There are a people in the numismatic industry I like, but there are some I watch with amusement for various reasons. One of those I watch with a certain amount of amusement is Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics from Lincroft, New Jersey. Sperber and Legend deals with a higher end segment of the market where their “lower-end” products cost more than $1,000.
There is nothing wrong with the high-end market, but most of the people I have associated with in numismatics that are not dealers look at $1,000 as being out of our budget. We are happy finding nice coins and putting together fun sets that may not be the type of coins that Legend and similar companies would sell.
While I respect Sperber for her views on the market, she acts and writes like it the view of everyone who participates in the market. Thus is the case with her Market Report regarding the recently ended Whitman Baltimore Coin and Currency Expo.
Sperber opens her tome noting that the show was “decent but quiet.” As with many June shows in Baltimore, it is not as active as the March or November shows and Sperber notes that the timing and the location works against this show. This is a fair comment and something the people at Whitman needs to consider in the future.
What is not fair is that her views are caveated at the beginning saying that the dealers she spoke with “on our level” was a few paragraphs before a section titled “When Dreck Rules.” On one hand she is saying that, “we know of a few smaller dealers who had nice coins and did VERY well.” Then a few paragraphs down she noted that, “[there] were few fresh and nice coins in anyones display case.” Which is it? Were there dealers with nice coins or where there few nice coins? It cannot be both.
Sperber also forgets that there are more aspects of the market than this “on [her] level.” Some of us are on a budget whose budget may not include paying thousands of dollars for coins. But we like to look and even learn so that maybe if that coin ever becomes affordable we can consider a purchase. She disparages some who she said were not serious buyers who “came to kick some tires and chat.” Using this logic, we are not to go to a high-end dealer to look, ask questions, and learn. Maybe, people did not like the quality of your coins; after all, you said that there were not enough “fresh and nice coins in anyones [sic] display case”
But according to Sperber, “we need cool and better CAC stickered coins” as if CAC stickered coins are the answer to her problems. It is hard to say whether CAC coins are the answer, but the concept of a coin having eye appeal and being entombed in a plastic slab stickered by someone else does not give the coin good eye appeal. In fact, a high grade coin, with our without the sticker, can be quite ugly. As someone who is not a fan of toned coins, I find many toned coins unattractive, yet I have seen a few with a CAC sticker that I would never buy even if offered as a raw coin.
What Sperber does not tell you is that she and/or Legend Numismatics have a stake in the CAC. That lack of disclosure in her promoting of the CAC is disingenuous, at best. In the future, Sperber should caveat discussion she is involved with about the CAC noting her association.
I understand that the good people at Legend Numismatics have to make a living, but it is time for Laura Sperber to show some respect for the entire numismatic community and not just those who can afford what her company sells. Sperber has demonstrated an interesting perspective on the market that could be respected if she does not come off as a Jersey-tuff person as she has done on other occasions. Even this Brooklyn-born blogger is turned off by that Jersey-tuff attitude. She must start to learn that there is room for everyone in the numismatics market including the tire kickers, looky loos, low-end buyers, and those of us having fun. Until then, if I should be looking for a coin of that caliber I will probably not purchase it from Laura Sperber or Legend Numismatics.