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Worlds Fair of Money exceeds expectations
By Kathleen Duncan

The summer ANA, hosted in a various cities around the country, is the largest numismatic convention of the year. While dealers and collectors have come to expect an active show, no matter the market condition, this show exceeded the expectations of all.

The pre-show festivities began with auctions by Superior, Bowers and Merena, and Stack’s. The most notable of these was definitely the Stack’s sale, with prices realizing over $20 million. Their star performer was a sensational 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dollar, graded NGC MS66, claiming a robust $1.38 million.

PNG dealers began setting up tables Monday afternoon, and the festivities continued all week, with many staying until Sunday (a requirement for table holders the ANA is considering dropping). The show opens most mornings for dealers at 8AM and non-stop action continues until 7PM each evening. A typical day on the bourse means making hundreds, if not thousands of decisions each day, eating a hasty bite for lunch behind the table (sometimes conducting business simultaneously), having a late dinner at 8 or 9 PM or attending an evening auction… a bit of sleep and then repeat each day for the remainder of the week. By Friday the floor was notably quieter, as many (myself included) were ready to head home.

Heritage held the event’s official auction, realizing over $40 million in sales. Although many items fetched impressive prices, there were some bargains to be found, and a fairly high percentage of lots failed to meet consignor reserves. I don’t think this is a reflection on the market in general, but probably a result of a limited amount of available funds from the participants. Between the various auctions and the business done via private treaty, well over $100 million dollars in business was conducted last week. Below are a few of the Heritage prices that seemed surprisingly strong, even in this hot market. The first coin, the 1804 14 Stars dime, was purchased by the consignor for $161,000 in January of 2007 out of a previous Heritage auction, yielding an impressive rate of return.

1804 10c 14 Stars NGC AU58 $632,500
1796 Stars $2.5 NGC MS62 $207,000
1796 25c PCGS MS62 $149,500
1802 10c NGC MS62 $138,000
1917-S 5c NGC MS67 $138,000
1888 1c PCGS MS67RD $63,250
1887 1c PCGS MS67RD $51,750
1915 50c NGC PR68 Cameo $48,875
The prices for the Robert Rollins estate (part 3) of proof and business strike Indian cents were especially strong, but not surprising considering the outstanding quality of the coins, many of which were acquired from Pinnacle. Also prices garnered for NGC type and 20th century material seemed stronger than ever. Perhaps as demand for high-grade rarities has been outstripping supply for 6 months or so, NGC pieces are no longer being dramatically discounted. While Pinnacle has always bought both NGC and PCGS certified material, we were formerly able to purchase high-quality rarities in NGC holders at larger discounts. In fact, there were times we encouraged our clients to focus their buying on NGC certified items because of this. Today the discounts are shrinking dramatically, which is a positive for those clients who took our advice.

We sold a third of the inventory we brought with us to the show, an inventory which was already fairly small compared to its typical size. Happily we replenished with gusto, buying well over 100 new coins last week, not including coins purchased for clients at auction. When buying, our focus is always on coins that have unusually nice eye-appeal and quality for their stated grade, as well as providing solid value or being undervalued compared with their market peers. We hope you enjoy browsing our recent purchases and look forward to hearing from you.

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