Participants provide a mixed assessment of 2017 ANA show

Fresh material felt to be lacking at Denver convention
By , Coin World
Published : 08/18/17
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Another American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money is in the books and dealers’ and collectors’ reviews of this year’s installment, held Aug. 1 to 5 in Denver, are mixed. 

The U.S. Mint’s launch of the 225th Anniversary Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set on the show’s opening day frustrated collectors as they waited in line with dealers, each permitted to purchase as many as 500 sets for $29.95 each. A slow check-out process and long lines meant that many collectors spent their buying time waiting as the set quickly went to “currently unavailable” online. 

New information on the 1866-S No Motto coins: Also in our last weekly issue of the month, John Kraljevich Jr. goes into what George Washington's ledger revealed, including how many gold doubloons he had on hand.

The secondary market for these has been modest, leading many dealers to cancel orders with the U.S. Mint and freeing up sets for collectors. 

Many dealers reported that the product launch took some life out of the bourse floor, and grading submissions of the new coins clogged on-site grading at Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corp. The rare coin market relies on on-site grading at major shows to create liquidity for coins and to provide fresh material to be traded; when this stops, so does business for some dealers, especially at the wholesale level. 

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Both wholesale and retail business seemed sluggish in Denver and many questioned the suitability of the location as a site for a major coin show. Despite resistance to returning to the metropolitan Chicago site of Rosemont, Illinois, consensus seems to be building toward a stable location for the flagship ANA show that makes sense from both a dealer and collector perspective. Further, as more collectors gravitate toward the internet for their auction buying and retail coin dealer purchases, fewer feel a need to travel to attend shows. 

Dual auctions by official co-auctioneers Heritage and Stack’s Bowers Galleries meant that auctions were occurring almost constantly during the show. Heritage totaled $30.8 million while Stack’s Bowers Galleries saw nearly $20 million in ANA auctions, including the top lot, a 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar graded PCGS MS-64 with a Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that brought $2.82 million. 

Many have pointed out that as collecting moves online, collectors buy and sell more quickly than in the past. Evidence of this trend could be seen in the many re-offerings at both major auctioneers, such as a historic Judd 2 1792 pattern cent graded Fine 15 by NGC with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that sold for $235,000 at Stack’s Bowers’s Aug. 3 Rarities night. The price was more than the $218,500 it brought at a 2006 American Numismatic Rarities auction, but much less than the nearly $300,000 it sold for at Heritage’s 2012 Florida United Numismatists sale. 

Though just 10 are known, nonspecialist collectors may prefer its Silver Center cent counterpart, while others might be holding off for a better example, like the Very Fine 35 example that sold for $352,500 at the 2016 FUN auctions. 

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