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Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Buy Coins

There has been a tremendous explosion of interest in Greek coinage.  This has been due primarily to the confidence NGC has inspired with its third party grading and authentication program.  Many US coin dealers have now gotten into ancients, taking their vast client bases with them.  Many of these collector/investors are sophisticated, educated individuals used to purchasing modern graded coins.

However, there are marked differences between the modern and ancient markets.
A) Very small differences in style, strike, metal quality, preservation - and die state, can make for huge differences in price.  A Mint State coin in fine style and well struck from fresh dies might be worth three to five times a Mint State coin from the exact same issue of lesser style, with a middling strike from well used dies. To understand these differences one needs to look at thousands of coins - in person.  Pictures can be difficult to interpret.  The coin above is worth 2-3 times the coin on the right.  Can you tell why?

B) The quantities of Ancients - even the most common Ancient coins - are so much smaller than those of "very rare" modern issues that auction results are often misleading and sometimes completely irrelevant.  A coin that might not have come up at auction for a few years might go for three to five times what the exact same coin go for in a year when five or six examples coincidentally hit the auctions in the same year.  Furthermore certain auction houses command huge premiums for certain issues, because they have different types of client bases.  They can inspire bidding frenzies for common issues or middling coins when they are artfully combined with rarer issues in the right auction settings.  At the same time, a coin might go for very little, simply because nobody bid that day, and by the time the next lot was up everybody was kicking themselves for missing it.

C) Historical Significance creates value.   The coin above (From CNG 94) is amazing.  Do you know why?  Modern issues are rarely historically significant.  In the modern era (from 1500 AD onward) Historical Significance is the provenance of medals and medallic issues which announced and commemorated important events.  But ancient coins served this medallic function.  Many ancient issues announced and commemorated important historical events.  To understand the value of such coins one needs to know the history behind them.

D)  There are no central records.  With modern coins there are often recorded mintages, population reports, comprehensive guide books etc.  With ancients none of this exists.  Yes, there's AC search and other such on line guides.  But these only go back a few years, only include certain auction houses and are partial at best even with the information they do include.  They can help.  But, as in many things, there's no short cut to extensive personal experience - both in the market and in the library, sifting through various specialized articles and books.

None of this is meant to be discouraging.  In fact, quite the opposite.  All these factors can be advantages for collectors willing to put in the time and effort.  But those seeking quick short cuts to trading wealth will become quickly discouraged as they find their amazing deals to be worth very little on account of factors they will only come to understand much later.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Horde confirmed: Though it appears to be a small one.

This "very rare" daric, which has appeared twice at auction in the last six years, both times at NAC and only once in nice condition has now appeared at least 14 times in auction catalogues, and via private purchase over the last month.  And fall auctions are just beginning to list.

As there are three of them in the upcoming Roma/Grotjohann auction it is a safe bet they came from Turkey through Germany.  The one above in gorgeous condition is typical of many of these coins, which were the earliest Darics, minted in about 500 BC as part of the first bi-metal coinage of Persia, following their conquest of Lydia. 

The first two coins to come out each sold at $25,000 +.  If they had been from "old collections," they would have been a bargain at the price.  As it is, the question remains: how many pieces are in the horde?

The answer is tough to know.  It is not certain that the German dealers who bought the horde know the answer themselves.  Because the Turks who control the horde are wily dealers themselves and they are apt to deliver the coins in small quantities over time, all the while swearing that each lot is the last of it.

These are still great coins.  If the horde is small as it appears, it will be quickly absorbed.  If not, they could appear for years to come.  It's tough to know.

The same thing happened with the once extremely rare Antiochus staters of Bactria that began to trickle out from Turkey several years ago.  As they kept hitting the market, year after year, finally the price settled in $5-7000 range for superb examples.  However, this coin, being the first Daric, and the second earliest gold issue after the Lydian Stater is very popular and may be quickly absorbed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I've been down so long it looks like up to me

With the rejiggering of inflation metrics so that everything that is soaring in price (rents, energy, education, health care, food) is removed from the inflation equation, the government has been able to ramp up Nominal GDP growth all the way to 2 percent.

By discounting "discouraged workers" and removing them from the workforce the government has been able to drop Unemployment all the way down to 7 percent.

By relaxing accounting standards whereby the Banks can mark junk debt derivatives to the value of fictional models and Central Banks take defaulted junk onto their own balance sheets; and  Corporations can remove all losses off the balance sheet onto Special Purpose Vehicles or exclude them as "One Time Items," balance sheets have been "repaired," and "profits" continue to soar.

By relaxing those same accounting standards for the government, whereby the defaulted junk on the balance sheet of the Central Banks is valued according to fictional models and wars are fought off the balance sheet,  the Increase in the Debt has been "contained" and the debt is clearly no longer an issue.

Now the bar for a dynamic recovery has been set at 2 percent growth, 7 percent unemployment, a national debt of 17 Trillion dollars, and a total debt market of 350% of GDP - and fictional profits.

The bar is clearly somewhere deep below the surface of the earth.  So low that it recalls the old blues song "I've been down so long it looks like up to me."

And by these same corporations owning the main stream media like Fox, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, etc etc, this farcical story line has been hammered home over and over until the point where everyone accepts the Recovery as a fact.

And if everyone believes it that's half the battle, right?  Perception is reality, right?

Sure.  But perception is a tricky game.  It can turn on a dime.  Even in spite of the massive power of the Corporate/Government Media.

At least, it always has in the past.  Is this time somehow different?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So you think it's a free market Dept.

Currency Spikes at 4 P.M. in London Provide Rigging Clues

In the space of 20 minutes on the last Friday in June, the value of the U.S. dollar jumped 0.57 percent against its Canadian counterpart, the biggest move in a month. Within an hour, two-thirds of that gain had melted away.
The same pattern -- a sudden surge minutes before 4 p.m. in London on the last trading day of the month, followed by a quick reversal -- occurred 31 percent of the time across 14 currency pairs over two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For the most frequently traded pairs, such as euro-dollar, it happened about half the time, the data show.

The recurring spikes take place at the same time financial benchmarks known as the WM/Reuters (TRI) rates are set based on those trades. Now fund managers and scholars say the patterns look like an attempt by currency dealers to manipulate the rates, distorting the value of trillions of dollars of investments in funds that track global indexes. Bloomberg News reported in June that dealers shared information and used client orders to move the rates to boost trading profit. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority is reviewing the allegations, a spokesman said.
“We see enormous spikes,” said Michael DuCharme, head of foreign exchange at Seattle-based Russell Investments, which traded $420 billion of foreign currency last year for its own funds and institutional investors. “Then, shortly after 4 p.m., it just reverts back to what seems to have been the market rate. It adds to the suspicion that things aren’t right.”

Global Probes

Authorities around the world are investigating the abuse of financial benchmarks by large banks that play a central role in setting them.
Barclays Plc (BARC), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG (UBSN) were fined a combined $2.5 billion for rigging the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, used to price $300 trillion of securities from student loans to mortgages. More than a dozen banks have been subpoenaed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission over allegations traders worked with brokers at ICAP Plc (IAP) to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark used in interest-rate derivatives. ICAP Chief Executive Officer Michael Spencer said in May that an internal probe found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Unloved Medal

Try to imagine a beautifully crafted historical artwork in an extremely limited edition by a highly respected artist that would have been awarded originally to a hero of a historically important military campaign in 1800.  And then consider that this artwork would be nearly impossible to reproduce or forge. 

What would this historically important artwork be worth?  Let's say the piece in question was one of an edition of 180.

Well, if the piece were called a "presentation strike" coin of 50 grams, out of a mintage of 180 pieces from the British Indian series, we could guess it would sell for around 15,000 to 20,000 dollars depending on the condition. 

If it were a lithograph by a well known artist from 1800 out of an original edition of 180 it could be worth anywhere from about $4000 to $250,000.  A piece with historical significance would tend towards the latter figure.  In fact,  a piece with great historical significance - such as one connected to the American Revolution - might be worth millions of dollars.

But call it a medal?  The lowly medal?

What would that be worth?

If you can find one at auction - take the Honourable East India Company Seringapatam Medal 1799 by Conrad Kuchler, minted in silver gilt and awarded only to Junior Officers of that historic campaign - you could probably pick it up at auction for $2500.   If you can find one.  One appears every few years.  Often the same ones are recycled.  Of the 180 original pieces we can reasonably expect very few to have survived in collectible condition - or any condition.

And as with all things grossly undervalued, those that have survived are not likely to be offered at any price close to the auction price.  Because those fortunate enough to find an example understand how difficult they are to replace.  It's just that, at present, this is a very small community.

So why would someone in this tiny community publicize this when even a few extra collectors could blow out the price structure?

Because everyone benefits when consciousness is raised.  Nobody's going to go out looking for this Serengipatam medal.  It would be pointless.  You won't find one.  (Yes, there's one on my site,  but it's not for sale.)  But within your own particular collecting areas of interest there will be grossly undervalued medals, that you probably haven't even considered.  They won't remain undervalued forever.

Happy hunting.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Orders for U.S. Durable Goods Fell More Than Forecast: A Decrease of - 7.3 Percent -  

Sales of newly built homes declined 13.4 percent

"still not incredibly strong domestic demand conditions,”

Orders for U.S. durable goods fell more than forecast in July after three months of increases, indicating manufacturing will be slow to strengthen.
Bookings (DGNOCHNG) for goods meant to last at least three years decreased 7.3 percent, the most since August 2012, after a 3.9 percent gain in June, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.  The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 4 percent drop. Orders waned for aircraft and capital goods such as computers and electrical equipment.
Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Neil Dutta, head U.S. economist at Renaissance Macro Research LLC, talks about U.S. home sales data released today. Sales of newly built homes declined 13.4 percent to a 394,000 annualized pace, the weakest since October, Commerce Department reported from Washington. Dutta speaks with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers." (Source: Bloomberg)

The report shows struggling overseas markets and the effects of federal government spending cuts are lingering and holding back manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.
The figures reflect “a pretty soft global demand environment and still not incredibly strong domestic demand conditions,”   Sean Incremona, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. “I think we’ll probably continue to see this modest growth path through the end of the year with headwinds abating next year.” 

A decrease of 7.3 percent in durable goods bookings and 13.4 percent in new home sales is now described as "NOT INCREDIBLY STRONG." 

That's like describing the Jets' quarterback situation as "not incredibly strong."   





Saturday, August 24, 2013


While the Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money Show was a pretty dismal affair: major dealers like CNG and Freeman and Sear didn't even bother to attend, very little of interest was to be found on the floor, and nice unusual items priced for suckers only - the auctions accompanying the show were quite interesting.

The Law Collection of English Gold Coins was a testament to what can happen when you get the right people together in a room bidding for very rare coins.  There were at least four bidders (yes four - imagine what happens when a dozen or so catch on to these rare markets) who could afford to pay whatever they liked for a coin.  They went at it on a number of lots.  Much to the satisfaction of Stacks Bowers who did a masterful job of getting these right people into the room for this auction.

The Henry VII fine sovereign - pictured above was estimated at $125-175,000.  Sometimes auction houses purposefully lowball their estimates so that they can brag about beating estimates.  This wasn't the case here.  This was a very reasonable estimate for this coin.  It hammered at half a million dollars.  Plus 20 percent hammer fee.

The Edward VI fine sovereign also pictured above was estimated at $100 -125,000.  It hammered at $329,000.

Both are very nice and very rare coins.  But not coins in top condition.  Often big money collectors care to shell out the most for coins in excellent condition.  Not so at this auction.

The bidding took many lesser coins that might have sold at $4-5000 up to $10-12,000.  Even junk was going for 2-3 times its normal sale price.  Yet, who's to say anyone overpaid - if they have a long enough time horizon.  When you take into account the fact that there a plenty of US coin collectors still paying north of $20,000 for 20th Century Lincoln Pennies with rare mintmarks and dates.  Pennies that were only minted in the tens of thousands.  Is it so crazy that some collectors lost their heads and paid $10,000 for a common Henry VII Angel in decent condition - when there's probably a few hundred floating around in the world's collections?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Signs of Monetary Instability:

Investors euphoric as US margin debt reaches 'danger' levels

5:39PM BST 13 Aug 2013

Fund managers are around the world are gripped by euphoria, convinced that America is in full recovery and Europe has overcome its debt crisis.


Pandemic of pension woes is plaguing the nation

Published: Monday, 5 Aug 2013 | 6:00 AM ET
By: | Economics Reporter

Detroit firefighters protest the city's bankruptcy hearing in July.
Detroit, you're not alone.

Across the nation, cities and states are watching Detroit's largest-ever municipal bankruptcy filing with great trepidation. Years of underfunded retirement promises to public sector workers, which helped lay Detroit low, could plunge them into a similar and terrifying financial hole.
A analysis of more than 120 of the nation's largest state and local pension plans finds they face a wide range of burdens as their aging workforces near retirement.

In spite of record money creation, World economy stuck in neutral: IMF

  @MarkThompsonCNN July 9, 2013: 10:37 AM ET

chart imf 

94% of the $230 Trillion Credit Derivative Market Is Held By Just Four Banks - See more at:
94% of the $230 Trillion Credit Derivative Market Is Held By Just Four Banks - See more at:

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education - saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy

AUGUST 15, 2013
On May 31st, president Barack Obama strolled into the bright sunlight of the Rose Garden, covered from head to toe in the slime and ooze of the Benghazi and IRS scandals. In a Karl Rove-ian masterstroke, he simply pretended they weren't there and changed the subject.

US total credit market debt now over 3 times larger than annual GDP.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 1:12

Worldwide derivatives market could be over $1.2 quadrillion in notional value

We wrote earlier about the recent move by bankers — and the politicians who serve them — to unreform the derivatives market, to return it to its pre–Dodd-Frank, pre–Crash-of-2007 state. This is a serious move by banks and bank lobbyists, and it could well happen soon. The seven bills in the House package of “tweaks” — as the House Agriculture website dishonestly puts it — have cleared the committee with Democratic support and are headed to the House floor. In the meantime, there are companion bills in the Senate.
What will happen in the Senate? Well, Dick Durbin (always an Obama surrogate) famously said of the Senate that “the banks own the place.” And of course the White House has been notoriously bank-friendly since day 1. As a friend told me last week, “Bank lobbyists are good; they really earn their money.”
94% of the $230 Trillion Credit Derivative Market Is Held By Just Four Banks - See more at:

94% of the $500 Trillion Credit Derivative Market Is Held by Just Four Banks -

Economy1/21/13 11:52:40 am • Views: 285
Regarding the Commodities Futures Modernization Act which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000; there is a nasty little piece of history regarding that bill.  Senator Gramm (R-TX) was the head of the Senate Banking Committee who pushed through this bill in the Senate.  This bill completely deregulated futures trading and had embedded in it verbiage now referred to as the Enron loophole.  Interestingly enough - not only was Enron a major political contributor to Senator Gramm’s campaign … his wife Wendy Gramm was a board member.  I am not kidding.

Structured finance slows to a crawl on credit-market jitters

Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:41pm EDT
NEW YORK, June 24 (IFR) - The US structured finance market came to a standstill on Monday as the continued spike in Treasury yields gave rise to a fresh bout of deal-execution uncertainty in the primary market and pushed investors to the sidelines in the secondary market.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gold Price Fallacies

Mine supply blah blah blah, Gold Coin Demand, blah, blah, blah,  US Mint figures, blah blah blah, Rising interest Rates, Tapering, India import controls, BLAH BLAH BLAH.

All this is absolutely irrelevant to the gold price.  Yet it makes up the lion's share of the drivel in thousands of gold posts and essays every day.

There are two basic factors controlling the gold price: A) Central Bank and Bullion Bank (the bullion banks own the Fed - literally) activities and B) Vast public sentiment regarding the efficacy of Central Bank activities.

In the short run the gold market - like every other traded market - is dominated by a few traders at the biggest banks - the ones that own and control the Central Banks.

That's life in the Bank Run Socialism - which is the only economic system on earth.

In the long run the only thing that affects the price of gold is Monetary Stability of Reserve Currencies.  In other words how Central Banks are managing their paper currencies.  And the perception of how Central Banks are managing their paper currencies.

That means principally the US dollar, the Euro and the Yen.  And to some degree the Chinese Yuan, as China is settling commodity transactions in the Yuan in may places.

Central Banks, Bullion Banks, and certain Hedge Funds are not trading - but are accumulating positions - they are buying Real Physical Gold to Hedge against the Monetary Instability they know exists.

They will say that Gold is a mysterious barbarous relic, with no real place in a modern economy.  This line will be parroted by everyone in all political parties - which are all owned by the banks - and everyone at all of the news outlets - which are all owned by Banks or Finance Companies or Billionaire Financiers.

But all these Central Banks and Bullion Banks and many huge hedge funds - have enormous physical gold positions.   Because they know full well the paper currency system is a giant Ponzy Scheme that can unravel at any moment.  It is entirely dependent on the Greater Fool Theory.  Those at the top reap all the benefits.  The rest of us are the Greater Fools.

The second we Great Fools stop believing - everything unravels.

In the short run, gold can fluctuate based on the patterns of big traders - mostly at these same institutions.  But the fluctuations that seem huge to small traders are meaningless to these big traders.  They're just taking your trading money.

But over the long term, gold is still the only Reserve currency that is stable.  And until the perception of that changes within Central Banks and large Bullion Banks that control the paper currency scheme, the price will continue to be in a long term bull market.

And none of the other crap matters.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Above are examples of 4 different hordes of beautiful and once extremely rare coins to have hit the market over the last 5 years.  The Ptolemy Octadrachm above used to be extremely rare and sold in nice Near EF for $25,000.  After a horde hit the market - (at first reported as "tiny" and now it's clear it must have been in the 100s) the price has been slowly coming down to the point that it is almost a commodity coin sold graded at various price points.  The above example in very nice graded AU condition sells for around $10,000.  Mint State examples, are still rare and command a premium.

The Pergaman Alexander above turned up a few years ago in a horde that was expertly managed.  Harlan Berk and CNG released a few examples at a time out of a "tiny horde" that sold for well over $100,000.  Now it seems clear the horde numbered closer to 50, most of which are in superb condition, and the price has dropped in half to $50,000.  Still a nice price, but for those who snatched up the first few, the discrepancy must be annoying. 

The Pierreale of Pietro the Great used to be a $15,000 dollar coin before the recent horde "a tiny handful" cut the price in half, as examples from the tiny horde keep on appearing at auction  Almost all examples have turned out to be very high grade. 

And now, the shooting archer has appeared suddenly in a "tiny handful."  The first couple of high grade examples were snatched up at $25,000 +.  But if precedent is at all consistent we will be seeing these regularly at auction over the next three to five years.

None of this means these are not beautiful, historically important coins.  It simply means one should be careful about the price point at which one acquires them.

Finally, collectors should also be aware that all of this is written from the perspective of the ancients market, where a coin is extremely rare if maybe ten examples exist.  In the US coin market, a coin is extremely rare when only several thousand examples exist.  In Ancients, if several thousand examples exist that would make the coin "Very common."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Banking is an act of faith

Banking is an act of faith.  When faith evaporates, banks collapse.

What do we believe about banks?  We believe they will carry out their mission of efficiently allocating capital.  If they do this, the economy will run smoothely.

The US Banking System has become a mechanism for efficiently extracting capital from the economy.

Not allocating.  Extracting.

Get it?

Whether it's JP Morgan cornering the aluminum storage sector, creating purposeful disruptions of the supply chain, in order to bet on the price of aluminum -

Whether it's Goldman Sachs getting together with John Paulsen to create Debt Instruments designed to fail so they can bet against them - and destroy not just the US economy but the economies of the world banks that bought this garbage -

Whether it's Bank of America selling Detroit interest rate swaps that cost the city 50 million dollars a year for years on end.

Whether it's UBS, B of A, JPM, GS, etc etc selling interest rate swaps to hospitals, nursing homes, pensions etc that end up fleecing these pathetic marks.

Whether it's your bank charging you fees to use teller machines, overdraft fees, extracting 5 percent on every charge involving foreign exchange transactions, charging usurious fees on credit cards etc etc

Whether it's teaser rates, abusive reverse mortgages, securetizing underwater properties, securetizing fictitious properties...

Whether it's borrowing money at 0 percent from the Fed and gambling it wildly in the risk markets, knowing that when they fail the tax payer will be shaken down to bail them out...

The job of the banks is to extract capital from the economy.

When people finally realize this:

Faith will evaporate.

Monday, August 12, 2013

World Growth Slows as Furious Easing Continues:

Japan's economic growth slows

Japan's economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter, raising questions about whether Tokyo's bid to stoke growth is working.
Japan's economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter, raising questions about whether Tokyo's bid to stoke growth was taking hold and if it would launch a series of tax hikes.
The Cabinet office said on Monday the world's third-largest economy expanded by 0.6 per cent from the previous quarter, slower than a revised 0.9 per cent increase between January and March.
The latest figures missed analyst expectations of 0.9 per cent growth in the quarter.

As China's growth slows, US and world stand to lose

A laborer polishes the bottom of a cargo ship at a shipyard in Qingdao, Shandong province July 1, 2013.
The continued decline in China's manufacturing activity, reflected in twin manufacturing surveys released on Monday, highlights the risk the world's second largest economy now poses to global growth.
China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) slipped to 50.1 in June from 50.8 in May, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The final reading of HSBC PMI, meanwhile, fell to a nine-month low of 48.2, below the flash estimate of 48.3 and down from 49.2 in the previous month.

Europe Officials Expect Slow Growth

Policy Makers Are Reluctant to Take Aggressive Steps on Economy, Despite Appeals From U.S., Others

WASHINGTON—European economic officials, in speeches and private conversations at meetings here over the weekend, appeared resigned to years of slow growth, despite increasingly urgent appeals by the U.S., International Monetary Fund and some developing countries to take more forceful action.
"No one should think that Europe will deliver high growth rates in the coming years," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said at a news conference on Friday. Germany's central banker, Jens Weidmann, warned in an earlier interview with The Wall Street Journal that the crisis could drag on for a decade.

U.S. Job Growth Slows  As Wages Shrink

Employees and supporters demonstrate Monday outside of a Wendy's fast-food restaurant in New York City to demand higher pay and the right to form a union. Incomes have been stagnant, especially for minimum-wage workers.
Employees and supporters demonstrate Monday outside of a Wendy's fast-food restaurant in New York City to demand higher pay and the right to form a union. Incomes have been stagnant, especially for minimum-wage workers.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Employers added 162,000 workers in July, and the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 7.4 percent, the lowest level since December 2008, the Friday.
But while the number of jobs did increase, the hiring pace was slower than in the spring, marking a setback for unemployed Americans who had hoped for a better summer.
"The labor market begins the second half of 2013 with a fizzle," economist Heidi Shierholz, with the Economic Policy Institute, says in her analysis of the data. "At this rate, it would take six years to ... get back to health in the labor market."
Over the past year, the economy has added an average of 189,000 jobs per month. As jobs have grown, the jobless rate has dropped from 8.2 percent one year ago. In June, the rate was 7.6 percent.
To some extent, the falling unemployment rate also as baby boomers retire and young people stay in college longer. Also, some people are staying home with children or elderly parents, and millions have stopped applying for jobs because they think it's hopeless. When fewer people seek work, then the unemployment rate looks smaller.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fall Auction preview: 5 Mysterious appearances of the Rare Shooting Daric

CNG's fall auction, currently on-line, boasts almost 800 Greek gold coins, including many rarities in slightly off-condition.  This is normal as CNG, like many top auction outfits save their best material for the Winter auctions in New York at the NY numismatic convention at the Waldorf.

Notable this year is the appearance of the very rare (carradice type II) shooting Daric: the first gold Daric of Darios I.  The first gold coinage was introduced by Croesus (now often spelled: Kroisos) of Lydia.  Croesus was conquered by Darios of Persia who adopted the Lion and Bull stater of Lydia, and then issued his own coinage in gold and silver: the Daric and the Siglos.

There are three basic types of Daric: Shooting, Dagger, and Running types.  Of the three the running type is by far the most common, and one of the most common Greek Gold types.  To be sure, "common" when referring to Greek Gold is the same as "Extraordinarily Rare" when referring to US gold.  In other words, Common Greek Gold issues, might have a couple of thousand pieces.  Very Rare Greek gold, such as the shooting Daric, (pictured above), might boast a dozen known pieces.

That's why the sudden appearance of five or six shooting Darics to hit the market all at the same time - and many in very high grade - is the cause for much speculation.  One sold of the CNG site for over $25,000.  Another hit the Pars site.  A third, graded by CNG in MS was sold privately.  This one is up in September on CNG.  Another is up in September at Heritage.  You can be sure others will appear this winter in NY.

So, what's up?  Usually, if a small hoard is discovered, dealers in on the hoard will at least admit its existence.  They will never tell you how many pieces are in the hoard.  Often, the best pieces go to the best clients, others are put up for auction over the course of a few years.  Very occasionally hoards tend to be much larger than buyers realize.  But this is the first instance in many years where nobody seems to even be admitting the existence of a hoard.  Very Strange.  Because before these five coins hit the market all at the same time, the last example to change hands appeared almost 5 years ago in a NAC auction - and that example was VF.

Certainly, as more examples appear, the secret of the source will become known.   I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Controlling the narrative

It's all the main stream media.  Fox, CNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, whatever.

And it's all one story: Things are getting better.

Sure, things were tough.  Sure, we had some sort of crisis a few years back.  But that's all behind us.  Sure, there will be a few bumps in the road.  Nothing goes in a straight line.

But, sure as shooting, things are getting better.

Maybe GDP is mired at about 1.5 percent - that is if you pretend there's no inflation to speak of.  But what the hey, that's growth, isn't it?  In fact considering all the HEADWINDS - that type of growth is really super duper IMPRESSIVE.  And way BETTER THAN EXPECTATIONS!!!!!!!

The economy is RESILIENT.  The American worker is INNOVATIVE. 

Any Growth is better than no growth.  We'll take it.

Sure, we're only adding about 160,000 jobs a month - and that's only if you count in jobs added by the BLS Birth Death Ratio that guestimates those 160,000 jobs that really don't appear in any survey.  And so what if that's not even enough jobs to accommodate new workers entering the work force each month.

Gee whilikers, why split hairs?  Some jobs are better than no jobs, even if they're imaginary.  And considering all the HEADWINDS that type of growth is way BETTER THAN EXPECTATIONS!!!!!

Jobs are good.  We'll take it.  The economy is RESILIENT. 

Sure worker's earnings are declining.  They're nearly 10 percent lower than at the bottom of the Crisis way back in 2008.  But there are still earnings, aren't there.  Nobody's starving.  In fact some people are very very rich.

In fact, this is the RICHEST NATION ON EARTH!!!!!!  (so what if it's also the most indebted nation in the history of earth.)

And the Banks are doing great.  Sure it's all because of money they're gambling in the risk markets.  But hey!  Would you rather they went broke?  That would be terrible for all of us.

That's the message.  I don't have to tell you.  You hear it everyday.

And I guess people are buying it.

And as long as the Banks, and the Pols and the Main stream Media sell you this message the stock market will stay strong, and gold will languish.

But somewhere along the line someone is bound to notice....