Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 09:25

The Baltimore coin show held last week in Baltimore, MD, can best be described as "excellent." We did a lot of buying and selling, overall had a great show. Sales were stronger than we expected, and we sold a lot more than we expected to. Additionally, purchases were good, and we bought some rarities, as well as a pile of inexpensive errors. Many of the rare coins are off being graded, while the less expensive coins, and some of the already certified rare errors will be listed on our website in the coming week or so.

Our not that good photo of one of our four display cases of major mint errors at the show

Two records were set in the auction held by Stacks. A 1958 doubled die brought $336,000, which is a new all time record for a doubled die cent at auction, and also a Sacagawea/statehood quarter mule brought a new record for a sale at auction when it fetched $192,000! A 1955 doubled die brought over $100,000 as well, being a high grade red example. Other errors and varieties fetched expected or stronger than expected prices.

The U.S. coin market appears to be doing great, at least for "nice coins." Auction prices were good, and dealers at the show all had "ok" to "excellent" shows, with most saying they were having really good shows. This was despite the snowstorm canceling many dealers flights, and the attendance therefore somewhat lighter than normal. It didn't keep the dealers and collectors from having a great show though.

We do not have anymore shows now until June, which means a two and a half month dryspell from coin shows. We don't think this will greatly effect our supply of fresh coins though, since the Spring is a particularly active time of year in the hobby, and we expect to do a good amount of both buying and selling. If you want to get "first shot" at the coins we get in, be sure and send us your want list detailing what you are actively looking for right now. Otherwise, sign up for our "fresh coins email alert", which will send oyu an email when fresh coins are listed on the website (usually 2-3 times a month.) This is a good way to not loose out on new errors we get in, since many coins sell as soon as they are listed! You can sign up here for our email newsletter.

A view of the bourse floor at the Baltimore coin show. 

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 06:06

Here is an excellent article on the difference between type 1 and 2 blanks and planchets. It is a topic which causes a lot of confusion in the error hobby since people use the terms interchangeably. We try to stick with the definitions as laid out in this article put out by NGC, since we think they make the most sense.

Friday, March 2, 2018 - 09:23

Last week, March 21-24th, 2018, we attended the Long Beach coin show in California. The show is held three times year, and is one of the larger shows of the year nationwide. Due perhaps to it's location, and the more difficult tax situation, it tends to not be as well attended as shows in more "coin show friendly" states, although it still brings in many dealers and collectors, particularly from the Western areas of the United States. So it's somewhat of a "different crowd" from the attendees at an East Coast show.

Generally, Long Beach tends to be an ok show for us, with some some buying and selling opportunities resulting from it. However, this show was slower than normal, which we believe is due largely to a few of our better sources for buying and selling not attending this show for no particular reason. Other dealers seemed to be having a mixed show, and for Long Beach, it was average.

We did get to see some fantastic U.S. coin on exhibit, including a lot of Territorial gold bars and coins from the wreck of the S.S. Central America, and also an incredible exhibit of British coins dating from Britains first rulers up to the 20th century. Exhibits are going to be a regular event at upcoming Long Beach shows, and we think that will encourage greater collector attendance, which is a good thing.

The error market is overall doing well. Auctions are bringing good prices, and we had our biggest sales month ever this last January! February (for unknown reasons) always is a bit slow, but we expect the coming months to pick up a lot as customers and dealers figure out their taxes. We're looking forward to the Dallas ANA next week, as well as the Baltimore a few weeks after, and we hope to have lots of fresh material to show you our customers. If you are attending either show, we look forward to seeing you at our tables.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 07:24

In buying and selling coins, we get to see a lot of mint errors--a ton of them in fact, from off-metals to off-centers, and everything in-between! This gives us a lot of insight into what error coins exist, their condition, and also lot of practice in determining authenticity and figuring out how any particular error coin was made. This is all made possible because we get to hold the coins in hand and closely examine them, and as said earlier, because we buy and sell a lot of errors (plus we see a lot of errors we don't buy at all.) So why do we bring this up? To make the point that the more coins you can see, the better off you will be in terms of building a high quality collection. Not being a dealer, this can be hard for many collectors to do, but there are ways to help get some good hands-on experience. Here are some ways you can get some "experience" without having to actually buy any coins.

Major Auctions

When you get a chance to attend a major auction, take the time to review all the mint errors in the sale, even the ones you aren't interested in buying. Look at them under a loupe, and think about how the error was made. Look at the coin's surfaces, and notice the subtle differences in the error. Review the grading services' description in the coin; did they note all the errors on the coin, or did they run out of room on , and left other errors unmentioned (that happens a lot in fact.) Look at the grade that was assigned--why was the coin given the grade it was assigned? Errors are graded generally much less strictly than non-error coins, and so it's good to understand that so that you don't overpay (or underpay) for and error based on grade.

Also, major auctions allow collectors a chance to see major errors that they wouldn't normally get a chance to spend 10 minutes reviewing--so take advantage of this great opportunity to see some major errors. 

Do you have a friend with an error collection? Take the time to get together with them, and take a good look at their coins. Look at the attribution, grade, authenticity, and surfaces of the coin. If you're one of the fortunate few who have access to one of the really major error collections our there, definetely spend all the time you can with reviewing those coins since some of those coins are doubtless unique or close to it. 

Auction Archives
Although this is not as good as in person viewing, online major auction sites often have excellent photos, and allow collectors the ability to see millions of dollars worth of error coins from their computer screens. Some sites include Heritage Auctions, Stacks/Bowers, Great Collections, eBay, and we have the Sullivan Numismatics archives as well. 

Coin Shows
Although dealers are often busy at coin shows, and may not have the time due to the busy nature of coin shows to allow you to physically look through their entire inventory (we can vouch for that!), you can simply through their display cases at the coins for sale, and get some good experience that way. Many dealers will have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory at coin shows, giving a unique opportunity to see some rare mint errors. 

Buy Coins
This may seem obvious, but buying coins for your collection affords an opportunity to build your knowledge. Some collectors quickly look a coin over, then throw it into a slab box in a bank vault, and never really spend much time looking their coin over. Don't be that collector, but instead, take the time after buying a coin to carefuly review it, consider all it's attributes, and then put it away into your safe deposit box (or wherever you store your collection.) 

The more you know about error coins, the more your will appreciate your collection, and the better collection you will be able to build. Knowledge is key to building a good mint error collection, so learn all you can about errors, whenever you have the opportunity, by carefully considering all their attributes. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 08:40


The FUN coin show in Tampa FL, January 3-7th, 2018, was one of the best shows we've attended in years, in terms of overall, healthy market activity. There was a good amount of buying and selling for us, but also just for the coin market (errors and U.S.), the activity and buzz was visible everyday we were at the show. Even Saturday, when the show started to wind-down, there were dealers and collectors eagerly doing business--it's good to see a fast paced show! We think this bodes well for 2018, and are looking forward to see what the year will bring to the coin market, and the hobby as a whole.

One of the big stories of the show was a 1943 copper cent (the finest known, and the only "red" example known), which sold for $1,000,000 in a private transaction. This is the most that a 1943 "P" mint copper cent has ever sold for, with the most expensive example being the 1943-D that fetched $1,700,000 a few years back. Here is a link to the PCGS article about the transaction:

Although we purchased many errors at the show, its inevitable that it takes a while for them all to show up on our website. Many go off for certification, and don't return to us until weeks or months later. Other coins are sold immediately to collectors with want lists on file with us (if you don't have a want list with us, you should do so if you want 1st shot at fresh coins, or at a minimum, join or email list.) We have a number of coins off being certified, and as those come back, they will appear on the website or be offered to our customers. Also, we have 3 major shows in the next 2 months or so, and as shows go, we expect to acquire a lot more errors at those shows--we'll be working hard to track down all we can!

Sometimes we do add the coins that were sold to our want list customers, to our archives, that way we and other collectors can see some of the coins, even thoguh the coins are off the market, since some are unique or really incredible major mint errors that we rarely get a chance to see. So many really incredible errors never make it on to the open coin market. This is true for U.S. coins, errors, and all collectibles really. People who are actively buying a particular error type, or are wanting a certain rare coin, may be directly offered a coin buy a dealer, they buy it, and then no one except the two of them ever really know about the coin or the sale. We do this all the time, and we've seen this happen numerous times with other dealers as well. 

In the coming months expect to see a busy coin market, since collectors get back into the swing of building their collections after the holidays and as they figure out their tax situations (and how much extra spending money they have for the year.) Additionally, for the year ahead of the hobby, with the economy on the upswing, and the stock market at record levels, we think more and more collectors will find the time (and money) to acuire coins for their collections. A good economy and cash in people's pockets, and an upward trajectory in the coin market are all excellent signals that 2018 will be a good one for the hobby. If the FUN show is any indicator of the direction the year is going to go (and it should be to some degree), we are excited to see what it has in store for us and the hobby as a whole.