The differences between coin shows from the 80s and 90s and today

abcde12345abcde12345 Posts: 1,817 ✭✭✭✭✭

For those of you who walked the floor at large coins shows (like the recent Long Beach show) back in the 1980s or 1990s, and still do so today, what do you notice that is different? For example, would you see more raw coins back then? More SEGS and PCI coins? Are dealers setting up different now, catering to a younger demographic?

I'd be curious if there are things you miss 'back in the day' and also if there are improvements today?
I know more collectors (and dealers) are hunched over their iPhones now when it used to be the gray sheet.

What is your take and is it more or less an improvement today or not so much?

Genius, innovator, enlightened. Or so my mom keeps telling me.

Comments

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 8,009 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Much lower prices 😉

    Seriously though, more “better” coins available in general, raw or slabbed.
    Coins like ‘39O halves, chain cents, early walkers, etc. They weren’t abundant, but at least there were some to see and compare. And I recall only small premiums for nicely toned coins.

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  • 1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 6,077 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For me

    the 1980's I was a novice
    1990's I was an middle novice
    2000's I was a little more knowledgeable
    2010's I'm getting there, but still know so little

    I'm learning and enjoying the hobby. :)

    PS
    back in the 80's, buying probably problem/cleaned coins in 2x2's, I saw the LCS Dealer at a table, almost wispering to someone and opening and spreading ASE's on the table....I think he said "this is the future".

    All in all, great memories.

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  • kruegerkrueger Posts: 477 ✭✭✭

    Toned Peace Dollars were a rarity back then. They just were not around.
    Today they are everywhere not from bags but AT'd.

    there were bag toned Morgans as bags came out from 60's to 80'S.
    100 Yo coins from bags. peace dollars were too young it seems.

    During the Carter inflation years early 80's the coin market crashed
    you could buy 30 year bonds at 16%!! as some friends did. when rates came down they made a killing.
    show dealers were begging me to buy their Morgans . "please buy some, I need to get rid of this sh**t"
    no lie it happened. coins do not always go up!

    Those are some of my memories.

    Krueger

  • amwldcoinamwldcoin Posts: 6,005 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The only difference I see is everyone's a dealer now and expects dealer prices! It's a whirlpool dragging down prices. Imagine what would happen to the automobile industry if people really knew what it actually cost to produce an automobile!

    These days no one seems to consider the cost of doing business. Coins, Cars, or whatever...a solid minimum of 20% of the price of any item is the cost of doing business IMHO.

  • DIMEMANDIMEMAN Posts: 19,964 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Back in those days we didn't have Mint products clogging up things like the 2014 fiasco. More raw coins. And the best thing of all.......no CAC back then! :)


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  • mannie graymannie gray Posts: 4,970 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One big difference is folks using the lowest priced recent eBay sale to establish value.
    (Buyers, that is.)
    At a recent show I had a colorful Franklin that was solid for the grade and several buyers wanted to buy it for the bloodbath price that was the result of an eBay 99c auction.
    The coins they were referencing were of course not toned and not very nice for the grade.
    I told them to buy them on eBay then if they can find them.
    I'm sure it would be a different story if they were selling though.
    I highly doubt the eBay fire sale would be mentioned in that case.

  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 21,602 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @amwldcoin said:

    These days no one seems to consider the cost of doing business. Coins, Cars, or whatever...a solid minimum of 20% of the price of any item is the cost of doing business IMHO.

    Disagree. Do you think a dealer making 1% on bullion is actually losing 19%? Do you think I’m screwing up when I buy a coin for 48K and flip it for 50K? A dealer’s fixed costs are irrelevant to any individual coin deal and should be completely ignored.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
  • DoubleEagle59DoubleEagle59 Posts: 7,410 ✭✭✭✭

    A little off topic, but I can tell you one interesting fact about coin shows in the 1970's.................

    You couldn't find a toned coin in the whole bourse.

    Dealers were dipping coins at their booth.

    Blast white was in baby!!!

    Can you dig it?....... (some '70s lingo for the young crowd).

    But seriously, makes you wonder when you hold a blast white coin in your hands today, do you really think it's 'original' (and this question also applies to toned coins).

    "Gold is money, and nothing else" (JP Morgan, 1912)

    "Gold is the canary in the financial coal mine." (Alan Greenspan)

  • 1630Boston1630Boston Posts: 6,077 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DoubleEagle59 said:

    Can you dig it?....... (some '70s lingo for the young crowd).

    Cinema Modeoff
    The Monkees - Can You Dig It?

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  • SoldiSoldi Posts: 834 ✭✭✭✭

    @DIMEMAN said:
    Back in those days we didn't have Mint products clogging up things like the 2014 fiasco. More raw coins. And the best thing of all.......no CAC back then! :)

    There was a "maddening of the crowd" back in the late 1980s and I recall a day, a week, a month or so, when NGC brought a higher price than a PCGS coin, but for awhile things were settled. What was settled? That third party grading was all that was needed.

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 4,585 ✭✭✭✭✭

    back in the '70's and 80's I could buy all the PL's & DMPL's I wanted at regular prices.

    It seemed that no one wanted them, and no premiums.

    Also, in the 80's to early 90's I could buy AU-58 Barbers [dimes & quarters] at AU prices, no one seemed to care about Barbers.
    I even picked up a couple of PL Barber quarters, at no premium.

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • rickoricko Posts: 68,385 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That time period was before the tarnish craze....and prices were definitely lower. Slabbed coins were just starting to appear in quantity......Mint sets were more popular then too. Cheers, RickO

  • thebeavthebeav Posts: 2,629 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Most everything was raw.....with the exception of some ANACS photo certs. So, if you could grade well, you had a good shot at flipping from dealer to dealer. A day of that, then grabbing some dinner.....The time of my life !

  • spacehaydukespacehayduke Posts: 2,447 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 13, 2019 5:12AM

    @DIMEMAN said:
    Back in those days we didn't have Mint products clogging up things like the 2014 fiasco. More raw coins. And the best thing of all.......no CAC back then! :)

    No CAC, and more folks getting fleeced, yup thems the good ole days in particular for unscrupulous types of people...........

    I'll take the current situation with CAC involved any day, even with all of their warts they have made numismatics better.


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  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 19,697 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I see more people being security minded and what's going on around them. Of course my back hurts me knees and feet. What dot hurt don't work

  • ElmerFusterpuckElmerFusterpuck Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Even between the 80's and 90's there was a shift. The shows I went to in the early 80's allowed smoking on the bourse, which didn't make for a pleasant experience. Before the slabs showed up, I would see quite a few whizzed coins being offered as MS and more than my share of altered coins (fake 14-D cents, 16-D dimes). I did see rainbow toned Morgans during this time; they were usually in Capitol plastic holders, but people generally preferred white coins. I wished I chased them more then.

    The 90's got rid of the smoke, and more slabs were on the floor than the previous decade. The mid 90's was the beginning of the internet boom for coin collecting, this is when I got more spark from joining the rec.collecting.coins usenet group. I remember liking the shows during this decade more.

    With all the apps and online options for our hobby now, would I want to go back to that era? Not really, except to go back in time and pick up some of those toners that I saw.

  • amwldcoinamwldcoin Posts: 6,005 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I personally don't consider bullion the same as dealing coins. Bullion is a totally different animal compared to collectable coins! Of course many coins are bullion but to me they are not collectable coins IE have no numismatic premium!

    @MrEureka said:

    @amwldcoin said:

    These days no one seems to consider the cost of doing business. Coins, Cars, or whatever...a solid minimum of 20% of the price of any item is the cost of doing business IMHO.

    Disagree. Do you think a dealer making 1% on bullion is actually losing 19%? Do you think I’m screwing up when I buy a coin for 48K and flip it for 50K? A dealer’s fixed costs are irrelevant to any individual coin deal and should be completely ignored.

  • BillDugan1959BillDugan1959 Posts: 2,932 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The number one difference between 35 years ago and today is that there were four times as many people doing Coins back then. Plain and simple.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 8,712 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Walkerguy21D said:
    Much lower prices 😉

    Seriously though, more “better” coins available in general, raw or slabbed.
    Coins like ‘39O halves, chain cents, early walkers, etc. They weren’t abundant, but at least there were some to see and compare. And I recall only small premiums for nicely toned coins.

    LOL. A lot of stuff is the same price or cheaper that the late '80s and early '90s

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 8,712 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @amwldcoin said:
    The only difference I see is everyone's a dealer now and expects dealer prices! It's a whirlpool dragging down prices. Imagine what would happen to the automobile industry if people really knew what it actually cost to produce an automobile!

    These days no one seems to consider the cost of doing business. Coins, Cars, or whatever...a solid minimum of 20% of the price of any item is the cost of doing business IMHO.

    That really depends. If you are talking internet, that's probably true. But that model has an incremental cost structure. If you have (had?) a BM or a show circuit business with fixed costs, the margin required depends on volume. That's why you can run a business selling nothing but bullion with a 2% margin. But you can't do it on eBay.

  • ElmhurstElmhurst Posts: 597 ✭✭✭

    I remember my in the early 80's my local dealer bought and sold all unc. coins as MS 60...or so he said. But then I don't think he could grade anyway.

  • topstuftopstuf Posts: 13,066 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BillDugan1959 said:
    The number one difference between 35 years ago and today is that there were four times as many people doing Coins back then. Plain and simple.

    This.

    Also much closer relationships with the dealers back then.

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 8,009 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Walkerguy21D said:
    Much lower prices 😉

    Seriously though, more “better” coins available in general, raw or slabbed.
    Coins like ‘39O halves, chain cents, early walkers, etc. They weren’t abundant, but at least there were some to see and compare. And I recall only small premiums for nicely toned coins.

    LOL. A lot of stuff is the same price or cheaper that the late '80s and early '90s

    True - Especially for 'gem' common date slabbed coins, like Morgans and late date walkers, which at the time still had fairly small pops, but which many thousands have since been certified and come on the market.

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  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 17,621 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think some of the Sunday bourse dealers are still trying to unload the overpriced coins they got stuck with back in the 1980's. :)

    On a serious note, scarce date Liberty Seated coins were still to be seen in dealer cases during the early 1980's. This would change rapidly as hoarding of these coins gained popularity. Many of these hoards will probably be returning to the market fairly soon as the hoarders pass from the scene and the heirs dump the collections/hoards for quick cash.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 21,602 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 13, 2019 10:09AM

    @amwldcoin said:
    I personally don't consider bullion the same as dealing coins. Bullion is a totally different animal compared to collectable coins! Of course many coins are bullion but to me they are not collectable coins IE have no numismatic premium!

    @MrEureka said:

    @amwldcoin said:

    These days no one seems to consider the cost of doing business. Coins, Cars, or whatever...a solid minimum of 20% of the price of any item is the cost of doing business IMHO.

    Disagree. Do you think a dealer making 1% on bullion is actually losing 19%? Do you think I’m screwing up when I buy a coin for 48K and flip it for 50K? A dealer’s fixed costs are irrelevant to any individual coin deal and should be completely ignored.

    It doesn't matter if we're talking about bullion or rare coins or anything else. Yes, your operational expenses are critical at the time you decide to spend the money. And your expected volume and margins will certainly inform those decisions. But once the money is gone, the only thing that matters is the profits you generate, however you do it. Projections and goals become irrelevant. Unless, of course, you're running a public corporation.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
  • DDRDDR Posts: 1,263 ✭✭✭

    Back in the 80s and 90s you did not see nearly the number of wildly rainbow toned coins that you see today.

    But you did see a lot more cleaned, whizzed and polished coins trying to be passed off as BU.

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 6,250 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Only two I've really noticed:

    1) A lot more ANACS material in the 80-90's
    2) The average buyer has aged about 25 years

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • TommyTypeTommyType Posts: 4,291 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't miss the tables filled with slabs from....undesirable?....grading companies. You rarely found them sprinkled among other slabs. They all lived at that one table, completely filled with them.

    The wise just walked on by....

    Easily distracted Type Collector
  • Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 3,978 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 13, 2019 2:29PM

    80’s like Wild West buy low sell high fun, lots money to be made. My backs breaking it for touchdowns. If it was shiny it sold - tarnished (toned) coins ignored. I remember one guys table pile of raw dollars and junk coins in 2x2 piled up like a treasure mountain on his table which was crowded with buyers milling around. A glass case he had lots of large size currency in stacks and gold coins. Winners: players picking off nice coins that banked big time when slabbing entered arena in 1986.

    90’s smash mouth ball post 89 market crash really tough make money many filing bankruptcy. Others became the end user for decades and some even to this day. Buyers pulling out blue sheet saying “well this says....” remember telling them go find one or if have one sell me at that. In retrospect wish only bought gold coins close to melt and more nice Large Size US notes, and ignored US Classic Coins. Probably not a bad idea for today (just buy slabbed, TPG graded only). When was last time sheet went up on Walkers, Dollars, Commems? Or should one be loading up on them....

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  • crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 10,523 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was much younger than I am now 😊
    Like #Cougar1978 said it was wild for sure. A guy that knew his stuff was making money and it was a ton a fun😊

    The bitterness of "poor quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
  • 3stars3stars Posts: 830 ✭✭✭✭

    @Walkerguy21D said:
    Much lower prices 😉

    Seriously though, more “better” coins available in general, raw or slabbed.
    Coins like ‘39O halves, chain cents, early walkers, etc. They weren’t abundant, but at least there were some to see and compare. And I recall only small premiums for nicely toned coins.

    Unless you are collecting classic commems, then today is much lower. I wonder if collectors in the 30's called these modern mint junk due to how many versions were being produced?

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  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭✭

    Long Beach in the early 90s had many more people on the floor and a much higher energy level than now. If you stuck with slabbed coins from NGC and PCGS, you could always find something you wanted at an acceptable price. I met Walter Breen at one of those Long Beach shows and bought his US Coins book directly from him. Ditto re Noyes' Large Cent books.

    Perry Hall's comments re coin shows / auctions in the 1960s is accurate. The best venue in the Los Angeles area I think were the George Bennett auctions at the Masonic Hall in Long Beach. It was a hodgepodge of whizzed and altered coins to some genuinely nice material. It was definitely buyer beware and the lighting was bad. Occasionally I picked something up at the end of the show when hardly anyone else was there. There were no phone or mail bidders.

    It was worth the trip just to observe Bennett. He looked like an English WW I veteran who spoke as quickly as a North Carolina tobacco auctioneer (when Bennett was auctioning coins). If you looked at him or belched, it was often taken as a bid.

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  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 8,009 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @3stars said:

    @Walkerguy21D said:
    Much lower prices 😉

    Seriously though, more “better” coins available in general, raw or slabbed.
    Coins like ‘39O halves, chain cents, early walkers, etc. They weren’t abundant, but at least there were some to see and compare. And I recall only small premiums for nicely toned coins.

    Unless you are collecting classic commems, then today is much lower. I wonder if collectors in the 30's called these modern mint junk due to how many versions were being produced?

    “Today “ is NOT “much lower” for the coins I mentioned.....period.

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  • RayboRaybo Posts: 4,444 ✭✭✭✭

    RAW!

  • rmpsrpmsrmpsrpms Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭✭

    There used to be a lot more "real" OBW rolls available in the 90's when I started buying them. There were always boxes of 100 sitting there, and of course they were cheap. These days it's common for a show to not have a single dealer with rolls available, let alone OBW.

    I also see a distressing trend not just at shows but at B&M shops...many are doing silver and gold only, no copper. Probably half the shops within 50 miles of me have shunned copper, and I'd estimate that the majority of tables at local shows don't have copper to sell.

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  • BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 3,812 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The mustard has aged well.

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  • Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 3,978 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 14, 2019 6:45AM

    Many players doing silver and gold only but specialists and generalists remain. I saw one guys table at a recent show here Houston) specializing Irish coins. Another had lots of slabbed expensive Seated type. A wholesaler setup next up to me has a shop in another city probably had a dozen boxes of slabbed coins doing a brisk business with dealers and other buyers. Another fellow from out of town had nice slabbed coins (I bought 3 and 2 sold online for me within the week) but in addition probably 3 cases of coins in 1 1/2 holders barber and seated dimes drawing considerable attention.

    With silver and gold advancing making this an inventory cornerstone not bad idea. I haven’t seen any uptick in walkers, Dollars, Commems.

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  • metalmeistermetalmeister Posts: 3,743 ✭✭✭✭

    In the 90's blast White Silver was in. I wonder how many toners were dipped? GSA dollars were around $40 for common Unc Carson City. Some were 60's and 66's. Wish I bought a ton of them.

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  • metalmeistermetalmeister Posts: 3,743 ✭✭✭✭

    Edit : 65's and 66's
    Too early. Only on first cup.

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  • NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,066 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 14, 2019 8:27AM

    Comparing the 1980's coin shows to now, the obvious difference is slabs. Other than TPG's, about the same - mostly average age over 40 men buying from the same. One difference is that in the 1980's some very nice and rare coins could sometimes be found at local shows and b&m shops. Today the exceptional coins are marketed on the internet to the masses rather than waiting for the right buyer locally. The odds of myself finding a coin for my primary US collection at a local show are about zero. I still go, for some fun local tokens and medals, and to be around coin guys and gals.

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