Archive for January, 2011

The Berlin Money Fair

Posted on January 31, 2011 by No Comments

I’m writing this while on a jet plane returning from the Berlin Money Fair in Germany’s capital city.  The Money Fair is really two shows in one: first, a place for mints from all over the world to showcase their current and future projects and second, a place for coin dealers, big and small, to buy, sell, and trade.  Just as the cultures of Germany and America are different, so are coin shows.  Here are some observations to prepare you if you ever get the chance to go:

Tables: in Germany, table space is sold by the meter, so you’ll see smaller dealers with as little as a meter wide display area tucked in between dealers with spaces up to five meters (roughly fifteen feet or more) or more.  The most expensive tables are enclosed booths which are also sold “by the meter.”

Displays: most dealers and collectors in Europe use plastic trays with spaces for individual coins.  The coins are usually loose, with slips of paper underneath them that bear relevant descriptive information.  The trays are covered with a thick piece of clear plastic that can be removed easily in order to handle the coins.  Locked display cases are rare.

Lighting: usually ambient or indirect lighting, though some areas are bathed in sunlight (more properly called daylight because the sun is not always shining in January in Berlin).  Hardly any dealers use the lamps and lighting that are mainstays of American coin shows, thus making it difficult to grade coins.

Food: the main lobby of the Estrel Hotel offers several restaurant choices, but vendors wheeling carts of food around the bourse floor are very popular.

Grading: all over the board, ranging from ultra-tight to ultra-loose.  That’s why PCGS is there.

Fun level: high.  At the opening bell, there are usually scores to hundreds of people waiting to get in.  Floor activity is brisk and the aisles are often quite crowded.  Often, there are long lines of people at some of the mint displays.

The Berlin Money Fair has something for everyone.  I’ve often said that one can build an entire minting operation just by visiting this show.  Vendors offer everything from planchet preparation to coin designing to actual minting presses to packaging for the final product, and everything in-between.  And, you’ll be able to see (and buy) some great coins from all over the world.

Filed Under: News

A Complete Collection of 2010 U.S. Coins

Posted on January 20, 2011 by 4 Comments

In 2010 the Mint struck over 100 different coins with legal tender status. And, today it would cost a minimum of $18,000 to buy an example of every single coin that the U.S. Mint issued in 2010. 

1c US Mint image

Take a look at all the different coins a collector will have to acquire to have a complete collection of 2010 coins.

Different U.S. Coins Produced in 2010

1c Mint State P and D mint mark, Proof and Satin Finish P and D mint mark (5)

5c Mint State P and D mint mark, Proof and Satin Finish P and D mint mark (5)

10 Mint State P and D mint mark, Proof, Proof Silver and Satin Finish P and D mint mark (6)

25c Hot Springs, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Mount Hood Mint State P and D mint mark, Proof, Proof Silver and SF P and D mint mark (30)

50c Mint State P and D mint mark), Proof, Proof Silver and Satin Finish P and D mint mark (6)

$1 Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan and Lincoln Mint State P and D mint mark not including Position A and Position B , Proof and SF P and D mint mark (17)

$1 Native American Dollars P and D mint mark not including Position A and Position B, Proof and Satin Finish P and D mint mark (5)

$1 Silver Eagle MS and Proof (2)

$5 Gold Eagle MS and Proof (2)

$10 Gold Eagle MS and Proof (2)

$25 Gold Eagle MS and Proof (2)

$50 Gold Eagle MS and Proof (2)

$50 Gold Buffalo MS and Proof (2)

$10 Gold Spouse Coins Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan and Lincoln MS and Proof (8)

$100 Platinum Proof (1)

25c National Park 5 oz Quarters Hot Springs, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Mount Hood Mint State and Satin Finish (10)

$1 Disabled veterans Commem. MS and Proof (2)

$1 Boy Scouts Comemm. MS and Proof (2)

 (Total Coins 109)

2010 is not the only year that the Mint produced this many coins. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 it also produced about the same amount of coins. The Mint has definitely kept modern coin collectors on their toes for the past few years. And it looks like 2011 will not be any different. Whoever said numismatics wasn’t fun!

Filed Under: News

A New Year!

Posted on January 11, 2011 by No Comments

We are just back from the FUN show which this year was held in Tampa Bay. The FUN show always marks the beginning of the New Year. As always this year’s show had many dealers setup and was very well attended. There were the requisite exhibits, club meetings, and auctions that are part of every successful show. PCGS received thousands of coins for onsite grading and thousands more for grading back at the office. As far as I could tell most dealers were very busy and the floor had the buzz going virtually non-stop.

What is unique about the FUN show is the tremendous burst of energy that it injects into the coin market. As a dealer I felt it and still see it today from my new vantage point here at PCGS. Even though it is just the turning of the pages on the calendar for some reason the FUN show feels like an entirely new beginning. It’s not just the level of activity, which is very high. There seems to be a new sense of purpose, a renewed sense of enthusiasm, almost a rebirth if you will. Whatever you call it the FUN show is exciting to attend and holds the promise of many exciting new things for the upcoming year.

Filed Under: News

PCGS – Low Ball Coins

Posted on January 7, 2011 by 12 Comments

Can you believe that a coin graded PCGS Poor 1 will bring a higher premium than a coin that is graded PCGS MS63. It’s unbelievable.

 $1 1897-S Low Ball

(Image Courtesy of vamhead) 

This 1897-S Morgan Dollar graded PCGS Poor 1 sold for $565 on November 2010. The same coin in Uncirculated PCGS MS63 grade sells for under $120. And there are many more PCGS Poor 1 examples in the market realizing even more.  

Who would have ever thought that a coin that is almost completely worn and has the date and design just visible could be worth more than a coin in Uncircualted grades.

At PCGS, a coin assigned a grade of Poor 1 is a coin that has most of the design and date missing due to excessive wear from circulation. However, in most cases the coin has to be identifiable by its date, mint mark and type before PCGS assigns it a grade of Poor 1.

Not only do some coins in grades of Poor 1 command higher premiums than in most other grades.  Numerous times collectors have sent in coins graded PCGS Fair 2 under a grade review, in hopes of getting their coin downgraded to a grade of Poor 1.

Perhaps coins in grades of Poor 1 are much more desirable because they circulated heavily, and therefore have much more historical significance. Or, it can be because this is the lowest grade possible and it’s really hard to find a coin in this one specific grade.  Is it because it takes just a bit more wear before it becomes un-greadable. Or, is it because of the Set Registry and several collectors want to compete in Low Ball sets? Or it may be because collecting Low Ball coins is really fun.

Whatever the reason is, its fun to see Low Ball coins attract this much attention in the marketplace.

Filed Under: News