Hot Topics

Journal entries from the founder of Legend Numismatics, Laura Sperber, help you stay current with the real happenings of numismatics.  A former ANA Board Member, Laura has handled close to $1 billion worth of rare coins to date and has assembled many of the greatest collections ever. Her views and opinions are as "inside" as you can get. Warning: ALL her Hot Topics articles are pretty blunt!

STICK A FORK IN IT

THE ANA SHOW

First, I want to make it clear I put 4+ years into trying my very best to help the ANA (2 as a Gov). I got no where. I screamed about them spending $750G on a web site and basically was told to sit down and shut up. I could not believe the status quo the board I was on had nor the desire for  serious improvement from any group within the organization...

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HOW TO MAKE REAL MONEY IN COINS

As many of you now know, Legend Rare Coin Auctions just completed a blockbuster auction. In it were many coins that were handpicked for collectors by myself and George Huang, the principals of Legend Numismatics.

THE AMAZING 1994 COLLECTION 

The 1994 Collection really was an early box of 20 type deal. The collector who was seeking a good long term investment directed us to buy him great coins-of our choosing...

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SMART PEOPLE CAN DO DUMB THINGS

Have not been able to write a Hot Topics in a while. It is not for lack of subjects. Just too busy. I plan on finally having more time to comment about important subjects again (a good customer said now I am doing normal work hours).  In the past 30 days I have witnessed something that is horrifying, drives me nuts, and is BAD for the collectors who have done it.

First, if you do not know,..

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COIN VALUATION

COIN VALUATIONS AT VERY TRICKY SUBJECT 

Valuing coins has become ever so difficult. Today, I cringe every time I see Collectors Universe Values (which are supposed to be full retail), the Gray Sheet (which thinks its retail but is pure wholesale), and auction prices (in my opinion, they are one of the few accurate sources for information-IF you understand them). So what the collecting public has to go by is a cluttered mess of pretty much inaccuracies...

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REGISTRY RIOT

THINK RATIONAL PEOPLE! 

First, let me state I have NEVER been a fan of the Set Registries. I do see they can do some good and are good for record keeping, but I happen to see a lot of negatives. I do fully agree with the  banning of  “other” grading services from NGC Registries.

In the beginning when PCGS started its Registry it was all PCGS. I thought it was crude but later I realized PCGS has a right to include ONLY PCGS coins...

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LEHIGH VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

This past Saturday I attended a very small show (25 tables) at the Lehigh Valley Historical Society in Allentown PA. It was put on by my long time friend and mentor Steve Gehringer (Keystone coins). He is on the board of this institution and donates all his spare time to it. It was my first small show in 30 years. I was moved by the show and facilities.

The show really opened my eyes...

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BUYER BEWARE

AUCTION BUYING

I want to make it clear this is not a self serving Hot Topics. I am writing this based upon several negatives I see happening. As many of you know, I tirelessly fight coin doctors and dealers who shill for them. For awhile, things chilled. Lately, I do not like a lot of what I see starting to happen again. The public needs a little reminder.

One thing I can proudly state-Legend and Legend Auctions do NOT deal in doctored coins...

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TRUE QUALITY, A GOOD DEALER, AND FRESHNESS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

If you think this Hot Topics sounds like a broken record-yes, it does. I can never say these issues enough!

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A COIN TO BE FRESH?

This is where many collectors make big mistakes. A coin purchased in 2013 is NOT fresh. Most likely people remember it. A coin from 2005 IS now fresh. There is no specific rule as to what is “fresh”...

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A BAD CULTURE

REALLY?

For years now coin doctoring and gradeflation have been two of the biggest problems with the hobby. Coin doctoring actually has lessened to a small degree, while gradeflation has not. Its one thing that’s standards have changed, but its another when EVERYONE keeps pushing the standards.

I have seen a very upsetting trend of late. I work very hard to help collectors build their dream sets. I buy them ONLY PCGS CAC coins that are all there and then some...

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HOW TO BUY THE BEST COINS

Legend Numismatics is this decades UNRIVALED leader in building some of the GREAT COLLECTIONS ever formed. I can say with out any hesitation we have handled most of the greatest coins that exist.

I see so many collectors buying bad still. They think because of a coin having strong bidding in an auction or some dealers web site promotes a coin well they are buying something top notch. They think they are “do it yourselfers”..

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IS THE COIN MARKET TOO LIQUID FOR ITS OWN GOOD?

DRECK: a messed with, low end, problem or UGLY coin. Dreck has nothing to do with a coins grade or value.

Hard to believe with so few NICE coins available the coin market is in a major funk. Records are still shattered at all price levels (except at the extreme top) when great, fresh, and eye appealing rarities show up. BUT there are a whole group of mid range coins that have fallen dramatically in price...

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BAD COINS IN GOOD SETS

WHEN NOT TO ADD A BAD COIN TO A COLLECTION

Having built many of the FINEST EVER Collections (MS Half Dimes, MS+PR Barber Dimes, Dollars 1794-1921S, $3 MS, $10 Indians and Saints, etc), I have earned the right to comment with authority about GEM sets. Recently I have seen a very disturbing trend among collectors. Some want to play this registry game so bad and be top guns they include coins that never ever should be considered for a great set...
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Use Dealers to Represent You

I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I AM SEEING AND HEARING This is not a new subject. I’ve written about it before. Why don’t collectors understand buying out of auction on your own is highly risky? I was shattered the past two weeks with what I heard and saw. So many collectors are so foolish. It does NOT matter how much you spend either. 
For all the boo birds who think they are so smart and don’t need dealers,..
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The Difference Is How Much? 

This Really Happened

In January a major auction house loaded up on 5C 1912S PCGS MS66 consignments. For what ever reason they decided to allow 4 coins to be sold in order. Prior to the sale, the last 1912S PCGS MS66 to sell at auction brought $30,550.00 in 2014. The 4 decent pieces each sold for $10,575.00 thus crashing that market.

Another 12S 5C came up for sale a month or so ago and went for around $8,000.00...

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Do Not Do This!

RESPECT THE KEY DATES

If you are building a set-it does not have to be the worlds best, Always build the set you can afford. The most frequent mistake I see is people ignoring or disrespecting the key dates. Before I start this discussion, I have built more #1+2 major collections then ANY dealer of my generation. So I can speak with full authority about this subject. I can assure you, the information I am telling you IS 100% correct...

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Complete Closure From The Rip Off Report Case! 

FINALLY! 

We’ve seen many chat-rooms asking why they have heard nothing in the past year. Let me tell you, it was one strange long legal journey. This guy insisted on representing himself in court. He danced around things for along time. Multiple times he was threatened with contempt of court.  Recently it all came to the brink. After lying to the judge-and being caught red handed, He finally realized he had to throw in the towel...

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