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Thread: Coin show observations

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  1. #1

    Apr 2008
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    Coin show observations

    Recently finished my second large coin show working as a "dealer" in a booth. I shared a booth with a real dealer friend and learned more this year than at last year's show. I don't know if anyone here is interested but I thought I would share some observations, etc.

    I was surprised that I did not get more interest in my Kookaburras, Koalas, silver Kagaroos in cards, silver Britannias, etc. Really cool stuff silver bugs go nuts over and had few takers since these mostly have higher premiums. I did sell several Mexican Libertad back years and rare years though, and dumped several to some out of state dealers that paid well. Very few dealers had much inventory for the kind of stuff I was selling, like modern foreign bullion etc. Most dealers had slabbed "coins" and such and not as much bullion. That helped me have a decent flow of "customers" and several said "you got great stuff here", etc (was cool speaking to fellow silver bugs into the same kind of stuff as me). I did best with "pretty" or unique coins (with holograms and unique looks like much of the Canadian proof special issues, etc). Or people would come up and say "you have any coins with a dog, cat, polar bear, soccer player, etc."? You name it they asked for it. I was ready for that since I saw that last year, and most of what I sold to the public was stuff in cool boxes that wasn't more than double the silver value (for 1 oz coins) but for smaller coins they would pay up to 4 to 5 X silver value if they liked the coin.

    Was good that I was able to almost complete my Australian Lunar series 1 silver coins set (this series is my new addiction), but had to really negotiate in that the guys that had them wanted outrageous amounts initially $100+ for some years, etc. The good thing about being a "dealer" is you get better treatment from the other dealers and they do discount more for you, so I was able to get the prices down to a high but acceptable level.

    Since I am considering actually going into the "coin business" in a more serious way I found my self basically "interviewing" some of the cooler dealers about he biz end of all this and learned some interesting things. For example, I met one out of state dealer whose job is basically finding certain coins for his clients, mostly wealthier folks who want certain coins and pay for them well. This guy said he had no store but had an office. He had a list of clients with certain coins they wanted and his job was to find them. He said most coins he purchased were in the $5000 to $25000 range but he has bought and sold individual coins worth over $100000. He receives a fee worth 10% of the coin's value when he finds one on his "list". So basically his customer would pay him $25000 for a $25000 coin, plus an extra $2500 to the coin dealer as his "fee". This dealer was very nice compared to most of the dealers who have somewhat $hitty attitudes (this was not a new observation for me in that I have always known many of these dealers are arrogant ba$tards for some reason?) so I was able to pick his brain for much of the show (his booth was next to ours). He had some coins in his display case with values exceeding $50000 (all slabbed coins, etc). He said he rarely sells to the public at the show because nobody just walks up and buys a coin like that unless they have been looking for one.

    Most dealers at the show were from out of town. And the universal theme I heard from the few I got to really talk to was that the dealers (out of state and local) mostly make their coin show profits in buying/selling from the other dealers who show up. Selling to the public is just "icing on the cake", that is why these traveling dealers mark their crap up so much because if they don't find a sucker (like me on the lunar series 1's) they can simply take their inventory to the next show and try to sell it there.

    I wound up selling much to the dealers instead of the public. In fact, probably 80% of what I sold was to other dealers. I didn't make as much per item but was able to sell a bunch fast for much better prices than my local dealers (whom I bought much of the stuff from) would have paid me if I sold to them. Next year I am considering not having a booth and simply buying a dealer's badge and walking around the show with a little suitcase on two wheels like many of such out of state dealers who come but don't get a booth. In fact, there are some guys who are hired by large coin distributors to simply go from show to show looking for very specific items. These guys paid well and didn't haggle much so I liked when one of them would come up looking for stuff. They seemed to like Chinese, Russian, etc stuff from the type of coins/bullion I had.

    The turnout this year was very low compared to past years, even though last year was said to be "slow" too. Could be the show was not promoted enough, but a couple dealers I spoke to that travel to shows for a living told me the lower turnouts have been prevalent at generally every show they go to when compared to metrics from say 5 years ago, etc. Although certainly some cities draw bigger crowds simply due to populations, etc, but generally speaking all shows are lower now than in the past. One dealer I spoke to blamed the internet in that nowadays it is easier to go online and buy those "rare" or hard to find coins instead of going to your local shows to search. I think too lower/falling prices keep some from being interested like they were before and going into 2011, etc.

    PS I noticed some of my coins I had stashed since last year's show had milkspotted since last year, such as my Australian Saltwater Crocs. I have them in air tites in a climate controlled professional "vault" so no way to stop them from happening. I need to not hold these really recent year coins from countries whose coins spot so easy like Canada, GB, Australia (on bullion coins), etc. Now those crocs will be melt value instead of the $6+ premiums they would have brought.

    Jim
    Last edited by jim4silver; Oct 16, 2016 at 11:20 AM.
    R.I.P. Rich Hartford

  2. #2
    Charter Member
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    Some good insights and interesting show. Would have loved to have been there.
    jim4silver likes this.
    Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand. - Tribe Unknown. Those that lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. - Blackfoot

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
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    Thanks for the great info!
    jim4silver likes this.

  4. #4
    us
    Dec 2006
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    I attended a semi-annual large coin show with 120 tables in Minneapolis on Saturday. It was modestly crowded and a few dealers I knew said that business was good. It seemed to me that the buyers were just trying to fill folders with common silver coinage. I saw few people buying bullion rounds or bars. There was a 1000 ounce silver bar that the dealer would sell for $15 K "just to get rid of it." (I was a little short of cash, so I didn't buy it...yeah, sure). I did purchase a few Bermudan silver crowns and a few silver New Zealand coins.

  5. #5
    us
    Apr 2013
    Texas
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    I enjoyed reading your post. It's probably been two years since I've been to a coin show. Guess I've sort of moved away from silver and am now into the 17th and 18th century European copper and bronze coins. Online purchases from across the pond seem to be the way to go on these.
    jim4silver likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Feb 2008
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    Good reading, thanks Jim. I've missed both the local 30-table shows here in town this year because they are on Saturdays, and I had to work. I joined the local coin club last year, and it's interesting yet kind of dry.
    jim4silver likes this.
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  7. #7

    Apr 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by fistfulladirt View Post
    Good reading, thanks Jim. I've missed both the local 30-table shows here in town this year because they are on Saturdays, and I had to work. I joined the local coin club last year, and it's interesting yet kind of dry.

    I am probably going to start going to the local smaller shows on a regular basis, but will skip having a booth at the bigger shows (100+ dealers). I will though pay for an early bird/dealer badge that allows me to go in during dealer only hours since I made most of my money selling to the other dealers. It was so slow on the third day of the show I was regretting being there which I didn't do at the previous show I did.

    I think part of the problem too is the organization promoting the show did a terrible job of promoting it to the public.

    Jim
    Last edited by jim4silver; Oct 25, 2016 at 07:58 PM.
    R.I.P. Rich Hartford

  8. #8
    us
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    The last day of a coin show may be the best for buyers.
    Sellers may discount stated price inventory or be more 'generous' in their negotiations.
    Don......

  9. #9

    Feb 2008
    Texas
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    PS I noticed some of my coins I had stashed since last year's show had milkspotted since last year, such as my Australian Saltwater Crocs. I have them in air tites in a climate controlled professional "vault" so no way to stop them from happening. I need to not hold these really recent year coins from countries whose coins spot so easy like Canada, GB, Australia (on bullion coins), etc. Now those crocs will be melt value instead of the $6+ premiums they would have brought.

    Jim,

    I don't know how feasible these two ideas are for you, but consider:

    1. Can you do your own vacuum bagging of single rolls to control moisture?

    2. As a R/C flyer many years ago, CA glues were great for fast building of model planes, but the glue would harden in the small bottles. Some guys would put it in their refrigerators to keep the hot spring and summer temps from shortening their lifespans. The real key turned out to be that CA glues setup because of the moisture in the small air pockets in the top of brand new and partially used bottles. So, putting the new or used bottles of CA in the freezer was the magic step. In that kind of Zero or below temps, the moisture was locked up as ice crystals. I have some two oz. bottles from the late 1990's in our freezer with no loss in glue strength. For short term time frames of maybe a year or less, could you seal your coins and then freeze them in a sealed box marked "Weinners"......??

    Just a thought,
    Bill
    Last edited by billjustbill; Oct 31, 2016 at 10:45 PM.
    "Chance Favors the Prepared Mind."
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  10. #10

    Apr 2008
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    401 times
    Bill,

    In my experience, coins that spot are destined to do that when they leave the mint. And no matter what, that coin is going to milk spot at some point in time. The spotting is said to be from some type of chemical they use to clean the blanks before they are struck, and for some reason these mints fail to remove all of said chemical and it in a sense gets "baked" into the coin. That baked in residue is what the "spot" is later on. It is not on the outermost surface layer per se. That is why there is no difference in the coin surface that can be felt or detected where the coin has spots and where it is good other than the bad appearance (can't be felt like it could if there was dirt or debris causing the spot).

    I've seen coins come out of a brand new mint roll with spots. I believe that if a coin hasn't spotted in 2 or so years from its birth date, then it probably won't spot. They seem to take a few months to 2-3 years to develop from what I have seen. If you make it past that point you are probably OK on not getting milk spots.

    PS All of the remedies online for removing spots that involve direct contact with the coin (rubbing, etc) will leave marks so even if the spot disappears you will have crazy amounts of "hairline" scratches or worse, etc.

    Just my opinion.

    Jim
    Last edited by jim4silver; Nov 01, 2016 at 04:58 PM.
    fistfulladirt likes this.
    R.I.P. Rich Hartford

  11. #11

    Feb 2008
    Texas
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    Jim,

    Your information and description of what milk spotting is and how it is caused is new information for me. Thank you for explaining the spotting issues.

    Hope your future coin shows go well. With some of the website editorials about how rare silver will be when "New Technology" uses it to make almost free energy, in new fields of power generation well over and above solar panels, coin shows may become a rarity or vendors may need a "Brinks Bodyguard" at future shows.... ;>)

    Thanks again for your help,
    Bill
    "Chance Favors the Prepared Mind."
    Louis Pasteur

  12. #12

    Apr 2008
    3,585
    401 times
    Bill,

    Here are some good pictures of varying degrees of milk spotting. It really needs to be fixed by the mints, there is no excuse in my opinion. As far as the cause of milk spots I don't have any way of knowing for sure what causes them but just go by what they report often online. I have bought a few new awesome looking coins that came slabbed but in a year or so developed milk spots pretty bad.

    9999: Canadian Wolf - Remember it is RCM produced!

    Even NGC says they can't fix milk spots.

    https://www.ngccoin.com/ncs-conservation/

    Jim
    Last edited by jim4silver; Nov 01, 2016 at 09:22 PM.
    R.I.P. Rich Hartford

  13. #13

    Apr 2008
    3,585
    401 times
    Had a booth at a large coin show in the recent past and wanted to report my observations for any who are interested.

    First, the premiums (and demand) on virtually all types silver (junk, numis, semi numis, bullion, etc) are lower than I can remember in my 12 years or so as PM bug, based on what I saw at this show and after speaking with dozens of dealers from all over the US.

    The turnout by the public was the worst out of any large coin show I have done over the past 3 years - since I started doing them. This show was promoted pretty well by the show organizers so it can't be blamed on that fact.

    Most of my "business" was done selling to other dealers from other states. I actually sold a decent amount to an Apmex rep who came to the show to buy from the dealers. They paid well and I was thrilled to deal with them. They liked some of my semi numis foreign stuff that sells for quite a bit over melt. Some of what I sold is somewhat obscure and low mintage, so it will be kind of cool to see it listed on their site at some point. The rep told me they like to have "one of everything" in stock, and was careful not to buy stuff they already had more than a couple of in stock (talking odd ball semi numis stuff like 2 oz Kooks, low mintage gov made coins in boxes with COA, key year coins like 1998 Libertad, etc).

    Usually I have a decent amount of stackers that show up asking about Libertads, Engelhard prospectors, etc, this time I only sold only ONE Libertad at the show to a customer. I tried unloading some of my slightly rare year Libertads (1988, 89, 90, 99, etc) and the other dealers offered me only a buck over melt - last year they paid great for the same type of stuff. They all said they couldn't sell the stuff for anything under current conditions, and I believe them because I offered it at fairly low prices for what they sell for at retail level. I decided to keep the coins and not dump stuff cheap like that.

    The most popular private rounds with the general public from my booth this year were the Privateer rounds (almost didn't bring them because last year nobody wanted any - this year sold out), also popular were Zombuck silver coins (sold out of those too and last year nobody bought any from me). These were bought by different buyers, not one guy who grabbed them all. The most popular gov coins were Kooks, Koalas, and the few Ilse of Man Cat coins I had brought. I was kind of surprised by this but being surprised seems to happen at every show, because the fickle patrons always want something different at each show it seems.

    I was prepared for the usual non stacker, non PM bug buyers who walk up and say, I am looking for a coin with a dog, cat, bird, dragon, etc. I have specifically searched the past year for smaller pretty silver coins with neat designs (in boxes preferably, etc), that I could get close to melt and sell for 3 to 4 times silver value to these types of buyers (but still be less than average ebay price). I did great with many Canadian specialty coins like this such as the ones colorized or with holograms, etc. These types buyers don't care about how much over melt they are paying, just how much the coin costs to buy. So if it has $6 of silver but sells for $20 they buy, it is has $17 of silver but costs $25, they won't buy.

    I am trying out a new chemical to remove hazing that appears on some (usually older) proof coins (.999 and .925) in the fields that is not toning and not milk spots. A lifelong coin dealer that I was discussing this issue with promised me that a chemical called MS-70 will work for this and not harm the coin in any way if used correctly. I saw that the guy at the show that sells books and supplies had this in stock and he sold me a bottle cheap (plus all other supplies very cheap) but I haven't had the chance to try it out yet. I will update on how well it works or doesn't work for me after I try it out. I couldn't believe how cheap this guy sold supplies to the dealers - 20 airtites for $15, red books for $7 under list price, etc. I heard he only does this for dealers and not the public.

    I assumed the supply guy would be expensive because all the out of town dealers that come to the show charge way over ebay prices for their semi numis silver like lunars, etc. I guess they figure if they don't find a sucker today they will maybe in the next city.

    I almost didn't do the show this time but the promoter called me and offered a booth at about half price so I figured I had nothing to lose. I guess they were desperate to get dealers in because they had a few booths still unsold two weeks before the show.


    Jim
    billjustbill likes this.
    R.I.P. Rich Hartford

  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2016
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    I don't get that. People should be hoarding all the silver they can get their hands on these days. I've been buying every decent deal I come across lately but that's just me.
    Pm's are in the back of people's minds these days. After trump was elected it dropped off and I read that thousands are jumping in the stock market with it at all time highs. Too many suckers after the quick buck haha. Buy high sell low new secret tactic maybe?
    3cylbill likes this.

  15. #15
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