The Long Beach Show Market Report
By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics
Guess we live in the past. We can still remember when the convention center was smaller and newer. Dealers had to endure a waiting list for tables. There used to be a huge parking lot across the street. And most important people used to pack in for the show. Now, we must park where you can and not feel too safe. Not only is there NO waiting list for tables, but many dealers are giving up tables. And the crowds just are NOT there anymore.
We’re not happy about all this, but as good creatures of habit, we don’t dare miss a show thinking the old flame will rekindle. We suvive not by being frustrated, but by lowering our expectations. In the past, spending $1 million or more was easy. Now if we spend $250,000.00 on the floor we try to convince ourselves we are happy. Selling retail goes hot and cold. This show it was ice for the dealers who sell more expensive coins to collectors. The $100,000.00 per day of selling to collectors there are long gone. Only the FUN and ANA Shows seem to be where the volume of money is spent and you can sell a lot of coins to collectors.
With all that said, Legend did have a decent show. Two years ago we’d have screamed how horrible it was. While retail was dead for us (we do know a few people did VERY well), our stealth team was incredibly active and SOLD well into six figures. Our first WHOLESALE transaction was for a double row box and half and totaled $67,000.00. From that point on the sales never dipped. By the end of the show, we had done so much WHOLESALE business we hadn’t added it all up! We now wonder how good it would have been had so many dealers not been stranded due to weather.
The weather absolutely took a toll on the crowd and how many dealers showed up. Typically the February Long Beach Show is the best of the year. We certainly hope this show is not a preview of how the June and September shows will be!
We are heavily buying all BETTER PCGS/CAC gold coins right now. No, we are NOT talking about something like an $20 1884S PCGS MS63. The better coins are like the $2.5 1871 PCGS MS65 CAC POP 2, $5 1910S PCGS 64 $20 1912 PCGS MS65 to name just few. It is our strong belief so few “better” gold coins like these are being beaned at CAC that so long as the demand holds steady, these coins are poised for serious financial gain in the long run. There has always been a huge market for gold rarities, now its even bigger due to the Internet and our countries financial woes. So many new people have started collecting these coins as short as last month! Finding these types of coins is the ONLY problem. They sell for strong premiums when they appear-key words “when they appear”. It is our strong opinion, that with each major auction, these coins are now creeping up in value.
Activity only briefly slowed since FUN for us. Typically we’d be in a “dead” period from about mid January through Mid March. This year we blazed right by it. Our sales have been strong in ALL areas: Everything from McClaren MS65 Walkers to expensive PR Gold has sold strong for us. We do expect February to be strong as well.
Prices are definitely firming now for “better” coins. The dreck (LOW END, UGLY, or OVERGRADED) is FINALLY going away. Now dealer cases just have smaller inventories, not a bunch of unsightly garbage. A year ago, dreck was just starting to crash and it looked like good coins were moving up in price when they were actually frozen. Now that dreck has established itself was being worth only a fraction, the better coins have actually started to rise in price. That’s why a 10C 1906 PCGS PR67 CAM CAC pop 2 just sold for $12,075.00 (we had it figured at $7,000.00 tops). The scary thing: we now think the buyer did ok. For inventory, we purchased the PCGS MS68 Wisconsin for $25,000.00 (that and the MS68+ were two of the FINEST colored Wisconsins we have EVER seen).
The Heritage sale further proved this point with lesser quality coins going stupid cheap and better coins selling for way too much. We’ll happily take those way “too much” high quality pieces every day!
One last word about pricing: do NOT live and die by published prices. You have use common sense and know what does and does NOT exist, how often something appears, and consider the quality of the coin itself. You will NEVER buy a great coin if you are cheap (with so few coins around dealers miss few auctions or tables at shows). Auction prices tend to be the most helpful by far.
A WORD ABOUT GOLD
We had said late last year to watch out for a correction in the price of gold. Seems like it wanted to happen, but it has not fully. Gold seems to be hanging in there. From what we see, the main buyers of gold have NOT stopped buying. Interestingly, the hedgies we know have slowed down on generics and are now buying rarer gold coins. Absolutely NONE of them are sellers, they still buyers. Also, in the past 6 months, we have picked up many new rare gold coin buyers. Surprisingly, they are collectors, not investors (most are building Type sets). This is why we are buying all the better gold we can, the supply is extremely limited and the long term buyers are there.
GEM WALKERS! GEM Large Cents. GEM “better” Morgans, Rare gold in choice AU and up. High end Commems are alive and doing well. Much to our happiness, Patterns are still in strong demand.
WHATS NOT HOT:
DRECK. Lincoln Cents, Merc Dimes, Peace Dollars were all not hot.
OUR COMMENTS ABOUT SHOWS, AUCTIONS, AND WHAT WE SELL ARE STRICTLY HOW WE SEE THINGS HAPPENING IN OUR MARKET. OTHER DEALERS WILL HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES. OUR MARKET IS UPPER END COINS.