How to Use the Bluesheet & Greysheet to Determine Market Spreads

As we reported last week, dealers' views on last week's Baltimore show were mixed overall, but we left with optimism that the certified coin market is showing signs of strength as we head into the Winter months. We note a handful of minus signs in this week's Bluesheet, but generally the bottom end of the market is stabilizing, and we are more apt to see winners than losers at the moment. In other words, value buyers are coming back and taking advantage of the perceived bargains in the market. As editors, we are seeking to establish a realistic "bottom end" of the certified marketplace to inform our readers about the values of coins at the low-end of the spectrum. As a professional numismatist, or investor in rare coins, this information is a valuable data point for you. In cases where the Bluesheet and Greysheets report pricing information on the same coin, the result is a pricing "spread" that you should use to determine a range of acceptable value for a coin. To illustrate, let's examine the 1896-S Morgan dollar in MS65. This week, the MS65 bid was increased to $11,000 on both the PCGS and NGC sides from previous levels of $10,000 and $9,000, respectively. On the Greysheet, the 1896-S remains steady with a bid of $16,000. Considering it's hefty price tag, the 1896-S dollar in gem is an issue that trades more frequently than you might expect. We note at least seven (7) examples in this grade have sold at Heritage Auctions this year alone. The lowest any of these realized was $10,575 in June. The highest was $15,275 in July. It's interesting to note that none of these coins was CAC approved, and we are convinced that a CAC-stickered example would realize well over $16,000, which is why we have not reduced the Greysheet bid. As a reader of the CDN sheets, we expect that you would use this $11,000–$16,000 spread to decide what you should bid or ask for this coin. If someone offers you a gorgeous, white gem of exceptional quality, you should fully expect to pay at the upper range of the spread, or even more. We note several auction records of $18,800 for this issue in the past 18 months, and a nice, high end coin is well worth that figure. Of course, a low-end coin which looks like a liner between MS64/65 is worth much closer to $11,000. And, in our opinion, if you can buy a PCGS or NGC MS65 example for less than $11,000 you are getting a great value. This approach to setting values in the Bluesheet is a departure from the past decade when values were set based strictly on the "sight unseen" market for PCGS and NGC coins. We have heard from the biggest traders in the coin industry who have told us this old methodology is obsolete. We are no longer trying to find a value for the absolute worst coin in the market, but rather to establish a comfortable spread so you can make informed buy and sell decisions.