Monday, January 25, 2010

Coin Monday: ‘Well, now, I wouldn’t say that!’

Jan. 25, 2010
Written by John Dale

I had something of a “throwback moment” recently, reading through a copy of the “Greysheet” for the first time since — was it my internship here in the summer of 2004, or all the way back in 2002, when I was still in high school?

The Greysheet, more formally known as the COIN DEALER newsletter [sic], is a weekly publication listing “bid and ask” - suggested “buy” and “sell” prices - for many collectible U.S. coins in a variety of grades. The Greysheet, named for the signature color of its paper, has been a coin-shop staple since its inception in 1963, and two of its spin-off publications are of similar importance.

First, the “Bluesheet,” or CERTIFIED COIN DEALER newsletter, covers high-grade coins certified by NGC or PCGS, such as this 1944-D Walking Liberty half dollar, MS67 NGC, in Heritage’s upcoming February 2010 Long Beach U.S. Coin Auction. The other major spin-off is the “Greensheet,” or the CURRENCY DEALER newsletter, which covers collectible U.S. currency, but I’ve never actually used it; you’d have to talk to “the currency folks” for that one.

So if the Greysheet is such a numismatist’s essential, I should look at it every week, right? But as the Richard Q. Peavey character from The Great Gildersleeve would put it, “Well, now, I wouldn’t say that!” (For those of you unwilling to admit you heard The Great Gildersleeve over the radio, or those under the age of 55, perhaps you’ve seen a classic wartime Looney Tunes short, “Draftee Daffy,” in which Daffy Duck tries with increasing desperation to avoid the deliverer of his draft notice. The bespectacled messenger makes frequent use of the Peavey catchphrase.)

As a cataloger, I just don’t have much of a reason to pick up a Greysheet and look at it. I write about coins; I don’t make buying or selling decisions for the company, or help others make them. Thus, I consult price guides with less frequency than one of Heritage’s wholesale buyers, or a consignment director giving a client advice on proper venues for coins. When I do check a price guide, usually it’s to help me decide whether a coin should be photographed for the catalog, for example, or get a full-page description.

For that judgment call, I turn to Heritage’s Permanent Auction Archives and get my numbers from the past results. The Greysheet calls itself “The Only Source for Accurate, Timely & Unbiased Rare Coin Pricing Information!” I’ll admit to being a bit biased myself, but considering all the information, the actual prices paid for actual coins to be found in the Archives, I have only one proper response: “Well, now, I wouldn’t say that!”

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-John Dale Beety

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with this post. Over the past few months, my habits have been shifting to consulting the Heritage auction archives rather than price guides before a major purchase.