IN THE END
We hobbled out of 2019 badly beaten but profitable. We never thought the year would end for us like this. We do know, it was not just us either.
In January/February we could and did no wrong. Did our usual heavy representations at FUN, and retailed many coins through the end of February. Then things suddenly dried up and we had little to trade. BUT a strange unexpected event happened-prices started doing what we call a step down. It was very quiet and everyone was in denial.
The mid year was made even more difficult by the fact the principals of Legend were suffering badly from extreme illnesses. Still we carried on-coins are our real passion-buying and selling some great coins. It was hard for us to accept the market was quietly stepping down.
Boom! In a surprise move two weeks before ANA, Oliver Jung elected to break up his storied best ever Type set. We spent $13-$15,000,000.00 buying the VERY BEST of what he had. What a commotion that made. Naturally that changed our out look for the rest of the year. Even though we did not have to do anything else to make money after that, we elected to sell off coins that due the market had become huge losses. Take our word on it, selling coins you like for big losses is never easy.
Regular business had stabilized by the time ANA rolled around. At ANA we did our second biggest deal of the year. The brokering of the Merc Madness Collection creating the FINEST EVER Merc 10C set. The value is in excess of $3 million. BUT, right after ANA everything shut down on us for regular business. The most devastating issue-a severe lack of coins BELOW $10,000.00. We could not even find a common CC DMPL in PCGS CAC MS65! By the time November hit for us, biz was as bad as bad can be. November was our WORST MONTH EVER! This month is not so good either BUT, we see some fresh faces, we got a few coins in the price ranges we wanted, and are we making some nice sales (still not covering overhead). It definately changed our attitudes and gave us hope.
For Legend, 2019 is a year we would like to write off. Yet we were profitable. Our sales were off almost 40% from 2018. If you asked us at the beginning of the year if all this was going to happen, we would have a stern no!
HAPPENINGS DURING 2019
Probably the biggest lesson ever to be learned: do NOT do a Registry set because of ego. Then you do really dumb things like paying $364,000.00 for a pop 1 common date Merc Dime. That was ridiculous. In our opinion, that was bad, very bad.
We saw many new people not working with dealers. They have been convinced they do not need too. We saved a few from disaster. There is a lot more to buying coins then just going to an auction and buying PCGS CAC pieces or just PCGS pieces.
A marriage that was long over due: PCGS and CAC finally created a joint registry. We say bravo to PCGS. This now adds some definition to PCGS CAC collecting. We consider this the greatest event to happen since sliced bread came around! For sure it is changing the marketplace in a good way.
PCGS CAC pricing has been added to the CAC bean look up. It will take a few more months to get the prices right, but finally it exists! This will add HUGE to consumer confidence. Now you can see why a PCGS CAC Bust Half in GEM is worth $9,000.00 vs a NON CAC one which CU shows $6,500.00. We actually already have seen more collectors buying coins like this because they now “get it”.
While nothing has been publicly said (and we have NO inside info) we can see that PCGS is really after the coin docs. We see less bad coins. In a few major players boxes we see much more NGC and virtually no CAC beans. Clearly, PCGS IS working on that area. The new regime still has a long way to go, but they seem to be working hard (not just trying) towards a better marketplace.
OUR PREDICTIONS FOR 2020
2020 will be the year for PCGS CAC. CAC has been a step child since it was formed. Now, the confusion is over, it is accepted, and collectors have more confidence in it then ever. On coins that can be put into sets (Like Morgans , Walkers, Type gold, etc), we predict 20-40% price increases in the next year (we can see nice PR 66 Barber Dimes shooting back to $1,750.00-$2,000.00 as an example). Just watch the Heritage FUN sale or look at our Dec Regency Sale to see the evidence. We expect strong price rises in MOST other series, maybe not as dramatic in some.
We fully expect the 1st six months of 2020 to be great! There is a lot of steam to be blown off by bigger collectors. And if they are coming back after all this work has been done (registries, price guides, etc) and they are comfortable-watch out! They will buy what they like-price will not really matter all that much. Regular collectors might get a chance to buy more (higher the prices the more coins come out to trade) if prices really start to rise again. We do believe all this will happen.
We also believe the two tier market will be more clear. Collectors now can buy non CAC coins and know the real price differences. This should actually help this market to firm up both in number of people collecting and yes, prices.
Our thinking ahead for 2020 is not just wishful. Its not the okay its a new year thing either. We base our comments on what we see.
The principals of Legend are ready for 2020. They will not be in hyper drive physically, but they are creating slower schedules that work for them. Already they are working on some big deals that include some mega MONSTER world class coins for 2020!
Legend Numismatics wishes to thank every one for being great customers and we promise to make 2020 a better year!
Legend Numismatics WILL be open Jan 2+3rd! We will be checking our emails daily until then