9 Years of Value Difference----

4 posts in this topic

There have been many many posts/responses about/to the FS (full step) Jeffersons. And I once remember seeing a post where they say if they need a loupe of any power to see if a designation for a coin is warranted, they'll pass. I can sort of understand that point of view, however all one has to do is look up the prices for MS non-FS Jeffs vs MS FS Jeffs and you can clearly see there is a very big difference in value, thus worth the loupe and the search.


Just recently, I decided to compare my past auction sales with todays values as listed with NGC and PCGS. Huge sticker shock!!!


Back in May and June of 2005, I sent Teletrade 20 slabbed FS Jeffs for auction. 2 MS65FS dates, 10 MS66FS dates and 8 MS67FS dates. I realized a total of just under $4000. Going by the prices listed today for these same coins, they would be valued at over $18,500!!! Example: sold a 1952-S MS66FS for $425 and now valued at $6000! Or how about a 1993-P MS67-6FS sold for $110 and now worth $2300! All of the Jeffs I sold are from 4 to 10+ times more valuable now then in 2005.


Did the same thing with my PR Jeffs but they went to Heritage back in Feb. of 2004. 28 different 67/68/69/70 PR, PRC and PRDC from 1938 thru 1994. Realized $4590 and now listed as worth over $14,000! (Off the subject).


My whole point here is that looking for those steps and getting the FS designation on the slab can make a big difference in value/worth. And oh, do I wish I had them back! So if you're a FS Jeff collector, hang on to them (unless you had to sell like me) as they are just going to get more and more valuable and rare with time!



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...I find it nothing short of incredible that anyone would pay prices like those you listed...


I'm not quite sure what you are referring to here, colonial. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I'll take it that you do not realize how rare FS dates/MM are in the Jefferson nickel run from 1938 thru 1971. In 1972 they re-did the dies and FS Jeffs became rather abundant in either a 5FS or a 6FS. Even so, many Jeffs in MS66/67FS can fetch $100's even $1000's. Hard pressed to find the 5FS pre-'70 let alone a 6 stepper, but 15 years ago, I was finding them.


The Jefferson series is no different then any other. There are the rarities and the average, the collectible for value and the spendable. As a specialist for FS Jeffs, I was merely pointing out the increase in obvious value (rarity?/desire?) that has pushed these coins to the present listed worth.


I know these prices are for reference only and their worth ends there, but do you know the fun/excitement of buying a roll of any pre-1970 Jeff for $20-$50 and finding a FS that pays for the next 20 rolls? I do and it's a rush!!!

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Your post is specific to the Jefferson nickel series and while I have the same generic opinion for this series, my opinion in the quote you used equally applies to any US coin series that is collected with the approach you described.


The reason for the difference in my opinion is based upon my collecting philosophy but before I clarify it, let me distinguish between the financial and collecting aspects covered by your post.


From a financial point of view, I understand perfectly why you (or anyone else) will "cherry pick" coins and if necessary, a large number of them, to find an example which is priced in the manner you described. This makes perfect sense. I would consider it but only either to make a windfall profit or to finance the purchase of other coins which I consider to be vastly better.


But what makes absolutely no sense to me, and this goes to my collecting philosophy, is anyone who pays the astronomical prices you listed after someone such as you found the coin and had it placed in an NGC or more likely, a PCGS holder.


Now let me return to the collecting considerations. In my opinion, even though I live in the US and I am a US based collector, I would describe my perspective in regards to the collecting practices you described as more consistent with those who live elsewhere. US collectors are used to paying what most collectors elsewhere can only describe as exorbitant prices. As far as I am concerned, as desirable and "nice" as many US coins are, from a value standpoint, their prices are in deep outer space. This is a primary reason why I have declined to collect them since I resumed collecting in 1998. There are far better values elsewhere.


The second aspect which is US centric is what I would describe as extreme or at least very narrow specialization. By extreme specialization, I am referring to the emphasis on the slab grade (specifically "conditional rarities" and those near it), die varieties, toned coins and special designation strikes such as these FS nickels. These practices exist to a limited extent outside the US, but not widely so. For example, some countries (such as the UK) collect by die variety and others (such as with the South African coins I collect) have a preference for TPG. But with rare exceptions, no foreign collector is going to pay this type of price for the type of coins covered in your post.


The likely reason is the same one I have. I do not consider the attributes of these specialization practices to be numismatically significant at all except in limited circumstances. So the fact that coins like these are considered rare by the specialist is irrelevant to me and since it is, I am never going to pay an outlier price for what is almost always in actuality a trivial difference in observable quality or appearance.


After I read your initial post, I went to the Heritage archives and looked up a few prices for these coins. One I selected was the 1950-D because it has the highest price in this source at $17,250, in PCGS MS-67 FS. By comparison, the same coin in MS-66 last sold for $113. (I can pick another date if you wish but the price variances will still be huge anyway.) Yes, the census is 513 in MS-66 and only 6 in MS-67, but as a non-specialist, my answer is, so what? How noticeable is the difference in surface quality between the two grades or for that matter, the difference in the strike quality between a FS and one without it? And to whatever extent it is, if I even wanted this type of coin (which I do not), there is no possibility I would pay $17,000+ more (essentially the entire amount) for such a trivial difference.


Now to the specialist in the Jefferson nickel series and even too many collectors of other US series that are collected similarly, this might make sense and this coin might be a big deal. To me, even as someone who is aware of these practices but does not hold them in the same regard, it makes no sense at all.


You ask whether I am aware of the rarity of these coins? My generic answer is yes, though not any specific one. My question to you which I think is a much more relevant one and which I have asked many times before on this blog is, do collectors who pursue these coins and have this philosophy, are they even aware of what else $17,000 can buy?


The likely answer is probably they do generically but not specifically and almost certainly, they do not care. In this specific instance, I can buy any number of coins for this same money and even much less which are scarcer than any Jefferson nickel, even using an unequal comparison with your criteria on one side versus the other as a generic coin.


So, there you have it, Long answer but one which I think is entirely logical though presumably held by a distinct minority of US collectors. I think I have a good idea on the how and why this extreme specialization came into existence in the first place, but I can describe it later if you actually want to hear it.

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