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!

Fools Gold-The JFK Coin

WHAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE OPINIONS OF THE AUTHOR.

DISGRACEFUL

There is free enterprise then there is the garbage that went on with the people and dealers who just had to get a piece of the Kennedy gold coin mania.

On the news you saw and heard about the long lines and near riots at the Mints. At the ANA show there were people sleeping on the side walk 12 hours before the doors opened. While the Mint could have done a slightly better job on the release, it really was not all their fault. The fault lies in the 3-5 dealers who went out and had people bused in to buy the coins. While that may not sound bad in theory, here is what happened: the people they bused in were HOMELESS, many did not even speak English, and the majority we saw look like they crawled out from under rocks. Some were paid well and most were paid a few hundred dollars. These “enterprising” dealers set up shop right by the Mint with big signs offer huge profits-to those they did not hire. It was pure crazy in that area of the bourse. We’re pretty sure it was an area where the regular dealers had few sales. While there were no crimes at the ANA Show from these walk in people, the ANA was aware that KNOWN GANG members (NOT roving gangs) were on the bourse floor (I dunno, I was terrified when I was told that) . The security concerns were off the chart for the show. I can’t speak for the fights I was told happened at the Mints-I was too involved with what was happening at the ANA Show.

Kudos to the ANA and Kim Kiick for shutting down the sales. The ANA actually got caught off guard. What she and her staff endured the first two days was horrific-but they managed to make sure there were NO problems inside the coin show. I can promise you this entire issue is being completely reviewed by BOTH the ANA and the US Mint. I suggest since we do know the dealers who started the mess, we penalize them. I do believe the ANA is also billing the Mint for the extra security they brought in. In the end, these dealers made millions while we all picked up the tab and had to cower and wonder who was looking at us and our coins. To quote our long time insurance provider: “It was the first time ever I felt unsecured on a bourse floor”.

THE ULTIMATE IN GREED

Is this what long time dealers have come down doing because they can’t buy and sell like the old days? They have exploited not only the coin market by creating FAKE value on these Modern coins, but they stooped as low as low can be by busing a clearly unworthy crowd into the ANA Show.

What really gets me going besides this garbage about buying the coins from the Mint-is that someone paid a reported $100,000.00 for the very first coin graded. Maybe they were dyslexic? You buy the coin, NOT the holder! Clearly, they bought the holder not the coin! I can’t see this coin being worth anymore then melt in six months to a year. I’m not jealous, I am thinking reality. Crack the coin out, what do you have? Nothing special-just a gold Kennedy! Sorry, but give me EVERY PROOF GOLD LIBERTY coin (any denomination) I can get that has a legit selling value today of a $100,000.00. Even the commonest PR Gold Liberty piece will always have true RARITY (maybe what 200 minted) vs thousands of Moderns that will survive in the pie in the sky grade of PR69 or 70.

This fiasco does NOT help our hobby in any way. I will debate this with anyone. How many people will be burnt buy buying these coins? We will LOSE more future collectors then what we could have gained. Your not a genius to buy an over-hyped coin that’s brand new and the value is solely based upon the holder!

I really believe this FINALLY will be the beginning of the end for the over hyped Modern Market. The publicity will NOT be good about the Kennedy pieces anywhere you look. As more people realize whats really going on overall, they will move away from these issues. If all you Modern buyers think your so smart, wake up to the fact there is NO secondary real WHOLESALE buy/sell markets on your coins. A cheesy internet auction is NOT a buy/sell spread. Moderns are a one way street! I can’t imagine any current buyer of a graded Kennedy gold piece not being burnt. How does a coin go from $1,200.00 (I do not know how much the Kennedy coins sold for) to $100,000.00 in a few hours? I sure would like to know what legitimate dealer would make a BID anywhere near $100,000.00. I doubt in 6 months you will find even one dealer who would step out and offer to buy one for $10,000.00. Sounds like the greater fool theory to me.

In all my years of attending shows-especially ANA shows, this stunt was the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen. I can only hope the overall damage done is minimal. If I had my way, I ban the dealers for life (who upset the ANA Show). I’d reprimand the Mint and make them pay damages. I’m not so sure I’d want them to come back for a while. But, I do support free enterprise and I am sure a zillion people would probably tell me I am wrong for thinking what the dealers did was anything more then that. I know fingers will be pointed in many directions (which is probably right)-mine is pointed at the greedy dealers. They did not have to do this. And yes, 3 that I know of-are PNG members! Wonder what by-law they can hide behind.

P.S. I saw a really stupid statement already on a chat-room. Yes, Kennedy coin fiasco very much DOES affect me. It effects EVERYONE. I can’t see much good coming out of all this-especially for the collectors who go and buy these coins off the TV guys for super inflated prices. Right now to the out side world this hobby looks like a greed pit. Events like this do NOT bode well for the future of coin collecting. Plus, many of you can’t read-I am NOT critical of the ANA here-at all. I am furious at those dealers who abused the system.

THIS IS THE SOLE OPINION OF LAURA SPERBER, NOT LEGEND NUMISMATICS. I can be reached at:
lsperber1@hotmail.com

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