By David W. Lange – July 2011 – www.coincollectingboards.net
MARKET ACTIVITY There seemed to be more than the usual coin board activity on eBay over the past few months. In addition, the quality of the material offered rose considerably from the usual dogs. Most of the boards were relatively common, but their average condition was much higher than in typical listings of recent years, with some approaching the Near Mint level. Of course, the seller’s descriptions suggest that they’re all NM, but seeing them in hand can dispel that claim quite quickly.
As is also typical of eBay sales, almost nothing can be determined regarding the actual rarity and value of coin boards from these recent sales. The prices realized were all over the place, with seemingly little connection to established values. In a break with my own habit of putting lesser quality boards on eBay, I stepped up in recent months by listing some scarcer boards and ones in grades of F-VF or better. This, too, had little impact on the prices realized, as common boards in some cases brought more than the scarce ones. What motivates eBay buyers when bidding is clearly not a real knowledge of the material offered. One notable exception was a Colonial brand board for Washington Quarters C25¢D2b in VF-NM which brought $107.50. I was the underbidder at $105, so this was no fluke but a realistic measure of its rarity and value.
For several months one seller had been listing partial sets of Lincoln Cents in boards published by Whitman, Lincoln and Oberwise. These boards appeared to be average condition or slightly better, yet they failed to sell because the fixed prices for the boards with coins were just too high. The listings all disappeared at once, and I found out why a few weeks later when he sold me the entire deal, sans coins. I suspect that the pennies were removed rather carelessly, as most of the boards had numerous torn openings when offered to me. I valued them accordingly, and just a few were still nice enough to appear in my price lists.
My other purchases of coin boards have been extremely skimpy during the past quarter, and nothing truly rare or even scarce has surfaced. It’s beginning to look as though the supply of idle coin boards has been fairly well mined already, and the list of tough items I’ve sold only once and have not been able to restock keeps growing. Really rare items have remained so over the four years since my board book appeared. For example, I’ve had in stock only three Gramercy boards and just two Earl & Koehler boards. All of these were sold very quickly.
BOOK UPDATES There have been no reports of unlisted varieties this past quarter, and I believe that this is the first time my newsletter has not included something new, however minor. I wouldn’t say that the discovery of new coin board varieties is a thing of the past, but certainly our collective knowledge of what exists has matured to the point where new discoveries are rare. There is one minor correction to my book: For Colonial variety C25¢D2b, there are “15 additional openings” rather than 14, as the erroneous 1934-S was omitted in this edition.
AND IN OTHER NEWS… I’ve completed the cataloging of all known coin folders and albums by editions and varieties for my upcoming book on that subject, and now begins the long and difficult process of attempting to reconstruct the history and chronology for each publisher. With more than two dozen publishers, as opposed to the seven for coin boards, this will be a drawn out process.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN In a surprise development, I’ll be attending both the ANA’s pre-show and annual convention in Chicagomont. There’s nothing else on the calendar for now, but ten days out of town is enough for this quarter. That part of the country is good hunting for coin boards, so I’ll keep an eye open.