comparison.  Why would anyone other than a coin collector want the 1933 Saint or any expensive coin like it, other than to make money off of it?

OK, I see where you are coming from.  But actually, Stuart Weitzman wasn't a coin or stamp collector when he accumulated his Three Treasures or whatever he called it.  He just wanted to have the rarest of a certain group of collectibles.  Reminds me of that episode of Star Trek: TNG where some intergalactic collector wants to add Data to his collection !xD

But I agree...Weitzman is an outlier....the 1933 Saint's natural buyers are going to be like our friend EC who are into coins in general and Saints in particular.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 7/8/2022 at 12:27 PM, World Colonial said:

I presume it's happened a few times, but the only one I specifically know is with the Brasher Doubloon profiled in a prior Robb Report article.

Robb Report piece on the 1933 sale:

https://robbreport.com/shelter/art-collectibles/stuart-weitzman-1933-double-eagle-record-18-9-million-1234618240/

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On 7/8/2022 at 1:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

In the Coin Week article prior to the Weitzman sale, my recollection is it claimed that he had always "dreamed" of either owning this coin or other coins like it.  I don't remember if it explicitly stated he had been a collector in the past, but he wasn't just a random buyer either.

I inferred that he had been at least a casual one when he was a lot younger (in the 50's or 60's?), similar to others who ended up buying the 1804 dollar and 1913 LHN.

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On 7/8/2022 at 12:33 PM, World Colonial said:

....Why would anyone other than a coin collector want the 1933 Saint or any expensive coin like it, other than to make money off of it?....

My incomprehensible reply, reduced to three words which all occurred in mid-stride over two years' time, possibly less: Raw, slabs, upgrades. I lucked out; there is nothing else out there, presently, according to reliable sources. Knowing myself as well as I do, I would not attempt to start something I could not finish. If there is a cure for this type of patently ridiculous obsession, I do not know its cure. It's quite possible I am using the polite term, coin collecting, to explain otherwise inexplicable conduct.  🐓 

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On 7/8/2022 at 2:27 PM, World Colonial said:

In the Coin Week article prior to the Weitzman sale, my recollection is it claimed that he had always "dreamed" of either owning this coin or other coins like it.  I don't remember if it explicitly stated he had been a collector in the past, but he wasn't just a random buyer either.  I inferred that he had been at least a casual one when he was a lot younger (in the 50's or 60's?), similar to others who ended up buying the 1804 dollar and 1913 LHN.

You could be right.  But I am pretty sure he never owned any other Saint other than the 1933.  He could care less about the year, mint, or relief status of the coin...he just wanted the 1933 because it was literally one-of-a-kind.

Same with the 2 stamps he bought/sold.  I don't recall him being mentioned as even a casual collector in his youth.

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