By Louis Golino for CoinWeek .....
More on West Point graded sets
While buyers of the 2013 West Point American Silver Eagle coin sets wait for the U.S. Mint to begin shipping their orders, which is expected to start on June 17, I have noticed that pre-order prices on e-Bay have increased substantially. This may be a sign that the sets will be good performers on the secondary market, probably in large part because of the inclusion of the new enhanced uncirculated coin.
I believe that when collectors and buyers see those coins in person they will be very impressed with the beauty of the enhanced uncirculated coin and that most photographs of the coin do not do it justice.
Caution is in order however since prices could still fizzle out as they did last year with the San Francisco sets except for the 70-graded first strike and early release sets, which have generally retained their premiums.
A lot will depend as usual on the extent to which dealers run promotions on these sets, which tends to increases prices, but with the risk that they will decline when the promotions are over unless there is strong underlying market demand.
And the market for these coins will remain in flux, especially until data on the percentage of sets that are receiving the 70 grade become available.
On e-Bay pre-order raw sets have recently sold for $200, or 30% over the issue price of $140. Raw sets have sold for as much as $220. PCGS 70 -first strike pre-order sets have been selling for $400-$450 and NGC 70 early release sets for $300-$400.
To me this suggests that the prices coin dealers are currently charging for pre-orders, which I discussed in my last column , provide good value for buyers and could be adjusted upward soon. In addition, current e-Bay prices are substantially higher than the prices the 2012-S San Francisco sets were bringing during the pre-order period last year.
An important point to bear in mind is the difference in submission requirements at NGC and PCGS. I did some further checking on this and contacted the grading companies to clarify things.
At PCGS you need to submit the entire unopened package if you wish to have the coins slabbed with the various special West Point labels and be eligible for first strike labels. But that means you are taking a gamble when you send a set in for grading since you have no idea what the coins look like. If you do not need those labels, you can screen your coins first and send them in their capsules.
At NGC only the coins in capsules are required, whatever type of submission you are making. For early release the coins need to be submitted during the early release/first release period, which will be determined once the sets start shipping from the Mint. If the sets start shipping on June 17th, my understanding is the coins would need to be received within 30 days of that date, but I would recommend contacting NGC once the Mint starts shipping sets to be sure.
At both companies submissions for these sets need to be made on their own submission forms, and NGC requires that if you are submitting multiple sets, there must be an equal number of 2013-W reverse proof and 2013-W specimen (which is how they are referring to the enhanced uncirculated coin) coins submitted.
On the PCGS discussion board someone calculated the cost to send a set in to PCGS, which comes to $50 per coin with all fees and shipping. If you add the cost of grading at PCGS to the issue price for the sets, that comes to $240. I have not seen a calculation of the cost at NGC, but my rough estimate would be about $30 per coin, which would mean a $200 total investment for an NGC submission including the set price.
I have read many comments online suggesting graded set prices will come down when the hype dies down, but I am not so sure about that at least with respect to coin dealer pre-order prices. Consider the relatively small difference between the cost to submit these sets yourself and the prices dealers are charging, and also factor in e-Bay prices. My point is that e-Bay prices could come down, but I doubt dealer prices will, especially with all the competition I discussed on my previous column.
It is true that there is a tendency for people to overpay on e-Bay, especially for a modern coin that is generating a lot of interest, but when there are numerous sales at similar price levels, that helps establish the market price for coins.
Additional Grading Service News
Both PCGS and NGC will be accepting submissions at the upcoming Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore, Maryland on June 20-23.
I noticed that PCGS recently created a special type of slab for the Carson City Morgan silver dollars that were sold in their black GSA holders. Those coins can now be submitted for grading and remain in their original holders. That is something NGC did many years ago. Many people collect Carson City dollars in their black GSA holders. For additional information see the PCGS web site.
At NGC, a new feature called “graded summary” has been added to Coin Explorer. According to the NGC web site: “This interactive feature allows visitors to scroll through the entire grade range of a particular coin to view NGC US Coin Price Guide values, NGC Census population data, recent auction prices realized and NGC Registry scores. All of the information contained in Grade Summary is separated by grade and designation in an easy-to-view format. From here, users can navigate to other resources to find more comprehensive information.”
Baseball coins design semi-finalists revealed
The U.S. Mint has announced that the competition to design the obverse of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins has been narrowed down from the original 178 designs submitted to 24 semi-final designs, which the judges began reviewing on June 5. Each judge will rank the 24 designs in order of preference.
A gallery of the semi-final designs can be viewed here
After the judges decide which coin designs they favor, those finalist designs will be forwarded for consideration by the Commission on Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Commission, which will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury, who makes the final selection that will be announced on September 10.
Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANA, PCGS, NGC, and CAC. He has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.