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!

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. Ouch!

We’re not here to point blame at the auction house. However they did contribute to bursting this dates bubble. We do acknowledge a bit of gradeflation may have been involved in this story too. NONE of the coins sold were CAC’d.

Fast forward to the Baltimore Stacks sale. In the Kazliiz Collection was by far the FINEST 5C 1912S I have EVER seen. It was also the ONLY 12S MS66 CAC’d. For many years I had wanted to own one. But I did not like 99% of what I saw. This Kazlitz coin was unlike any of the others. It was perfect and had a REAL full strike. Everything was so right about the coin. I was prepared to pay a record price. I knew there would be risk, but I have always stepped up with out fear on the very best coins.

I was stunned as prior to the sale the price had already been up to $25,000.00 hammer. I discussed the coin with one of the top graders who I trust and their opinion was someone is clearly on it for an MS67. They agreed it was probably the best 12S. I felt the coin was a lock MS66+ shot MS67.

Auction time hit and I ended up paying $32,900.00 for a date and grade where others in MS66 holders were now selling for UNDER $10,000.00. When I got the coin back in the office I was relieved to see the coin looked as great as I remembered. To hedge a little, I sent the coin off to PCGS seeking a +. At the very least it HAD to do that to be forever confirmed to be better then all the rest. Got the + and was re-beaned by CAC.

I wrote a small blurb in my Market Report stating the 12D+ 12S MS66+ Nickels would be for sale at our table at the ANA. Much to my surprise, I immediately had TWO serious inquiries. At the show one collector came up and looked the pair and said they loved the coins, they wanted to see what would sell of theirs at the ANA auction. To bad for them. The next morning a collector walked up and purchased the pair after a brief examination. After that a major dealer came by to buy them (loved telling them the pair was sold). And to think, I never officially advertised them or put them on our web site.

The collector really has little risk even though they paid so much above the rest. These are special once in lifetime coins. They will ALWAYS command huge premiums. Yes, there really are spreads that huge these days. All the collector needs to do, is try and keep them off the market for a few years. Its even better for the collector since the coins went into a top set. Look at what happened with the GEM Walkers and the MONSTER Gold Dollar sets in the ANA Sale. We bought the 1851 PCGS MS68+ for $94,000.00 to be a corner stone in what now is the all time finest ever Gold Dollar Collection. The owner has no plans on selling anytime within this decade! I know the next time this monster 1851 hits the market-its value will be well into six figures. Ditto for the Walkers we bought. The 5C 1912S PCGS MS66+ will easily be a $75-$100,000.00 coin within a few years.

This is why we always say: BUY THE BEST QUALITY YOU CAN AFFORD. It does not have to be MS68’s. The market for the top 10% of a grade is strong-the problem been too many coins really are not what the holders say. Gradeflation just won’t end. Even with the huge price spread, I was not going to miss owning this FINEST EVER 12S.

We doubt you’ll ever see many huge same grade spreads as the 12S 5C in MS66 has. We just wanted to show collectors it does happen-but never be afraid to buy the real VERY best.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS PLEASE EMAIL ME DIRECT: lsperber1@hotmail.com

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