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!

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.

I have been seeing more and more people recklessly build sets. The last coins they seem to care about are the keys.

That approach is totally wrong. Most of the time you can get great examples of the lesser dates any time. You should NEVER blow your money on them before you have bought a key date. Last week I watched a mini bidding war for a horrible ultra key date Morgan dollar. The coin did not even deserve to be graded. Placing that coin in a complete set is an EMBARRASSMENT, REDUCES the QUALITY of the set, and even LOWERS THE VALUE of the set. Educated buyers will be turned off. The buyer was far better off NOT having that date then placing an inferior coin in their set.

Wait for the right coin. No one likes seeing an empty hole. BUT that’s better then putting a problem coin in. In the worst case, change your budget from buying the cheaper coins to having a special reserve for the important “key” date.

It was an interesting lesson when we sold the 93S Morgan from the Sunnywood Collection (PCGS MS65 CAC)-a dealer bought it on spec. All the Morgan collectors did not bid. The coin was a gorgeous GEM. We’re pretty sure a collector/dealer like the late Jack Lee would have purchased it either to keep or to wait for a collector who needed one. He certainly understand the key dates. We did not and still do not understand how collectors who have spent substantial amounts on their Morgan sets can buy inferior coins yet not bid on the 93S. Current bad advice we think is also part of the problem. Today’s Morgan dealers have never spent big money on any pieces and thus they rely on upgrades. That puts their customers at an unknowing disadvantage.

If you are going to put your energies into building a great collection- do NOT skimp on the key dates! Example: if your building a choice or GEM Merc set, do NOT buy a 16D MS64FB that’s dark or has problems and won’t CAC. Spending the extra money for a PQ CAC piece will come back to you when you sell your collection.

I NEVER have and NEVER will buy any key that isn’t all there. I won’t build sets for people who don’t agree with my thinking. EVERY major set I have ever built with super keys has turned out to be winners with out any issues. QUALITY DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! This theory of mine holds true for ANY set you might build.

Any questions or comments please email me direct: lsperber1@hotmail.com

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