Comprehensive Market Study Reveals CAC Price Premiums

October 26, 2012


By Mark Ferguson for CoinWeekMFRareCoins.com …….

Market Study Background

It’s common knowledge that CAC verified coins have been selling for premium prices since the inception of CAC on November 1, 2007. But until now, collectors, investors and dealers haven’t had a resource to find out how much those price premiums amount to by series and grade for PCGS and NGC graded coins that have the CAC “green bean” sticker of approval versus those without CAC stickers.

I’ve just concluded a comprehensive market study that does just that. It reveals the amounts of price premiums CAC verified coins are selling for, by series and grade, as compared to non-stickered PCGS and NGC coins.

The concept for this exhaustive market study , which analyzes recent auction sales of more than 5,500 type coins – from one cent coins through $20 gold coins, originated with the author and CoinWeek. The study was performed independently of CAC, but was commissioned by and conducted in cooperation with CoinWeek and CAC – Certified Acceptance Corporation respectively.

This analysis is not a random sample. It’s a complete market study that compares auction sales prices of like-kind CAC-stickered coins versus non-stickered NGC and PCGS graded coins. Major coin auctions between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012 have been thoroughly examined by series and grade. For very common coins, like Morgan and Peace Dollars, Walking Liberty Half Dollars, and $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins, where there was enough data to analyze, auction prices realized were reviewed for a more recent timeline – between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Importantly, auction price trends indicate that the coin market, for the coins and grades analyzed in this market study, has generally been steady and stable since the beginning of 2010 for the types and grades of coins studied. It’s the market segment for scarcer and rarer issues for which prices have been appreciating during that time. After the financial meltdown of 2008, most coin buyers took a cautious wait-and-see attitude during the following year, 2009, finally starting to open their wallets during the fall and winter of that year. Therefore, coins sold during 2009 were not included in this market study.

This study focuses on common high grade, Mint State “Type Coins” – those issues which are the most common coin issues of a specific design type in a particular denomination. Proof strike issues were not included in this market study. Additionally, sales of coins from series with an element of scarcity are too difficult to track in quantity, for obvious reasons, so there are many series that could not be examined. Examples of such coins are “early” coins, like Flowing Hair and Bust material, and early gold coinage – all minted prior to about the 1840 time period. Additionally, CAC does not review or sticker “modern” coinage, with the recent exception of Eisenhower Dollars; so modern coinage is also not a part of this market study.

Because of the amount of historical sales data available, and the capability of its search functions, Heritage Auctions was used as the source for all of the data analyzed. However, major auctions conducted by other companies were considered and looked at, but at this time, no other auction company provides such a comprehensive range of coins sold for which the sales data is so easily accessible by computer searches on the company’s web site – an important consideration for this market study.

I also want to repeat…this market study is not a random sample. It analyzes all sales of the coin issues and grades studied during the time periods reviewed. In other words, all sales of CAC-stickered examples and all sales of NGC and PCGS non-stickered examples of like-kind coins were tallied and analyzed for each coin type and grade examined in this market study. The full CAC market study report provides detailed lists of the specific dates and issues of each coin type and grade analyzed. All auction prices examined in this study include buyers’ fees.

Major Conclusions

Among the general conclusions found in this market study is that, in all series and all grades, CAC-stickered coins are selling for higher prices, on average, than those same-grade PCGS and NGC encapsulated coins that are not CAC-approved. No exceptions were found for any series or grade studied. A dominant trend observed throughout the series and grades is that the higher the grade, the higher the CAC price premium realized over non-stickered PCGS and NGC coins. There were a few exceptions found to this trend, however, for reasons that are speculative, but most likely due to a lack of larger sales data for those particular coin types and grades analyzed.

Because CAC-approved coins appeal to buyers of high-grades, those rare coins grading Mint State 64 and higher are generally the grade range of coins submitted to CAC for its endorsement. This is borne out by statistics observed on CAC’s Population Report, found at www.CACcoin.com. However, this is not always the case, and for very rare coins, or coins of the “early” years, such as those U.S. coins struck between the 1792 and 1835 to 1840 period, for example, lower grade coins are frequently submitted. But because of the popularity and availability of data for CAC-stickered coins grading MS 64 and higher, this is the grade range primarily focused on in this market study.

In reviewing the results of the complete CAC price comparison market study you’ll see some surprising results. Price premiums for CAC-stickered PCGS and NGC encapsulated coins versus non-stickered NGC and PCGS graded coins ranged from single digit percentiles to a staggering 92.87%!

You can find out the exact price premiums CAC-stickered type coins have been selling for at auction, by series and grade, as compared to like-kind, non-stickered PCGS and NGC encapsulated coins, in the complete CAC market study report.

Fill in the Form at the bottom of the page and we will send you the PDF File

Mission of CAC

What makes CAC-approved coins so special? Many buyers and sellers, including some dealers, still don’t understand what CAC’s mission is by affixing its “green bean” stickers to NGC and PCGS encapsulated coins. Here’s an explanation…

“CAC” stands for Certified Acceptance Corporation. It’s an independent numismatic coin authentication service, which is not connected or affiliated with any other numismatic coin encapsulating and/or grading service, and is owned by some of the top dealers and collectors in the country. CAC began operations on November 1, 2007, and was founded by numismatist John Albanese, who was also involved in the start-ups of PCGS and NGC during the mid-1980s.

CAC was created out of concern that market prices for solid-for-the-grade and premium-quality coins were being held down by the sales prices of below average quality coins for their grades, including coins that just barely make the grade. CAC’s ultimate mission is to recognize and liberate solid-for-the-grade and premium-quality rare coins from such price restraints.

CAC uses an analogy to describe its verification process by considering levels within a coin’s grade. This analogy equates these levels to “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” quality coins in which CAC verifies and stickers only the “A” and “B” quality coins, which are considered to be solid to above average quality for their grades. Grading considerations taken into account by CAC are such qualities as the attractiveness of a coin’s luster and its eye-appeal, originality of surfaces, lack of outstanding blemishes, strong strikes, and attractiveness of toning. Coins that have unsightly abrasions, “grungy” toning, overly soft strikes, distracting spots, streaks, or other outstanding blemishes, for example, are not stickered by CAC.

However, CAC does not necessarily consider coins that it doesn’t sticker to be over-graded. CAC stickers solid-for-the-grade and premium-quality coins only. Founder John Albanese remarked, “We’re not going to please collectors who want their coins to look like costume jewelry.” In other words, CAC will not sticker coins that have been overly dipped, or even lightly cleaned, to make them look shiny and flashy.

Vintage coins with original, un-tampered with surfaces, all exhibit some degree of surface toning, even if it’s just a hint, that came from contact with their storage containers, whether those were paper bank rolls, cloth mint bags, coin envelopes, or old coin albums, for example. To the best of its ability, CAC wants the rare coins it endorses with its green stickers of approval to be unquestionably solidly-graded to premium-quality examples, and the company backs its seal of approval with “sight-unseen” market bid prices for CAC-stickered coins through CoinPlex, its dealer trading network.

Market Study Guidelines

Importantly, for consistency in this market study, coins that were described as having proof-like fields, cameo devices, over-dates, or similar kinds of attributes, were excluded from analysis. However, sales prices of specific coins that may have been attractively toned and frequently sell for higher than average prices, especially for Morgan silver dollars for example, were used in the data because it would be a subjective judgment call to toss them out. It is believed that such toned examples were evenly dispersed between the results found for CAC-stickered examples and NGC and PCGS non-stickered examples.

However, a few obvious outliers, which have sold for overly high prices as compared to typical price range trends for a specific series and grade, were tossed out. A great example of this is found in another popular series – $20 Saint-Gaudens gold coins, in which the sales prices of MS 67, CAC-stickered examples, ranged from $12,650 to $17,250. One common-date CAC-stickered outlier, which sold for a whopping $54,625, was tossed out of the mix so it wouldn’t skew the results.

In comparing price averages of CAC-stickered coins to non-stickered NGC and PCGS encapsulated coins, the total prices of all sales of the non-stickered coins as a group, for each coin type and grade analyzed, were tallied, then averaged. In other words, the average prices of non-stickered coins are not “averages of the averages” of coins graded by each separate service – PCGS and NGC. And in fairness to both PCGS and NGC in this market study, one grading service was not favored over the other, if prices for coins graded by either service dominated those of the other for a particular coin type and grade studied. There were examples from both services that sold for much higher prices than the averages of those of the other service.

Another factor taken into consideration is the matter of “Plus” graded coins by NGC and PCGS and NGC “Star” designated coins. Because CAC evaluates coins based just on the merits of each coin’s numerical grade, not factoring in those other designations used by PCGS and NGC, this market study followed the same standard as CAC, and those designations were not considered. However, in special cases, CAC affixes “Gold” colored stickers to some PCGS or NGC encapsulated coins that exceed CAC’s standards. In fairness, sales prices for those coins with “Gold” stickers were tossed out of the analysis.

Concluding Remarks

When I began this market study I didn’t know what I would find as I went through each series. But after having been a professional coin dealer since I was a teenager, a former professional coin grader for PCGS, and the Market Analyst for Coin Values magazine between 2002 and 2009, I had some common sense expectations, as most of my professional numismatist friends from around the country would also have. However, the statistics revealed some remarkable conclusions that not everyone could envision.

Many of us remember the coin market days during the 1960s and 70s, which could be compared to the “Wild West,” so to speak, when coins were bought and sold “raw,” without the backup of third-party grading opinions. During those days, “Let the buyer beware” was the law of the land. But in this day and age, there is no question that since the mid-1980s, PCGS and NGC have given consumers, and even coin dealers, enormous confidence in buying and owning rare coins, especially as market prices have continued to appreciate over the years.

And by recognizing solid-for-the-grade and premium-quality coins that are without question, CAC has contributed even more to that consumer confidence. The benefits of the CAC concept have also been recognized by PCGS and NGC when both services followed suit by adding their “Plus” grade designations to select coins. But marketplace popularity has proven that advanced rare coin buyers want the additional third-party endorsement of the “green bean” CAC sticker of approval on the encapsulated PCGS and NGC graded coins they buy. A quick look at advertisements and auction catalogs show that rare coins stickered by the CAC brand are given added attention, and buyers regularly pay higher prices for coins that have been given the CAC endorsement.

 

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mark ferguson Values are Quietly Rising for Ultra Rare CoinsMark Ferguson has been dealing in high-end rare coins and precious metals since 1969. He has graded coins professionally for PCGS and was the Market Analyst for Coin World’s Coin Values magazine between 2002 and 2009. He has written feature articles and regular columns for Coin World, Coin Values magazine, The Coin Dealer Newsletter, Numismatic News, The Numismatist, ANA Journal, Coin News – a British publication, and currently writes a weekly column for CoinWeek. He is a recognized authority in appraising rare coins and a recognized expert on the 1804 silver dollar, which is known as “The King of American Coins.” Mark can be reached at Mark Ferguson Rare Coins, LLC (www.MFRareCoins.com).

NCA RECOVERS MORE THAN $1 MILLION FOR BUYERS OF OVERPRICED COINS

March 2, 2012

The Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc. (NCA) helped recover more than $1.1 million in the last eight months of 2011 for victims of unscrupulous coin sales, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the not-for-profit watchdog organization.

NCA intervention in eight cases led to settlements totaling $1,114,200 for buyers who unwittingly purchased grossly overpriced coins, Albanese said

The Alliance has recovered more than $6 million since becoming operational in 2005. That’s an average of more than $1 million per year.

The most recent cases followed the same disturbing pattern as previous ones, Albanese said.

“We’re seeing the same kinds of abuses,” he said. “Fringe grading services slab inferior coins with outrageously high grades – and then these coins are sold to unsuspecting buyers for prices that are far beyond what they’re worth.”

In one particularly egregious instance, a fringe grading service awarded a grade of Mint State-65 to a 1912 half eagle that Albanese said “at best is AU-50 with light cleaning.” This, he said, “converted a $500 coin into a $12,000 coin.”

There have been growing problems lately, Albanese said, with sellers who fail to deliver coins after receiving payment from consumers.

“We’ve been getting more complaints about non-delivery,” he reported. “This amounts to a double ripoff: After paying far too much, the customers don’t even get the overpriced coins.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “non-delivery is something we can’t do much about. We’re not a law-enforcement agency, and we don’t have police powers to investigate this sort of problem. But we try to help out.”

The New Jersey-based Alliance intervenes on behalf of coin scam victims – engaging legal and other professional assistance if necessary – in an effort to counteract and discourage flagrant abuses in coin-related transactions.

In one recent case, for example, NCA received expert assistance from Joseph Presti, a New Hampshire professional numismatist who also is a licensed attorney. Presti’s legal work played a key role in bringing about a recovery of more than $300,000 for an aggrieved consumer.

“This was a case where modern coins were sold for inflated prices,” Presti said. “It’s the sort of thing that frustrates me, because it gives a bad name to coin dealers as a whole, including the great majority who are honest.

“I’ve chosen to make this industry my profession – and there’s a difference between a profession and a job. I treat it as a professional, and I want other dealers to do the same. The work NCA does is wonderful, and I’m proud to be associated with them. I think more dealers need to get involved for the long-term betterment of our business.”

NCA seeks no compensation when it enters a case on behalf of a victimized consumer – even though it frequently incurs substantial legal bills and other expenses in the process. The funds to cover such costs are contributed by coin dealers and others who share its concern about fraud and deception by disreputable coin sellers and the harmful effects these practices can have on the marketplace as a whole.

Cases involving potential abuses are referred to NCA by a number of sources, including hobby organizations, numismatic periodicals, law enforcement agencies, reputable coin dealers, and victims’ families and friends.

Upon learning of such cases, Albanese said, NCA contacts the consumers to determine the validity of their claims and asks for copies of all pertinent paperwork. If it concludes that the buyers were scammed, it contacts the sellers and urges them to make restitution in order to avoid legal action.

Further information about NCA contact:

John Albanese
Numismatic Consumer Alliance, Inc.
Bedminster, New Jersey
1-908-781-9101
or visit the website at , www.stopcoinfraud.org.

CAC SETS MAY 1 CUTOFF FOR NEW MEMBERS

March 23, 2011

Dealers and collectors interested in becoming members of the Certified Acceptance Corp. (CAC) will have to apply by May 1.

Membership will be closed after that date, at least through the end of 2011 and possibly beyond, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the company.

“We’ve been very busy,” Albanese said, “and we don’t want to get completely overwhelmed. We’ve kept our prices friendly and our turnaround times favorable, and we want things to stay that way. Capping our membership for at least the rest of the year will give us a chance to consolidate our growth and assess where we’re headed in the future.

“We’re a small company and that’s the way we like it. It gives us the ability to maintain high standards for the loyal members we already serve.”

CAC experts examine coins previously certified by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC). CAC then affixes a distinctive green sticker to the holder of each coin which, in its judgment, fully merits the grade that was assigned. Each sticker incorporates a tamper-resistant hologram.

As of March 1, the company had 357 dealer members and nearly 400 collector members. The cutoff date for new membership applications applies to both groups.

Albanese said the decision to declare a moratorium doesn’t reflect concern about weakness in the coin market. On the contrary, he said, it stems from a belief that business will soon be much more robust.

“I have a sense that we’re starting to come out of the recession,” he said. “That’s what the government has been saying, and I can see activity picking up in the coin business.

“We want to keep our growth under control so our service to existing members remains at a high level.

“We want to keep prices low and quality high.”

Dealer members serve as Submission Centers through which their customers’ coins can be sent to CAC. Collector members, known as Advanced Collector/Submitters, can submit certified coins directly to the company for evaluation.

Both are charged the same submission fees: $10 apiece for coins valued at $10,000 or less, $20 each for coins valued at more than $10,000. Typically, Albanese said, turnaround time is less than a week.

Since its inception in late 2007, CAC has processed more than 200,000 submissions with declared insurance value totaling more than $1 billion. It also has purchased more than $175 million worth of coins.

Further information about the company, including directions on how to apply for membership and where to obtain CAC-stickered coins, can be found at its Web site, www.caccoin.com.

CAC KEEPING STRICT STANDARDS

March 12, 2010

Change may be in the air at one or more coin grading services, but dealers, collectors and investors will find business as usual at Certified Acceptance Corp. (CAC).

That’s the company’s message to the hobby in the wake of reports that at least one of the two largest grading services is considering the establishment of “premium-quality” grade designations.

CAC examines and evaluates coins that have been certified by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC). It then affixes a distinctive green sticker to the holder of each coin which, in its judgment, is “solid” for the grade that was assigned. Each sticker incorporates a tamper-evident hologram.

According to Albanese, CAC will continue to evaluate submissions, and determine whether to award stickers to those coins, strictly in the context of the basic numerical grades assigned by either PCGS or NGC. He said it will disregard any additional descriptive words or symbols.

“We don’t want buyers and sellers to get the impression that by stickering a coin, CAC is confirming someone else’s ‘PQ’ designation,” Albanese said.

CAC makes a market in coins that it has stickered, and its disregard of PQ-type designations will be reflected in its buying and selling prices.

“For example, CAC’s bid price for an 1892-O Barber quarter graded MS65 is $1,150,” Albanese said. “If the coin was graded PQ and had a CAC sticker, our buy price would remain the same – $1,150. If it had a star plus our sticker, we’d still pay $1,150.

Since opening for business in late 2007, CAC has received more than 144,000 submissions from member dealers and collectors, and has awarded green stickers to just over 68,000 of these. The declared insurance value of these coins totals about $800 million.

To date, the company has bought and sold CAC-stickered coins with a wholesale trading volume of nearly $150 million.

Further information about CAC, including directions on how to apply for membership and where to obtain CAC-stickered coins, can be found at the company’s Web site, www.caccoin.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
John Albanese
Certified Acceptance Corp.
Bedminster, New Jersey
1-908-781-9101

CAC OPENS MEMBERSHIP TO COLLECTORS

July 16, 2009

The Certified Acceptance Corp. (CAC) is now accepting membership applications from collectors. Those who meet certain requirements will be eligible to submit certified coins directly to the company for evaluation.

Up to now, CAC membership has been open only to dealers, and collectors wishing to submit their coins to the company have had to do so through member dealers.

The change reflects growing awareness throughout the hobby of CAC’s role in the marketplace, according to John Albanese, founder and president of the New Jersey-based company. It also is intended to simplify the submission process for collectors who might have found it difficult to make arrangements through dealers.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to submit their coins to us,” Albanese said. “At the same time, we don’t want them making costly mistakes, so we want to be sure they fully understand the submission process before they send us their coins.

“In particular, we want to be sure that they’re thoroughly familiar with how to send coins, including how to ship them through private carriers.”

CAC experts examine coins previously certified by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC). CAC then affixes a distinctive green sticker to the holder of each coin which, in its judgment, fully merits the grade that was assigned. Each sticker incorporates a tamper-resistant hologram.

The authenticity of CAC-stickered coins can be confirmed by going to the company’s Internet Web site, www.caccoin.com, and entering each coin’s serial number in the Verification Search form as directed.

CAC began operations in 2007 and now has several hundred member dealers throughout the country.

Collectors seeking acceptance as CAC Advanced Collector/Submitters must be members in good standing of the American Numismatic Association. They also must sign an agreement stating that they understand the company’s submission procedures and will comply with them and be bound by their terms.

Collectors will be charged the same submission fees as dealer members: $10 apiece for coins valued at $10,000 or less, $20 each for coins valued at more than $10,000. They also will be responsible for all shipping charges to and from CAC.

But those who are accepted as Advanced Collector/Submitters at this time will receive two special benefits.

First, they will be exempt from any fee increases through Dec. 31, 2012 on up to 100 coins per year. The regular fees will be charged on submissions exceeding that number in a given year.

Second, collector members will not be charged until at least Dec. 31, 2012 for any coins that do not receive stickers from CAC.

“We understand that it may take some time to become acclimated to CAC standards,” Albanese explained.

Submission fees are not waived for member dealers when coins they submit fail to “sticker,” because it is assumed that as professionals, they have in-depth knowledge of grading.

Albanese said the decision to broaden CAC’s membership was prompted, in part, by complaints from collectors that some member dealers were balking at processing their submissions.

“Reports of this kind are very distressing,” he said. “When dealers join CAC, they assume responsibility for providing prompt, courteous service to clients who want their coins examined by our graders.”

If it can be confirmed that member dealers have failed to provide such service, he said, their submission privileges will not be revoked, but their names and those of their businesses will be removed from the company’s Web site, which many collectors consult to determine the location of submission centers.

Further information about CAC, including directions on how to apply for membership, can be found at www.caccoin.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
John Albanese
Certified Acceptance Corp.
Bedminster, New Jersey
1-908-781-9101

FREE Population Register Available For CAC Coins

July 3, 2009

After months of careful preparation, the Certified Acceptance Corp. (CAC) has unveiled a Population Register on its Internet Web site giving detailed information – at no charge – on certified coins it has examined.

The register encompasses all major types of federal U.S. coinage, but does not include Colonial coins or Territorial’s. It lists the types and grades of coins – and the number of each – that CAC has judged to be certified in appropriate grade levels.

“This is something we planned from the very beginning,” said John Albanese, founder and president of the company. “We waited until now to implement the plan because we wanted to ensure that the number of coins would be a representative sample.”

CAC experts examine coins previously certified by either the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America (NGC). CAC then affixes a distinctive green sticker to the holder of each coin which, in its judgment, fully merits the grade that was assigned. Each sticker incorporates a tamper-resistant hologram.

New Jersey-based CAC began operations in late 2007, and the Population Register reflects all certified federal coins that have earned the company’s stickers since that time – a period of approximately 20 months.

The register will be updated weekly, Albanese said, and will give coin buyers and sellers – free of charge – an accurate, reliable resource for assessing the number of well-graded certified coins available in the marketplace.

It will serve as a highly useful supplement to the PCGS Population Report and the NGC Census Report, he added.

The Population Register can be accessed at CAC’s Web site, www.caccoin.com.

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