Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – The Las Vegas Collection

GreatCollections Auctions had a rare offering from the Las Vegas Collection in their auction this week.  It was a 1901 Liberty $20 gold piece graded by NGC as MS65.  The Las Vegas Collection was once owned by a private collector living in Las Vegas.  Over the years, many high-grade/end coins from this collection have been offered in various auctions.   All the coins that I have observed from this collection that have the “Las Vegas Collection” notation on the label have been graded by NGC.
Anyone knowing more about this collection can write me at my blog and I will update this information.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – PCGS & NGC Grading Standards For Problem Coins

At times, some pedigree coins cannot be graded because they have incurred environmental damage or some other type of grading issue.   Pedigree collections affected include (but are not limited to) the Binion Collection, Tuscaloosa Collection, Champagne Lanson Collection, Saddle Ridge Collection, Suwannee River Collection, Wall of Greed Hoard and many shipwreck recovered coins.  Both PCGS and NGC have expanded explanations for problem coins and they can be found at:

PCGS:  (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the more for detailed explanations)

NGC: (Additional information is available by clicking on the grading problem listed to the left of the explanations)
The “Improperly Cleaned” explanation is always a favorite of collectors.  Recently, a fellow collector that I met at the Ocala (Florida) Coin Club meeting told me he is still waiting to see the NGC slab that says “Properly Cleaned”.  Amen!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Ebay Return Policy – Selling Coins on Ebay

Okay, one more shot at Ebay and then I will get back to Pedigree coins. 

In addition to the excessive seller fees that the coin seller is faced with on Ebay, they are also faced with an unrealistic and poorly thought out return policy if they want preferred selling status.  Basically, what Ebay wants to force on the sellers is a 14-day no questions asked return policy. 

Here are a few reasons (experiences) why this is a poor policy:

1.)    The buyer has an opportunity to purchase a coin and then if he finds it cheaper within the 2 week period from another source (on Ebay, at a coin show or in a coin shop), he returns it for refund.  

2.)    The fluctuation of gold and silver prices make this policy idiotic.

3.)    A buyer has the opportunity to “load-up” on inventory and then attend local coin shows and flip for a profit.  What he does not flip gets returned to the Ebay seller.

4.)    Buyer’s remorse.  What about the remorse of the seller who could have sold it to the next highest bidder but after the coin is returned 2 weeks or more pass and the next highest bidder has moved on to other interests?
The dynamics of the coin market simply make this return policy stupid.  I have purchased coins through the mail for years and I can safely say that when I open a package, I know immediately if it is acceptable (as advertised and viewed in photos) or not.  Two weeks are not needed for that decision.  Two minutes, maybe.   

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – Ebay & Pals Fees – Selling Coins on Ebay

If you are a coin buyer on Ebay and you are evaluating the purchase price of a coin, you are oblivious to Ebay fees.  But sellers have to consider these fees and they are reflected in the selling listing price.  On average, these fees add about 20% to the gross selling cost / list price.  For example, a coin listed at $100 breaks down like this:

$100 – Selling or List Price

10% of the selling price goes to Ebay
3.5 – 4 % goes to PayPal
4 – 5%  goes to USPS/Shipping cost ($2 to $4 for postage, $1 for padded envelope)

So there you have around 18% out the door to Ebay & Pals and they have no investment cost in the coin or risk associated with the transaction.  The seller still retains the transaction risk and the cost of delivering to the post office as well as shipping material cost.  Sure, the postman can pick it up, but that adds at least a day delay in shipment and the seller gets dinged by the buyer for being a slow shipper.  Conservatively, the post office is 5 miles away (round-trip) and the mileage allowance (IRS 2014) is 56 cents so that is $2.80 or another 3% on the cost to sell.  Plus padded envelopes run from 50 cents to $1 each.  And that takes your selling fee to 20% of the gross sales or more.

Now here is a real-life example:

$     9,686
Gross sales, 80 transactions
 $     7,796
Investment cost in coins
 $     1,890
Gross Profit before Fees
 $       973
Ebay fees / Gross Profit
 $       302
PayPal fees / Gross Profit
 $       166
USPS fees – Gross Profit
 $         84
 $     1,525
 $       365
Net Profit

For sharing in none of the risk and having no investment costs, Ebay & Pals take 80% of the profit while the seller makes a 5% return on the investment cost and has all the risk and work.

So when you see a coin that is listed at what you consider a high price on Ebay, discount it by 20% and then see what the price looks like.  The 20% difference – or premium if you wish – is all Ebay & Pals.  Not the seller price gouging.  And Ebay & Pals are taking 80% of the profit.  Amazing, 80% of your profit goes to someone else – and we have not even given the IRS their cut yet.

The two major competitors to Ebay in coin auctions are Great Collections and Heritage Auctions.  Both beat the pants off of Ebay as far as cost to the seller.  While postage may be a push, you may save in that you can send several coins together – saves postage cost and material cost.

Great Collections only charges 5% for their services and they take care of the listing and picture taking.  And, if your coin sells for more than $1,000 the selling fee is zero!  They also take care of the shipping and they absorb the transaction (PayPal) cost.  So you pay Ebay & Pals 20% or Great Collections 5%.  And Great Collections pays sellers within a week  - plus or minus a few days.

Heritage is a bit more complicated and fees can be negotiated, but still are lower than Ebay & Pals.  Additionally, you can list for free if your coins meet certain criteria.  Like Great Collections, Heritage takes care of all the listing work, photographic work, shipping and payment collections.  (Negative: Heritage is very slow to pay sellers.)

Buyers in both Great Collections and Heritage auctions share the listing cost to some extent because they are required to pay a buyer’s premium.  
And for these reasons, coin buyers may find higher listing and purchasing prices on Ebay than on Heritage and Great Collections.  As a matter of fact, I frequently see coins that have sold at those two auction sites and then relisted on Ebay for 2 to 3 times the selling cost.  On the flipside, I have never seen a coin purchased on Ebay and listed on Heritage or Great Collections for a higher price. 

The Wall of Greed

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – 2015 Winter FUN (Florida United Numismatists) Coin Show

I have submitted my application to FUN to exhibit the Fitzgerald Silver Dollar Collection - “The Purple Gang Set” at the 2015 Winter FUN Convention. 

The 2015 Show will be held January 8-11, 2015, at the Orange County Convention Center, West Building, Hall WD, Orlando, Florida.  It is one of the largest gatherings of numismatists in the world with over 1,500 dealers and an attendance averaging over 15,000 collectors.  More information on times, area hotels and directions can be found at the FUN website: 
I have attended the past several shows and am always impressed by how well the FUN gathering is run.  And admission is FREE!  January, Central Florida, Coin Show, Disney World....sounds like an easy decision to me.  

The Original Purple Gang

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency” – Great Collections Auctions

My first book, “Rick’s Legacy – Pedigree & Hoard / Coins & Currency”, was temporarily sold out at Great Collections; however, a new shipment has been sent and is now available.   You can find the book at Great Collections website shown below and then click on the “Coin Books” tab.  You should have no problem locating the book, but if you do, just give Great Collections a call.  They provide exceptional customer service.   

It is also available on Ebay, Amazon, Gary Adkins Associates and Wizard Coin Supply.  All have Internet websites.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rick’s Pedigree Coins – 1879-S Binion Collection Morgan Silver Dollar

Four purchases on Ebay of MS64 Binion Morgan silver dollars that surprised my in the last few days were (2) 1879-S Binion’s, (1) 1887 Binion and (1) 1888 Binion. 

The 1879-S Binion Morgan silver dollar is one of the more difficult date/mintmark combinations to acquire with a population of only 273 coins.  Within the past week, 2 of these scarce varieties appeared on Ebay and both were NGC graded as MS64.  One sold for $86 and the other for $90 (including shipping).  That is a reasonable price for a common date MS64 Binion, but for an 1879-S it is an amazing buy.

Meanwhile, at the same time, one of the most common date/mintmark Binion’s – an 1887 in MS64 – sold for $150!  The population for the 1887 Binion is 4,888 coins.  Also, an 1888 Binion in MS64 sold for $116 and the population for that date/mintmark is 1,901 coins!

 $       86
 $       90
 $     150
 $     116

 Am I missing something?  A coin with 18 times the population availability of the other outsells it by almost double?