The Spring Baltimore Coin Show Market Report
By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics
A NOMINATION FOR A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
Might sound s little extreme, but we can not say enough positives about the people who put on the Baltimore Show. Mary Counts, David Chrenshaw, Lori Hamrick, etc all do such a heroic job, they deserve to be nominated for the Nobel Prize! We had a complaint about how miserable the food service offerings were (and the slow service itself), next thing we knew, David Chrenshaw had the manager down to talk to us, and on Friday there were clear changes. They go out of their way to personally handle and resolve all complaints/issues relating to the show. They definitely want the Baltimore Show to be the best run-and it is! It is a “must attend” show right up there with FUN and the summer ANA.
They also told us Thursday had an all time attendance record broken (we do not know the numbers).
THE SWITCH IS ON
The spring Baltimore Show was our best one in several YEARS-possibly even our best EVER. Its not just that we went into it with low or no expectations, something funny seemed to have happened. It was like a there was a giant switch and someone flipped it to “on”. We still are in disbelief as to how strong the show was overall. If someone had a bad show, either they handle a lot of dreck, or they need a new business plan. We did not hear of a single dealer of our calibre who had a bad show. In fact, we were surprised how many dealers pushed back their flights and stayed to do business Saturday.
Our total sales far exceeded $1,000,000,00 (we are not done adding them all up yet). Unfortunately, our purchases did not come close, but we were able to buy more than at any show with in the past year. Purchased some really neat rarities too!
Prior to the show we actually had 3 appointments set up for the hotels. Normally we have 1, maybe 2. Our first buyer bought a ton from us. From that point on it was off to the races wholesale wise. We sold three six figure deals to dealers this trip-even more surprising, two of the 3 were for immediate money! They bought some gold, but they were extremely interested in out “better Type”. Each had told us they simply could not find the “right” coins they needed for the past few months. Our success was a little bit of having two major deals at the very right time (the Deal of the Decade, and the MS Seated Dollar Collection) and the largest offering of CAC coins on the floor.
COLLECTORS CAME TO BUY
The show was like a dream. As we mentioned before, Thursday was crowded and was extremely active. It was not just people walking around with their hands in their pockets. We saw MANY major collectors there to buy. Our only theory is that there has been no major show of any consequence since FUN that had anything to offer. We thought for sure with tax time coming there would be few collectors out to buy. WRONG! We do not believe the price of gold or the equities markets had any influence on the collectors buying at the show.
We even saw a couple of “old friends” at the show who came to buy. They had drifted out of the market for various reasons and now were back. All of them bought coins from us like they never left.
Much to our surprise, our second FINEST EVER Seated Dollar set had a ton of interest and we sold many coins for well into five figures. Also, we sold some interesting Type coins, a lot of better gold, and even some patterns, all to collectors! Pricing was not the main concern. They were all looking for quality and harder to find coins. Most people we dealt with were building Type sets or Dollar Collections. Blazing white PCGS/CAC Morgan and Peace Dollars flew out of dealers cases. Ditto for semi-generic gold.
Typically at Baltimore Shows either the high end dealers do well while the collector oriented dealers are slow or visa versa. This show BOTH groups did well. Even on Saturday, the attitudes that we heard were all upbeat and optimistic.
THE B+M/STACKS SALE
Legend does not get blown away too often on bidding. We spent a substantial amount in the sale, but because there were many fresh and older holdered coins, we could not buy nearly what we wanted. Apparently, the crack out guys were even more starved than the collectors for great stuff. Here are some examples of our bids and what the coins sold for:
OUR BIDS ……. SOLD FOR (HAMMER)
50C 1912 PCGS PR67 $10,500.00….sold for $22,500.00
50C 1862 PCGS PR65 $7,000.00….sold for $13,000.00
$1 1883 TD PCGS PR66 CAMEO $22,500.00….sold for $27,500.00
$1 1896 NGC PR67 $12,000.00….sold for $32,000.00
$10 1803 PCGS MS63 We choked bad here….sold for $110,000.00
Dreck coins sold for cents on the dollar. Prices for nicer coins sold strong. And fresh killer coins of course brought “moon money” and then some! Lot viewing was packed from the minute it opened until they started the auction. Our guess is also they had a record amount of bidders in this sale as well. We did speak to the B+M/Stacks people and they were exhausted but extremely happy with the outcome of the sale.
WHAT A TURN AROUND
We thought for sure the market was stuck in mud for while. Between tax time, NO coins, and no major shows, we thought for sure this was going to be a dead show. The activity surprised us and just about everyone we know. There is nothing to really pinpoint why everyone showed up and spent money. Its not like there were many coins available, there were not, but somehow enough surfaced to stimulate activity.
April is still tax time. Historically, tax time slows the coin market. We think there will be more momentum then usual coming off this show, but we still do not expect coins to be roaring until Mid May if things are destined to pick up that strongly. At the end of April is the CSNS Show in Chicago. If that show is like this one was, then we have broken through the stagnation of no coins and prices that are too cheap. Something eventually had to give. The B+M/Stacks sale showed how valuable FRESH, ORIGINAL, and RARE coins are right now. It was clear that demand is as strong as ever.
The painful ‘cleansing” the market has been through concerning gradeflation, coin doctoring, and similar issues (still is happening) is starting to show some rewards. Many coins are still way too cheap and people now see that more clearly. The good coins had been held back by the dreck. Now that dreck has fallen and a lot of it is starting to disappear, prices for great coins are moving back up. We had said that last year prices didn’t really move up, just the dreck went down. NOW prices are actually starting to move up. Price guides for the most part are inaccurate. Your best sources of information are auction prices-IF you understand the information properly. We think the rare coin market could very easily rise 40% by the end of the year. You still can’t go out and buy a lot of great coins.
WHAT IS HOT
ALL CAC GOLD AND DOLLARS (all types). MS Seated Dollars. Walkers. GEM PR +MS Seated and Barber Type (all date ranges), early copper. Commems.
WHAT IS NOT HOT
OUR COMMENTS ABOUT SHOWS, AUCTIONS, AND WHAT WE SELL ARE STRICTLY HOW WE OBSERVE THINGS HAPPENING IN OUR MARKET. OTHER DEALERS WILL HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES. OUR MARKET IS UPPER END COINS.