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Author Topic: Modern Chinese coin investment commentary #60 - Good dealers, slowdown, buying  (Read 2960 times)
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« on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:08:17 pm »

The article is broken up into separate posts

This is the first dedicated commentary post I have made since I split commentary and list articles into separate postings to improve the speed, quality, and frequency of my postings, especially the list. You can find the current investment list article in my blog/forum here:

http://www.livebusinesschat.com/smf/index.php?board=346.0
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« Reply #1 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:08:27 pm »

Batman comes out of hibernation

I have started to see a lot of new collectors pop up on CCF as well as LBC.  First; Welcome and Second; Happy Collecting!! 

For new readers, I only like to contribute when I see certain trends happening and don’t usually engage in a lot of postings.  I just like to provide my observations from time to time, as I am quite active in this market.  So here is my next installment (by the way, I did write a different piece but it became outdated in a matter of a week. Maybe it will resurrect itself in the near future):

As a new collector, you picked the right place to learn about Chinese coins.  Many contributors have been collecting for years and are a reservoir of information. You just need to know what questions to ask. Keep in mind we are all still learning and don’t have all the answers.   That being said, nothing pays off more than hard work.  I have literally spent thousands of hours in front of a computer screen searching and learning.  Why, because I have a passion for these things.  This is the only way.  Also, I never had the benefit of either CCF or LBC, so use the resource wisely.

First and foremost, buy Peter Anthony’s book!!  “Gold and Silver Panda Coin Buyer’s Guide” The book is an invaluable reference guide that I use almost every day, and is one of kind!!   I wish I knew about it sooner.   Second, subscribe to Peter’s pricepedia.  This will give you an idea whether or not something is a good buy or not.  But keep in mind that this pricing is only a reference.  Popularity can play tremendously into pricing that is not reflected in the pricepedia (just look at the price for a raw 1983 silver pig that sold for about $2300 yesterday on ebay.  The pricepedia’s latest raw price was around $1600 from China). 

...

That's just a sample. Be sure to read the rest of Batman's article here: For those new to the modern Chinese coin market
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« Reply #2 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:08:50 pm »

Market cornering responses

These responses are in reference to my article: Modern Chinese coin investments #59 - Quietly cornering the market

KonaJim, AKA "The Coin Lion", wrote in his post Hoarding, Cornering, Collecting:

I read a posting on Live Business Chat about how "cornering" a market ultimately does not work.  There is a flaw in the premise of the article for coins.  It is true and many business papers have been written on "demand destruction', and the efficiency of markets to fill in demand.  This is true of commodity products, oil, gas, gold, silver, wheat, corn, etc.  What these commodities all have in common is that they can be produced and production increased.  Farmers, will plant more corn, oil companies will increase their number of rigs, and miners will drill more mines.  You can't make more 1995 coins of a certain issue.  Therefore "cornering" works very well.  I don't see this being illegal, or wrong, it's just good business.  If you found a certain wine of a particular year and variety there would be nothing wrong with buying as many bottles as possible.  The other great thing with Chinese coins is you don't have to be alone in buying a certain coin.  Alot of Chinese buyers will "hoard" for you, as they put away their coins not to be sold again into this market.  A good business plan for coin buying for appreciation is to determine what is being bought, and when you find something you like buy it consistently.  Eventually, you will help to take these coins off the market, driving the prices higher.  The trick is to do it before you drive the price higher on yourself.  Happy investing.

PandaCollector wrote:

If you want to think about how high prices for a desirable item with a fixed supply can go, consider art. For example, there are hundreds of Monet paintings in existence and while each of these is a unique artistic statement their price is largely determined by supply and demand. That demand results in prices in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per painting. I won't take this analogy any farther but I think it demonstrates that the sky is the limit when high rollers move into an area with finite supply.
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« Reply #3 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:10:36 pm »

Buying up coins during the warm months

You make money when you buy, not when you sell. Most people don't make much money, because they get it backwards, trying to make money with a hard sell. If you do a good job buying, selling is easy, because you can price things reasonably or even cheaply, and still make money. That's what's happing right now. There's a whole lot of buying going on, at both cheap prices and at record prices. The market is very active - as much as I've ever seen during a seasonal slowdown - but the market is not showing its full potential because many buyers are busy with other things during the slowdown, and not participating. That is creating a buying opportunity.

You know who gets rich? It's the guy that works Monday through Saturday 9 to 6. The people who work Monday through Friday 9 to 5 never seem to "get ahead". Well, getting ahead requires you to BE ahead, obviously. So, the people who are going to make the most money this year and early next year are the ones who are still busy buying while everyone else is taking a little time off for playing in the warm weather. The people who are GOING ahead are GETTING ahead, just a little, just enough, and that's all it takes.

That should be you. The time to buy in this market is pretty much always, since something is always making a big move upwards while the market is immature. But, some times are better than others. Slowdowns are the best time to buy, when it's also the hardest time to buy, if you can buy at all. With prices on some coins still rising during the slowdown, the choice is clear - Buy, buy, buy, because surely we will see something special later in the year when the weather cools, the seasons change, and people spend a little more time fussing over their coin collections.
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« Reply #4 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:10:46 pm »

Slowdown in selling, increase in buying

We are now in the peak months for the slowdown. Selling has dropped off dramatically in the first week of June, while buying still seems to be strong. In other words, this is becoming the predicted supply slowdown, with prices remaining strong. Previously the bargains were in the auctions, but now they're appearing increasingly in the Buy-It-Now listings. As the slowdown moves past its peak and declines, rising prices will leave some seller pricing behind, especially when they return from vacations to list coins without checking what the new pricing is. Watch the Buy-It-Now listings for coins being listed at old, cheaper prices.
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« Reply #5 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:10:55 pm »

Buy the best, prepare to ignore the worst

It's important to buy the best you can afford. Second-rate stuff could disappoint you. That's why I like the modern Chinese coin market so much. At the time I wrote my article about the pagoda temple coins, you could buy them as cheaply as $200 each. The mintage is only 260, but they are within reach of people with ordinary amounts of money. Those kinds of coins are very unlikely to experience a massive loss in value, because they started out very undervalued.

But, we're in a slowdown again. I publicly predicted it, and most people reading my article were prepared for it, so they are not surprised or disappointed. Still, a few doubts are starting to creep in. The doubters are mentioning the word "bubble" again - "Are we there yet?" - It's so tiresome to keep addressing this, but it's a wise question to keep asking, even if the answer is always "no".

Have you ever seen the move Casablanca? The plot revolves around the town of Casablanca in Morocco, where European refugees were fleeing to escape the Nazis in WWII. Casablanca was the last stop before boarding a boat or aircraft to leave Europe for North or South America, where there was no war. In the movie, you see refugees toting suitcases full of diamonds, and diamond buyers telling them they won't buy them at any price because everyone has the same diamonds for sale.

That's a good example of the worst that could happen to an investor in the rare modern Chinese coin market. You own a very valuable collection of nice coins, but when things get bad, you can't extract value out of them.

Of course, situations like what happened in Casablanca are always temporary, and often confined only to certain places. But, it's a good lesson on what COULD happen. You see, I've given this some thought. I know my investments could turn completely worthless if gold or silver is outlawed, or trade with China is restricted, or war breaks out, or whatever. But, it'll be temporary, and I'm prepared to ride it out if I have to. I know, in the end, I'll come out on top, because I'm the one that's positioned well (See: The chess game of rich vs. poor).

Even though the people in Casablanca couldn't buy a ticket to America with a suitcase full of diamonds, if they found another way to get to America, or even if they just stayed in Casablanca until the war was over, when they finally get the chance to restart their lives, they're going to be much better off than the average person who has nothing. In fact, they'll probably quickly become more wealthy than they ever were before, simply because they're ready to move forward while everyone else is still trying to recover.

If someday you get terrible news that your investments are worthless, you will be able to ignore it if you have food, safety, a place to live, and hope for the future. Don't count on being able to trade in your coins, precious metals, diamonds, etc for basic necessities like food. You should have already bought and stored food, so it'll be other people trading in their diamonds and gold to YOU, in exchange for a sack of potatoes.

Why am I telling you this? Am I worried something bad is going to happen to our investments in modern Chinese coins? No, I'm not worried. I've thought of the worst that can happen, and I take it seriously - I'm not a cheerleader that keeps cheering when the team is losing. The reason why I'm telling you this is to show that, while something terrible colud happen, EVEN IF IT DID HAPPEN, it wouldn't matter in the long run if you are prepared to keep a tight grip on your wealth when food becomes more valuable than gold.

Back to the Casablanca example, the diamonds that were worthless were the common ones. Diamond buyers had limited amounts of money to buy diamonds, so they would wait until someone brought them a magnificent rare diamond of exceptional quality, and then they would pay a fair price for it....but NO ONE would buy the common diamonds - NO ONE!

If you're going to buy rare coins, don't go halfway. Get the best available that you can afford. Then, if you do have to sell, you'll have a better chance of finding a wealthy buyer, outside the masses of roaming poor.
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« Reply #6 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:11:06 pm »

Silver Pandas of the China Coin Shows

pandamania from the Chinese Coin Forum has written up a nice post about the China coin expo pandas, with a detailed overview of the series:

Quote
Every year since 1995 (except perhaps 2003) China has hosted an international coin exhibition (exposition) and have issued silver coins commemorating the event. The coins (aka commemoratives and a medal) have been produced with various designs including pandas, which are by far the most popular variety. There have been no counterpart coins for the events issued in gold, platinum or palladium so the total "design population" is the actual mintage of only the silver issues. 

Show pandas are of the same features as the regular panda for that year but are distinguished by added words on the coin`s obverse and in several cases by the addition of attractive gold plating and gilding. As with proofs they were also issued with COA`s and with most if not all with original boxes. This panda subset offers low mintages and excellent collecting and investment opportunities (they have been recommended for purchase in the Pricepedia and in Badon`s Modern Chinese coin investment Lists).

The "coin shows" have been held in different locations which include Beijing (1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004-2010), Shanghai (1997 and 2002) and Guangzhou (2000). There is a mystery surrounding the 2003 event. Apparently there was either no show in that year or a planned coin was never issued. Cheng`s "Illustrated Catalogue of Modern Chinese Gold and Silver Coins" shows a 2003 show panda, however Anthony`s "Gold and Silver Panda Coin Buyer`s Guide" does not list one. It would appear that this phantom coin is nowhere to be found as I have never seen one and none have been graded by NGC (whereas all other show coins have several). There is at least one coin that references a 2003 Bejing show (current Ebay listing 400198175034 - Australia 2003 Bejing show .999 silver kangaroo trio)
 
"Panda show coins" have been issued in the years 1995-2000 and 2004-2006. "Beijing show pandas" were issued in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006. There has been one "Shanghai show panda" in 1997 and the "Guangzhou show panda" in 2000. As a group (10 coins) the subset has a much lower authorized mintage  than the popular proofs (14 coins) 263,000 vs 699,000 (including 500,000 colored proofs) and the authorized mintages are as follows:

1995    5,000   1st Bejing
1995   18,000   Beijing
1996   20,000   Beijing
1997   30,000   Shanghai
1998   30,000   Beijing
1999   40,000   Beijing
2000   40,000   Guangzhou
2004   30,000   Beijing
2005   30,000   Beijing
2006   20,000   Beijing

Yet where you can find them they offer relatively modest prices compared to proofs.

The 1995 1st Beijing International Coin show (commemorating Sino-German friendship) is rarely if ever seen (an official issue?) and the 1995, 1996 and 2000 "show pandas" would have to be considered keys to the set. However, the 2006 looks to be a sleeper based on mintage and the attractive gold gilding. In time the set may be a most popular and profitable group of bears to own.
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« Reply #7 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:11:17 pm »

Large size coins

Large size coins are proving to be much more popular than I originally thought they would be, especially the 2 oz to 5 oz sizes. They're big, but not too big, and people seem to really like the larger, easier to see details of the designs. I did some checking into ancient history of coins, and it turns out that the most valuable of all ancient coins is also the largest gold coin ever made in antiquity - it is a little over 5 oz of gold, and only 1 of them survived after all others were melted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EucratidesStatere.jpg

So, there does seem to be some permanence to the popularity of 5 oz coins, even though they aren't normally minted. When they do get minted, people love them, IF they can afford them!

Actual mintages seem to be characteristically lower planned mintages - not always, but often enough to make it a good bet. Plus, I have suspected that large size coins were convenient targets for melting due to their oddity (at the time), and their high bullion content. The only coins that I think got melted even more frequently are the very small coins used in jewelry, which of course most were damaged in jewelry mountings long before they got melted, while the big coins went straight to the melting pot.

That means that while some very rare coins can make it back into collector hands when they get rescued from jewelry, like the 1998 large date pandas, the big size coins were lost forever once they got viewed as inconvenient bullion, and assigned for melting. The reason why the big coins would be melted so promptly is because they're not useful in something like jewelry, and because there's a lot of money tied up in them AND not very many people were interested in them until very recently.
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« Reply #8 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:11:27 pm »

Great dealers

My last commentary article talked about pandemic problems with dealers in the modern Chinese coin market who are abusing their customers. It seems the older and more established a dealer, the more difficult they can be towards their customers. Some of them feel they have too many customers, and they really do not need your business, especially in the American panda market.

This behavior has opened the door for new, smaller dealers to enter the market. I mentioned one of them last time (1668chris on Ebay), but I'd like to mention a few more. In particular, I'm going to tell you about some dealers that:

* Will be polite and courteous to you and everyone else.
* Will welcome your business, and your enthusiasm for collecting/investing.
* Will deliver what they promise to sell to you, or die trying (slight exaggeration).
* Will accept a return without question if you don't like the coin you received.
* Will protect your privacy, and your family's safety, by never revealing any information about you or your purchases.

In other words, I'm talking about dealers who are classy, and particularly able to serve wealthy clients. There are other good dealers out in the market, particularly the smaller ones. But, for someone interested in making expensive purchases, good dealers can be hard to find. I recommend these dealers, because there's no need to buy from anyone who does not handle your needs professionally and safely.
« Last Edit: 2011 Jun 13, 09:28:28 pm by badon » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: 2011 Jun 12, 06:11:39 pm »

Nick Brown

Nick Brown usually handles purchases of $10,000 to $3 million. This man is legend in the modern Chinese community. He burst onto the scene in about 2004 from out of nowhere, and quickly cultivated his position as one of the world's top dealers. It's not often that rumors about someone are positive, but there's one about him that's pretty interesting, and probably true, but before I tell you, let me explain a little about how he conducts his business.

Nick Brown prides himself on owning his inventory. He does not advertise coins he does not own, and he'll make sure you know that every time you talk to him. It's not necessarily a bad thing for a seller in any business to market and deliver products as ordered, instead of maintaining a costly inventory, but for Nick Brown it is. Rare coins are not like mass-produced pens and pencils. Each one is different, and they can be very expensive and difficult to replace. How would you feel if you moved around $40,000 to purchase a coin, only to have the seller tell you "Sorry, I wasn't able to get it"?

Nick is a pretty confident fellow. He's kind of like the athlete that promises you the championship, and then hands it to you on a 1 kilo gold panda platter, with a big grin on his face Smiley On top of that, he's a very nice guy that everybody likes. So, naturally, there's some envy amongst other dealers who would love to see him trip up. I keep hearing them tell a rumor about one instance where Nick sold a coin by mistake that he didn't actually have because he had already sold it.

This would be a great rumor about the big giant falling hard after tripping on his own principle of never selling a coin he doesn't own - but, then the story's plot takes a twist - Instead of Nick telling his buyer "Sorry, here's your refund", he scoured the markets around the world until he located the correct coin in the correct grade, and then delivered it to his eager buyer AT A LOSS to himself, in both time and money. Since he deals in the rarest, most expensive, lowest mintage, and fastest rising modern Chinese coins, you can bet that the loss he took was probably more money than most of us normally see in one place.

How many dealers would do that for you, just to make sure they delivered as promised, whatever the cost? Probably just Nick Brown. Remember, the coins this guy prefers to deal in have extremely low mintages - sometimes as low as just 10 coins! The story about how he found replacement coin for his client is amazing, and maybe evolving into a legend that gets grander with each retelling.

Some other interesting facts are that Nick Brown was the man behind the current acceptance of NGC authenticated and graded coins in the Chinese coin market. He frequently conserves his coins too, and although I am the one that talked the most and the loudest about conservation, Nick has been doing conservation all along in order to make sure his clients get the best coins possible.

You know those beautiful large size NGC holders that you frequently see? Those were made by NGC because Nick Brown said they should be made. Now, NGC is the only company in the world that can grade and encapsulate pretty much anything.

Nick Brown should be one of your first choices for high-end coins. Here's a link to Nick Brown's account on the Chinese Coin Forum. You can PM him from there by clicking Send this member a personal message. He doesn't have an account on LBC at the time of this writing, as far as I know.
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