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Where Do Coin Price Guides Get Their Prices?

By Mark Ferguson for ….
First of all, I want to point out that mint price guides are equitable that… GUIDES ! For public toilet, they list good one monetary value for a given degree of a mint. It ’ second crucial to note that different coins of the lapp publish and grade often trade for higher and lower prices than the publish prices that appear in price guides. This is most much because there are coins that are strong for a grade, frequently barely missing the future highest class, and there are coins that just make a degree, which of course will sell for less than the early .
But sometimes market conditions result in coins selling for higher or lower prices than what is published in these guides. At other times, it ’ s actually the prices established by the price guide writers that miss the veridical market – by a little or a lot. I know… I ’ ve been there. I can speak with authority on this publish, after having been the Market Analyst for Coin Values magazine during 1997 and again between 2002 and 2009. Since then I ’ ve besides consulted with other price guide publishers .
Many other factors influence how price guides establish their prices for coins, but their accuracy actually comes polish to the person people who interpret and report the grocery store for coins, and their motivations, methods and systems. Prompt timing in performing updates is besides another crucial divisor. Some series in popular monetary value guides may not get updated for months, or even years ! For this reason alone it ’ s very significant to compare prices from respective price guides. In years past my business used to sell coins by “ chain mail wish sale, ” which is a type of auction sale. I provided sales estimates in my auction catalogs, along with the coin descriptions and photos. In establishing those sales estimates, I regularly compared prices from at least three different price guides. I was frequently astounded to find prices for the same mint issues and grades that varied enormously !

nowadays, because of the Internet, a popular method acting many buyers of rare coins have been using to estimate the prices they should pay for coins is by using prices realized from auctions. Collectors, investors and dealers are doing their own research, rather than relying entirely on price guides. however, there are cautions urged in using this method. Are the individual coins sold at auction high-end for a grade, or low-end ? Were they purchased by collectors to hold for the long-run, or by dealers for agile resale ? Are there big runs of the coins you ’ re research in a particular sale, or are you researching a scarce mint that rarely makes an auction appearance ? Are you researching a mint for which there are few buyers, or is it a democratic coin that many people want ? Has a finical auction been well publicized, or is it a silence, stranger sale ? Did the coins very sell, or did they go back to the consigner because modesty prices weren ’ thymine met ?
I could go on and on with examples of considerations in your auction marketplace inquiry, but these ideas should give you an idea of what to take into report in doing your own market inquiry. however, writers of price guides are frequently limited in their cognition of the marketplace american samoa well, particularly for individual transactions. This is the nature of the mint marketplace – it ’ s a private market, unlike the stock and real estate markets, for exemplar, in which transaction information is more public .
other considerations to think about are the influences of Registry collecting upon auction prices, in which collectors are vying for the best coins of the best ; or in the case of a close-knit group of buyers, like for early copper coins, in which most of the promote collectors know each early, and know who ’ s presently in the market for which coins and who ’ s out ? Knowing the personalities in the market, when it comes to such specialized collect and invest is a big advantage in buying and selling and in knowing how to price coins .
The methods and systems by which price guides collect their market data is another agent in how their editors establish price steer listings for coins, and so is the determination of a price guide. There are presently five outstanding price guides that publish “ retail ” values for coins, which are what collectors pay when buying from dealers, and equitable one big guide that publishes “ wholesale ” values for coins, which are dealer-to-dealer prices. This distinction between principal purchases and collector/investor purchases is blurred at auction .
The Coin Dealer Newsletter, popularly known as “ The Greysheet, ” along with its syndicate of publications, is the most widely use price guide that publishes wholesale prices of coins trading between dealers .
[ EDITORS’ NOTE – With the sink of Shane Downing, CDN was sold. John Feigenbaum, once president of the united states of David Lawrence Rare Coins, is the managing partner of the new possession group, which includes Jim Halperin, Steve Ivy, Mark Salzberg and Steve Eichenbaum. Read the wax floor here. ]

retail values are found in : A Guide Book of United States Coins, which is popularly known as “ The Redbook, ” per annum published by Whitman Publishing ; Coin Values, which is no longer a stand-alone cartridge holder, is now found in a special monthly edition of the weekly issue Coin World ; Coin Prices magazine and Coin Market, separate of another weekly, Numismatic News–both published by Krause Publications using the lapp prices ; the PCGS Price Guide ; and the NGC Price Guide, compiled by Numismedia .
One significant distinction between all these retail publications is the system each of them uses to compile their valuations of coins. The Redbook ( and Coin Prices and Coin Market ) compiles its monetary value guides by collecting prices from dealers around the country who specialize in finical areas of the market ; then editors evaluate the collected data. Coin Values uses autonomous “ market Analysts ” to research and make “ price discoveries. ” The others use their own experts to maintain values, some are involved in mint trade and others operate at arm ’ sulfur length, exchangeable to the Coin Values arrangement .
There are two schools of think with these systems. Some experts believe that dealers are more intimate and experienced in their own areas. This is true, but one concern with this arrangement is that they can be biased and influential for their own personal benefit. importantly, there are editors who oversee these systems. Coin Values prides itself on operate at arm ’ randomness length, however their analysts get lobbied to change values for the profit of the dealers and collectors who lobby them and they have to make judgments about the information received. On the other hand, those dealers and collectors who lobby routinely offer valuable market data and insights. A balancing act must be performed and editors much consider the motivations of all contributors – homo nature is a huge gene ! And sometimes just one person, with all his or her personal biases and naiveties, shuffle in with expertness, establishes values for a given series .
In addition to finding pricing information from auctions and marketplace news, trader ads and price lists are regularly monitored from which to derive evaluation data. Another significant point with mint prices guides is that there are many issues of coins ( date and mintmark combinations ) that are not sold on the open grocery store for long periods of time. therefore, price guide writers must estimate values and plug them into price guides to stay current with these coin issues that don ’ metric ton sell identical much. This is where talented judgment comes in, to achieve accuracy .
It ’ second besides significant for price lead writers to recognize and follow trends in the coin commercialize. When I began managing the Coin Values price guidebook back in 2002, an have dealer ally said to me, “ One price doesn ’ thymine make a trend. ” While I was doing that work I constantly kept that statement in mind. I believe it is a disservice to the hobby and marketplace for price scout writers to not take the clock time to figure out commercialize trends and just update price guide values based on one sale of a coin in one auction. As I previously pointed out, a specific mint in an auction could be a high-end mint or a low-end coin, and its auction price could skew a price guide value if it ’ s not compared to other sales of the same or like-kind coins.

In establishing values for prices guides I believe it ’ south identical important to consider how values affect both buyers and sellers, and owners of particular coins. I ’ ve seen many people flippantly say a mint is deserving “ X, ” not bothering to consider people ’ s equity positions who already own such coins. finally, it ’ s besides authoritative to realize that most people typically want a discount off a price guide value most of the time. This seems to be homo nature ! sometimes this is taken into explanation when establishing price scout values .
I ’ ve said for several years that price guides are the next frontier to be improved upon in the coin market, now that coin grade has been improved to the best of the ability of the professionals in the market. In my estimate, prompt timing and accuracy are the two elementary concerns. I believe computerize valuation models are in memory for price guides in the mint market. however, there are thus many factors involved that motivation to be considered in developing such models, many of which I ’ ve addressed here, that it ’ s not an easy job !
Mark Ferguson is a specialist in cherished metals investments and deals in all bullion products presently traded in the marketplace. If any products or services mentioned in this article are of interest to you, Mark can be reached at (920) 233-6777 or [email protected]. Mark Ferguson has been dealing in rare coins and valued metals nationally since 1969. He has written have articles and regular column for Coin World, Coin Values magazine, The Coin Dealer Newsletter, Numismatic News, The Numismatist, ANA Journal, and the british publication Coin News, and has writes a hebdomadally column for CoinWeek. His web site is, where extra research information about precious metals is available.

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