Saturday, July 16, 2016 - 10:59

The Baltimore whitman coin show was a decent show this July, although as with all summer shows they aren't nearly as active as shows held at other times of the year. It was "as expected", with moderate buying and moderate selling, but overall satisfactory with enough of both activities to make the show well worth attending. Some of our regular customer were there, although a good number were not in attendance--probably due to vacations and summer activities keeping coins on the back-burner for them. Also, the summer Baltimore show has no major auction, and that takes some of the excitement and buzz out of the show. But to reiterate, it was worthwhile, and if you have a chance to come next year, consider adding it to your show calendar.

Above: Our table at the show.

We purchased a few high end coins, and a moderate quantity of less expensive errors. These will be coming here to the website in the coming weeks. One coin of particular interest was a 1964 Lincoln cent struck on a cancelled India 1/4 rupee, which is excessively rare, and super eye-catching. A few off-metals, some minor off-centers and cheaper errors, and miscellaneous other coins rounded out our purchases. If you’re signed up for our mailing list, we will send our customary email out when these get listed on the website.

Above: one of the coins we purchase at the show: off-metal 1963 Washington quarter struck on a silver Roosevelt dime planchet.

We were the only dealer at the show who specializes exclusively in mint errors, and that probably helped make it a decent show since we were offered most of the error coins that dealers or collectors were wanting to sell. In discussing the show with non-error dealers, the general theme seemed to be that buying was good, selling was bad (wholesale or retail), and that prices are soft for all but unusual or nice coins. Of course there are exceptions, and we had a few dealers tell us that sales had been surprisingly good, and they had moved a good number of coins.  Overall the coin market seems to be soft but holding up reasonably well, particularly for nice coins. If a coin is relatively common (in other words, easy to find for sale), the prices are generally soft. This is a good time for collectors to be building their collections—as the saying goes “buy low, sell high”, and that is appropriate for the current state of the coin market. Buy selectively, but buy. 

Above: The show was well attended, and there was a decent "buzz" of activity on the bourse floor.

There was a lot of talk on Thursday and Friday about protestors, which were supposed to be protesting about a block from the convention center on Friday at 7 PM. The coin show staff decided to close the show on Friday 2 hours early out of an abundance of caution, but even that turned out to be unnecessary, as nothing happened at all. After the rioting which happened a year or so ago (not at the coin show of course, but just in Baltimore in general), a number of dealers (maybe 1/5th) left the show this year early, afraid that events might take a turn for the worse. Their empty booths dotted the show coin show floor. However, nothing happened, and all they did was miss out on a decent coin show.


It was nice to see some of our regular customers, do some buying and selling, and talk coins with fellow dealers and collectors. In an age of coin collecting where most buying and selling is done online, it is great to go to coin shows and be around fellow collectors and dealers to do business and talk coins. If you’ve not attended a coin show in a while, take the time as there’s nothing like it.


For those who will be at the ANA Convention in Anaheim, California next month, we look forward to seeing you at our table! Bring your error coins to buy or sell, or if you 




Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 12:41


We will be set-up at the Baltimore Whitman coin show this weekend in Baltimore, Maryland. Our table is "Sullivan Numismatics" #340, and we will have hundreds of rare mint errors with us for sale. This is slightly smaller than the winter or fall Baltimore shows, but is still worth attending as there will be hundreds of dealers in attendance.

If you have anything you wish to sell, bring it, and we will give you our best offer. We are strong buyers of all major mint errors!

Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 09:19

With the stock market bumping up and down at all-time highs, gold and silver staying relatively steady, and overall the economy somewhat “mixed”, where is the error coin market right now? At this point in time, it is generally good for most error coins. Some error coins aren’t selling well, while others we have trouble stocking due to none being for sale on the market, or simply prices moving upwards to levels at which we cannot buy them and make a profit. This is a good sign to us since it means there is good demand.


Recent auction results from Heritage Auctions are a case in point. Virtually all the error coins sold for retail prices, or beyond retail. Here are a few:



1979-P $1 Susan B. Anthony Dollar, Narrow Rim -- Broadstruck -- MS61 NGC....

Realized $74 

This coin is a common broadstrike, and is in a particularly low grade of MS-61 and yet sold for $74. While not a bad deal necessarily, example can easily be bought in MS-63 or MS-64 for that price. The coin is a "narrom rim" example, but we don't think that really adds much if any value. Here are some examples we have sold:



1978 1C Lincoln Cent -- Obverse Struck Thru Capped Die -- MS65 Red NGC.... 

Realized $69 

A super common date for a super common error. A coin like this is typically available for $50 if certified, and $25-$30 if raw. Someone really wanted this coin.


No Date 1C 5-3/4" x 2-1/4" Punched, Planchet Strip for Cents, PCGS Genuine.... 

Realized $199

While not a bad deal, and worth that price, the strip piece did sale for what it is worth.


1968-S 1C Lincoln Cent -- Struck On A Clad 10C Planchet -- MS65 PCGS.... 

Realized $517

This is what the coin is worth, and although worth the price, it was just a fair retail price. The last example we sold was this one at $450:


1973-D 5C Jefferson Nickel -- Struck on a 1C Planchet (3.07g) -- MS62 Red and Brown NGC. Ex: New England Collection... 

Realized $270.25

This was perhaps a hair weak, but more or less what the coin is worth. We would say the coin had a retail value of around $300 as an MS-62. The most recent example we sold was $300:


1966 1C Lincoln Cent -- Struck On A Clad 10C Planchet -- MS65 PCGS....

Realized $493.50

Exactly what the coin should have brought in a retail environment. We have sold three 1966 cent on dimes, which were all right around the $500 range, and graded MS-64 to MS-66, so to us $493 is correct and where it should be.


Undated $1 Eisenhower Dollar -- Struck On A Philippine 1 Piso Planchet -- MS65 PCGS.... 

Realized $822.50

Considering the coin is a no-date, this coin brought a healthy retail price. We sale dated examples for around $1200, which is much more desirable than a generic undated specimen (note the MS-66 example is one of the finest known, which is why it is $1900.)


1975-D 5C Jefferson Nickel -- Struck on a 1C Planchet (3.1g) -- MS64 Red and Brown NGC....

Realized $282

A relatively available date of nickel on cent planchet, and nothing special about the price either way—it brought a fair retail price.


1974-D 5C Jefferson Nickel -- Obverse Die Break, JNC-74D-1 -- MS65 NGC....

Realized $114

A small cud, but because it was slabbed and MS-65 (a popular grade for errors—perhaps more than it should be) the coin brought about double what we would ay it was worth. Cuds are doing very well right now, with a lot of demand. They are generally scarce, and have been unappreciated in the past, so it’s about time they started getting more popular with collectors. 

1920-D 10C Mercury Dime -- Struck 10% Off-Center -- MS62 PCGS....

Realized $998

This is about what the coin is worth if not a bit strong. A scarce coin, but it sold for retail money.


We didn’t cover all the coins that sold by Heritage, but none of the others were really any different than these coins we have profiled here, and brough the same kind of money. The point which we see from this recent run of auctions is the strength of the market—the coins all brought retail money. They didn’t sell for “run-away retail” prices, but they did bring “all the money.”


EBay has been the same kind of situation—error generally are selling well. The market may be soft in some areas, and it is, but for the most part the market is doing well and is healthy in our opinion.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 05:46

Although many collectors use debt to finance coin purchases, you want to be careful in doing so and really think about it before using your credit card or line of credit. Cash is by far the best way to buy coins for your collection, and debt should only be used for those "once in a lifetime" opportunities or in very special circumstances, as detailed in the article linked below. As a dealer, having my customers use debt is to my advantage, but I would caution anyone using it to be careful and keep purchases to only those coins that are either fantastic deals or are coins that are a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to acquire.

Here is a good short article by Jeff Garrett on using debt:

Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 07:22

Here is a interesting article on the 1943 steel cent strip, written by David Lange of NGC. The article gives some of the background of the 1943 steel cents, and then talks about how the pieces of steel cent strip came onto the coin market. We have handled many pieces over time, and all of it was rusty to some extent--this article will explain to you why that is.