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CAC Pricing Discussion

Hi All,

As many of you may know, CDN provides retail pricing to the CAC web site, specifically for CAC coins. We provide this information as an independent third-party under license and are privileged to do so. Assigning a specific, single price to all U.S. coins is an incredibly challenging task, and doing so for CAC-approved coins is no less difficult. Patrick Perez (our senior pricing editor and data analyst) and I would like to use this forum to shed light on our pricing and respond to inquiries and suggestions.

Experience tells me it's best when people give specific examples, rather than a general statement like "your prices are too high" or "too low" etc. Let's try a dialog with specific coins and we will do our best to address them. Also, please limit the discussion here to CAC pricing.

Thanks in advance!

John Feigenbaum

President, CDN Publishing

[email protected]

«134567

Comments

  • edited December 2021

    John, this is a fantastic thread that will provide many of us insights into your pricing formulas, including timeliness. Here’s a very recent real world example, and it represents many of my purchases:

    I just bought via auction on December 1 an 1893 Indian Head Cent graded MS65RD by PCGS w/CAC. I paid $1,320 all in. While there are 174 in this grade by PCGS and NGC, there are only 10 with a CAC. Looking at prior sales of those with CAC’s, there’s only one on GC. That sold for only $779 back in May 2016. It was PCGS. On the PCGS Auction Prices Realized, looking for prior sales of both PCGS and NGC coins with CAC’s, there’s also only one sale. That sold for $2,233 way back in February 2013, and it too was graded by PCGS. I don’t see other sales. The current pricing shown on the CAC Price Report is $1,220.

    1. Will your pricing get adjusted, and if so, how quickly? For some reason, the PCGS records don’t yet include the sale from last week.
    2. Disclosing as much as you comfortably can, please walk us through the “formula” you used for this real world example. If possible, can you give a theoretical example (I know you said you want to avoid this) if there were 10 TOTAL prior sales instead of only two prior sales?
    3. Prices from how long ago are typically included in your formula?
    4. Is it fair to assume that if there have been a few recent sales, the weighting given to the most recent sale will have less weight than if there had been NO recent sales? What is considered “NOT” recent?
    5. Do you look at recent NON CAC sales, and increase those by a certain percentage to include in your formula for a CAC price?

    Thanks so VERY much.

    Steve

  • Mr. Feigenbaum,

    a very generous offering, that will do wonders for the Forum.

    Thanks

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  • 1858 $5 half eagle auction sales AU55 CAC have been $3K +. Also check '59 '60.

  • Steve, Thank you for the very thoughtful question. It's a lot to answer and I'll do my best to do it succinctly. One could write a major essay to properly answer (and maybe I will sometime).

    "I just bought via auction on December 1 an 1893 Indian Head Cent graded MS65RD by PCGS w/CAC. I paid $1,320 all in. While there are 174 in this grade by PCGS and NGC, there are only 10 with a CAC. Looking at prior sales of those with CAC’s, there’s only one on GC. That sold for only $779 back in May 2016. It was PCGS. On the PCGS Auction Prices Realized, looking for prior sales of both PCGS and NGC coins with CAC’s, there’s also only one sale. That sold for $2,233 way back in February 2013, and it too was graded by PCGS. I don’t see other sales. The current pricing shown on the CAC Price Report is $1,220."

    answer: The coin you purchased is a (beautiful) old-holder coin which I would assume would sell for a premium over a more-recently graded coin. Surely when buying this coin you are competing with upgraders who will see this coin as a potential 65+, or "shot 66". Overall the population of 1893s is fairly high in my opinion and a single result like this could be an outlier. One could compare it favorably to the 65+ that sold at Stack in 3/19 for the same price. In fact, I like your coin better from the image. Therefore With 10 CAC's out there I'd like to see another one (not old holder or + grade) sell before assuming the value should be raised.


    1. "Will your pricing get adjusted, and if so, how quickly? For some reason, the PCGS records don’t yet include the sale from last week.

    We adjust prices constantly and often at irregular intervals. It's a human project and therefore humanly inconsistent. What I can tell you is that when we think a price should be changed (on anything) based on market feedback we make the change immediately, and fully. We don't stair-step values. Prices are changed on our web site in real time. On the CAC site, there might be a few-hour delay as the data is synched every few hours.

    2. Disclosing as much as you comfortably can, please walk us through the “formula” you used for this real world example. If possible, can you give a theoretical example (I know you said you want to avoid this) if there were 10 TOTAL prior sales instead of only two prior sales?

    We really don't use a formula. I would simply state that we use a "mark to market" strategy. Specific prices can change based on recent sales of the same item, of that type in general, or more-broadly the entire market, Everything matters. For example, if the last 5 7-figure coins have sold at higher levels than in recent years, we aren't surprised when the 6th one follows suit. On the contrary a declining market will make us more aggressive about following price down. Fortunately, we are currently in a bullish market overall at this time.

    3. Prices from how long ago are typically included in your formula?

    We don't use a formula. But coins that trade frequently (think common MS66 CC Morgan dollars) are influenced heavily by their most recent trades (90 days). It doesn't matter much what they sold for 3 years ago.

    4. Is it fair to assume that if there have been a few recent sales, the weighting given to the most recent sale will have less weight than if there had been NO recent sales? What is considered “NOT” recent?

    Not necessarily. A coin that doesn't trade often has fewer comparison points and we look harder at the quality, but we still believe that the most recent sale is the most relevant.

    5. Do you look at recent NON CAC sales, and increase those by a certain percentage to include in your formula for a CAC price?

    In the absence of a market bid on CDN Exchange for a specific coin, and/or relevant CAC auction records we will generally assign a 15%-20% premium to a CAC coin. Frankly, in most cases, this probably isn't enough but we are conservative by nature. Meaning we'd rather set a price lower than higher until we have more data.

    IN SUMMARY: there's clearly a lot more to say and many other nuances to explain but the point I'd like to make here is that we will always review our levels a specific coin when it is brought to our attention. Usually within a few hours of being notified.

    Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to explain!

    Sincerely,

    John


  • HI Rick! Hope you are well. I fondly recall our conversation. We recently reviewed the pricing of early Walkers so this coin was reduced to a wholesale Bid of $12,000 on 11/11/21. Despite this strong market, I see some wobbly pricing in early gem Walkers -- even CAC approved. Possibly a good time to buy this great series if you are a contrarian.

    Take care and thank you for the opportunity to respond.

    John

  • Thanks for the head's up! I just reviewed these three dates. New values will appear shortly.

  • Seated dollars are incredibly challenging to price because choice, original (CAC-quality) coins are rare. Frankly this is true for most all seated coinage. For this reason, I think auction records will always prevail for these. We do our best to show a conceptual value for better date seated coinage, but long-time collectors know they need to step up when these coins become available. A price guide will never do them justice. That said, we are always willing to review a specific issue.

  • John


    Thanks for the reply. I agree with everything you said. When a premium quality SLD comes to market none of the price guides tell the story. Although they have started to creep up like almost everything. But they certainly could use more of a bump. The 1861 is one such issue. CRO sold an xf45 cac for $6750 instantly on a recent early bird with multiple people calling for it. GFRC just sold an AU53 cac for over 11k! Again thanks for your time.

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  • Adjustments have been made but it's frankly difficult to conscious why someone would pay $11k for an AU53 when a recent APR in MS64 CAC was $10,281 (Legend, 1/20, https://legendauctions.hibid.com/lot/59994755/-1-1861-pcgs-ms64-cac/). Yes, the is a constituency of enthusiasts willing to pay top dollar but it's still possible these extreme levels are outliers.

  • John


    There are very few people on the planet collecting sets of mint state seated dollars. I dont follow that level to closely and I’m not sure why that coin sold for less then the AU? There are far more set builders in the circulated grade range. For guys building a circulated set of business strikes with cac approval the opportunities are very rare for some dates. Since we are talking about the 1861… There has only been (1) circulated 1861 with a cac sticker to sell at auction ever! At least until last week when GFRC had its auction. It sold a decade ago at heritage. GC, stacks, legend, etc Have never offered one. Its a once in a decade coin. So when this one sold it was a real dog fight. It is certainly more then I would pay for the coin but I’d offer well above guide price for the coin.

  • I believe that the pricing guides have to take in the market IN GENERAL not specific series collectors competing for CAC approved coins for their individual registry sets or unknown (to the general buying public) rare marriages.

    Taking the first example of the registry set competitors. When one strong buyer is pushed by another you can get outlying prices compared to what the next piece may sell for. I always liked to look at where the second underbidder stopped in a live auction to determine where the next piece may sell. Yes, there are pleanty of errors that could present themselves like did the second underbidder have a higher bid that they held in the face of two aggressive bidders? No system is foolproof but you have to take into consideration on low population sales as to what happens if more are created or where the next level is when you take the highest buyer out of the market.

    Does this make you appreciate the work John F does a little more?

  • I looked long and hard for a 70-CC. Finally found and threw price guides out the window. 😁



  • Interesting that the 1861 dollar I sourced was the only piece sold at auction since. l had been at the dollar series for three years when I made that nice purchase. Over a decade of pursuit clearly supports the citation that Seated dollars with CAC are rare. Dates that I need (that have not appeared for sale at any of the venues I monitor) for the series would garner very aggressive bidding on my part should they EVER appear, generating a sale outlier as compared to price guide. Perhaps some bias upward to CAC price guide proportional to low CAC population would be beneficial.

    Switching to the seated half dollar series, my three examples of AU55 CAC approved examples for 1882, 1884, & 1885 represent population=1 CAC examples at AU55 with none in AU58. Two of these were sourced from dealers who priced the coins above guide. The last of the three was sourced at auction at a realized price of 50% above what was paid for the other two. My experience supports the observation that dealers must offer above price guide to source low population CAC examples, and informs me that as a seller I would do best to sell low CAC population examples in an auction format.

    I monitor sales of low (<~25) CAC population seated half dollar and dollar issues, noting cert numbers, their images and sale prices, and newly 'made' arrivals, the date of their arrival, and their grade. You get a sense of each individual coin and it's attributes. An example would be the 1856-S half dollar, where an XF40 is coming up for auction, and XF45 has recently been offered for sale, and the AU58 and MS64 examples (the two top CAC examples for the date/mint issue) have recently been sold. An individual collector can obtain a near full picture of the top tier examples for that date to aid in their buying decisions.

  • I am aware of another recent private sale for an 1861 Liberty Seated dollar in PCGS/CAC AU-50 at $8,500 -- the coin that I now own -- making three recent sales/auction records for this issue in PCGS/CAC EF-45, AU-50 and AU-53. In a recent conversation with a well known Liberty Seated dealer/collector, we discussed the flattening of the value curve for CAC-approved Liberty Seated coinage, which I believe is what is happening here. Looking at Liberty Seated dollars, especially key issues like the 1861, recent price increases for CAC-approved examples in circulated grades shouldn't translate into increases for Mint State examples at similar percentages, CAC-approved or otherwise. In fact such increases would be unrealistic IMHO. Taking the 1861 dollar again, I believe this issue in CAC-approved AU-50/53 is now in the $9,000-$11,000 range. With three recent sales in PCGS/CAC EF-45 through AU-53, we are not dealing with outliers in pricing here. However, a roughly similar increase for a CAC MS-63 would get us into the neighborhood of $20,000, and I believe that the current market would not support that latter number. Some (minor) adjustments should be considered for higher grade (ie Mint State) examples, but what really needs to happen is a flattening of the pricing curve to take into consideration the (very) similar prices that collectors are paying for CAC-approved examples throughout much of the grading scale. In other words, CAC-approved circulated coins need to move up to values that are closer to what their Mint State brethren are selling for, but with only minor adjustments to the prices for the Mint State pieces. IMHO this phenomenon is confined to Liberty Seated and other classic series where problem free, PQ circulated examples for so many issues are just plain rare, and even for issues that are traditionally seen as "common dates" for their respective types. For example, how many really nice, fully original, PQ 1860-O dollars are out there in the various AU grades? Not many.....
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