The article is broken up into separate posts - The coin investments list is at the end of the article
As much as we talk about coins here at LBC, it might be easy to forget that this is a site about business, or more generally, about making money. We're pretty good at staying ahead of the market too, so for a while we'll be writing about real estate, then precious metals, then oil, then stocks, and back to precious metals again, then into coins, and then into real estate again. We're not "coin people", we're "making money people".
tamo42 has written an article recently in
Contrarian Investing: The Real Estate Edition
". In my comments beneath his posting, I had a hard time coming up with a conclusive reason to disagree with him, even though I traditionally have been against real estate investing (long before it finally collapsed). The particular areas of real estate that he discussed do look to me like pretty good value investments right now, so I had to reluctantly agree with him, despite my personal unwillingness to enter that market (see
my comments below tamo42's article
I bring it up because the strategy he is using to find medium to low risk profits in the weak real estate market are the same strategies I'm using right now in the modern Chinese coin market. Fortunately for me in writing this article, tamo42 has chosen to carefully highlight the notable highs and lows from the previous list (he did that before he had seen me write this). Overall, it appears that right now the winning investments are in the value investments, whether they're in the real estate market, the coin market, or wherever.
I'm often fond of saying that you make money when you buy, not when you sell. If you carefully BUY the right coins, selling them profitably is easy. At this point, you may want to skip down and read tamo42's commentary before you come back and finish mine, so you'll have a better understanding of what I'm going to talk about next.
What I'm going to talk about next
There was one very
interesting question posted over at the Chinese Coin Forum
about a $22,000 1990 2 oz gold dragon & phoenix that Nick Brown at Majestic Rarities has been leaving unsold for a while. This is a coin that was the hottest of the hot. During that time, I frequently called it the single most popular modern Chinese coin of them all. The planned mintage was 2500, and the actual mintage is unknown, but I will guess at around half the planned mintage, or 1250 coins. Coins routinely valued over $15,000 typically have mintages of around 500 or less. But this coin rose to such meteoric popularity that it easily topped $20,000 with a comparatively high mintage.
The 1990 2 oz dragon & phoenix coin is prone to being popular, and everyone knows it, so the people who own them rarely reduce prices when sector rotation drops them out of favor. But, if prices did drop, you can bet there would be interested buyers for the coin, even if the drop was small compared to its price - say, a drop of only $1000 to $2000 (5% to 10% reduction). I was offered one of them for $11,000 about a year ago, and I'm still kicking myself for not taking it - but that's another subject. My point is that there are good coins that are selling for cheap prices - or if not cheap and also very rare/popular, then at least they're available at SOME price, and you should do some buying.
In the spirit of tamo42's urgings to be contrarian, I agree. For the last 6 months or so I have been putting most of my investment money into silver, particularly non-lunar dragons. The time to buy is when they're cheap and/or available. The fractional gold pandas have been an ongoing winner during the same time frame, but soon they will relax as the sectors rotate once again. I have bought a few of the nicest fractional gold pandas just to take advantage of the quick run up, but I think the most money will be made for those who accumulate the rare silver coins that are being overlooked, while at the same time are "prone to being popular".
That's why the little 2 gram dragon & phoenix is still one of my top picks! One just sold for a hair over $200, which is an excellent price. I think they could go as low as $140 to $160, but I do not foresee them dropping much lower than that under any circumstances, because then people could afford to buy them only because they like them, without even giving it any special status as a good investment.
LBC pump-and-dump scam?
There have been questions about whether I'm a
writer. If I were, why would I be ever-more strongly recommending a coin that has been steadily falling in price, the lower it goes? Do I own those coins? Of course I do! I would be a fool not to :) But, whether I write about a particular coin or not, the price is still going to go up, that's why I bought the coins in the first place.
On top of that, there's tamo42, KonaJim, PandaCollector, Batman, and many others who also write up their own thoughts about coins, which often disagree with each other, and me (usually they all get it right, and the disagreement is only about who has the best strategy, or who's making the most money, haha). All of those people have posted at both LBC and CCF at one time or another. These are public forums, and nobody has any particularly strong sway over the market unless they're actually 100% correct. Remember,
market manipulation does not work in the long run
, even though I posted an article about
how market cornering can be done successfully
if the market is already headed in that direction on its own anyway. In other words, unnatural market pricing will not be sustainable. That's why long term investing is so superior to short term investing - manipulation DOES happen, but if you're a long term investor, the volatility that the manipulation causes ends up just disappearing into the noise as the trend takes the market exactly where it was going to from the beginning.
I'm reminded of an excellent post by groovemachine where he specifically says "
Don't trust badon
". There was also a poster who called himself "
" who posted in the earliest days of this list about how he thought I might be misleading people. This is list #104, and none of the skeptical posters were censored in any way - in fact, I was eager to have a naysayer around to keep me on my toes. But, we have not seen useurbrain since January 2011, about 80 lists ago and I think, after a while, useurbrain saw that the market was doing what I said it would do, and indeed, it has been profitable for everyone involved. Even the prominent and well-respected KonaJim was once very skeptical and cautious, but he has both
changed his clothes, and his mind
. Still, it would be nice to have some fresh criticism to come out publicly so it can be addressed. That would reinforce confidence that, really, this market is still the place to be.
This market has been profitable for everyone, even the newcomers who wouldn't have enough knowledge to find an edge in another market that wasn't a bull market like this one. In other words, price gains are not caused by any one person posting his random thoughts on a few popular forums. Those prices would have gone up on their own without the articles, perhaps a little later but up nonetheless, because this is a bull market.
We at LBC just happen to be good at picking the bulls out of the herd.
Oh, and we like to share the info too. Why? We do this as a hobby - but it's actually more of a hobby for us, it's an investment strategy. The benefits for us are a little vague. One thing we have all noticed is that writing up our investment decisions in article form, where it's open to both the praise and the scorn, puts some healthy pressure on us to carefully consider not only what we're saying, but also what we're investing in.
Writing for LBC for fun as a hobby has literally made us better investors.
Enough people have noticed this effect that they too have begun writing up their thoughts. We see regular postings from KonaJim, Batman, Exchange, and many, many others. Each one has ideas they want to flesh out through dialog on the forums. But, it always seems to be that the ones that put the most effort into writing up good advice for others, are also the ones that take the best advice for themselves.
It really is better to give, than to receive - so much so that it's difficult to see a distinction! Are you looking forward to Christmas as much as I am? :)
Coin and bullion diversified investing strategy
Silver is being neglected in favor of gold, especially in pandas. That trend will flip back into silver when precious metals start making big gains again, because silver will draw the most attention from it's normal tendency to have much larger percentage gains than gold.
2012 remains unwritten, so it is difficult for me to foresee what its character will be like. Despite being an important year for us in our modern Chinese coin investment strategies, we may not see the biggest effects produced by the events of 2012 until later years (2013 to 2015).
There is price weakness now, so you must accumulate golden age rare modern Chinese coins from 1979 to 2009 (approximately). If there is price weakness or even just slow gains in 2012, you must continue to accumulate aggressively.
Consider diversifying your investments into cheap, generic bullion silver to prepare for the possibility that bullion gains overshadow coin gains. You can easily trade your silver, or convert to cash to buy coins if that possibility does not occur, so preparation with some bullion purchases carries only the risk of lost opportunities in buying rare coins. If you can't afford rare coins yet, the risk is even smaller for you if you put some of your money in cheap silver bullion instead of coins. For wealthy people, you should give this some thought before you make your decision.
I have still so far chosen not to buy bullion for myself, even though I fall into the "wealthy people" category. I chose this because my lifestyle is extremely frugal, and will not gain much benefit in comparison to the risks if I diversify into bullion silver, since my income exceeds my expenses, and probably will continue to even if my income drops substantially (due to inflation, or whatever). My income is best applied toward obtaining rare coins, as many as possible, and holding them until I need to be trading or selling to upgrade into better coins.
Your own circumstances are unique, and probably very different from mine. I hope this info helps you decide what category you fit in, and what strategy will work best for you in maximizing your profits over your preferred timescale, while minimizing your risks.
* 1990 2 g silver 5 jiao dragon & phoenix
* 1998 dragon culture
* Coins in a 70 grade.
* Lunars, starting with dragons, and expanding to the whole sets. 2012 year of the dragon will be lunar-mania.
* Dragon and phoenix (marriage theme symbolism).
* Peacocks (marriage theme symbolism).
* Pandas, especially silver, the rarer the better.
* Popular low-mintage key dates: 1990, 1995, 1998.
* 2012 anniversary dates: 1982 (panda), 1988 & 2000 (lunar).
* Other anniversary dates: 1991, 1992, 2007, 2009.
* "Golden age" coins 1979 to 2009 (30 amazing years!).
* Dates (etc) with the Chinese lucky number 8.
* Underpriced coins are hot buys for contrarian investors right now.
* Pay what you have to pay for good coins that stubbornly do not drop in price (those are the kinds of coins you want to own if you have to sell in a weak market - in a strong market, they will provide good gains).
* Focus your purchases on rarity together with popularity.
* Stick with the best coins available, in the most popular types (prefer 1 oz over 5 oz, for example).
* Be sure to continually upgrade your coins so you can keep up with the market as better coins accelerate ahead of lesser coins.
Remember, there are several kinds of rarity, in order of importance:
* Mintage rarity
* Grade rarity
* Relative rarity within a series ("key" coins)
* Variety rarity + popularity potential (you have to have popularity too)
Last Edit: 2011 Nov 09, 05:55:30 pm by badon »
The uneven heating continues. Here's a quick list of the notable listings, both on the high side and the low side. You can find each of these sales in the sold listings below.
Notable lows: 1982 1/10 oz gold panda NCS NGC MS 69 - $405 - $90 under lows. 1990 2 g silver dragon & phoenix NCS NGC PF 69 UC - $203.50 - Looks like the $235 floor has been passed 1991 1/20 oz gold panda small date NGC MS 69 - $153.93 - $50 under lows 1993 2/3 oz silver scallop flower lunar rooster NGC PF 69 UC - $635 - $300 under recent lows 1994 2/3 oz silver scallop flower lunar dog PCGS PR 69 DCAM - $369.99 - $300 under last sale 1996 1 oz silver proof unicorn NGC PF 69 UC - $362.99 - $50 below recent lows. 1997 1 oz silver panda small date NGC MS 69 - $104.38 - $10 under lows 1998 1 oz gold panda large date PCGS MS 69 - $5049.99 - $800 below last sale. 2005 1 oz silver panda NGC MS 70 - $278.5 - $50 under lows 2009 1 oz silver panda PCGS MS 70 - $155.06 - $50 under lows And now for the highs: 1983 1/10 oz gold panda PCGS MS 69 - $495 - New high. 1983 1/4 oz gold panda PCGS MS 69 - $825 - $200 above recent highs. 1984 1/2 oz gold panda PCGS MS 69 - $1376 - $150 above recent highs. 1989 1/2 oz gold panda PCGS MS 69 - $1125.99 - $100 above recent highs. 1991 2 oz silver piedfort 10th anniversary proof panda NGC PF 69 UC - $1188.88 - Sold very quickly 1993 1/10 oz gold invention & discovery fu lu shu NGC MS 69 - $500 - Very strong compared to a recent sale of a MS 70 specimen for $830. 1993 22 g silver invention & discovery terracotta army NCS NGC PF 69 UC - $266 - New high. 1994 1 oz silver panda small date NCS NGC MS 69 - $430 - $50 above recent highs. Analysis: I think it's pretty evident that we are seeing sector rotation into fractional gold and other previously-unloved coins. As a result, the silvers are being neglected. This is the same thing that I've been saying for the past several weeks. This presents a buying opportunity, especially on those mid-week auctions!
Last Edit: 2011 Nov 09, 10:42:17 am by tamo42 »
Chinese coins are better
Fidelity Overseas Fund (FOSFX)
Brazilian Stock Index (BVSP)
This information comes from
http://www.pandacollector.com/ The Fishball Panda Index
Created by Fishball at the Silver Stackers forum, the Fishball Panda Index (FPI) is to be an index of entry level Pandas (bullion) which is to be updated on a monthly basis using data from Peter Anthony's pricepedia.
Month Silver FPI Gold 1/20 oz FPI Gold 1/10 oz FPI Gold 1/4 oz FPI Aug 2011 1000 1000 1000 1000 Sep 2011 1019.22 1012.69 1027.90 1107.29 Oct 2011 1025.63 1122.24 1142.99 1183.32 Nov 2011 1022.11 1141.37 1159.10 1174.24
Register, read replies, get NOTIFICATIONS, access drafts
Always come back to check the replies on these articles. That's where most of the good stuff is!
Register on the forums
and click the "
" button on this article to receive email notifications of new replies that may make some easy money for the first person to read it. Many of the best coins only last for a few minutes or seconds before somebody grabs them. If you get notified of replies, you'll be able to see anything new that I list right when I list it. You'll also stay informed of the hot topics, and see what other people are talking about buying.
Also, once you're registered on the forums, you can
access the drafts forum
where I post stuff I'm working on. Having access to my drafts lets you see the good stuff before anybody else - sometimes only minutes before, and sometimes more than a week before! You'll have valuable advanced information before the rest of the market gets it! Of course, you MUST click on the "
" button for the drafts forum if you want to receive an instant notification that a draft has been posted.
Hint: Once you see the first draft, click the "
" button for the draft. When my draft is almost ready for publishing, I break up the post into replies that follow the first post of the draft. You'll get a notification that a reply has been posted, and that will tell you the draft is almost done. A near-finished draft with the replies will contain more, better info than the first draft notification, so that's the good info you want to see.
Finally, you'll want to stay up-to-date on my postings, so click the "
on my blog forum
. You may want to take a look there from time to time, especially to read my older postings that are packed with valuable money-making information. If you're wondering if I'm worth listening to, you can
see a list of my articles sorted by date
. Check out the older ones to see my track record at predicting the markets. It's impressive, if I do say so myself. No one on the planet as a track record like mine. You can trust my predictions, they're always right!
NCS and NGC need to help buyers find conserved coins for long term investment I've talked a lot about NCS conservation of silver coins, especially the ones with the highest grades that were graded in the past. Coins that were not conserved before grading could degrade over time as invisible residues corrode their surfaces. That could make your investments virtually worthless! There are nuances to which coins are worrisome, and which aren't, so I've recommended coins that look good despite not knowing whether they've been conserved or not. For example, an old silver coin that still looks good after many years is probably OK, and a newer panda that came from modern PVC-free packaging is probably OK too. But, the only way to know for sure is to only buy coins that have been conserved before grading. Sadly, NCS and NGC continue to refuse to indicate on the holders if a coin has been conserved, even if requested. I have begged them to let me buy coins that I know will not become hunks of scrap metal over time, and they won't listen to me - just one person - but they will listen to the market as a whole. That means you. Everyone needs to contact NCS and tell them you want to buy coins that you know have been conserved. Tell them that you want to buy coins that NGC marks as conserved on their holders. Here's the person to contact: Craig Fiumara Numismatic Conservation Services Operations Manager Phone 866-627-2646 Ext. 145 Fax 941-360-2559 CraigF@NCScoin.com Once we persuade them that we want to know that our coins are safe, they will obey our demands and start marking the conserved coins. Only then can we be reasonably certain (but never 100%) that our investments will not become worthless over time.
NCS conserved certificates? What if NCS started selling certificates that said that a coin had been conserved? Would you want one for each of your coins, so you could prove to a buyer that your coins are professionally conserved? It's been impossible so far to persuade NCS and NGC to start labeling conserved coins. But, they may be willing to produce certificates, especially if it earns them a little extra money. Prices earned by sellers have been significantly better for the coins they advertise as NCS conserved. When buyers have a choice between 2 coins, one that's cheaper, but not NCS conserved, and one that's significantly more expensive, but has been NCS conserved, the buyers almost always choose the NCS coins first. Once those are gone, then the unconserved coins start selling again. Many of the sellers are able to provide paperwork to show that a coin has been conserved, and the seller's reputation leads to buyers trusting sellers when they say the coins are conserved. But what about the buyer when it comes time to sell? It would be very helpful if they had a certificate from NCS that says for certain that a coin has been conserved. It would add value to the coins when they initially sell from a dealer, and it will also make it easier for the buyer to sell later too. Further down in this article is Craig Fiumara's contact information at NCS. It would be helpful to make this possibility a reality if you told him you'd like to buy conservation certificates for your coins.
Here's some recent articles of mine that can provide some guidance for investing in the current and coming market conditions:
LBC makes me rich
Wealth preservation: USA vs. China
Coins are the hot new investment
How high will the Chinese coin market go?
5 criteria to determine if a coin is a good investment
13 coin facts to learn for beginning investors of modern Chinese coins
For those new to the modern Chinese coin market
My First Chinese Panda Coin Purchase
Modern Chinese coin investment strategy
Black Swans, Fake Chinese coins, badon, & ebay!
Don't be the "whale" that pays too much for an investment coin
Modern Chinese coin commentary and market predictions - 2010-Dec-15
What makes people buy up all the Chinese panda coins?
Investing in rare modern Chinese coins, some questions answered
Cash is king for 2011 - Get ready for the coming bargain hunt
Foresight: Gold, silver, coins, etc will weaken after January or February 2011
Rumor: Modern Chinese coin charts coming out soon
Why does this business site talk so much about investments?
The chess game of rich vs. poor
Why You Should Collect (or Invest) in Gold Panda Fractional BUs
Here's some handy websites for basic coin facts like mintages:
Modern China Coins
Data sorted by series
Data sorted by year
china-mint.info silver actual mintages
china-mint.info gold actual mintages
Chinese Coin Forum
* The Coin Compendium is coming!
Gold and Silver Panda Coin Buyer's Guide Book
This is THE panda book, written by the world's foremost expert on Chinese panda coins. Buy the book before the coin. Enough said.
If you have the book, you need the updates. Peter Anthony publishes his
giving you all the latest prices in both the US in China for pandas, lunars, and other modern Chinese coins. Essential market information. He also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee. If you don't like it, you'll get a refund
get to keep the first month free! Make sure to tell him that you found his
here at LBC!
Get the Pricepedia here!
I have added a section that mentions problem sellers so people using this list will know if a seller they're interested in buying from is one that is likely to leave them unhappy. I feel compelled to do this, since removing them from my list entirely is not what people want, while at the same time, I feel responsible for recommending coins from sellers that will mistreat their customers.
These sellers are ones that have a longstanding pattern of problems. They frequently have nice coins, so their coins will still be included in this list, but this warning is here to tell you that you may regret buying from them. This is my little disclaimer, so I can distance myself from them if you have problems buying one of their coins that have been included in my list.
This list is the best resource available for people who are completely new to buying modern Chinese coins, so I feel it is important to make buyers aware of where the danger zones might be, while still making the coins available to more experience buyers who are used to handling problems from sellers that don't make customer satisfaction a high priority.
Seller does not disclose flaws, and does not accept returns. Coins frequently have white spots of death that aren't clearly visible in photos.
Seller has had a monopoly in the United States since 1982. Almost all the Chinese coins in America have to pass through them first. I hear frequent complaints of all types about this seller, mostly about their "culture" of inadequate customer service. The company's President is aware of their problems, and tells unhappy customers they should be grateful to be allowed to buy from their monopoly. The company is reluctant to accept returns, and they do not accept PayPal payments and buyer protections.
UPDATE 2011 November 02 Wednesday: PandaAmerica's President Peter Yeung and some members of his staff have been participating regularly at the
Chinese Coin Forum
. Some of the previous employees are no longer working there, and it has been a long time since I have heard any complaints about PandaAmerica. There has even been some recent
praise for PandaAmerica
posted at the CCF.
UPDATE 2011 November 11 Friday: PandaAmerica is now accepting PayPal on eBay. No complaints have been reported recently.
Seller has been known to bait-and-switch listings, showing one photo in the auction and sending a different one. Apparently came back to eBay after alienating many of its clients on its own website. Seller also has a conflicting return policy.
UPDATE 2011 November 02 Wednesday:
Rare Coin Collector has made an appearance at the Chinese Coin Forum
. This is usually a very positive sign.
Last Edit: 2011 Nov 11, 03:49:22 pm by badon »
Sellers who list coins with the words "NCS conserved" somewhere in their Ebay listing will show up here, regardless of grade. This is to enhance the value of both high and low grade coins that have been conserved, and can be advertised with the phrase "This coin has been conserved by NCS", or something similar.
NCS conserved Chinese coins
I routinely pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars EXTRA for a coin that comes from a dealer that I know always conserves his coins. If I pay thousands of dollars for a rare silver coin, it would be a tragedy if it developed the dreaded White Spots of Death later. I have never had a problem with any of my conserved silver coins.
If we're going to get NCS and NGC to start labeling conserved coins, we have to help dealers to earn a little extra money for them. This is a chicken-and-egg problem, where nobody labels NCS conserved coins because nobody is looking for them, and nobody is looking for them because nobody labels them. Now, sellers can tell us (on the honor system) which coins have been conserved.