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Author Topic: Modern Chinese coin investments #59 - Quietly cornering the market  (Read 13170 times)
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badon
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« on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:17:50 pm »



The article is broken up into separate posts - coin investment recommendations are at the end of the article

This article took much longer than usual to write because of the huge amount of information it contains. It was in draft for over a week, where only people registered on the LBC forums were able to read it. It changed quite a lot while it was in draft, so if you have already read the draft form, you better read it again. For example, one of the paragraphs about a "variety" I had discovered turned out to actually be a fake coin. That should give you an idea of how much an article can change before it's ready for publication! The final published articles are ready to be relied on for your investing decisions, but the drafts are just sloppy drafts meant to give you an inside peak at what I'm working on.

Since updating the coin listings and writing the articles are different things, but they both slow each other down, I'm thinking of making them two different posts, instead of trying to combine them into one. What do you think?


* IMG_1194_crop_resize songyue ancient pagoda temple medal.jpg (47.13 KB, 300x300 - viewed 1305 times.)

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« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:29:42 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:02 pm »

Problems with buying ouside Ebay

Coin dealers are enjoying the best market they've ever experienced in the history of numismatics. At the same time, I'm receiving huge quantities of information about problems people are having with them. Normally the dealers are courteous and eager to earn a sale with you. But, the reports I'm getting are pretty shocking. I'm hearing all sorts of crazy reports of bad behavior of dealers that used to have good reputations. Here's a sampling of a few of the them:

* Selling problem coins without disclosing the problems.
* Becoming angry if a buyer wants a refund.
* Becoming angry if a buyer wants to exchange a coin.
* Refusing to refund if a buyer isn't satisfied with a coin.a
* Selling coins that the dealer does not own, and cannot deliver.
* Selling coins using representative stock photos without telling buyers the photo is not the item they will receive.
* Refusing to sell to buyers for trivial reasons such as race (Chinese people), age (too young/old), location (the American South), asking too many questions (conserved? Original packaging? White spots? Return policy?), or asking for help with ordering online.
* Treating customers like they're the enemy, especially buyers from Ebay.
* Agreeing to sell to buyers, but refusing to deliver in a timely fashion.
* Refusing to provide a tracking number for confirmation of shipped items.
* Jealously chastising previous customers who buy or sell with another dealer.
* Putting customers on speakerphone, and ridiculing them to entertain employees.
* Ignoring emails, phone calls, and letters, especially after the dealer has your money.

I won't name any names, but all of the biggest, oldest, and formerly most-loved dealers have been mentioned to me at least once so far - ALL OF THEM! These reports have been pouring in to me for a few months, but lately they've increased to such shocking levels, I can't ignore them as unlucky flukes anymore. It's clearly a routine pattern of problems that are now affecting the entire industry, not just isolated incidents that just happen sometimes in special circumstances.

How can it be that so many of the dealers simultaneously go from friendly to feral, in just a few months?

Success. Too much of it, actually. They're getting rich(er), and they don't need to compete for customers anymore. They've got more than they know what to do with already.

So, how do you avoid these problems? Well, it's actually surprisingly simple: don't buy outside of Ebay. All of the dealers that are having reputation problems right now are, or have been, Ebay sellers at some point. But, they've been encouraging their customers to buy outside ebay so they can save themselves on the Ebay fees. Of course, they often promise to pass along the saving to the buyers too...from some of the incredible horror stories I've heard, the promise isn't worth it!

All of the problems I'm hearing about come from buyers who tried to do business with these dealers outside of Ebay. One of the most common complaints I'm hearing are problems with returning coins, especially coins with problems, but the dealers refuse, even after many years of good dealings in what the buyer THOUGHT was a good business relationship. The dealers are held to a high standard for customer satisfaction at Ebay, and most of them offer an unconditional return policy, for any reason. When you buy from them outside of Ebay, suddenly they won't let you do a return.

If a buyer isn't happy with a coin that was purchased on Ebay and paid for through PayPal, it doesn't matter what the seller's return policy is. Ebay will force the dealer to give you a refund. They're not playing around either, they'll get you your money even if the dealer is kicking and screaming about it. Ebay is THE world's marketplace for coins for good reasons, in part because that's where the buyers are. So, most Ebay dealers just offer you a good return policy right up front, and don't hassle you if you want to return a coin. They know Ebay will side with the buyer, because the customers are NOT the enemy.

Most of the dealers that are encouraging their buyers to buy outside of Ebay are dealers that have grown greedy and impatient. They want their money, they want it now, and they don't want to deal with you if you're going to complain if you get screwed. They think that the customers are the enemy, and just there to give them money.

So, the lesson here is that buying outside Ebay is dangerous, even if you're buying from your favorite dealer that you've done business with for many years. Success and greed changes people, and no one is immune, especially when it comes too easy as a lucky part of a natural market movement.

Protect yourself by avoiding doing transactions outside Ebay, especially with dealers that have been a little too successful.
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:30:13 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:09 pm »

Become a dealer!

Bubbles form in markets when people make too much money too fast. Sometimes an overly-successful dealer needs to experience their own micro-bubble collapse as their customers leave in droves, to make room for somebody new with less greed and more integrity.

However, the problem isn't that the market is going up too fast - in fact, I think it's not going up quite fast enough! Instead, I think the problem is that the market needs some new dealers to press forward with new growth. Any idiot can make decent money investing in these coins and just sitting on them. But, if you've got a willingness to put in an honest day's work, you can seriously get rich by becoming a dealer.

There are many, many eager buyers looking for some fresh new dealers on Ebay. I invite you to try your hand at becoming one of them.

You would have a lot of competition from BIG, RICH, and/or ESTABLISHED dealers, but there's room for you because #1 there's more growth than the established dealers can keep up with, and #2 buyers want a good customer service experience that the established dealers can't provide anymore. You don't need to be big, rich, and/or established to gain a foothold in this market. In fact, you don't need any of those things to take over this market, if you're talented enough to do that.

Everybody is new, even the established dealers. Most of the cutting-edge information about the market comes from here at LBC and the CCF. The big dealers don't even have time to read this stuff, that's why you're able to buy up their goods before they realize it's a newly discovered rare variety, for example. A few of the little Ebay dealers DO read these articles, and I'll mention one in particular for his especially excellent coins, prices, and customer service: 1668chris.

1668chris is a perfect example of how a little guy can take over the market. He was the spearhead of the boom in the 1 oz silver Munich pandas because the demand was high, and the big dealers were too overworked to bring them to the market. On top of that, he conserves his coins, and ALWAYS mentions any problems the coins might have. His prices are higher, but so is his quality. You buy a coin from that guy, you JUST KNOW you've got a great investment, 100% stress free.

I don't know who he is or where he came from (his ebay account says New Jersey). I've never bought from him myself, but the reports I'm getting back about him are the most stellar I've heard about ANY dealer for quite a while. And, he's NEW. You can follow his example. You can be the little guy with the time to read, listen, and serve. You can be the spearhead of the next sector to boom in this market. You can provide the good customer service experience that gives confidence to nervous investors who are spending a lot of money on coins for the first time. You can reassure them that the market is healthy, your business is healthy, and you're enjoying yourself doing it.

Maybe someday you'll be a cranky, overworked dealer like the big established dealers. But, you have to get rich first, which should be no problem if you've got some decent business sense.

Welcome, new dealers. Good luck! I'm going to post some stuff from 1668chris so the buyers reading this article can help him along in his successful business:

Stuff from 1668chris
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:31:43 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:14 pm »

Quietly cornering the market

The word on the street is that it only takes $50,000 to corner the market on just one coin. But, prices have risen since the first time a heard that, so can that still be true? Yes it is! How? Well, when prices rose, the supply dropped too. That means that the same $50,000 is chasing more expensive, but FEWER coins. So, you can still corner the market on many different types of coins with "only" $50,000.

For many people, $50k is not a lot of money. This is a sign of an immature market when it costs so little to do neat little tricks like this. That means that the overall effect of cornering the market is not manipulative or artificial, but instead it's necessary to bring prices up to healthy, natural levels where it's not so easy to corner the market anymore.

It's happening right now, too. This is the best time to do it, because nobody is paying constant attention. People are frolicking in the sun, instead of watching what everyone else is buying. That makes it easy for people to quietly corner the market in their favorite coins. Ever wonder why the market takes off later in the year? Well, that's one reason right there. The coins that get bought up during the warm months, are the coins that get sold at much higher prices during the colder months.

The summer market cornering activity is quite fun to watch. It's how some of us experts figure out which coins are going to be hot later. On top of that, when you notice someone cornering the market, you may want to buy a few coins and then watch the prices go up. Market-cornerers try to go unnoticed, because if someone like me writes about it, it can cause prices to rise BEFORE they finish cornering the market, in a sort of collective-cornering. Instead of one individual pushing prices up, and earning a large gain for himself, everyone gets a piece of the pie.

When prices rise substantially before a coin is fully cornered, it just costs more money to finish the job of taking all the supply off the market. If they don't finish the job, then all the remaining coins that are circulating could compete with each other to keep prices from rising as quickly as they could.
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:32:08 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:17 pm »

Cornering the market doesn't work, usually...

Tamo42 wrote a great article while this one you're reading now was in draft: Market Cornering and Why it Fails.

Sometimes I like to highlight a counterpoint to what I'm writing about, so my readers can see that I've considered both sides of the equation, and it balances perfectly (that's mathspeak for "everything is A-OK"). I know that cornering the market is something that naturally does not work. However, in extraodinary circumstances, it can work. From our point of view it can be simplified to say that cornering the market fails in mature markets, but can work in immature markets.

In mature markets, the market will adjust itself to cut out the unnatural market cornering activity. In immature markets, the normal growth of the market  can catch up to market cornering activity in a way that allows the market cornerers to profit by basically concentrating normal market growth into their own hands. So, in essence, mature market cornering is unnatural manipulation that is resisted and eventually undone, while immature market cornering is more like a growth spurt that follows the trend, and eventually becomes part of the normal market.

So, now that you know that market cornering is not something that normally works, I feel better about telling you how to spend your money on a unique situation where it DOES work. I just don't want to give the wrong impression that this is something that can work at any time, which could cause you to make an investment mistake later, when times have changed. Worst case scenario is the formation of a bubble, as people try to keep the market going up beyond what is natural and healthy. I'm aware of these risks, and I will duly inform you when I think there's something to be worried about, like always have (see my past correct warning-predictions of periodic slowdowns).

Right now, there's nothing to worry about, so enjoy the party, it's just getting started!
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:32:32 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:29 pm »

Ride up with the cornering activity

Here's a list of coins that I believe people are trying to accumulate, and possibly corner:

* 2000 1/2 oz Gold and 2000 2/3 oz silver scallop plum blossom flower lunar dragon. Easy to corner because the mintages are low. (very hot)
* 1989 3.3 oz silver God of War & Wealth super clouded claw variety
* Unicorns, all of them
* Peacocks, all of them
* Other coins with a painting theme
* Silver invention & discovery series in investment grade
* Silver Chinese historical figures series in investment grade
* Coins with the yin yang symbol (1985 Chinese historical figures lao tse, 1993 & 1995 invention & discovery fu lu shu)
* Chinese traditional culture Pagoda of Six Harmonies, and other coins with a pagoda on them
* 1984 silver China scenery ancient pagoda temple medal sets
* 1984(?) silver goldfish medal sets
* 1990 silver goldfish medal sets
* 1992 1 oz silver proof panda, all 3 varieties
* 1994 1/2 oz silver panda
* 1996 12 oz silver mirror leg panda
* 1998 1 oz silver Beijing expo panda (hot)
* 1999 1 oz silver Beijing expo panda
* Possibly other dates of the gold plated Beijing expo pandas
* Bimetallic proof pandas
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:32:55 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:34 pm »

More great investments

The list of coins above that are being cornered are obvious good investments. There's a few others that I think you should consider getting for your portfolio:

* 1989 3.3 oz silver god of war & wealth, any variety, clear claw, clouded claw, or super clouded claw
* 70 grade coins, especially rare coins in all metals, and common silver
* 1995 1 oz gold proof panda
* All the gold plated Beijing expo pandas, but be careful to avoid unofficial altered coins with gold plating
* 2004 1/4 oz silver 25th anniversary pandas. These are still underpriced, and a great buy.
* Any coins on auction during the summer slowdown. They're selling much too cheaply, sometimes for half what they should, or less.
* 1980 olympic coins. They are very rare in investment grades because most were damaged, especially in Europe.
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:33:09 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:37 pm »

How varieties become valuable

It seems like things go like this:

1. variety discovery
2. attentive readers push prices up immediately, and clean out the market
3. dealers start noticing, and they begin buying up coins to corner the market, so prices go up again
4. the rest of the buyers in the market are made aware by the dealer marketing, prices rise
5. writers recognize the variety in publications like the pricepedia, krause catalog, etc, and prices rise
6. NGC recognizes the variety, everyone knows about the variety because it's attached to the coin, prices rise faster than in all the previous steps

The head guy at NGC for variety attribution said that if the Chinese market doesn't care about the varieties, they won't label it. He said they completely ignore the Western market. That means the more sophisticated West will always be ahead of China in variety recognition, and able to buy stuff up before they realize what's going on. The cheap varieties are your opportunity to buy, before China realizes what's going on.
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:33:23 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:40 pm »

NCS article on conserving Chinese coins

NCS has highlighted a 1994 10 yuan bimetallic panda in their most recent Conservation Showcase article. It's pretty amazing what they can do to improve the appearance and grade of coins with problems. Chinese coins in particular are plagued with poor manufacturing and handling techniques that have damaged many coins before they even make it into collector hands. The article is interesting, and does a good job of showing you what they can do with Chinese coins, so check it out:

http://www.ncscoin.com/news/viewarticle.aspx?NewsletterNewsArticleID=1095

1994 bimetallic panda before NCS conservation


1994 bimetallic panda after NCS conservation
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:33:41 pm by badon » Logged

If families are a problem for the system, then we must reject the system, not the families.
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« Reply #9 on: 2011 Apr 30, 02:18:44 pm »

Clues, pagodas

Sometimes it pays to pay attention to the little hints and clues I let out in the discussions that follow my articles. Here's what I said in Modern Chinese coin investments #56 - varieties, mints, errors, and RESTRIKES!

1995 22 g silver Chinese traditional culture pagoda of six harmonies NGC PF 69 UC

$299.99 Buy-It-Now. Mintage 20,000. Buy these coins when I list them. These are the kinds of coins that I know something about that I'm not saying yet...They're going to cost more in the near future.

The clue was pretty obvious, right? Well, now it's time to tell story behind the clue. When a rare coin makes its move upwards, it causes similar coins to move upwards too. The pagoda coin I mentioned earlier is not particularly rare, but it will be positively affected by other much rarer coins with the same ancient pagoda temple theme, much like everything with the 1998 date on it is expensive because of the influence of the very rare 1998 1/2 oz gold large date panda. As those rarer pagoda coins take off in popularity, so will other coins with a pagoda theme.

It's sort of like how Brad Pitt look-alikes never have trouble getting a date, but people who look like me don't have it so easy, even though I'm waaaay better-looking than Brad Pitt...even without my crystal ball to impress the ladies Smiley
« Last Edit: 2011 May 07, 04:34:06 pm by badon » Logged

If families are a problem for the system, then we must reject the system, not the families.
Founder of the Coin Compendium (forum, blogs, calendar, images, donate, contribute).
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The Coin Compendium and the china-mint.info forum, censure, disclosure.
Do not PM questions. Answers should be publicly available.
Backup is not enough. Protect your data with MultiPar.
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About me: User:Badon - MediaWiki.org
Badon effect: type 1 to 8, type 9.
I type faster on a TypeMatrix.
Use my work. Give credit.
Coin, medal, whatever!
Coin storage advice.
FreeArc is amazing.
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