Collectors Universe agrees to be acquired by investor group
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185 posts in this topic

The whole baseball card revival seems to be in new and fad cards....holographic cards, special signed cards, premium cards given away in boxes or raffles....etc.  It does NOT seem to have lifted prices for all the stuff me and my cousins were buying in the 1980's and 1990's:  the old stars (Brett, Gibson, Seaver, Ryan, Mays, Mantle, etc.)...or the then-current ones (Griffey, etc.).  But maybe I'm wrong and those have been lifted in price, too.

Also seems to have moved into the sports that have not suffered baseball's general decline (hockey, basketball, e-Sports).  Football seems to have its fans play the gaming apps.

The Covid-19 crisis does seem to have gotten more people into collecting in general and also coins.  HA and GC say they've seen nice increases.  Not as big as the daytrading apps that have people buying speculative stocks and options (that will end well when the Fed decides to start hiking ratesxD).

What is "HGBL" ??

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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That collapse in the PCGS 3000 Index the last 10 years is mostly (1) decline in PM prices after the 2011-12 spike.  Gold and silver fell and prices had been bid up expecting a RISE.....(2) huge declines (if what I am reading in these and other coin forums is correct) in purely numismatic coins with very little metallic value (SLQ's, Franklins, Barbers, Morgans, etc.).

Select areas can do well.  Liberty Head DE's got hit, but lower-graded Carson City Liberty's have doubled as people who can't afford rare or mint state CC's gravitated down and bought there.

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On 12/3/2020 at 1:35 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I don't understand how anybody can want unslabbed coins or unprotected currency.  Not only do you know have a professional estimate for the underlying grade, the coin or bill is not in a position to be properly handled and stored.

Do overseas people -- and some Americans -- really want to finger-up their coins...have friends touching them....risk damage to their coins/bills ?

Even if there weren't grades attached, I value the slabs and currency plastic holders.

 

 

 

From a collecting standpoint, it's a cultural preference on both sides.

US "collecting" has been financialized along with a few others, such as South Africa but this isn't true with most European coins.  I have high quality coins from the 1700's including a decent number I submitted myself which survived just fine outside of a slab.  Many others have coins older.  It isn't necessary, except for those who obsess over minor quality differences hardly anyone cared about before so many coins became so expensive.

As for this transaction, it makes no financial sense to me but then, we are talking about the greatest never ending mania ever.  I don't see how these new (prospective) buyers are going to grow the top line much with most coin prices stagnating.  If they attempt to raise grading fees meaningfully, it's going to reduce submissions probably noticeably.  With a flat or stagnating market, the value proposition to submit most coins is already bad enough.  Maybe in sports cards but not coins.

I didn't read all the posts but seems to me that the biggest opportunity is to find a way to cut costs and sell "non-core assets".  However, I don't believe this will make much difference either because the purchase price is too high for what they are actually buying..

This leaves financial engineering.  The company has very little debt, so they can leverage up by borrowing to pay themselves dividends and then at some point in the future try to IPO it or sell it.

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WC, it appears to be a baseball/collectibles play, not a coin play per se.

Heck, even MeTV has a "Collector's Corner" show that airs with famous entertainment and comic book and other collections.  Alot of this stuff (costumes, etc.) has to be authenticated to realize value.

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37 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

The whole baseball card revival seems to be in new and fad cards....holographic cards, special signed cards, premium cards given away in boxes or raffles....etc.  It does NOT seem to have lifted prices for all the stuff me and my cousins were buying in the 1980's and 1990's:  the old stars (Brett, Gibson, Seaver, Ryan, Mays, Mantle, etc.)...or the then-current ones (Griffey, etc.).  But maybe I'm wrong and those have been lifted in price, too.

Also seems to have moved into the sports that have not suffered baseball's general decline (hockey, basketball, e-Sports).  Football seems to have its fans play the gaming apps.

There is also a massive sports bubble.  Look at franchise values, media contracts and salaries.  It's predominantly based upon cheap money  - again - where club owners can pay ridiculous prices for franchises because of the stock mania, media companies pay ridiculous rights fees by selling advertising at hugely inflated prices because corporate ad buyers can afford to waste money and a similar theme with ticket prices.  

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7 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

I didn't read all the posts but seems to me that the biggest opportunity is to find a way to cut costs and sell "non-core assets".  However, I don't believe this will make much difference either because the purchase price is too high for what they are actually buying..This leaves financial engineering.  The company has very little debt, so they can leverage up by borrowing to pay themselves dividends and then at some point in the future try to IPO it or sell it.

That's been the gameplan in the past, but they paid an all-time high price.  They didn't buy this on a decline or buy a busted company.  And the non-core asset may be the PCGS coin division.

We'll have to see.  Maybe they see growth in all their areas including coins, who knows.  But the HOT areas seem to be cards and collectibles (non-coin).

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1 minute ago, World Colonial said:

There is also a massive sports bubble.  Look at franchise values, media contracts and salaries.  It's predominantly based upon cheap money  - again - where club owners can pay ridiculous prices for franchises because of the stock mania, media companies pay ridiculous rights fees by selling advertising at hugely inflated prices because corporate ad buyers can afford to waste money and a similar theme with ticket prices.  

And yet RSN values are in the toilet.  I don't get it.  Broadcast rights for the teams per se are still going up so I don't know why the RSN values are dropping.  Have to get a sell-side report from one of my old contacts.

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1 minute ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

WC, it appears to be a baseball/collectibles play, not a coin play per se.

Heck, even MeTV has a "Collector's Corner" show that airs with famous entertainment and comic book and other collections.  Alot of this stuff (costumes, etc.) has to be authenticated to realize value.

Yes, that's the only angle that makes sense and I did sneak in one comment to that effect though most of my post was on coins.

I am not particularly knowledgeable on this market but if the "classic" market isn't vibrant, don't see that this is going to last either.  Anything modern in these collectibles is going to be a lot more common or very common,  This is an inference but I am dubious that hardly anyone spending noticeable sums really likes the collectibles oyu described much, except if they aren't losing money.  It's another contrivance.

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3 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

That's been the gameplan in the past, but they paid an all-time high price.  They didn't buy this on a decline or buy a busted company.  And the non-core asset may be the PCGS coin division.

We'll have to see.  Maybe they see growth in all their areas including coins, who knows.  But the HOT areas seem to be cards and collectibles (non-coin).

I think we agree but this is why I see it as part of the mania.  Many of these transactions (most in my opinion) don't make any sense, unless the mania continues and gets even bigger.

With sports teams, it's my inference that really wealthy people who can afford it are willing to do it partly for nonfinancial reasons; for status to increase their social standing in the community.  Someone may be willing to lose money (even if they do not) because they get something else out of it.

This is a private equity firm right?  If it is, it's presumably not some private buyer who loves sports so much they had to buy a grading and authentication company.  I consider this an awful value proposition, except under the assumption of selling it later under the greater fool theory.  As an operating business, the purchase price makes no sense.

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9 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

And yet RSN values are in the toilet.  I don't get it.  Broadcast rights for the teams per se are still going up so I don't know why the RSN values are dropping.  Have to get a sell-side report from one of my old contacts.

My explanation for it is the perception that the medium (cable TV) is a dying business but the content is (supposedly) very valuable as one of the few to generate interest with a predictable (large) audience.

This doesn't make any sense to me either, not just because of the money being paid for the sports rights, but because at least in some instances (which I will not name), the target demographic audience being marketed to is disproportionately broke anyway.

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1 hour ago, World Colonial said:

This is a private equity firm right?  If it is, it's presumably not some private buyer who loves sports so much they had to buy a grading and authentication company.  I consider this an awful value proposition, except under the assumption of selling it later under the greater fool theory.  As an operating business, the purchase price makes no sense.

Steve Cohen bought my Mets and in a good year he MIGHT make $125 million from the team.  That's when he gets the broadcast rights back, CitiFIELD is packed, and the team goes deep into the playoffs.

Last year, Cohen made $1.4 billion on his personal fortune.  10x what the Mets might make in a good/great year. 

 

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4 hours ago, World Colonial said:

I think we agree but this is why I see it as part of the mania.  Many of these transactions (most in my opinion) don't make any sense, unless the mania continues and gets even bigger.  ith sports teams, it's my inference that really wealthy people who can afford it are willing to do it partly for nonfinancial reasons; for status to increase their social standing in the community.  Someone may be willing to lose money (even if they do not) because they get something else out of it.  This is a private equity firm right?  If it is, it's presumably not some private buyer who loves sports so much they had to buy a grading and authentication company.  I consider this an awful value proposition, except under the assumption of selling it later under the greater fool theory.  As an operating business, the purchase price makes no sense.

Remember....all it takes is a small % of 20ish or 30ish tech billionaires to move a small % into what they liked as kids 15 or 20 or 30 years ago and it can move the market.  We see it in art all the time.

Imaginge if just 1 or 2 more billionaires said they wanted to emulate Bob Simpson and accumulate Saints.  You'd have panic buying at the rare and ultra-rare high end it would filter down to semi-scarce coins, too.

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I had forgotten that PSA is either complicit or tied to the "trimming" and overgrading scandal that could lead to huge liability in refunds:

https://www.actionnetwork.com/general/darren-rovell-card-memorabilia-fraud-national-sports-collector-convention

https://www.blowoutforums.com/showthread.php?t=1298835

This would have me running in the opposite direction from any person or firm who believes this:

"...Trading cards are easily the most liquid of all tangible assets, and this factor is continuing to drive attention towards them, especially new wealth” 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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1 hour ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

I had forgotten that PSA is either complicit or tied to the "trimming" and overgrading scandal that could lead to huge liability in refunds:

https://www.actionnetwork.com/general/darren-rovell-card-memorabilia-fraud-national-sports-collector-convention

https://www.blowoutforums.com/showthread.php?t=1298835

This would have me running in the opposite direction from any person or firm who believes this:

"...Trading cards are easily the most liquid of all tangible assets, and this factor is continuing to drive attention towards them, especially new wealth” 

there is a great deal that doesn't make sense from an economic perspective in the US right now... TSLA being the easy example of value being driven by circular logic (higher stock, cheaper capital to invest...) these PE guys are masters at hiding sins and maximizing the pain they sell to the next guy before the story implodes... but if you push all the shenanigans to the side - seeing collecting as a good investment helps the industry and can sustain its growth.  ...and my personal view is no one I know sees coin collecting as a good 'financial' investment right now (however it's a great investment in time if you enjoy history)... 

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2 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Remember....all it takes is a small % of 20ish or 30ish tech billionaires to move a small % into what they liked as kids 15 or 20 or 30 years ago and it can move the market.  We see it in art all the time.

Imaginge if just 1 or 2 more billionaires said they wanted to emulate Bob Simpson and accumulate Saints.  You'd have panic buying at the rare and ultra-rare high end it would filter down to semi-scarce coins, too.

This subject has come up numerous times before and we have discussed it.

This is overwhelmingly abstract theory, as it doesn't happen in practice at any material financial level, A TPG label on a coin and on practically any sports card isn't sufficiently compelling to get someone who isn't a collector to pay noticeably higher prices as they have no motivation to do it.  It's somewhat more realistic on Saints (per our prior discussions) since this is an "investment" substitute for gold bullion but nothing more.  At least 30,000+ with the financial capability to buy the 1794 SP dollar at the Stacks auction yet no one did.

Unlike coins, I'll grant you it might or appears to apply to a few sports cards (maybe due to legitimate nostalgia) but still not many.  An example might be the Mickey Mantle rookie card, as it isn't remotely close to being scarce given the hugely inflated price.

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2 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

This would have me running in the opposite direction from any person or firm who believes this:

"...Trading cards are easily the most liquid of all tangible assets, and this factor is continuing to drive attention towards them, especially new wealth” 

That's because they confuse an asset mania and speculation with wealth and collecting.

In a prior post you mentioned the 80's sports card bubble.  I remember it somewhat.  A co-worker of mine (early 20's like me at the time) bought boxes of the stuff purely for speculation and he was hardly alone.  Most of these cards (and later ones) must be incredibly common, except in some arbitrary grade like many coins where a large number exist essentially as made.  :"Investing" in this stuff is like buying "widgets".

I used to be an avid sports fan in all the major team sports (now just college football and world cup of soccer), so I "get it" for collectibles with actual substance, like some older sports cards or player and team sourced items. 

As with coins, a mass produced piece of cardboard with a high survival rate essentially as made selling for inflated prices doesn't have the appeal to sell for "high" prices long term absent current financial bubble conditions.  A business model based upon this premise doesn't exactly sound like a winning proposition to me but then, it isn't my money.

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I think you have to separate a short-term 'billionaire' / PE scenario from a sustainable long-term market scenario.  CU/PSA will get a lot of people psyched up to invest in cards, values will go up and then the floor will eventually drop out... if nothing comes behind it the run will be short.. if something does it might continue. Cohen sees CU the same way Zillow and OpenDoor (iBuyers) see mortgage, title insurance etc.. essentially bolt on value to maximize margin and MORE importantly valuation. 

but to turn the coin market into a growth market... there is a need for an entity that is legit on quantifying price.  eBay or a group that consolidates auction data could do that... NGS/PCGS/CDN etc.. are not credible in this capacity because they are not close to the transaction. The eBay/auction companies also have the picture datasets that ML/AI can consume for grading/authenticity/fingerprint purposes.  this real time access to market data would normalize the market and that alone would bring alternative investment types into the market.  might lower us prices for a while... 

Edited by bernard55
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1 hour ago, bernard55 said:

there is a great deal that doesn't make sense from an economic perspective in the US right now... TSLA being the easy example of value being driven by circular logic (higher stock, cheaper capital to invest...)

TSLA is being valued as an energy company not a car company.  The market has decided that TSLA was like AMZN and would do to autos/energy what AMZN did in retail.  That's why the stock is up 10-fold from the March lows.

1 hour ago, bernard55 said:

these PE guys are masters at hiding sins and maximizing the pain they sell to the next guy before the story implodes... but if you push all the shenanigans to the side - seeing collecting as a good investment helps the industry and can sustain its growth.  ...and my personal view is no one I know sees coin collecting as a good 'financial' investment right now (however it's a great investment in time if you enjoy history)... 

Private equity has so much $$$ that they need to do SOMETHING soon with it.  They don't earn fees until they invest.  And if they are earning fees, they are supposed to be invested.  Saying "prices are too high, we want to wait a few months...quarters...years" for the next bear market won't cut it. xD

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WC, just to be clear, I wasn't saying I thought Saints should be bought ahead of financial speculation, I'm just saying hypothetically that could happen just like in art, collectibles, current sports/baseball cards, or the false-start with the Wall Street coin funds in 1988-89:  too much money coming into a small sector.

I've seen this with small-cap and micro-cap stocks where you get 1 or 2 hedge funds or mutual funds looking to buy and they move the stock up a ton.

I do think that the Internet can be useful in spreading the joy of coin collecting (and bullion collecting/investing !) to people who otherwise might be buying gold ETFs or other gold telemarketer scams. 

And you wouldn't need millions to become coin collectors to invigorate the hobby and also strengthen pricing across the bullion and non-bullion coins.  A few thousand people a year going to their LCS....buying via HA or GC or SB.....attending the regional or national coin shows from time-to-time.

It's a question of time and learning about what is out there.  I know for myself, just like people have learned about collecting and stocks and home repair during the Covid-19 shut-down, I have been at my most active in this hobby when I have been working PT or been between jobs.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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59 minutes ago, bernard55 said:

I think you have to separate a short-term 'billionaire' / PE scenario from a sustainable long-term market scenario.  CU/PSA will get a lot of people psyched up to invest in cards, values will go up and then the floor will eventually drop out... if nothing comes behind it the run will be short.. if something does it might continue. Cohen sees CU the same way Zillow and OpenDoor (iBuyers) see mortgage, title insurance etc.. essentially bolt on value to maximize margin and MORE importantly valuation. 

nvestment types into the market.  might lower us prices for a while... 

We still don't know WHY they want CU and at such a big premium to the stock price the last few quarters.  It doesn't appear to be based on a big volume increase for grading coins or sports cards.  I wonder if it the Authentication Division or whatever it is called that authenticates alot of memorabilia and collectibles stuff.  Providing a Certificate of Authenticity for a costume used in an AVENGERS movie is alot more lucrative than grading some cards or coins.  

Alot of people are ditching their personal possessions...movie studios and other companies, too....ex-atheletes....it sells faster and for more $$$ if it's legit and authenticated.

Of course, it does appear this trimming/overgrading problem left a big stink but the folks at CU/PSA must not believe it's a killer reputation-wise or liability-wise.

1 hour ago, bernard55 said:

but to turn the coin market into a growth market... there is a need for an entity that is legit on quantifying price.  eBay or a group that consolidates auction data could do that... NGS/PCGS/CDN etc.. are not credible in this capacity because they are not close to the transaction. The eBay/auction companies also have the picture datasets that ML/AI can consume for grading/authenticity/fingerprint purposes.  this real time access to market data would normalize the market and that alone would bring alternative investment types into the market.  might lower us prices for a while... 

Well, Heritage has a pretty good data base...it's a bit unwieldly at times and sometimes coins other than what I want come up.  The problem is that no 2 coins are exactly alike to it's a guestimate at best for any grade.

I think that GC also has a database (I'm sure they're saving the data)....I haven't been able to find/use it yet, but I've saved all my 1907 Saint High Relief auctions over the last few quarters and have a few dozen sales prices that went off on the site.

RED BOOKS and GUIDE BOOKS also have pricing information and Roger Burdette's SAINTS book has a 40-year price table for each year and mintmark, if you are into Saints (which I am xD).

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11 hours ago, bernard55 said:

I think you have to separate a short-term 'billionaire' / PE scenario from a sustainable long-term market scenario.  CU/PSA will get a lot of people psyched up to invest in cards, values will go up and then the floor will eventually drop out... if nothing comes behind it the run will be short.. if something does it might continue. Cohen sees CU the same way Zillow and OpenDoor (iBuyers) see mortgage, title insurance etc.. essentially bolt on value to maximize margin and MORE importantly valuation. 

but to turn the coin market into a growth market... there is a need for an entity that is legit on quantifying price.  eBay or a group that consolidates auction data could do that... NGS/PCGS/CDN etc.. are not credible in this capacity because they are not close to the transaction. The eBay/auction companies also have the picture datasets that ML/AI can consume for grading/authenticity/fingerprint purposes.  this real time access to market data would normalize the market and that alone would bring alternative investment types into the market.  might lower us prices for a while... 

The price of collectibles is ultimately determined by collectors, not anyone else. @GoldFinger1969and I have discussed this in prior threads and for the most part, I think we are in agreement.

Trying to turn any collectibles market into an asset class isn't sustainable longer term because it's an asset with no utility to anyone else and it produces no income stream.  Some people claim the same thing about metals but even aside from the industrial purposes, gold is held as a reserve asset and silver has a long history of being used as money and is viewed this way still in some parts of the world.

Despite what proponents of this preference claim or desire, hardly any of these collectibles have anywhere near broad enough appeal to anyone outside of those who collect it to buy and hold it longer term as a collectible, except maybe when it isn't losing value or at relatively nominal prices.  This applies to any coin where the value is primarily contingent upon the TPG label or a CAC sticker.

It's somewhat different with unique items such as art but then, these items are in a different league entirely from coins and other mass produced collectibles.

If I was going to get into the collectibles business, I'd far prefer to own an auction company like Heritage than a TPG.  The challenge even with this though is that to my knowledge owning shares of Sotheby's and Christie's hasn't been very profitable longer term.  To my knowledge, the financial performance of both has been mediocre.  

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29 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

If I was going to get into the collectibles business, I'd far prefer to own an auction company like Heritage than a TPG.  The challenge even with this though is that to my knowledge owning shares of Sotheby's and Christie's hasn't been very profitable longer term.  To my knowledge, the financial performance of both has been mediocre.  

Both are private.  Sotheby's was public at one time I believe, but you can't have a business like that -- with lumpy quarterly and annual results -- at the whims of the public market.

Plus, there is confidential information that is key to securing future sales and revenue streams...you can't give that information out and not put yourself at a competitive disadvantage or tee off your own clients.

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1 hour ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Both are private.  Sotheby's was public at one time I believe, but you can't have a business like that -- with lumpy quarterly and annual results -- at the whims of the public market.

Plus, there is confidential information that is key to securing future sales and revenue streams...you can't give that information out and not put yourself at a competitive disadvantage or tee off your own clients.

I believe it was Alfred Taubman who owned one of the two at one time.  I suspect it was at least partly a status trophy.  This private equity firm that bought or is buying CLCT could also buy one an auction firm taking it private.

The primary point I was trying to make is that the limited history of this type of company (these two and CLT) doesn't provide any reason to believe it will ever have any scale.  The art market is multiples in size to mass produced collectibles yet it also has no scale, financially.  No reason to buy it for growth because it's always going to be a limited niche market financially.

Edited by World Colonial
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11 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

I believe it was Alfred Taubman who owned one of the two at one time.  I suspect it was at least partly a status trophy.  This private equity firm that bought or is buying CLCT could also buy one an auction firm taking it private.

Yes, Taubman owned Sotheby's....and when it was bought it was for about $2-$3 billion or 3-4x the purchase price for CU.

11 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

The primary point I was trying to make is that the limited history of this type of company (these two and CLT) doesn't provide any reason to believe it will ever have any scale.  The art market is multiples in size to mass produced collectibles yet it also has no scale, financially.  No reason to buy it for growth because it's always going to be a limited niche market financially.

Excellent point.  But the smaller purchase price for CU must mean there is growth SOMEWHERE in the company.  I think it's in collectibles and sports memorabilia where stuff is pricey and it's easier to grow the top line by getting fat rates on a smaller number of expensive items rather than grow baseball card grading and/or coin certification.

You buy something from a Marvel movie and it is $50,000 that's $500 - $2,000 probably right there.

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1 hour ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Yes, Taubman owned Sotheby's....and when it was bought it was for about $2-$3 billion or 3-4x the purchase price for CU.

Excellent point.  But the smaller purchase price for CU must mean there is growth SOMEWHERE in the company.  I think it's in collectibles and sports memorabilia where stuff is pricey and it's easier to grow the top line by getting fat rates on a smaller number of expensive items rather than grow baseball card grading and/or coin certification.

You buy something from a Marvel movie and it is $50,000 that's $500 - $2,000 probably right there.

Taubman paid 3-4X but a much more reasonable price for what he bought.  I don't remember when but it wasn't during a full blown asset mania like now.

As to your second comment, I agree there is some opportunity but still not to any meaningful scale in the types of items I infer from your post.  The margins can certainly be higher (charge a premium price) but the volume is likely to remain very low.

I don't believe enough items are interesting enough to enough people where this will last either.  I know you used Marvel only as an example.  The franchise has staying power (especially under Disney) but specific items are likely to fall out of favor regularly.  Far less liquid than most coins near equivalent value where no one knows what it is really worth.  The franchise can remain in favor but doesn't mean a particular item won't crash in price anyway.

My prediction is that any attempt to increase the scale by authenticating noticeably higher volume will weaken prices a lot by diluting the novelty factor.

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WC, check out COLLECTORS CALL with Lisa Welchel ("The Facts Of Life") on Sunday evenings on MeTV (it's on hiatus now, I think).  

Mancow The Shockjock and Barry "Greg Brady" Williams:

You'll see what people are collecting and paying big $$$ for...from the helicopter James Bond/Sean Connery used in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE to Batmobiles, 1960's Christmas Special setups, comics, action figures, etc.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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A lot has changed (or stayed the same) since we’ve had this past discussion… After a year of watching trading card prices go through the roof and coin prices keep up with inflation... I’m still wondering if the motivation of someone to collect/trade coins is different than the motivation to collect and trade collectible cards and if that matters to the long term viability to the industry.

I recently (2 weekends ago) attended National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago and it was on fire… There were thousands of people doing thousands of transactions primarily buying and selling trading cards. There were people from every demographic (age, gender, race, occupation, income level, education level etc..).

At the National event, I met people that were quick flippers interested in making a quick buck… I met wall street types who see trading cards as alternative investments… and I met nostalgic types who enjoyed collecting sports cards in the late ’80s and now they are grown up.

I asked a few of the resellers about the market and they mostly said that the momentum has been fueled by disposable income, supply & demand, high-profile endorsers, institutional money and the passion for the sports culture. They also said they didn’t see the market letting up given what is happening on the internet with NFT enabled fractional ownership and secondary marketplaces like Top Shots creating a bit of a gambling type atmosphere—which sports types love.

I contrast this with many numismatics events where the crowds (and resellers) tend to be in an older/white demographic and wonder about the differences between what motivates people to collect cards versus coins.  Afterall, coin collecting has been around for much longer and has worldwide interest. If you study the psychology of collecting there are some base similarities (thrill of the hunt, the history, the emotional driven desire to own an asset, etc..)--but i'm left trying to figure out what motivations are driving the dramatic price increases in cards over coins.

So, I have 3 simple questions:

  • What forces motivate coin collectors (as compared to card collectors)?
  • Is the coin-collecting industry shrinking, stable or growing and why?
  • What would cause the industry to be more vibrant?

I am trying to put my biased opinion (per last comments in this forum) in check and really understand the psychology here much better.

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On 8/8/2021 at 1:49 PM, bernard55 said:

So, I have 3 simple questions:

  • What forces motivate coin collectors (as compared to card collectors)?
  • Is the coin-collecting industry shrinking, stable or growing and why?
  • What would cause the industry to be more vibrant?

I am trying to put my biased opinion (per last comments in this forum) in check and really understand the psychology here much better.

For starters, you have much more exposure to the people on those cards and memorabilia pieces than you do with coins.  Sports and other cultural events are highlighted on TV and the internet.  Entire TV networks devoted to a single sport and focused attention on specific players which leads to a mention in passing of a card or other token.

No such TV channel focused on the U.S. Mint or Augustus Saint-Gaudens. xD

DIY investing (Robinhood) is EXPLODING -- but those seeking out high-quality Private Banking are much more restrained in their numbers.  Similarly, popular lower-priced items like cards and memorabilia strike a cord with most of the public.....whereas most don't know we once made gold coins other than today's American Eagle's. 

The public believes they have a TRADING ADVANTAGE to make money on Robinhood or with cards.  No such "insider advantage" with coins.

I do believe we will have our day in the Sun....maybe when cryptocurrencies are not sucking $20-$30 billion a month away from PM's.  When gold is approaching $3,000 in a few years, you may start seeing those coinfomercials no longer running at 4:30 AM but in primetime at 9 o'clock. xD

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 8/8/2021 at 1:49 PM, bernard55 said:

They also said they didn’t see the market letting up given what is happening on the internet with NFT enabled fractional ownership and secondary marketplaces like Top Shots creating a bit of a gambling type atmosphere—which sports types love.

This mostly sums it up.  This is what the crowd says during every bubble or mania.  It's "always different this time".

I agree with @GoldFinger1969to a point in his last comments.  There is a much stronger cultural affinity.  Sports is a much bigger part of people's lives than coins will ever be.  

What you described in your post I see as predominantly speculation.  I do not follow this hobby segment but particularly anything of more recent vintage (like Michael Jordon or even worse, LeBron James) is way too common.  316 GEM-10 Jordan rookie cards already and it's selling for $700K?  That's nut's, far worse than the price of any coin and I find the price spreads on the most common condition census coins ridiculous.

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