EVERYTHING WRITTEN HERE IS THE SOLE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR.
What a year it was. We saw gold hit a new record and the stock market made a semi come back. The coin market had what I would call a turbulent but productive year. Prices did not go up as much as good coins weren't being drowned by dreck anymore. There actually has been a small influx of new collectors.
It was also great year in the sense of we dragged certain taboo subjects (like gradeflation, coin doctoring, etc) through the mud and brought them out in the publics eye in the nick of time. While the bad guys all have been pissed off, it unquestionably has given the collecting public a better feeling and renewed sense we can self police ourselves and that some of the "leadership" of the hobby does indeed care. Consumer confidence is critical to having coins rise in value and maintaining a healthy marketplace.
I do NOT regret saying or doing what I did to help make coins and the coin market a better place.
Exposing how bad the coin doctoring issue had become, was by far the MOST important POSITIVE thing to have happened. Had everyone just kept their heads turned and let these criminals rape coins and the coin market, it would have killed the hobbies future.
PCGS took a heroic lead in firing off a lawsuit with absolute hard evidence against a small crew. Other coin small to mid size docs took notice and are running scared. Now, PCGS is coming out with even more sophisticated technology to catch these guys and hopefully make them stop forever. I knew this was a critical problem when the Kutasi Collection of $10's and $20's was sold a few years ago and the putty was so thick on many coins sometimes you could not see all the details! I do not regret standing up and speaking out about this subject when it was really taboo to do so. Just passing on a coin certainly was not stopping the doctors fromtheir reign of destruction. In my opinion, destroying a coin should be considered a full criminal act. These low lifes are taking away the few pieces of original history we have and are slowly ruining our enjoyment of collecting. They deserve to be harshly punished and shamed.
The grading services are definately doing their share to work on the problem, however I am disgusted with so many retail dealers who will not speak out. No, its not just the lame PNG (next topic), but the dealers who want to be your friends, the ones who can't grade for crap, or have huge web sites. They are greedy cowards in my book, worth no more than the bad slabs they sell. There needs to be a shake out of these people.
I know there is still a long, long way to go in this fight. A few major firms who still employee doctors are still quietly practicing thinking they are just too big to tackle. I believe in 2011 they will be exposed and will fall. Its a matter of compiling more evidence. They certainly have been frustrasted at the very least in 2010. At least this issue is moving forward and not backwards. I hope this year to get more people speaking out. EVERY voice is important-no matter what size collector you are!
I am proud to have publically called the PNG WORTHLESS. Even thought they have accused me of "grandstanding for publicity" I will be on them until they either shut down or do something positive. They did invite me to a board meeting this year. All I heard was they had to be "reactive" and could not be "proactive". I had told them about a very potentially disasterous event that could happen-and I know they have done nothing to change their by laws about how a certain field within coins operates. The excuses flowed and still do on all subjects of importance.
Six months or so after 3 of their members had coin doctoring lawsuits against them what have they done? NOTHING! They claim to have revamped their rules? Thats BS, There are still coin doctors who are members. Thats unquestionable PROOF they have taken no visible action on the subject.
My stance on the PNG will remain the same because they will remain the same. They choose NOT to do anything-there is NO excuse for thiem to be this way, period. They are a total disgrace for not fighting coin doctoring harder than anyone. I see no reason the PNG as a group means anything to coin collectors (I am NOT saying all individual members are bad). I promise that until I see movement in the right direction, I will point out every stupid thing they do (like having a PNG day at Houston with 5 tables). The PNG certainly does not represent me as a dealer and I am proud NOT to be a member.
In 2011 I am going to push for better leadership of the hobby. The ANA needs to step up too and do more to protect its collecting body.
Of course I am going to make a comment about CAC. CAC has survived and thrived from its start up period to become one of the most influential groups that helped stablize and create a huge positive for the coin market.
2010 was CAC's year. Its acceptence is massive and is now fully ingrained in the marketplace. CAC coins are now traded on the major CCE dealer exhange. The naysayers have been silenced across the board. Unless you are selling major "fresh old time collection", CAC coins by far bring the MOST money. Why? Coins with CAC stickers are trusted. Think about where the coin market would be without CAC. You'd have great coins fetching LESS, consumer confidence would be at an all time low, and we'd be losing even more collectors (more than just normal market attrition). CAC has been a critical step in helping the marketplace be self policed (for lack of a better term). I'm sure the chatroom weenies will have a field day with me on this, but facts are facts.
The ONLY people who still dislike CAC are the ones who CAC is costing money. Well isn't that too bad?
Legend Numismatics and its three partners, Laura Sperber, George Huang, and Bruce Morlean are ALL proud shareholders in CAC.
LEGEND DID SOMETHING UNPRECIDENTED
The highlight of my year was placing the final piece in an impossible to finish puzzle-the 1C 1943D. Our good friend and customer Bob Simpson now has the ONLY possible complete set of 1943 Copper 1C. It will be on display at the PCGS table at FUN.
For those of you who have snickered about this transaction, your thoughts are wrong. This was not just a case of a rich person buying something at a crzy price to have it. Mr. Simpson has been a lifelong coin collector. In his teens he thought he had found a 43 copper 1C. He still has it to this day-not totally sure it is fake. His dream was to always own a real one, so when the chance came up to complete the set-he had to do it. This set was built from his heart. I was able to get him a 43S (which had been mine) and a 43 P early on. We knew where the 43D was. It took us 4 years to buy it! Do you really think he wanted to pay a ransom to get it (hence the 4 years of back and forth)? There had been other genuine $1 million dollar offers made on the coin. The key to the transaction was that all monies went to charity. No one seems to read that. Mr Simpson did not just buck up and spend $1.7 million on a copper 1C to be the only kid on the block with one, there always was more to it!
So in the end, we completed the impossible. After handling just about EVERY major classic rarity, completion of this set was something I never dreamed of and I rank it as the highlight of my career! I can't imagine what I can do to top this.
I will be here writing away at what I see is wrong with the market or the players in the market. I'm not going to stop and sugar coat things, that certainly will not make bad situations change. I'll leave that for others. I will do what I can to make coins and the coin market a enjoyable and safe hobby.
I'll continue to "call it like I see it" because I am person who deeply LOVEs coins. I have no appologies to those people who do not like what or how I say things. They do not have to come here and read what I write. Maybe instead of knocking me, why don't some of you take a public stand or do something about the subjects I comment on, or on things you see are wrong?
Besides all the rough stuff, I do believe 2011 will be a great year for coins. Instead of the dreck still crashing (I do not know how much lower that stuff can go), good coins will finally be free of the dreck and will actually move up in price. People did not realize that what really happend in 2010 was dreck crashed and good coins really held firm, they did not really go up. Plus, I think the worst is over for the economy and we'll see some people who sat on the sidelines start to buy again.
After a few years of misery, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel finally. I feel like we are only half way though through the tunnel, but our speed is picking up. Things really are getting better.
Now, if only some coins would come on the market!
You can always email me at email@example.com. Due to upcoming heavy travel I might be be slow in responding.