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New Legend Market Report and Hot Topics are posted

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I do not disagree with anything that Laura states in this article. I think that we all have seen a gradual slippage of grading standards. IMHO, it is collector (grade MS62/65) graded coins that have really slipped. I debated long and hard over whether to resubmit my gold coins that I sold recently. Most of them were graded 3-5 years (or longer) ago and probably would have been graded a grade or two higher. My loss, I guess.


I believe that the glut of overgraded material is keeping correctly graded material off the market, and therefore is contributing to the current market downturn. Many dealers are not getting much new material and are victims of their own greed with tacit collusion from the TPG's.


Now the TPG's have throttled back their grading standards to the point where they are so tight that nothing is still graded properly. It appears to be no-win, no-win with this system. I believe that the TPG's need a reference coin system (as they used way back when) that they adhere to. There is always going to be the human factor, but at least minimize it!


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Yes she does make a strong case. And the above comment is perfect. Right now they are so tight, or thought to be so tight, no one wants to crack out a coin worried that it will downgrade rather than upgrade. And I know I'm not selling my PQ MS62/3 coins in old fatty or rattler holders--at least those that a clearly higher grades. So I'm not selling. There's a lot of true swill sloshing around the market, the same overgraded coins show after show. And this last Bowers and Merena auction in Baltimore is literially the first one I haven't gone to since 1999--there were only 5 Morgans out of 200 that I even thought were decent eye appealing correctly graded no problem examples. That's a real low for that auction, among all the show lots I've personally viewed. I remember vividly one Morgan proof in a major company holder--the blue paint was literally pealing off the coin in the plastic. Talk about just buying the grade, and ignoring the coin--as well as what came with it!!! frown.gif

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Wow! She let loose with both barrels!

The ANA show did have a lot of lower end for the grade material; Including the auctions. However, I even saw low end for the grade material in old TPG holders also. I don't really know what to say except, I wonder if due to the "savy-ness" of the current buyers, and the "buyer beware whisperings" that has been going on recently, that buyers are really being very selective as to what they're willing to purchase. I know I am. With this in mind, you're only left with stuff on the floor that just won't move unless it can be heavily discounted. I wonder if it would even be worth anyone's time to collect up all the dead lock "over-grades" out there and re-submit for downgrade/presidential review/etc. Even if it does come in at one grade down, the payout FMV determination and what was actually paid for the coin would have to be more in line with each other. Based on that, perhaps most impressions for doing downgrades are a "lose-lose" situation. Seems like most dealers would rather continue carrying the inventory and sell it discounted. As for the recent "tightening", it may not be all that bad as it puts more value back into a particularly graded coin. The primary drawback is shaking customer confidence in TPG's in that it lacks consistancy. All I can say is; look at a lot of different examples of the grade of coin you're interested in accumulating. Review one click up, and one click down to give yourself a much better perspective of what to expect for that denomination. Yes, it's all subjective, but it paints a better mental picture of what ultimately will be acceptable to you.

On her other rant, it sounded like someone with money went out buying top of pop holders with total disregard for set composition and eye appeal. "Pimped around for $1 million dollars", . . . Wear a suit to a coin show, tout yourself as a long time numismatist and tangible asset expert, ambush an unsuspecting investor with deep pockets and play to his/her ego, and voila! At 15% commission, you don't have to work the rest of the year! There was a time when it really took a lifetime to build a number one set which really was worthy of number 1. Now days, a number one set can be had next week if you've got the dough. If you don't have the top of pop, No Problem, "The crackouts" will find a "top x% of the grade below", crack it, walk it through with a loooong explanation (sales pitch) as to why this belongs in the next grade up and before you know it, now you're #1! Now it's time to dump the set because you are forever immortalized in the "All Time Finest" list. My only question is, anyone see what the coins looked like? confused.gif



jb's gold country sets

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Frankly, I don't think that Ms. Sperber is saying anything that we don't already know. The collecting community has relinquished too much power to the TPGs through (1) laziness in learning, (2) the drive of ego for a "top set" as defined by profit-driven TPGs, and (3) simple greed. The end result is a lot of overgraded dreck that everyone complains about on the bourse floor.


The lack of "fresh, original" coins is a new twist on an old numismatic law -- Gresham's law: "Bad money drives good money out of circulation." What Ms. Sperber comments on is no different from what happened to silver coinage when clad coinage was introduced forty years ago. No collector will let go of a true gem when the market is awash in coins that are gems in name only (so-called by a TPG).


The problem has reached the depths of even the lowly shield nickel. I've been seeing a lot more overdipped, mushy-strike, spotted shields bearing MS-65 labels in dealers' inventories.

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Problem is, everyone says "buy the coin, not the holder" but go to a show and try and sell a solid MS64 that is in a MS63 holder and see what kind of offers that you get! The average collector will NEVER get more than 63 money for the coin! IMHO, if you're big-time and carry some weight in the hobby, you can put that MS64 into a 65 holder but the collector doesn't have a prayer in this sum-zero game!


Since I am retired, I may stick with playing bridge and fishing. My boat may be a hole in the water that you throw money into, but this hobby sometimes feels like a hole in the ground........ 893censored-thumb.gif

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hot topics report was superb\ i think summed up really well



market is truly hot and on fire\...but only for special michael type coins if i do say so myself and i do devil.gif



like the summer ana in 2004 pittsbrugh many buybacks in auction due to greedy consigners with rat turd plastic holdered coins that are not eye appealling or true to grade


but true to grade great eye appeal scarce coinage brought all the money and then some ,,,, which is par for the course and everyone knows and understands unless you are totally brain dead

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It's not that I need to see only high end wonder coins to be happy, its that the coins that I see that our minds have been trained to accept as high end or nice-are not. Or, if we see a properly graded coin (by older standards), its automatically considered a crackout. Just go to ANY show or auction. Look at coins like MS65/66 Saints. I just saw a group of at least 20 coins that were graded by a major "respected" grading service that either should have been graded MS63 or NO GRADED! Since when did the standards change so much as to allow huge whacks, horrible discolorations, or soft strikes to be on a coin labeled a GEM MS65? You don't even want to know what I saw on a few MS66's!


Go one step further. Look around at the real high end stuff like PR/MS 67-69. What are there so many PR69 coins that look average (or, why are there so many 69 coins period)? Shouldn't a PR or MS69 coin be the most outrageous coin you've ever seen? Shouldn't glow in the dark? And how about some PR67/68 coins (again, from a grading service that crows how great it is) that are called cameo but are totally hazed up??? And doesn't eye appeal count anymore? The new ideology the services push-add a point for eye appeal. They have made the big cut on a focal point acceptable if a coin has color. They keep creating new ways to bend the grading curve.

If you think about it, we've all hid behind the arguement that standards have changed. There IS truth to that. But not total truth. The standards have not changed to the point where whacks, softness, and cruddy coins should make certain grades. In many lower graded coins (like 62/63) you'll see wear, severe lines, and even bold cleaning. As I said before, ALL areas have been affected. Through slick marketing, the grading services have re-educated us and made us believe these "new" standards are correct. Someone starting out in this hobby and trying to learn how to grade and looking only at the stuff thats recently graded does NOT have a clear picture of what a fresh original material should look like. Thats probably why there is a whole generation coming up that can't tell the difference between articfical coloring or even putty vs. original haze. And to make it worse, there is a whole new breed of dealer (I call them wannabes) who have no clue about how to grade-but don't need to because they can simply compare plastic and break out the good looking coins. I also don't buy into the diversion that the grading services like to spin that whats out there now is the bottom 10-20% of all coins graded.


Apparently, the more generic a series seems to be, the more grossly lax the grading becomes. Sometimes it seems the services grade by demand, rather than standards.

In our opinion, a top ranked registry set should have coins that are not only superior for the grade, but also ones that look the part. Shame on ALL the grading services for allowing junky coins to exist at the higher grades. And shame on the collectors who feel they need to buy these coins because of set registry pressure.

So what if you have every coin but one or two in top grade? The idea is to create a memorable set. One bad apple WILL standout and hurt the overall set.

Remember this: buyers will show LESS attention to ANY set if there is nothing special-even if it is top ranked. You certainly won't be able to attain any signifciant premium when you go to sell.

You should NEVER have to convince yourself to buy a coin because of its holder or what the coin would do for your set. Be patient-it does yield rewards and sometimes saves you money.


We can't say this enough: BUY THE COIN, NOT THE HOLDER! These words hold true-even in the wild registry races.



Strong words but very well said!


I owe many thanks to michael who has tutored me over the past few years and has given me access to top quality, eye-appealing coins. If not for him then how in the world could I have ever achieved a standard with so much garbage out there? Knowledge always has and always will be the key to success whether it be in life or building a great collection! Never ever settle and use the 10 second rule. If the coin does not appeal to you within the first ten seconds then you should pass ... period! Paying a premium for a premium coin is almost always the wisest choice. Afterall, if a specimen doesn't appeal to you then why should it appeal to someone else when you or your heirs go to sell?


Sound, sound advice!

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thanks victor!! you are really smart and a stand up guy and fair minded but you give me too much credit!!


i have been a little under the weather for the last few days and i am sure i will talk at you soon





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Now having cooled off a bit and having reread Laura's article, I feel, in an analogy about this hobby, as though it is like a lake. A lake where the whole (grading) level has been lowered, showing the rocks and making navigation very hazardous.


When I sold several sets, I kept a 20th Century Gold Type Set which I also use as a grading reference set. Within this set are (4) Saints, a MS65, MS64 and (2) MS63's (a "P" and "D"). All of these Saints were purchased 4-5 years ago and are select for grade, toning and strike. They certainly do not represent the range of any grade, but they illustrate (for me) the desired characteristics of that series and grade.


Comparing these coins to most of the Saints that I see being offered now, TPG grading has slipped one to two grades in the past few years. I was recently comparing scans of Saints in a highly ranked registry set. All the coins in that set were graded MS66/67. These coins were, IMHO nice Saints, but all had sufficient marks and luster breaks to be MS65 coins.


Putting this gradflation into terms of acquisition inflation, a MS65 coin's price has increased by 50% in the past (5) years, plus the added 200-500% if you have to pay MS66/67 money for it. My disposable income surely has not kept up with this rate of price inflation. Also, I am resisting reprograming my brain to deal with "floating gradflation" numbers. I learned to grade a long time ago and am pretty well programed as to what a series and grade should look like. Call me inflexible if you wish.

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I rented a table at a bourse in Jan. '04 and was amazed at the lack of retail buyers as much as the inability of "dealers" who couldn't grade. A guy with a table across from me bought a roll of "BU" Morgans guaranteed to grade ms63 or better and asked me to double check since I was fresh out of an ANA grading seminar (which was excellent, BTW. One thing that the ANA excels in: education). Five of the coins were so obviously cleaned that they beat you over the head with the notion. The rest squeeked by at 63 with a couple of 64's. The guy totally ignored my advice and said that he'd send them all in anyway.


Well, whatever! That's at least seventy five bucks for economy service that he threw to the wind.

I was shopping for a sweet AU 58 small plancet Bust Dime (still am) and the best that I could find was one hairlined at the date. I passed.

It amazes me how dealers can make money in the business. It is a tough game, especially if they thrive on wholesale. Well, the question arises, where do they get their inventory with which to turn a profit. Even if they do snipe a collection, how often do they come around? Me, I certainly didn't make anything. I didn't loose my shirt and my goal was to liquidate some items that I was no longer interested in. Besides, cruising the other side of the fence gives a collector some damn good experience and makes him a much smarter purchaser! It was an invaluable education. Still, I have many questions left unanswered....

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