Numismatic Quick Hits: Crossing Over + Whitman Expo in Baltimore + Missing Bitcoins Found
by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek …..
PCGS & NGC: Mutually Assured CrossOver™
On occasion Newport Beach, California-based Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Sarasota, Florida-based Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) issue policy changes and/or similar press releases on the same subject (remember the Plus Grade joint announcement). That happened again this week when NGC announced that it is expanding its CrossOver™grading service to include “MS70, PF70 and SP70 coins.”
The announcement comes one week after PCGS announced that they are accepting NGC coins in the same grades for crossover consideration. Previously, both firms offered crossover services for lower Mint State grades only.
“Perfect” grades are the hallmark of modern proofs, modern commemoratives, and bullion coins. With rare exception, these issues don’t offer significant pricing differentials in “70″, which leads many of our industry sources to believe that the real reason these changes are being made is to offer large bulk submitters the opportunity to turn over old inventory. This is purely “inside the beltway” speculation , but one has to believe that NGC’s quick response to PCGS’s move is a signal that neither firm wants to give an inch of marketshare in the bulk submission arena. And while the trickle of MS/PR-70 submissions from fastidious Registry Set collectors may generate some new revenue for the services, one has to ponder whether that alone is sufficient enough reason to justify the policy change.
For more details regarding NGC’s CrossOver™ service, click here.
For more concerning PCGS’s services and fees, click here.
CoinWeek at the Whitman Expo in Baltimore
The Whitman Expo in Baltimore is scheduled to kick off Thursday, March 27 at 10 a.m. and run through Sunday, March 30. The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative coin will debut at the show, with a launch ceremony to be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on the 27th. Hometown hero and Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson will make an appearance (an appropriate choice, given the coin’s central motif).
The Saddle Ridge Gold Hoard will be on display as well. The lustrous gold coins have drawn national, mainstream attention, and large crowds showed up to view them at the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in Atlanta last month.
But the Saddle Ridge Gold Hoard isn’t the only notable gold to make an appearance at the show.
Stack’s Bowers will be auctioning Carlos Saavedra Lamas’ 1936 Nobel Peace Prize medal. At the time of this writing, current bidding has the piece at $18,000. The medal will likely bring a significant amount more when live bidding commences.
Speaking of Stack’s, Harvey and Lawrence Stack & Q. David Bowers are giving a Question and Answer Symposium on Friday, March 28 at noon, in room 310 at the Convention Center.
David Lisot and Charles Morgan will be representing CoinWeek at the show. Expo attendees are invited to stop by the CoinWeek booth, sign up for CoinWeek’s email newsletter and register for a chance to win a free silver bullion coin.
Mt.Gox Finds Missing Bitcoins
Online bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox claims to have found 200,000 bitcoins (worth over $113 million*) in old electronic wallets.
As previously reported, Mt.Gox sought bankruptcy protection after an internal memo was leaked revealing how much the management knew about the disappearance of 850,000 bitcoins–both its own and its customers, valued at over $480 million.
On March 20, Mt.Gox issued a press release explaining the discovery of the recovered bitcoins in an “old-format” electronic “wallet”, which, according to their statement, the company believed was empty prior to filing for bankruptcy. The old-format wallets were checked again as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
Not surprisingly, some are skeptical of the company’s claims. This includes Christopher L. Dore, a partner at the law firm Edelson PC, which represents Gregory Greene in his class action lawsuit against Mt.Gox. Dore believes that the sudden “discovery” of 200,000 bitcoins is a direct result of his firm’s investigation into recent Bitcoin activity that many in the virtual currency community deemed suspicious and possibly connected to Mt.Gox.
This still leaves 650,000 bitcoins missing.
Currently (3/22/2014, 8:18 GMT), CoinDesk lists the price of one bitcoin (1 BTC) as $565.01, £342.69 and €409.62.
*All dollar values based on the price of one bitcoin (1 BTC) according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index at the time of writing.